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Their mischievous grins makes us think they’re up to evil

OK. We figured it’s high time we said something about Elf on the Shelf, one of this season’s hottest toys. Presumably, the Elves’ popularity stems from 1) their close connection to Santa and presents and 2) the non-interactive interactivity of whole thing. The concept is pretty classic: part Toy Story, part traditional Christmas lore. You buy (adopt) an elf, read the elf story, give it a name, and suddenly the elf’s magic is released. It looks like a harmless toy, but kids are told the elves are watching them and while the kids sleep, they fly off to the North Pole to report on the kids’ behaviour. The proof of their magic lies in the elves’ reappearance in a new location every day.

Now, we’re no stranger to the use of elves to manipulate behaviour. We know a certain grandmother who always claimed she could see Twinkle Toes, one of Santa’s elf spies, peering in the window to check up on us. Of course, anytime we’d look to catch a glimpse of him, he was already gone. And thanks to Toy Story and the Velveteen Rabbit, we’re pretty familiar with the concept that seemingly inanimate objects take on a life of their own at night, but there’s just something… off about those elves. Could it be their resemblance to creepy ventriloquism dummie or Chucky?

We’re not writing off the Shelf Elves ability to get good behaviour out of kids; Dad-Camp‘s Buzz Bishop plan to have the Elf sit on the bathroom counter to remind kids to brush their teeth is pretty brilliant, after all. But… they don’t do or say anything all day, just grinning their little grin, holding whatever pose, and then the next day they show up in a new location. Those cheeks are just a little too rosy, that grin a little too smirky. It’s a grin that says, “I just did something bad, but I’m going to wait for you to find it.” And then all the soap in your house has been replaced with eggnog.

And it seems we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed the Elf on a Shelf capacity for evil. Have a look at some of the Elf on a Shelf “fan” photos we came across:

We rest our case.

Top photo by travis_warren123 via Flickr, evil photos by AlexandriaMarsh via Imgur

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