4 Reasons the Elf on the Shelf Belongs on the Naughty List

These little Santa spies may look sweet and innocent, but there's a devilishness to that grin. Michel Curi/flickr

An annual intruder has invaded my home, and if you have little kids, he's probably coming for yours, too. I am, of course, referring to that cherub-like pain in the neck otherwise known as the Elf on the Shelf. Santa's little magic helper flies in just after Thanksgiving each year, bringing with him (or her) a flurry of excitement for the kids and rules for the grown-ups.

But since grown-ups are the ones tasked with hosting these special guests in our homes for a few weeks, aren't we allowed to take exception to some of the aspects of their presence?

Don't get me wrong — I am glad our elf (Lilly) is around to keep the kids' behavior under control. But not only does she spy on us and relay personal information to her boss, she does it all with a big, mocking grin on her face.

So that's why I dare to argue here that the Elf on the Shelf may even deserve to land (gasp!) on the naughty list.

1. He's not a very good houseguest. It's no small responsibility to have a visitor in your home for an extended period of time, and that's doubly true when it comes to holiday guests. I won't get into specifics, parents, but you know what I mean about the, ahem, particular requirements of this VIP.

Plus, he can be a little messy:

Elf on the Shelf spills popcorn
This elf spilled popcorn on the counter. Mark Baylor/flickr

And sometimes they play with your toys and don't pick up the mess:

Elf on the Shelf with puzzle pieces
This elf scattered puzzle pieces all over the floor. Mark Baylor/flickr

2. He has expensive taste. As hosts, we sometimes supply our guests with items they need during their stay. Elves need clothes, and if they damage an outfit in flight, we may have to provide a new one. But at $10 (ish) a pop those tiny getups cost almost as much as a cheap toddler outfit. Not to mention their pets — did you know some elves have reindeer pets?

Elf on the Shelf with a reindeer pet
Elf on the Shelf with a reindeer pet. Target

3. He's not very sociable. If you touch him, he loses his magic. Yet, as parents we know that on rare occasions, he may get stuck or need assistance getting from place to place. This certainly puts us in a bind. (Here's one solution.) Also, he never speaks, and he never blinks.

Though sometimes, they'll write us friendly messages:

This elf says she's too pooped to play.
This elf says she's too pooped to play. peapodsquadmom/flickr

4. His presences will make your kids ask you 50 extra questions a day. I mentioned how he may need help getting around once in a while. But other times he stays in the same place for a few days at a time. If that happens, your kids will go on a question-asking spree, and you may want to prepare a response. This is on top of all the questions kids will ask about where he comes from, how he got there, where he goes after Christmas, etc. Luckily, the book goes a long way in covering those talking points.

Santa, we really do love having your elves around over the holidays. Please pardon my vent, and I hope writing this didn't just land me on the naughty list.