In other words, it's a socially acceptable way to threaten and control your child's behavior in the days leading up to Christmas. Well, that's the cynical view. For many it's a fun, interactive way to build excitement in the days leading up to Christmas. The Elf moves to a different spot in the house every night -- creativity is encouraged -- and the kids jump out of bed to find him the next morning.
Of course some parents have taken this to the extreme as the website Elf on the Shelf Ideas clearly demonstrates.
There's also a site dedicated to inappropriate Elf on the Shelf poses that I cannot officially endorse called Oh You Naughty Elf. Click at your own risk.
Perhaps because I never experienced the Elf on the Shelf firsthand, I thought I'd put my lifesavings into a holier variation on the theme. Here's what I came up with:
Lord on the Ford
The Messiah on the Stolichnaya
Jesus on the Cheeses
The Anointed One on the Hot Dog Bun
Christ on the Ice
The Lamb of God on the Firing Squad
The Good Shepherd on the Leopard
Redeemer on the Beamer
While most of these likely won't fly, despite my meticulously written business plan and eager investors, I've decided to put my efforts into Lord on the Ford. What's a Christmas tradition that doesn't include a little corporate sponsorship anyway? I'm convinced that Lord on the Ford, or LOTF, for you texters out there, will be the viral gift of the season.
I personally don't want anything out of this venture beyond the satisfaction of bringing Jesus more fully into the December mix. Well, that and I'm hoping a 2014 (Christmas) red Ford Mustang will mysteriously appear in the rectory driveway (are you listening NSA and Ford Motor Corporation?!).
Regardless of your approach to Christmas, make sure not to put Jesus on the shelf this Advent. If you have young children at home, enjoy the magic and mystery -- it's gone all too quickly. Or put in a more positive light, it is transformed in new and life-giving ways.