Elf on the Shelf came after my parenting years were over, and I’ve so distanced myself from the popular culture I still don’t know what it is. Guess I’d better find out to be culturally literate.
I grew up believing in Santa, even though I suspected as I got older it was a kind of game. That’s because all the other kids on the block told me it wasn’t true. My mom said he was real as long as you believe in him, so it seemed to be to my advantage to keep believing for a few more years. I think the game ended when I was about 12. I don’t think it hurt me any, but there was little emphasis on the behavioral aspects of the game.
Our children were adopted when five and nine and came with their own beliefs. I think we explained Santa as a fun game that we could play as long as they wanted. I think we skipped the Easter Bunny.
What’s a shame is how much Santa and the Easter Bunny have been emphasized. There are few children that have not heard of them. Yet even many Christian children seem to know more about Santa and the Easter Bunny than about Jesus.