Elf on a Shelf is a longstanding Christmas tradition. For those indulging, an elf is placed somewhere in your home to keep an eye on children and report to Santa whether they’ve been good or bad. Though it’s been around for some time, it’s now coming under fire, with some claiming it’s unhealthy for kids.
An expert with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initially raised concerns with the custom. According to the New York Post, the custom could be normalizing the idea of home surveillance by authorities, making it unhealthy. Speaking to The New York Times, ACLU’s senior policy analyst Jay Stanely voiced his concerns.
“I know a lot of families just see this as a fun thing, but it’s worth thinking about the messages it’s giving to children about surveillance by authorities,” Stanley said. “Personally, I consider success as a parent to be teaching my kids to do the right thing even when nobody is watching, whether they be from the North Pole or anywhere else.”
Stanley and the ACLU are far from the only ones thinking this, too. Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, feels similarly. “I don’t want to sound like a Grinch, but we shouldn’t be celebrating seasonal surveillance. It’s really a terrible message for kids,” he stated.
Fans of the tradition aren’t taking the criticism lying down, however. One Twitter user fired back saying we already have technology in our homes doing far more. “‘Alexa, does Elf on the shelf teach my children to passively accept being watched by an unseen authority figure,'” they quipped. Others share the same sentiment and are upset so many Christmas traditions are coming under fire.
Regardless, it’s up to you whether you indulge in Elf on a Shelf.
Germany Family Breaks ‘Most Decorated Christmas Trees in One Place’ Record for Second Year in a Row
On a sunnier note, one Christmas tradition involves decorating trees and is something most of us engage in. One family in Germany probably puts you to shame though. How, you might ask? They broke the “Most decorated Christmas trees in one place” record for the second year in a row.
The Jeromin family comes from Rintein-Volksen, Germany, and love Christmas, to say the least. CBS Sunday Morning’s Twitter shared a glimpse of the family’s home on Twitter and as you might guess, there are quite a few Christmas trees.
The Jeromins state they start stocking up on trees as early as September. Based on the clip, one can’t help but wonder if they will break the record again next year.