2.9 min readBy Published On: December 12th, 2023Categories: Features3 Comments on Why I hate Elf on the Shelf

I hate the Elf on the Shelf.  One year, I spent almost two hours in a cold shed on December 1st looking for the box we stuffed the elf in last Christmas.  Ever since that day, my relationship with the elf has dwindled to utter dislike.  Christmas is a stressful enough time of year without the daily ritual of hiding a doll hanging over your head.   And you can’t just put the elf in a different obvious spot every day.  You have to pepper in fun and whimsy, like rolling out toilet paper to make it appear like the elf was raising some elfin hijinks.  What kid wants to wake up to find the elf just sitting in plain sight on a chair or a mantel?  They want to be surprised and delighted every morning with some type of shenanigans that the elf got into.  You know, like cryptic notes written in masking tape on the mirror or throwing flour on the floor and having the elf make “snow angels.” That type of stuff.

My wife would do more of the creative things with the elf, sometimes leaving little treats for the kids or notes.  I, on the other hand, find it hard to find just a different spot for the elf.  “Oh, he was on the mantel yesterday.  In the bathroom?  No, that’s gross.  In the kitchen next to the stove? No, fire hazard.  I find it hard even to remember to move the elf on the shelf.

If you have an elf, you will identify with the following scenario:

You are asleep in bed.  You wake suddenly with a feeling of dread.  Something isn’t quite right.  You have a sinking feeling that you forgot to do something.  It comes to you in an instant.  You never moved the friggin’ elf.  You get up out of a warm bed to put the elf in a different spot to fool your children once again.

And it’s not even the responsibility of the task of moving the elf which I don’t like.  The whole concept of the elf bothers me.  When I was a kid, it was just the threat of “Santa’s watching” that made me straighten up and fly right.  I wasn’t really sure how Santa was watching.  Maybe he had a special crystal ball, or maybe he was literally a “Peeping Tom” spying on me from a window.  I wasn’t 100% sure, but there is an entire song dedicated to the fact that Santa knows what you’re up to with Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

For those of you who don’t know what the Elf on the Shelf is, it’s an elf from Santa’s Workshop that was sent by Santa to keep a close eye on the children.  Each night, after the kids have gone to sleep, the elf heads back to the North Pole (that commute has got to wear on him) and tells Santa how the kids have behaved.  The bottom line, the elf is a snitch and a rat. 

So the season of the Elf is upon us.  Only two dozen or so times of remembering to move him.  On Christmas Day, his job of ratting out our children to Santa is done, and he returns to the North Pole until next year.  That is if we can remember where we hid him last Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

P.S.  Here’s another reason not to like Elf on a Shelf – they can catch on fire.  


  1. Tamara November 28, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Hello Peter, I am working on a “pro Elf” blog post and would like to include a couple of “not so much into moving the Elf every night” voices – would it be OK to link to your post from last year? Thanks, Tamara   http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

  2. Anonymous December 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for paragraph 4. Maybe I have been living in a shed or something but I had no idea what this whole Elf on a Shelf was about. 

  3. Zarah December 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm
    That lady is wrong

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