Off-Third: Is your Elf on the Shelf spying on you?

This is the future George Orwell warned us about.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Sydney Barragan, Under The Arch Editor

Nothing says Christmas like garlands, gifts and the threat of constant surveillance.

It all starts with Santa Claus. This fat white man wears a red tracksuit and shimmies his way down the chimney each Christmas Eve, or if you live in an apartment, climbs in through the window.

He sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake. Does that not raise any concern? But good ol’ Santa isn’t going anywhere except back to the North Pole I’m afraid. And unfortunately, he’s no longer the creepiest thing about Christmas.

I’m sure you’ve seen it on Amazon or strewn across the gutted shelves of a T.J. Maxx. Yes, I’m talking about the infamous Elf on the Shelf.

It’s marketed as a wholesome Christmas tradition but this elf is a stalker and the accompanying book confirms it. His job is to watch children and report their behavior back to the North Pole. Forget about the FBI agent watching you through your iPhone camera — there’s one sitting on your mantle. 

That elf’s beady little eyes are super suspicious. Who’s to say there aren’t cameras sewn into his eye sockets? What if this was just a conspiracy created by Facebook moms and the government?

Spyware isn’t out of the question in this day and age. It may be a helicopter mom’s newest scheme to keep a firm grip on her kid. Or the CIA, depending on your search history.

But even if those creepy dolls are only full of stuffing and not spyware, it’s still sending the wrong messages to our kids that constant surveillance is okay. It’s not cute — it’s fascist propaganda! 

It’d be one thing if it was just that ruddy-cheeked elf during Christmas, but does capitalism ever stop? Of course not. They’ve soiled the good name of rap with Snoop on the Stoop, reducing Mr. Dogg to a joint-smoking elf. Hanukkah joined the fray too when Mensch on a Bench entered the market. There’s even Silly McGilly for St. Patrick’s Day, as if the idea of lurking leprechauns wasn’t alarming enough. 

It’s even weaseled its way into potty training. Yes, Troll on the Bowl exists. Aren’t we supposed to be teaching kids that it’s not okay to let people watch you relieve yourself? 

They’re running out of ideas, but of course that’s no reason to stop. If it was, they would have stopped at the third Fast & Furious movie. I’m drawing the line at Ghoul on the Stool

This whole thing has just spun out of control, and we’re gliding down the slippery slope to a police-state. Elf on the Shelf? More like Big Brother in the Cupboard. Please don’t have an Orwellian Christmas this year. 

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Sydney Barragan at [email protected].