Mum’s Elf on the Shelf prank backfires as ‘cruel’ move leaves son, 5, in tears

Elf on the Shelf has returned for 2020 – and parents are getting very creative this year.

The little pixie in the home acts as a special scout sent from the North Pole to encourage kids to behave themselves.

It reports back to Santa every evening, which is why parents need to move the toy into a new position.

To put a fun spin on the trend, one mum decided to incorporate the Grinch into her Christmas display.

Tanya Lee, 30, placed chicken bones next to the film character to make it look like he’d scoffed the festive pixie.

But the prank totally backfired as her five-year-old Oscar was left in floods of tears.

Tanya, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, said: "We had had roast chicken on Sunday and the bones left a perfect elf-shaped skeleton so I thought I'd play this joke on Oscar.

“I went for it, and left the skeleton out as if the Grinch ate Elf on the Shelf.

"But my little boy cried and cried. He cried for half an hour. His first words afterwards were 'the Grinch shouldn't have eaten her. The Grinch is not allowed to eat her.'

“I had to open the cupboard and show him that the elf was actually hiding and that it was just a silly little joke.

"He was traumatised but I found it hilarious.

"He was relieved when he found out but he still will not look at the Grinch toy at all. Every time I put the elf near the Grinch now, he moves it away. He knows he is not allowed to touch the elf but he moves the Grinch as he thinks the Grinch is going to eat the elf again."

While Tanya was amused by the prank, she faced backlash from some parents when she posted her story on Facebook.

One wrote: "That's a bit cruel. You shouldn't do that."

And another argued: "I'm not surprised he was traumatised. It's not a nice joke to play for a child."

But the single mum, who has been doing Elf on the Shelf every Christmas since 2017, insists: “It was funny.

“I laughed so much at it. I didn't think he'd react like that but it's still funny. I know I probably sound like a bad parent but it was too funny.”

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Tanya added: "He's my child at the end of the day and if I think he can cope with it, then I'll do it. He can cope with it. I gave birth to my child so I know my child. He was fine with it. He cried for a bit but he was fine after that.

"People are good at being keyboard warriors. I don't mind a few negative comments though.

"I half expected these negative comments online. There have been some positive ones actually though. Some people just loved the picture…

"I was getting a bit bored this year though with just moving him around from different rooms so I put him beside the Grinch this year.

“The elf and the Grinch always have issues with each other, obviously, as the Grinch hates Christmas so Oscar and I like to joke about that.

"It was just a bit of fun."

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