I have been trying to learn all the available information on the "elf on a shelf" tradition that is growing each Christmas season. From elfonashelf.com I have copied and pasted the following information:
The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day's adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.
There are two simple rules that every child knows when it comes to having an elf. First, an elf cannot be touched; Christmas magic is very fragile and if an elf is touched it may lose that magic and be unable to fly back to the North Pole. Second, an elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake! An elf's job is to watch and listen.
Elves typically appear in their families’ homes at the beginning of the holiday season (around Thanksgiving in the U.S.). On Christmas Eve, the elves return to the North Pole with Santa Claus--until next year!
This is a big deal. No longer do we only have to be concerned about Santa knowing when we are sleeping and when we are awake, we have a little toy elf, somewhere in the house, watching our every move, listening to every word, like a spy for Santa Claus, to make sure we are on our best behavior.
My further reading on the subject informed me about one family that had the elf hanging from a chandelier above the dining room table, and during dinner one evening, fell into the gravy, splattering everyone seated for dinner. Another family had designated mom to move and place the elf in its new location daily, then mom found out she was also responsible for changing the elf from its pajamas and into its day clothes every day. This went on for about 3 weeks and the mom realized she had spent so much time tending the elf, she missed the Christmas specials in all the major stores.
As is usual with me, there are some Bible verses that come to mind. Like Hebrews 4:12-13:
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
The elf on the shelf may be a fun thing for families in that the kids will be on their best behavior when the elf is around. In contrast "nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight," is pretty serious business. We may successfully hide our thoughts, our words, even our actions, from the sight of others, but God knows. And knowing that God knows, even at Christmas, should bring about close examination of those things that originate in our hearts. God isn't the "big bad wolf" that sneaks around waiting for us to step out of line so he can zap us, rather he is the loving Father, wanting only the best for his children, in everything we say or do. He asks us to love him, and love each other, at all times.