Once again, Christmas is at our throats. And with it comes the usual barrage of spam from E-tailers, wanting us to know about all their latest specials. Apple, for example, seems to think everything they do is pretty special, so they continually send me enticing emails inviting me to take advantage of ... THEIR REGULAR PRICES!
Barnes & Noble, on the other hand, is offering me 40% off on whatever I want, so long as what I want is the complete Elf on the Shelf collection, including a book, a doll and, as if that weren't enough, a box! Elf on the Shelf bills itself as a Christmas tradition ... a tradition dating way back to 2005 or so. As near as I can determine EotS is more than a book. It's an industry. There are, of course, books, dolls, videos, etc. all based on the incredible literary breakthrough of rhyming "elf" with "shelf."
The gist of this industry, apparently, is that you're supposed to delude your kids with the idea that an elf is hiding in your house, reporting their good and bad deeds to Santa. You're then supposed to hide the doll in various places around the house during the month of December, thus simultaneously fostering their acquisitiveness and their paranoia. A splendid time is had by all.
Of course, in this day and age, and especially in light of the recent WikiLeaks disclosures, Santa is far more likely to do his information gathering via the Internet. Perhaps I should publish A Gnome on the Home Page, or A Ghost on the Web Host.
In our house, we prefer our own revered tradition (ca. 2010) of singing Broadway show lyrics to the tunes of various John Williams movie music. Fiddler on the Roof meets Harry Potter. Try it.