Kids these days are obsessed with the Elf on the Shelf, and if you don’t have young kids in your life who can explain it to you, allow us: These elves work for Santa Claus, visiting children every night between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and reporting back to Santa on who’s being naughty (and who isn’t). The kicker? Every night the elf hides in a new spot, and kids have to find him each morning, so it’s like an entire month-long game of hide and seek that the little ones just love.
There’s one other big rule: You can’t touch the elves, or they lose their magic and aren’t welcomed back to the North Pole by Santa. One substitute teacher found that out the hard way, as she reported on Reddit in a hilarious post that’s now going viral.
“If you are anything like me, you have seen elf on the shelf in stores, but you have never read the book yourself. I covered for a first grade class the other day — 20 beaming happy six-year-olds excited to start the day and see where their elf was in the morning,” wrote the Reddit user Usutsich.
But soon as the teacher sat down at her desk, their classroom elf fell to the floor, so the well-meaning teacher picked him right up and dusted him off.
“The kids screamed as I picked up the elf,” she wrote. “‘YOU KILLED HIM! TOUCHING HIM TAKES AWAY HIS MAGIC! NOW HE WILL NEVER MOVE AGAIN! HES DEAD!’ Another child sobbed. I had no idea what they were talking about,” she wrote.
As she tried to reason with the kids, Ms. Usutsich tried to sell them on a plan: They’d write the elf a note and ask if he’s okay.
“If he replies and moves, he is still magical. I told her, write a note that says, ‘Are you still magical, circle YES or NO.'”
The child did as she was asked, and as the kids left the room for an activity, the teacher quickly circled “yes” on their note. Problem solved, right?
Not so much!
“My kids return and joyfully run over to the elf. Then I hear another scream. A child starts crying. I asked them what was wrong. The elf circled yes. The elf is still magical.”
What could be wrong? Ms. Usutsich finished her post with the explanation.
“Then I looked down at the note: ‘Did you lose your magic? Love, Sally.'”
HAHA! Guess her brilliant plan backfired. We can’t blame her for trying!
NEXT: Here are 12 strange, creepy things you never knew about your favorite holiday movies!
Christmas Movie Secrets Chevy Chase Finger
In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold gets frustrated with his holiday lights display and begins punching the outdoor decorations so hard that actor Chevy Chase broke his pinky finger when filming the scene. Cameras kept rolling--and the take made it into the final film.
Christmas Movie Secrets Love Actually Emma Thompson Fat Suit
In Love Actually, actress Emma Thompson had to wear a fat suit to make her character appear more matronly.
Christmas Movie Secrets Grinch Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey’s suffocating makeup in How the Grinch Stole Christmas took hours to put on. The process was so painful--yet so crucial to the movie--that producers hired a CIA specialist to train him in torture survival in order to get through the filming.
Christmas Movie Secrets Home Alone John Candy
John Candy could only offer a day's work for his cameo in Home Alone--so the entire crew worked for 21 hours straight to film all his scenes. Thus many of his lines were improvised, including the bit where he talks about having once left his son at a funeral home.
Christmas Movie Secrets Tim Allen
Though Disney has a policy against hiring ex-criminals, they broke the rule to sign on Tim Allen, a convicted drug dealer, to star in The Santa Clause in 1994.
Chrismas Movie Secrets Elf Will Ferrell
Elf star Will Ferrell actually had to eat all of the sugary, carb-laden foods his character devours in the movie--and doing so caused him to suffer from severe headaches throughout the filming.
Christmas Movie Secrets Home Alone Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci steered clear of Macaulay Culkin during filming of Home Alone because he wanted the young actor to truly believe he was a scary person. Pesci was also expecting the movie to be a box office flop, so he intentionally over-acted his part.
Christmas Movie Secrets A Christmas Story Tongue Frozen To Pole
A Christmas Story’s most iconic scene is probably the one in which Flick gets his tongue stuck to the frozen pole. Though (sssh!) his tongue was really touching a tiny suction cup barrier, that didn't stop plenty of others from trying the prank at home, including one middle-schooler who had to be rescued by firefighters.
Christmas Secrets A Wonderful Lfe
It’s a Wonderful Life may be a beloved film these days, but it was a massive flop when it was first released in 1946. Two of the writers who worked on it even called the finished film "horrid" and refused to see it.
Christmas Movie Screts Home Alone Spider Was Real
None of the actors in Home Alone wanted to go near the giant tarantula that famously climbs over actor Daniel Stern’s face. Stern would only agree to do the scene if they did it in one take; he also faked the scream to avoid scaring the spider. (Filmmakers dubbed it in later.)
Christmas Movie Secrets Miracle 34th Street Santa
During the filming of Miracle on 34th Street, 8-year-old actress Natalie Wood was convinced that her co-star Edmund Gwenn was truly Santa Claus. (The jig was up at the film’s wrap party, when she finally saw him out of costume!)
Christmas Movie Secrets Colin Firth Lake
To film the lake scene in Love Actually, actors Lúcia Moniz and Colin Firth had to kneel in shallow water and pretend to swim--and Firth got so badly bitten by mosquitoes that he required medical attention.
Christmas Movie Secrets Christmas Story Strange Kid
In the department store scene in A Christmas Story, a strange kid wearing goggles is seen. The boy was not an actor, but simply a regular (but oddly-dressed) kid who happened to be at the store and caught the eye of the director.