You need an Elf on the Shelf? Really, Santa?

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dear Santa,

As I sit here, pouring over the pages of letters written to you by area school children and published in today’s edition of The Vicksburg Post, I am once again in awe of the things you can do.

But, while I sit here in wonder, reading these sincere letters, with requests that range from the latest American Girl doll and BB gun to the latest and greatest piece of gaming technology, I am somewhat troubled.

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Why in the world, did you need the help of the Elf on the Shelf?

Throughout the better part of history, you have known the wishes of young boys and girls; you have known who was bad, who was good; who was deserving of toys and who was deserving of coal, all without the help of this particular elf.

We can all appreciate the demands of your job. Not only the schedule that you must keep, but ensuring toys are manufactured and delivered in a timely fashion. But again, why did you need the Elf on the Shelf?

When my parents were children, there was no Elf on the Shelf. I am sure their wagons, toy horses and dollies were all created, delivered and enjoyed without the additional support.

Why was there a need for this type of information gathering, ie. spying, today?

When I was a child, there was simply the challenge handed down by my parents of being good because “Santa was watching.” There is even a song that was used to help drive home the point. Remember “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and its lyrics?

“They go something like this:

You better watch out

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He’s making a list

He’s checking it twice

He’s gonna find out

Who’s naughty or nice

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake

So you better watch out

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why …”

If you’ll notice in just these few verses, there’s not one mention of an elf on a shelf.

With all of that said, Santa, again I ask you, why did you need the Elf on the Shelf? I am sure this question makes up a lot of letters to you from today’s parents.

Regardless, the Elf on the Shelf appears to be something that is here to stay, sadly, joining the ranks of receiving socks at Christmas as the traditions I would most like to not be traditions.

But, Santa, even with that one question at the top of my list, at the top of my letter to you, I want to end by saying “thank you.”

Thanks for the BB gun when I was four or five, thank you for little bulldozers, trucks and cars. Thank you for the games, the knickknacks and yes, even the clothes that at times would pop up under the tree.

As a parent of three children, I can only imagine the stress of meeting the demands of today’s child; the requests so technical in nature. And, you seem to always do it, with a smile on your face, and, as described in the “Night Before Christmas,” someone who … “had a broad face, And a round little belly, That shook when he laughed, Like a bowl full of jelly …”

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at


About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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