FEATURE — It’s become a holiday tradition for many families — an elf that watches over children from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve and reports back to Santa Claus whether they are naughty or nice – this overseer is also known as “The Elf on the Shelf.”
“When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all the day’s adventures,” according to the Elf on the Shelf website.
The story of the elf began in 2005 and was written by authors Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell. According to “The Elf on the Shelf” story, the scout elf returns every morning to check on the family and perches in different places around the house.
One mother, Alayse Roundy, reminisced on her childhood friends having an elf when she was young.
“He would just appear on the clock above the fire place for awhile and then disappear,” she said. “I remember how excited I was to catch a glimpse of him. I want my kids to have the same feeling of seeing a little magic.”
While some families like to keep their elf subject to good behavior, others like him to be mischievous. Roundy said when her husband is home the elf is put into some troublesome situations, but spends most of the time next to the baby Jesus.
Various elf activities include leaving a movie for the children to watch the next morning, leaving a mess of packing peanuts for the children to clean up, showing up with googly eyes on pieces of fruit and on himself with a sign saying “I got my eyes on you.”
Marsha Nisson, a St. George resident and mother of three young children, said her elf, Bernard, likes to hide in sneaky places or does some fun activities. Bernard also leaves Christmas pajamas for the Nisson children each Christmas to remind them that they have to be fast asleep for the magic to happen, she said.
“Today he showed up on a hang glider getting ready to fly out tonight until next year,” Nisson said.
While some mothers enjoy their children’s excitement and reactions others say they don’t feel it helps them.
“I don’t think that it’s going to help the kids’ behavior too much, because right before Christmas – instead of working on the behavior all year-round – isn’t really a good parenting technique,” Eva Hinds, a mother of two young boys, said.
Hinds said her mother had a ceramic Elf on the Shelf when she was young that she would keep out all year long and move on occasion. She would not have an elf if her sister-in-law didn’t give her one, she said.
“It does help my older nephew, because I say ‘the elf is watching’ and he straightens up,” Hinds said. “(My son) James just thinks it’s fun to find (the elf).”
Washington and Iron County locations to adopt a scout elf include:
- Christensen’s Department Store, 761 N. Bluff St.
- Coach House Gifts, in Red Cliffs Mall, 1750 E. Red Cliffs Drive #1202
- Barnes & Noble Book Store, in Red Cliffs Mall, 1720 E. Red Cliffs Drive
- Target, 275 S. River Road
- Bed, Bath and Beyond, Inc, 844 W. Telegraph St.
- Buck’s Ace Hardware, 489 W. State St.
- Christensen’s Department Store, 929 S. Main St.
- Harmony Home Furnishings & Decor, 111 S. Main St.
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