A new Christmas tradition this year was Elf on the Shelf. Basically the elf, who was later named Stuart, arrived on December 24 and you are supposed to put it in various places to scare the crap out of the kids before hiding it until next year.
That would be because as soon as he hears Santa's sleigh bells he's taken off to Lapland, Greenland, Detroit or whatever Godforsaken place Santa hangs out for the rest of the year as he bangs away on new toys with his elvish helpers, and bemoans the fact kids no longer want the sort of toys that require banging away on with elves.
Stu missed the boat, or at least the sleigh and hung around. It suited purposes to depict Stu as some kind of sinister spy, like Santa's KGB or the NSA. Every time a kid misbehaves, which is about every two minutes, a grave finger is pointed at Stu who is looking and listening and reporting back in a small mental elf blotter whose scribbles add up to Santa delivering a pile of steaming horse manure next year.
It amazes me that even a 9-year-old can believe Stu actually moves; even more so when I happen to be standing next to him and he's moved to a window ledge close to my hand. I have almost been caught in the act and his infernal hat has fallen off and I'm hiding it under a shoe.
Of course, Stu can do much more. He can appear in bathrooms and make sure kids are using the body wash - hence policing the scenario and mitigating against the curious fact kids can spend an hour in the bath or shower and still emerge greasy.
Policing is a good word for Stu. He's humorless and unbending. If he had a favorite country it would be North Korea where people make a big show of executing relatives. If you misbehave Stu is bad for your elf. Personally I fear Stu's rigidity may make him good material for the therapist's couch but he's better off on the couch in the living room. Looks like he may have to hang around all year until Santa waddles this way again.