If you never have heard of Elf on the Shelf then you probably do not have a child, teach a kindergarten class, have a Facebook account or walk into Hallmark. I also have seen the elves at other stores, such as Target. There is an animated Christmas special and DVD, “An Elf’s Story,” which first aired on TV last year, as well as a book about the elf in the movie, “Chippey’s Great Adventure.”
The whole phenomenon really baffles some of my single friends.
The Elf on the Shelf arrived last year after Thanksgiving in his box with his book, “The Elf On the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.” He comes with one rule: Children cannot touch him or he might lose his magic. (But stuffed elves arrived in stores this year that are perfectly fine for hugging. You even can find girl elves with skirts.)
The elf is sent by Santa and flies back to the North Pole each night to report to the big boss, as he looks to finalize the Naughty and Nice lists. It becomes a game of where the elf will be and what he will be doing when he is found the next morning. When a boy or girl receives a book and an elf, the elf must be named and registered at ElfOnTheShelf.com to finalize the adoption.
I suspect my son, who was 5 when our elf first arrived, gave him the name “On” because of the book’s title.
We snap photos with my iPhone in the morning of On in his new hiding place — whether in the Christmas tree, hanging in a stocking or dangling from the pot rack — and text it to my mom, who awaits to hear from my son about On’s next shenanigan.
Some things On has gotten into this year have not had desirable results. In fact, some of these things might just get On on the Naughty list. But luckily, On, and the rest of the elves, will go back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve, which will give us 11 months to rest until he comes back.
Here is a list of things our elf has been caught doing, that no elf or person should do.
Fishing in the toilet: This isnot a good idea for little elves. Nobody wants to catch anything in there, and let’s hope this elf trend does not catch on.
Writing with shaving cream, toothpaste or soap on the bathroom mirror: These are hard things to scrub off, though they do incite some giggling (depending on the message).
Writing with charcoal on a piece of paper: Coal equals bad idea. This will not inspire Nice behavior, but instead might make a child fret over the possibility of being on the Naughty list.
Other elf shenanigans have been more easily overlooked:
Drinking from a straw in the pancake syrup: After watching the 2003 “Elf” movie starring Will Ferrell as the elf who loved sweets, especially syrup (even on spaghetti), I wasn’t surprised at this behavior.
Eating a marshmallow: They are sweet, though better roasted, though I am glad he didn’t start a fire.
Eating Hershey kisses: Everybody could use a kiss, or three, but he should throw away the wrappers next time.
And sometimes On just might be lonely …
Hugging a Santa: Who hasn’t had the urge?
Hanging on Rudolph: He is cuddly, but it is hard for a boy to hug his stuffed animal when an elf he can’t touch is around its neck.
Hanging on a Hulk statue: Maybe the big green guy just needed more hugs.
Sitting in a stuffed animal net next to the stuffed elf, “Max.”: The stuffed elf still looks like the elf’s buddies back at the North Pole even if he can’t talk back … or can he?
Or maybe homesick?
Sleeping under a blanket on the coffee table: He had a box of tissues, though he really should have thrown the dirty ones away along with his HALLS wrapper.
We only have four more days to find On this year, so I hope he will be on his best behavior.
If you are looking to put in that last good word to the big man in red, or report on what your elf has been doing, here’s where you can find him:
PANAMA CITY MALL: Santa will be at the Center Court through Christmas Eve. Photo hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Saturday (breaks from 1-2 p.m. and 5-6 p.m.), noon to 6 p.m. Sunday (break from 3-4 p.m.) and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve (break 3-4 p.m.). Breaks are subject to change, because you just never know when Santa might need to eat a cookie, because “nobody likes a skinny Santa” (which you might remember from the 1964 classic, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”)
SANTA HOUSE IN PIER PARK: Santa will be in his house among the shops at 600 Pier Park Drive through Christmas Eve. You can catch him there from10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. today and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.
HOUSE OF CHAN: From 4-7 p.m. Christmas Eve, you can enjoy dinner with your family and talk to Santa at House of Chan, 1518 W. 15th St., in Panama City.
You might want to visit all of the Santas, just to make sure you get “the real deal.”