He sees you when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake.
I love me some Santa, don't get me wrong.
I love a guy known for generosity and a hearty laugh, but the idea that he actually watches over your every move, even while you sleep, and then punishes you by withholding presents - it just does not seem very saintly.
But things are getting worse. We now have the Elf on a Shelf. Because Santa apparently was missing some of the criminal acts committed by very small children, parents have embraced a backup plan of having one of Santa's elves turn up all around the house, in unexpected places, and judge you on your indiscretions. They are actually called "Scout elves" and report back nightly to the master stalker in the North Pole, then show up in a different place the next morning. He can go anywhere and watch you anytime he wants.
So, imagine this guy staring at you from your toaster or bathroom sink in the morning:
He looks just a little too happy about catching you doing something from the naughty list. In fact, some preliminary research has shown that Elf on a Shelf is a bit of a player, if not a total perv:
And this is just speculation, but he may even have a bit of a drinking problem.
No judgment my elfin friend! I am just saying that maybe you should get your own affairs in order before you decide my two-year-old is blacklisted from the nice list for taking too long a turn with the plastic horse.
Children are magical thinkers. To them, the elf is real, and the idea that he is able to turn up anywhere to spy must leave them with some sense of powerlessness, if not a vague feeling that something like this may be happening when Mommy showers:
Look, I was raised Catholic so I totally get the whole "Be obedient or suffer the wrath of God" - or Santa, or whatever. The idea that St. Peter at the gate has a naughty and nice list and everything you have ever done in your entire life has been documented, is not so unlike the story of our little friend here - and I guess it is effective as a behavior shaping tool or we wouldn't use it.
But... don't we really want to promote the concept of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do? Because holding onto the plastic horse with all your might while your sister cries does not feel as good as showing love and unclenching your chubby little fingers from around the horse. That giving is a lasting, joyous feeling while receiving is a quick, cheap thrill. That the low level of anxiety that comes with fear of getting caught lying, stealing, or cheating is simply not worth it. That you are enough, that you are good, that you are strong and no one needs to tell you those things by putting you on a list; you can know them for yourself.
I know, I know - I am overthinking these things and it is an adorable tradition that the kids "LOVE!" - but that is what I do kids. I overthink small things because sometimes small things matter big.
Besides, I can't be the only one who wants to do this: