Have you heard about this newest Christmas sensation and budding tradition? elf

It’s called Elf on the Shelf.

I think it’s been around a few years, it seems to be really gaining momentum with parents this season.

My understanding is the Elf watches the children to see if they’ve been naughty or nice. Every night he returns to the North Pole. And every morning he re-appears at a different location in the child’s house.

This last bit is what I think is so clever. By a simple act of moving the Elf, he is then rendered interactive.

Not in the wii or Nintendo DS Way, but in a much simpler and perhaps more powerful way through a combination of parental love and effort and childhood imagination.

Parents that I have spoken to say their kids really love it and they become really engaged in talking to the Elf and making their case for the “Nice” List.

There are also other rules and rituals surrounding the Elf that I believe add to his appeal and his mystery.

Children can talk to him, but they can’t touch him. And of course, he is a great listener- but he doesn’t talk back to them.

I am intrigued by this idea. I wonder how else it could be extended (without pushing the idea too far that it loses it’s specialness and credibility with kids).

One parent review I read, suggested an Easter Elf to help keep kids behaving well up until Easter…not sure if that’s got the same potential. Plus Bunny doesn’t really rhyme with any piece of household furniture I can think of.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
Have you tried the Elf on the Shelf?

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


  1. I like the idea behind the elf on the shelf. Basically makes parents get creative! I find that Americans are having a tougher time getting away from TV, video games and easy entertainment and expanding their brains to get creative with kids. I’m all for it and find it just as hard. I wish more companies would push us parents to do this!

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