(Note: The last few years, the Ada Public Library has had a “Ginger Bread House Making” event. Last year, I came across this great family who shared with me one of their “Christmas family traditions.” That got me thinking.)

ADA — Okay, first it was George Orwell’s 1984 enigmatic ruler, Big Brother, with everyone worldwide under surveillance.

And now it’s the just as enigmatic, but apparently much smaller, “Elf on the Shelf,” with everyone (especially the kids) worldwide still under surveillance. And that includes the kids in Ada’s Daniel’s family.

Lena, 5, Kyan, 9, Jessa, 10 are all under daily surveillance, said their mom Melissa, 32. Melissa also explained to me (I’ve been out of the ‘young kid’s Christmas loop,’ oh, for a while) that this “elf thing” is based on the wildly popular 2005 Elf on the Shelf children’s book.

And the premise of the book is that Santa, who is still a bit behind on new NSA spy technology, instead sends out “scout elves” as a way of seeing if various kids have been, for lack of newer psychological phraseology: “naughty or nice.”

What’s more, during the Holiday Season, the scout elves are sent on daily round trip flights (they usually go “coach” on Air Alaska) from their assigned house to Anchorage. It used to be the North Pole, prior to global warming, that is…


During the day, I’m told (but I’ve yet to find solid corroborating evidence) that the elf hides in various locations in the house. Oh yeah, and you are allowed to name your elf.

The elf in the book is “Frankie.”

The elf in the Daniel’s house is “Little Santa.” (Hmm. It would seem a not too subtle way of sucking up to Santa even more.)

Also, you can actually assign attributes to your elf. The Daniel’s elf, for instance, rides bulls in the rodeo and sky dives.

Cool, huh.

But some critics think the whole thing is ‘not cool.’

For instance, Atlantic Magazine columnist Kate Tuttle writes that this is merely a “marketing juggernaut” to sell more stuff to give to the “nice” kids. And one shouldn’t “…bully your child into thinking good behavior equal gifts.”

I’m sorry, but if my now bigger kid (read: teenager) gets kicked out of school, knocks off the Marathon Station, and takes the money to buy pizza for the Friday night party, politically correct cultural critic admonition, or not… “Big Santa” is not delivering on the new Play Station. Period!