The True Effect of Elf on the Shelf

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Michael Kappel “Elf on the Shelf Playing with Knives” via Flickr

A nine year old child named Eric wakes up at 3:42 a.m. on a cold, December night. His room is dark and the full moon casts eerie shadows on the chilly hardwood floor and navy blue walls. Unfortunately, he needs a drink of water, so he leaves his bed and quietly walks down the creaky stairs to the kitchen. As soon as he enters, his heart races as he sees the Elf on the Shelf staring at him with a wide grin and dark, evil eyes. Before Eric could take the glass of water, he sprints back upstairs and buries himself under the covers. The Elf on the Shelf had surprised him, and Eric was uncomfortable with it watching him. The story behind Elf on the Shelf involves an elf that is sent by Santa to make sure the children of a family are behaving. If the child acts up, the elf will see the action and report the naughty behavior to Santa. Also, the elf can be found around different places in the house due to being moved. Even though Elf on the Shelf is a popular Christmas tradition among many families, the concept of it is a bit scary for children. 

The elf “moves” around the house and constantly “watches” the children which can leave any child feeling anxious. No child wants to be constantly watched by a little, creepy looking elf. Since the elf can supposedly move around on its own, the child may be paranoid that the elf is going to cause harm to the family.

The appearance of the Elf on the Shelf is frightening to children. The elf is about ten inches tall which means it can fit into small places and go anywhere in the house without being noticed. If the elf can go anywhere in the house, then the child may not be aware of where it is at all times. Children might be scared that the elf is watching them all of the time. Also, the elf constantly wears a devilish grin with bright beady eyes which gives the impression that it is always watching and is about to do something mischievous. 

People could argue that Elf on the Shelf is used only for the benefit of children. In the eyes of a child, Santa is a person that makes sure the children behave throughout the year. When the children behave, Santa rewards them with gifts on Christmas. Since some adults and children believe Santa is so giving, the elf sent by him may not interpreted or is intended to scare children. Some parents also believe that the elf is only used to make sure the children are behaving. Few adults interpret the elf as spying, so they think that the elf is an effective way to make a child behave.

Although some people see the Elf of the Shelf as only for the benefit of children, the elf can be considered a threat. Since the concept of the elf is to make sure that the child is behaving, the children are watched and reported. If the child acts up, then the elf will supposedly report the child back to Santa causing the kids to be threatened into behaving. Threatening the child into behaving is not beneficial in any way because the child feels stressed out to do all the right things.

The story behind the Elf on the Shelf will seem real to most kids. A vast imagination causes the child to be naive to the fact that the elf is moved around by the parents and that the elf cannot see things. An elf sent by Santa to observe and move around a family’s house can be make a child feel worried as they are living their everyday life throughout the month of December.

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