Rethinking Your Hatred of The Elf on the Shelf

The kind editors at The Good Men Project published my essay on their website just in time for the Christmas countdown. Here’s a teaser: The Elf on the Shelf: Indoctrination into a culture of surveillance, or just another iteration of a longstanding–and sometimes unsettling–morality play that’s always been part of Christmas folklore traditons? You read it and be the judge, and then come back and leave a comment below.

Rethinking Your Hatred of the Elf on the Shelf: Christmas Has a Long Tradition of Being a Little Creepy
Click here:


“Truth be told, I believe kids are in on the joke. Any parent who has woken up having forgotten to move Snickerdoodle the night before can attest to the complicity of their children in explaining away the mistake. Kids want to keep the game alive. They know on some level it’s their parents who are actually watching them, yet they nevertheless delight in the morality play of it all. By externalizing an imaginary critic who assesses their behavior, children are in fact developing a necessary faculty that helps them form judgements about the consequences of their actions.”


1 thought on “Rethinking Your Hatred of The Elf on the Shelf

  1. Reblogged this on meggiemom342 and commented:
    The following alphabetical list includes childrens homes and institutions where allegations of sexual/ child abuse have been made. Please contact us in confidence if you think you were a victim of abuse at any of these places, or you know of any more
    Alder House, Manchester.
    Alder Worsley Hall, Derby.
    Alderwood Children’s Home – Worsley.
    Alice Briggs Children’s Home.
    Appleton House, Chester .
    Ampleforth College (Prep School )(8years to 13 years).
    Argyle Manor, Ealing.
    The Ark, Buckinghamshire.
    Arlene Hall, Llandudno.
    Arrowe Park Hospital.
    Atherton Old Hall.
    Ashbank House, York.
    Avenham Road Children’s Homes.
    Badgeworth Court School.
    Barrows Green, Kendall, Cumbria.
    Barwick House School.
    Belmont, Stockport.
    Braybrook Children’s Home – Wednesfield, Wolverhampton.
    Beam College, Biddeford, Devon.
    Beeches, Leicester.
    Beechmount Children’s Home, Bowden, Altrincham.
    Beechwood Assessment Centre.
    Berrow Wood Approved School, Gloucestershire.
    Bersham Hall Children’s Home, North Wales.
    Besford Court (House), Shrewsbury (also known as Croome Court).
    Blackbrook House, St Helens.
    Blackburn & District Children’s Home, Blackburn.
    Blackburn House, Blackburn.
    Bladon House, Burton-On-Trent.
    Blaise Primary School, Henbry, Bristol.
    Bourne Place.
    Box Lane Assessment Centre, South Wales.
    Boyles Court Assessment Centre, Brentwood, Essex.
    Bramfield House Approved School, Suffolk.
    Bramhurst Home, Hampstead, London.
    Briers Hey Community School, Liverpool.
    Brine House Children’s Home, Nantwich, Cheshire.
    Brookside School, Shropshire.
    Broome House, Manchester.
    Broughton Towers, Cumbria.
    Brownlow’s Children’s Home, Enfield.
    Brunthwaithe/Brunthwaith School, Horwich, Bolton.
    Bryn Alyn, Wrexham.
    Bryn Estyn, Wrexham.
    Buglawton Hall, Congleton.
    Burley-in-Wharfdale Assessment Centre, Yorkshire.
    Bylands, Hampshire.
    Caldecott Community, Ashford in Kent.
    Caldicott Prep School, Farnham Royal, Bucks.
    Caldwell Hall, Derbyshire.
    Cambrian House (also known as Burford House), Manchester.
    Cardinal Vaughn Memorial School, London.
    Castle School (for maladjusted boys, Todmorden.
    Castle Hill School, Ludlow, Berkshire.
    Castle Howard Community School, Near Hull.
    Cecily Houghton School, Westwood Manor, Westley Rocks.
    Chadswell School, Lichfield, Staffordshire.
    Chafford Community School, Harwich, Essex.
    Chaigeley School, Thelwall.
    Cherry Hill Home.
    Chesapake, Derby.
    Chestnut Close Children’s Home, Whiston.
    Chevet Hey, Shropshire.
    Cheyworth Community Home/School
    Cicely Haughton Special School.
    Christ The King Church.
    Clarence House, Formby.
    Clavering House, Blaydon, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
    The Close Children’s Home, near York.
    Clwyd Hall, North Wales.
    Coxwell Community Home.
    Cribden House School, Rawtenstall.
    Crowthorn School, Edgeworth, near Bolton.
    Daker House, Rockferry, Wirral.
    Daw End School, Walsall.
    Dean Grange Preparatory School.
    Derwent House & Poplar House, Lancashire.
    Dewey Avenue, Liverpool.
    Dobroyd Castle School, West Yorkshire.
    Dr. Barnardo’s Home, Newton Abbey, Belfast.
    Dr. Garrett Memorial Home, Conwy.
    Drayton Manor, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
    Druids Heath, West Midlands.
    Dyke Nook, Accrington.
    Dyson Hall Secure Unit, Fazakerley, Liverpool.
    Elmhurst, Derby.
    Elmtree Farm, Stockton on Tees.
    Elwood Street Children’s Home, Islington.
    Eton Lodge Community Home, Liverpool.
    Fairfield Children’s Home, Liverpool.
    Family Group Homes, Beswick, Manchester.
    Family Gruop Home No. 58, Northenden, Manchester.
    Father Hudson Children’s Home, Warwickshire.
    Faversham School, Northumbria.
    Fazakerley Cottage Homes, Liverpool.
    Field House School, Harpendon, Herts.
    Fortescue House (also known as Arethusa), West London.
    Four Elms, Stoneham, Nr Stowmarket, Suffolk.
    Foston Hall, Derbyshire.
    Foxholes, Rochdale.
    Franklin Boarding School, Bristol.
    Freighton Children’s Home, Maidenhead.
    Fylde School, Lancashire.
    Garth House, Ribbleton, Preston.
    Glendale Children’s Home, Leyland.
    Glen House Secure Unit, Southampton.
    The Grange, Kings Lynn.
    Grappenhall School.
    Greavelands, Kent.
    Hallesley Boys School, Sale.
    Hardman Fold Children’s Home, Failsworth.
    Harlington Comprehensive School.
    Harris Orphanage (also known as Harris Home), Preston.
    Haslingdon High School, Lancashire.
    Headlands School, Penarth.
    Heath Brae, Congleton, Cheshire.
    Hendry House, Haverfordwest.
    Hesley Hall.
    Heysham, Branchill, Hampstead, London
    Highams Hall, Windlesham, Surrey.
    Hillcrest/Daisycrest, Rossendale.
    Hindley Borstal.
    Hobbs Hill Wood Junior School, Hemel Hempstead.
    Hollins High School, Haslingdon.
    Hollymount Convent.
    Holmwood, Hartlepool.
    Hopewall Hall, Buxton, Derbyshire.
    Homlea, Boothstown.
    Hutton Poplars Childrens Home, Brentwood, Essex.
    Igston House, Newton Abbott, Devon.
    Inchape Drive Home, Manchester.
    Ingledene Home, Manchester.
    Ingmanthorpe Hall, Wetherby.
    Kennelwood Home, Liverpool.
    Kepples View, Rotherham.
    Kilrie Children’s Home, Knutsford.
    King William’s Church of England Primary School, St William’s Road, Swindon.
    Kingswood Secure Unit and Classifying School, Bristol.
    Kinloss School.
    Kinton Community School, Surrey County Council.
    Lancaster More Children’s Hospital Unit.
    Larches Children’s Home, Preston.
    Let Us Play, Wolverhampton.
    Little Island Community Care Home, Tewkesbury.
    Livingstone Drive Admission Unit – Aigburth, Liverpool.
    Llwyncelwyn Remand School (now Llwyncelwyn Community), South Wales.
    Longhurst School, Morpeth, Northumberland.
    Longwood, Broome Lane, Salford.
    Longwood Home, St Lesmo Road, Edgeley, Stockport.
    Lostock Open Air School – Horwich.
    Lower Lee, Liverpool.
    Loxley Hall Boarding School, Uttoxeter.
    Luton House.
    Lynwood, Holme Road, Didsbury, Manchester.
    Malvern House, Preston.
    Manor Heath, Bury New Road, Salford.
    Marfords, Bromborough.
    Meadowcroft, Preston.
    Medomsley Detention Centre (owned by the Home Office).
    Menlove Avenue Assessment Centre (Wooton Vale), Liverpool.
    Middleton Hall Children’s Home, Birmingham.
    Middlewood Home.
    Millhouse Children’s Home, Carlisle, Cumbria.
    Minster Lodge Children’s Home, Ormskirk.
    Mobberley Boys Home.
    Moore House, Middlesex.
    Moorfield Care Home, Swinton.
    Moorfields Children’s Home.
    Moorland House Lower Unit.
    Mossfield Children’s Home, Liverpool.
    Mostyn House School, Parkgate, South Wirral.
    Muntham House School, Horsham.
    Nash Court, Ludlow.
    Nazareth Lodge, Ravenhill Road, Belfast.
    Netherton Park.
    Newheys Assessment Centre, Liverpool.
    Newhomes, Withington, Manchester.
    Newton Aycliff Home, County Durham.
    Newton Hall, Frodsham.
    North Field, Moor Lane, Salford.
    Northenden Road Home, Manchester.
    Norwood Children’s Home, London.
    Notton House School for Boys, Bristol.
    Nugent House School, Billinge, Lancashire.
    Oak Hall Boarding School, West London.
    Oaklands Children’s Home, Leigh, Lancashire.
    Oakmore School, near Botley, Southampton.
    Orchard Lodge, Anerley, London.
    Ormby Scouts/Scout Association.
    Othona (formerly St Thomas Moore’s).
    Our Ladies Convent, Greenfield.
    Oxley Park School – Essex.
    Paduan House/Arden House, Liverpool.
    Park House Children’s Home, Eccles.
    Park House Children’s Home, Prestatyn, Clwyd.
    Parkfield Children’s Home.
    Penhill Assessment Centre, near Cardiff.
    Penshore House, near Sunderland.
    Pentre Saeson Children’s Home.
    Pipewood Boarding School, Staffordshire.
    Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire.
    Priors Hill, Macclesfield.
    Pilkingotn House Children’s Home, Bury.
    Pinkwell Primary School.
    Pitt House Children’s Home, Chudleigh, Devon.
    Polebrook House, Leicestershire.
    Poplar Bank Home, Huyton, Merseyside.
    The Poplars, Market Harborough.
    Populars Children’s Home, North Manchester, Bury/Wigan.
    Quarry Mount, Ormskirk.
    Radcliffe Road, Leicester.
    Rampton Hospital, Retford, Nottinghamshire.
    Redhouse Crescent, Longton, Stoke on Trent.
    Redsands, Northwich.
    Redwalls, Sandleway, Northwich.
    River House Boarding School, Henley in Arden.
    Riverside Assessment Centre, Salisbury.
    Riverside House Community School, Staffordshire.
    Rosebank, Lymm.
    Rosehill, Manchester.
    Rosehill, Market Harborough.
    Rotherwood Children’s Home, Staffordshire.
    Royal Philanthropic School, Redhill, Surrey.
    Rubane House, Ards Peninsula, Northern Ireland.
    Saltwells Children’s Home, Dudley.
    Sandon Lidge Children’s Home, Loncolnshire.
    Sandyville Road Children’s Home, Manchester.
    Scawby Grove, North Yorkshire.
    Sedbury Park Care Centre, Gloucestershire.
    Seymour Road School.
    Shadwell House, Leeds.
    Sisters of Charity, St Mary’s Convent, Walthamstow.
    Skirkett Lodge, Halifax.
    Southlands School, Hampshire.
    South Wolds Special School, Etton, near Beverley.
    Southwood, Salford.
    Springfield Care Home, Bradford.
    Springfield Residential School, Wiltshire.
    Springhill School, Rippon.
    St Aidan’s Youth Centre, Manchester.
    St Benedicts Care Home, Reading.
    St Edmunds, Bebbington.
    St Francesca Cabrini Roman Catholic Primary School, London.
    St Francis Boy’s Home, Sefford, Bedfordshire.
    St George’s, Finborough.
    St George’s Approved School, Southport. (Name changed to Clarence House in 1985).
    St Gilbert’s, Hartleby, Kidderminster.
    St Ignatius School, Manchester.
    St James Avenue, Hampton Hill, Middlesex.
    St John’s Home, Erdington, Birmingham.
    St John’s Young Offenders Institute, Northampton.
    St Joseph’s Nantwich.
    St Joseph’s, Derbyshire.
    St Margaret’s Home, Dr Barnardos House, Aldwich, Bognor Regis.
    St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Cleator Moor, Cumbria.
    St Michaels House, Staffordshire.
    St Ninain’s List D School, Gartmore, Stirlingshire.
    St Thomas Moore’s Freshfield, near Formby.
    St Vincents, Dartford, Kent.
    Stamford House, London.
    Stinsford School, Dorchester, Dorset.
    Stockgrove Park School, Leighton Buzzard.
    Stockton Hall, near York.
    Stonecross School, Cumbria.
    Strathwaite Gill School, near Kendal in Cumbria.
    Strawberry Fields, Liverpool.
    Style Cottage Homes, Style.
    Summershill Boys Hostel, Didsbury, Manchester.
    Summerville, Manchester.
    Swaycliffe Park School, Banbury, Oxfordshire.
    Sydney House, Liverpool.
    Taxal Edge, Derbyshire.
    The Lyons Children’s Home in Middlewich .
    Teddinton Park Road, Teddinton, Middlesex.
    Tennal House, Birmingham.
    Tennal Assessment Centre, Birmingham.
    Ternhall Road Children’s Home, Liverpool.
    Ternwood House, Newcastle
    The Old Rectory School, Kent.
    Thinwall Hall, Broad Green, Liverpool.
    Thorpe Arch Grange Children’s Home, Yorkshire.
    Tong Park Children’s Home/Assessment Centre, Bradford.
    Trafford Drive Children’s Home, Greater Manchester.
    Trowbridge House, London.
    Troy Boarding School, Monmouth, South Wales.
    Ty Mawr, South Wales.
    Vernon Home School, Canterbury.
    Walton Village Admission Unit, Liverpool.
    Wennington Hall, Lancaster.
    Wentworth House – Slough.
    Wessington Court School, Hereford.
    Wilkinson House, Blackburn.
    Woodend, Atherton, Manchester.
    Werrington Hall, Uttoxeter.
    Wimbrick Hey, Wirral.
    Woodlands Children’s Home, Bolton.
    Witherslack Hall, Grange Over Sands.
    Woodlands Assessment Centre, Leicester.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s