My Facebook feed has been taken over by photos of elf dolls doing crazy/weird things. Somewhere around the 40th picture I decided to do a little digging and find out what this new trend is.

Elf on the Shelf makes a snow angel with baking flour in the kitchen. Photo Courtesy of Magan Konoski of

According to , "The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day's adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning."

Now I don't have children of my own, but I do have nieces and a god daughter and I see how much my sister-in-law and cousins do for them.  While this seems like a fun tradition isn't it adding to an already hectic holiday season?

Is this toy/game singling out children and parents who can't afford or don't have time to think of a different spot and a different thing for an elf to do every night.  This year between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are 27 nights, that means 27 different things for an Elf to do.

I have seen elves hiding in cereal boxes, unrolling toilet paper, hiding in the bread drawer, reenacting scenes from movies, drinking milk, and the latest was an elf building a snow fort.  I understand not all of these things cost money, but most of them do.  I may be seeing things differently because I am not a parent but it seems a little silly to buy a book, a toy, and then spend 27 days wasting household items to out do whatever thing the "elf" did the night before.

Are we  really doing it for the children or are we competing against other parents.  In a society filled with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter I am constantly seeing parents posting or talking about what amazing thing they did for their children.

If one friend went on a trip an hour away to the lake, the next one takes a trip to Disney.  Why does one have to out do the other?  Doesn't it matter that in both senarios the children had fun.  Who cares how much you spent, how much stress it was packing your bags, and how you will never drive across the country again with a toddler.

I know that got a little off topic but it comes back to my original point, is Elf on the Shelf for the kids or to make the parents feel superior?