The Elf on the Shelf — An Advent Story?



Photos of Elf Displays come from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum’s 2015 display– collection of Linda Seccaspina

If you want to become a millionaire, the best way to do it is create something that becomes a Christmas tradition. If you write a Christmas song that becomes a hit, that means huge royalties every year. Write a “classic” Christmas book like the Polar Express, and hopefully it will get made into movie some day.

At Christmas time, there may be no more divisive element in the parent blogosphere than Elf on the Shelf, the children’s book and keepsake turned holiday phenomenon. In just five years since the Elf arrived on the shelves, he has become almost as integral to some family’s traditions as trees, Santa and Advent calendars. How did I miss this last year?


See the original Elf on a Shelf  in the Memories of the Eaton’s Christmas Catalogue Room at the Museum. Gold ones, green ones, you name it. Would that be an original Lee Valley wooden ornament? Yes it would:)

Elf on the Shelf is actually a copy of Christopher Pop-in-Kin (1984) concept or the “Magic Elf” (1997)– which was really taken from the 60s hug me elves made in Japan– so the question is– why is it being touted as original?

Why all the hoopla?

Why the touting as “original and unique?”

Why isn’t the press questioning the whole idea? Is it because the shelf elf has a bigger budget?

The Elf on the Shelf is supposed to watch your children and report back to Santa every night if they have been good or bad that day. To top that off, the Elf moves from shelf to shelf when you are asleep. With all these elves out and about does this mean Santa really runs a sweat shop?
.A friend positioned hers on top of some lights in the bathroom and when her daughter turned the lights one morning, they smelled burning plastic. Of course the elf’s hands had melted and the felt costume was charred. Again, the kids were horrified.

A local schoolteacher said she hates those little pointy-eared ba***rds. She says the elves’ “pranks” are just getting her kids all riled up before school and thus making it very hard for her to maintain control in the classroom. Of course all the kids want to do is swap stories about what their elves have been up to.

There is no doubt in my mind we send children the craziest mixed messages! We tell them not to take candy from strangers or knock on a strangers door and then we have Halloween. We tell them not to talk to strange old men and then sit them on Santa’s lap. We tell them monsters do not exist, and then take their picture with a 6-foot rabbit.


Just this morning, someone was explaining to a 4-year old in Walmart that Santa doesn’t come to their house because they aren’t signed up for his plan. No elf for me, as I have an Advent Calendar and the advent calendar has chocolate. That elf doesn’t have chocolate, so I will just remain happy with my Gnomes– Yup– Gnomes on the Roam





Event Page– please come

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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