Because, the Elf on the Shelf is simply a book, authored by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, first published in 2005. It’s been on bookstore shelves every Christmas season since then. The book is sold along with an Elf figure that you can use to threaten your kids with being put on the naughty list if the Elf spots them yanking their siblings’ hair, or not eating their veggies.
Entire blogging communities are up in arms about this little guy, who is not even real. As the competitive parenting world has it, there are apparently moms who are outdoing themselves with the whole Elf on the Shelf idea, going so far as to give it a name, cook up tricks it can play on the kids, most of which are practically impossible for a holiday-crazed mom to pull off.
If someone gives you the cute book, don’t be guilt-tripped into thinking you need to be an Elf on the Shelf maven! You are allowed to simply leave it where it belongs, on the shelf, and not give it a second thought!
Instead, go back to folklore and use the threat of kids getting coal instead of gifts, which originated in Holland, or have your kids take the online naughty or nice test, while you take a nap!