Santa’s Little Covert Agent


Stabbity Doll: (n) Creepy-ass antique doll that looks like it will come to life and kill you while you’re sleeping. If this thing is in the guest room where you’re supposed to sleep, you will *not* be able to fall asleep because you’re listening for the tappity tappity of tiny little shoes. Has those creepy eyes that open and shut; one of the eyes is inevitably wonky so it looks like it’s winking at you as if to say, “night-night!” Variation: Stabbity Nana Doll; same thing but with human hair from your dead Nana. Bonus points if said doll has actual human teeth as well.

That stabbity doll I saw on stark. raving. mad. mommy. is the creepiest thing I have seen in the whole history of ever.

Um, ok, you’re thinking, why is she talking about stabbity dolls? Has she finally lost it? No, I assure you that I know a hawk from a handsaw. The reason I am teaching you all about stabbity dolls is so that you won’t be quite so stunned when I show you this:

Stabbity Elf

That? Is a Stabbity Elf. That elf looks like the kind of toy a wildly misguided old man with questionable intentions might use to lure children to his park bench. That elf might pluck individual hairs from the head of a pet. That elf might be the creature the Tooth Fairy enlists to loosen teeth when she business needs to pick up.

That elf is evil.

Which is why I am so shocked to find out that this elf is the main character in a “beloved family tradition” that sweeps the nation each Christmas. The premise is that this elf is Santa’s emissary in your home and he watches your kids. You can prove this by putting him in one place when your kids go to bed and move him during the night so your kids thinks he’s an autonomous being, moving about while they sleep. Because that’s not creepy at all. The elf then reports back to Santa on the kids’ behavior, presumably telling the Big Guy if your kids belong on the naughty or nice list. Or perhaps he’s reporting back to Vladmir Putin who will show up at your house shirtless and and pistol whip you like the double-agent who turned in Anna Chapman to the FBI.

Either way, the elf is a nasty snitch who is not your friend.

The basic stabbity appearance of this elf aside, I am totally put off by the whole Jailhouse Informant nature of the relationship he’s supposed to have with kids. In fact, I’m put off by the whole “naughty or nice” racket that Santa is supposedly up to. What’s wrong with letting kids just enjoy the lead-up to Christmas, secure in the knowledge that the day will be special and they’ll get to be part of it just by virtue of being part of a family that engages in celebration? Why does it have to be a quid pro quo where they spend December trying to rack up “good” so they can get rewarded for it?

Because, let’s face it, none of us are going to withhold Christmas from them. The threat of Santa’s sleigh skipping our house? Is an idle one.

The idea that kids will get gifts in exchange for something, i.e. good behavior, is so…capitalistic. And the holiday season is supposed to be about giving of yourself without expecting anything but goodwill in exchange. I don’t lead the toy drive for Children’s National Medical Center at my office every year because it looks good on my performance review: I do it because I want to make sure sick children have a special moment. In the same vein, I don’t want C to modify his behavior because he wants one gift or another and focus all of his energy on trying to earn a present: I want him to be part of  the giving, the sharing, the decorating, the singing, and the general festivity of the season without wondering if he’s “good enough” to deserve it.

And I don’t want him scared that some stabbity elf is going to tell on him if he picks his nose or leaves his socks on the floor. Instead, I want him to enjoy something festive and happy in December and be good for goodness sake all year ’round.

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20 comments for “Santa’s Little Covert Agent

  1. November 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    You know, I was considering getting said Elf on a Shelf for our home for Christmas.

    Now? I can’t because I will have nightmares of the little thing creeping into my room and trying to kill me in my sleep. Damn stabbity elf.

    I also caught myself saying for the first time ever “You have to be good so Santa brings you presents on Christmas”. My husband looked at me and walked away and left me standing alone in the grocery aisle. He was embarrassed for me.

  2. November 22, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Damn, that thing is stabbity. Move it around the room while they’re sleeping? Holy crap.

  3. November 22, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Oh. Em. GEE!! My Grandma TOTALLY had those and I vividly remember me and my cousins running around her house in the morning trying to find where they had moved while we were sleeping.

  4. November 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Love it! I hate the Elf on the Shelf. We have an elf from Elf Magic and it comes to make trouble! It doesn’t report back to Santa really. It’s mostly for fun!

  5. November 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I thought he looked a little creepy too – more in a Damian way – less Chucky.

  6. Kristen
    November 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    1) that thing is just creepy!

    2) my son will ABSOLUTELY NEVER SLEEP if he thinks some elf will be wandering the house at night….he’s 8 and doesn’t sleep…or when he does, he sleepwalks….

    3) once the kids go to bed, the last thing I want to have to do is play with toys…

    4) my friend does this and goes ALL OUT…I mean, the elf gets into the flour and leaves footprints all over the house….and then she has to clean it up…wtf?? like have time for THAT!!

    and 5) you are so right….I want my kids to behave all year…not just during the Christmas season in order to get gifts. Besides, when we use the Santa excuse, I find they misbehave even more…so we stopped using it….if they say “because Santa is watching?” we just smile and say “because it’s the right thing to do”

  7. November 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Ok, I grew up with MATCHING stabbity elves.

    I’m going to have to take a pic of my Mom’s sabbity Santa that she used to put in our downstairs fireplace at Christmastime and share it. It scared the sh*t out of me every time I went downstairs.

  8. Katherine Berezniy
    November 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I have a baby picture with that elf in it bc I was a Dec baby, I have fond memories of him. I never knew he was SPYING ON me!!!! OH THE BETRAYAL After all these years..; )

  9. November 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I had never even heard of this creepy little buggers but somehow I want one now. That’s wrong, isn’t it?

    Don’t answer. I know it is.

  10. November 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    @Amy – it’s not wrong.

    I want an egg separater that is the shape of an open head. You cracked the egg into it and the egg white comes out the nose.
    I separate eggs using the shell when I’m cooking. I just want that thing to weird people out when we have dinners! *wicked grin*

  11. November 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    What the?

    Are you kidding me?

    I am SO GLAD I have a kid who has aged out of this thing.

    Because that Stabbity Elf? Also looks like Molester Elf.


  12. anthrogrrl
    November 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    My grandmother had a set of four of these little guys that went on the mantle at Christmas. They were simply decorations, and were not purported to be sentient or informants. I am now so glad for that fact.

  13. November 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Very creepy!!!

    I make sure that my kids do community service every year during this time to remember that this season is based on giving not getting. Glad to hear there are more people out there that believe in the magic of Christmas.

  14. November 29, 2010 at 11:33 am

    My mom had a set of these. Two green ones and two red ones. I’m surprised she didn’t give them to me. If she did, I don’t know where they went. I used to love putting them on lamp shades or hooking them over picture frames when I was a kid.

  15. November 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Sigh … I forgot how awesome this post was. That elf is one creepy little bastard.

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