If You’re Sick Of Elf On The Shelf, Check Out Santa’s Lazy Gnome


My eight-year-old son confided something to me earlier this week: For years, around Christmastime, he’d been looking for his elf.

All his friends had elves who came to their homes in the month before Christmas, he said. These elves watch over his friends and report their good (and bad) behaviour to Santa. His friends get together at school and talk about where their elves were hanging out that morning or what shenanigans they’d been up to during the night.

Even his classroom has an elf named Snowflake that started to pop up this month in strange places. Yet his elf was nowhere to be found.

All these years, I thought I had successfully dodged a task that so many parents seem to either find great joy in or 100 per cent loathe: Elf on the Shelf directorial duties. I didn’t realise my son even knew about the damn thing, let alone that he’d been looking for it for years.

The mum guilt hit epic levels; two days later, Gingerbread arrived, much to my son’s utter shock and delight.

Photo: Meghan Moravcik Walbert

One day later, I found out I could’ve had another, much lazier option: Santa’s Lazy Gnome.

Just like the elf, the gnome is a smallish stuffed toy. Just like the elf, he comes with a book that explains what he’s all about.
(CliffNotes version: Santa sent The Lazy Gnome to spy on your children and report back on all behaviours naughty and nice.)

But unlike the elf, he is uninterested in anything that requires true effort, such as TP’ing your living room or gift-wrapping your banisters or even changing locations.

He just sits and takes in the scenery. For a whole month.

I’m only a few days in, so I’m not yet totally over the elf. But for those of you who are, this guy with the book is priced comparably to the elf. It won’t ship until after Christmas, though, so if you’re desperate NOW, you can get just the gnome today.


  • You should’ve just made up something else clever, like your kid didn’t need an elf because you had a direct line to Santa and were catching up with him next week.

    When I was little, I never believed any of the Santas in the shopping centres were really Santa. This was his busiest time of year, there’s no time to stop to take photos and hand out trinkets. Instead, these “Santas” were actually the real Santa’s helpers. A global network of lookalikes who did the shopping centre gigs and reported back to the real Santa on children’s behaviour.
    In my case, my grandfather posed as Santa for the end of year celebrations at my kindergarten. So I was told that he was one of these helpers and had a direct line to Santa. So if I misbehaved, my parents would call my grandfather, who would in turn report back to Santa.

    Elf on the Shelf wasn’t a thing back then, but all you need is a little bit of clever creativity to avoid whichever ritual is currently popular among your child’s peers. Even better if you can make your child feel special rather than left out in the process.

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