I can't lie, I find Elf on the Shelf creepy as heck. I can only imagine the therapy that will be needed by the children subjected to this particular Christmas trend. In fact it reminds me of the creepiest Christmas tradition my family observed...
When I was a little girl, my Grandma told me about Santa's elf, Peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo was a magical elf that watched little boys and girls, and reported their behaviour back to Santa. Lovely story to tell a child with a wildly vivid imagination. Really. At the ripe old age of 3, I was convinced that Santa's elf was watching me through my bedroom window. One night just before my grandparents who were visiting got ready to leave, I was sent to my room to get into my jammies. It was about this time of year, and the threat of Santa not coming was being held over my head...for every little transgression (although I must admit my mother never "phoned" Santa....I did several times when my children were little....it had the desired effect). My grandma, ever helpful, retold the story of Peek-a-boo that evening. As I readied my 3 year old self for bed, I saw him looking in my bedroom window. My bedroom in rural Ontario, no neighbours, pitch black outside, absolutely no way ANYONE was looking in the window.
That was 40 years ago. I still have the image of that little b*st*rd looking in my window, engraved on my brain. He was wearing a white outfit with coloured polka dots, and had a blue pompom on his hat. I remember the shriek of terror that I emitted, and my little heart pounding as I ran screeching back to the livingroom, and leaping into my dad's arms. My dad swears he thought Jack the Ripper was in my room from my behaviour. I was wearing apple green pjs with pink cherries on them (it was the '70s after all...). The worst part of all? They laughed at me. My grandpa laughed until tears rolled down his cheeks. My father still laughs so hard he can barely tell the story. Which is repeated at least once a Christmas season.
The moral of the story? Be careful with that freaking Elf on the Shelf. 40 years from now your darling child might be reliving the horror. And considering help from a mental health professional to overcome the trauma. You've only yourself to blame if you're asked to put money into the shrink pot to help defray the costs of extensive therapy.
I wonder what Jung would say about Peek-a-boo vs Elf on the Shelf? I say avoid them both. Creepy little b*st*rds.