You've heard of the "The Elf on the Shelf" ®, right? That cute little stuffed Elf that sits on a shelf in your house and every morning finds himself in a different location.
Apparently he's one of Santa's minions waiting to be adopted by a loving family. Once he's taken home, given a name and had his story read to your kids, that little Elf gains his special Christmas Magic. He observes whether you're naughty or nice, runs back to tell Santa at the North Pole and makes it back to your home by morning.
It's a cute story and a sweet Christmas tradition. That's why it's impossible to believe that Lara Spencer blew the whole thing on a Good Morning America segment.
She not only told viewers that it's parents who actually move the Elf every night while the kids are asleep, but she... gasp... touched the Elf on her set! Everyone knows that touching an Elf can make him lose his magical powers!
Now I don't think it's the end of the world, but even I think that's pretty shoddy journalism and downright inexcusable. And I'm Jewish! I don't have an "Elf on the Shelf" ®, and won't ever keep that tradition with my kids.
I don't know if Ms. Spencer was intentionally trying to tick off parents or ruin things for kids everywhere, but she had to be aware that kids watch Good Morning America. Or are at least running around the house listening to the TV in the background while their parents watch.
It's a simple story, sure. But it's really no different than telling kids the truth about Santa Claus. Or the Tooth Fairy. Or bipartisan resolutions.
It's fine if you don't want to "lie" to your kids and you don't want to show off an "Elf on the Shelf" ® in your own house. Go ahead and don't talk about Santa with your kids. Heck, do whatever you want. Just don't spoil it for anyone else.
It's obvious Ms. Spencer wasn't aware of the controversy she'd cause, because the next day, GMA ran a follow-up where they all talked about their Elf and how it was okay that she had touched it yesterday because, well, they hadn't named the Elf yet. So it hadn't earned its magic.
To me that pathetic "retraction" of a story was a lame attempt at trying to appease the audience.
What kids are going to listen to that malarky and believe it? And what about the sleepless nights those poor little boys and girls had as they cried themselves to sleep because Mario the Elf was nothing more than a stuffed animal?
Good Morning America may not be the pinnacle of journalism but if you're on TV and you're on in the morning, use your friggin' head. Kids are going to be watching. Kids are going to be listening.
There's plenty of suckiness and evil in this world as is. Why even risk taking an ounce of innocence away from kids? Be a responsible adult; keep the magic alive.
Do you have one of these elves?
Photo via Theodore Lee/Flickr