Elf on the Shelf: Creepy or Cute?

We decided to buy into the Elf On Shelf hype this year and start the tradition with our kids. Everly is almost three and understands the whole idea around Santa Claus, so it seemed like the right timing. If we’re instagram friends, you already know that I won’t shut up about this little gal.

Our Elf arrived on Sunday morning and when she woke up, Everly immediately found it hanging out in the wreath over our mantel. She was stoked. What should we name our elf? I asked. “PARKLES!” she said back.  I kept referring to “him” whenever I spoke of Sparkles and Everly let me know “It’s a durl (girl)!” Later, she asked me if Sparkles liked to play dress up and princesses. I told her that I’m sure she did and made a mental note to create a little apron skirt and a bow for her to wear.

Starting a new tradition with Sparkles the Elf was going great. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know how unreasonably happy I can be about family traditions and I was feeling pretty good about this one. If you’re unfamiliar with Elf on the Shelf - the back story is that the Elf is sent by Santa to watch over children up until Christmas. You can talk to her, but she’s not allowed to talk back and you can’t touch her. Every night, the elf flies back to the North Pole and tells Santa about all the things that the children did that day. When the children wake up the next morning, the Elf is in a new place in the house.

Yesterday, Everly and I were home alone when she came screaming out of the living room towards my bedroom. “That friendly elf is scary!” she said to me. “Why do you say that?” I asked her. “She’s watching me and she might try to get in my room.” 

Uh oh.

If you really think about the premise of Elf on the Shelf - it is kind of scary. A tiny person who stays still all day watching you and then gets up at night and moves around. yikes! So I assured Everly that Sparkles was really nice and that she only went to the North Pole and then straight back. I promised her she wouldn’t go in her room and that she is really nice and sweet. Everly nodded but I could tell she was only partially convinced.

"Do you want Sparkles to go back to the North Pole and stay there? It’s okay if you do. We can invite her to come visit some other time."

"No, she can stay"

And so I made a mental note to not play up the fact that Sparkles moves around a lot and to keep her confined to the living room/dining room this year.

Then Brent came home and without knowing the conversation that Everly and I had just had, he started saying he could see Sparkles moving. I walked into the room as he said “There she goes again! I saw her!”

"I bet she gets down and plays with your toys tonight!" he said enthusiastically, trying to engage Everly’s imagination.

"No she doesn’t." I said while nodding no, "She only moves to go to the North Pole and straight back!"

Brent gave me a confused look then said he pointed over my shoulder and said he saw Sparkles move again.

"She’s not moving, Brent" I said, more serious this time,

He looked at me confused, but got the message and dropped the conversation.

After Everly went to bed that night, I shared with him the conversation she and I had earlier that day. We shared a laugh over how terribly timed his well meaning gesture had been. Then we chose a nice, safe spot for Sparkles in the living room. I hung her with a piece of wire from the ceiling fan.

I woke up to Everly poking me this morning. “Parkles is on the ceiling fan!” she squeaked, “Come see!”

I followed her to the living room where she excitedly pointed to the elf.

She arched her head upwards and asked Sparkles if she talked to Santa.  “I want a pink bicycle!” She chirped excitedly.

A minute later, Brent absent-mindedly walked into Sparkles (who currently hangs right at his head level) and caused her to go swinging.

"YOU CAN’T TOUCH HER, DADDY!!!" Everly scolded.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

The jury is still out on whether or not Everly has decided the her elf is creepy or cute.  If she says that it’s scary again, I’m going to box it up and try again next year. She may decide she’s just not into the idea of having an elf in our house at all. Last year, she was really uneasy about the idea of Santa coming down the chimney and into our house but this year she’s embraced the idea and thinks it’s magic. 

Time will tell if the Elf gets to hang around too.

What did your little ones think of the Elf? Do you think that 3 is too young to introduce it? Do YOU think the elf is creepy or cute? (I had a good laugh over an instagram friend (Hi Katbrad!) who said that when she babysits, she slowly, little by little, turns the elf around when her niece and nephew aren’t looking so that it’s not “watching” her anymore. )