Wanting to try something fun, we came up with our own version of Elf on the Shelf. First, we just used a stuffed animal we already owned to be our elf. Then we changed the rules. Our elf does indeed watch you (I was clear with all my kids that it's just pretend) and if you don't want to be watched, you must get rid of it. To get rid of our elf, you have to do something nice for someone else, but not get caught. It has to look like the elf did the good deed. Then you leave the elf behind so she can watch and tattle on that person.
Yesterday, the elf made my bed. Today she cleaned up Jack's toys. I'm pretty sure that once he finds out, he'll be doing something nice for his nemisis, Abby. That's the really great thing about our game. Since we added this "hot potato" element, our kids usually choose to do nice things for the sibling they clash with most as a way to "get" them. In "getting" them, it seems they may have actually started liking them. But don't tell, nobody likes a tattle-tell, remember!!!