Thanks to One Georgia Judge, You Can Just Tell Your Kids It’s 'Illegal' for Elf on the Shelf to Visit This Year

Scofflaw on the jigsaw.
Scofflaw on the jigsaw. / Mark Baylor, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Elf on the Shelf

is all fun and games until you forget to reposition it one night, leaving your children to squabble in the morning over who caused its apparent death.

That’s exactly what happened to Robert D. Leonard II, whose three kids “were sent to school in tears, with one child being labeled ‘Elf Murderer’ and accused of making the elf ‘lose his magic,’” he recounted on Twitter.

As an early Christmas gift to parents “tired of living in Elf on the Shelf tyranny,” Leonard—who happens to be the chief judge of Georgia’s Cobb County Superior Court—has put out an official-looking letter banishing Elves on Shelves from the entire county.

His rationale behind the ban is this: Waking up to an Elf that hasn’t moved “leaves our children of tender years in states of extreme emotional distress,” which then interferes with their ability to focus and thrive at school that day.

But there’s another message between the lines: Telling your kids that Elf on the Shelf won’t be visiting this year because it’s illegal—and then showing them a judge-signed document to prove it—is a whole lot easier than concocting some half-baked story about its absence (after which your kids will likely have plenty of follow-up questions).

If you live in Cobb County and look forward to coming up with funny Elf on the Shelf ideas each night, fret not. As Simplemost reports, the mandate is most definitely a joke. Leonard himself clarified in a tweet that he won’t hold anyone in contempt of court for playing host to one of Santa’s helpers this holiday season. “If you love your elf, keep your elf,” he wrote.

And if you want an Elf on the Shelf, you can shop the collection on Amazon, with prices starting from $31 if you want to grab an elf and book set.

[h/t Simplemost]