An innocent Christmas toy or a tool to prime kids to accept constant surveillance? The jury's still out, but there's no denying this new tradition's surge in popularity over the past decade.
The Elf on the Shelf consists of both a book about one of Santa's elves and an accompanying elf doll. In the lead up to Christmas, parents hide the elf doll around the house in amusing or unexpected ways and the children are encouraged to find him — but not touch him, because the elf is there to keep track of them and report back to Santa at night. How else will he make up his "Naughty and Nice" lists, right?
Our elves are generally for adults only. Check out 10 of Santa's naughty helpers pushing the boundaries of what's considered appropriate in and out of the North Pole.
Darth Vader finds your lack of Christmas spirit disturbing.
This Breaking Bad elf wishes you a Merry Christmas, bitch!
An elf, Barbara Bush and a possible political scandal the likes of which we've never seen before.
Santa's gone away, Mrs. Torrance.
The Zuni warrior doll in Trilogy of Terror terrified a whole generation of kids. As an elf on the shelf he brings creepy to a whole new level.
We could have told this elf that Barbie was bad news...
Uh-huh, honey—it had to happen—a Kimye elf on a shelf.
An elf on the shelf as Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs demands his victim "put the lotion in the basket."
Elsa can't hold back anymore—she has to freeze this elf on a shelf.
So are we, Samuel L. Jackson. So are we.