A mom's excuse to nix the Elf on the Shelf holiday tradition in her home hilariously backfired, sparking a debate online among parents.

While some families employ Santa's little helper to keep their children's belief alive, one mom on parenting forum Mumsnet simply didn't want the added stress of one more thing to keep track of this year.

"This morning, all the children were excited that their elves had visited them," the mom, who has a 5-year-old child, wrote in a post on Mumsnet.

"I had previously told him that the elves were for children that [misbehaved] and the elves could report back to Santa," she explained.

Unfortunately, her tactic backfired: "Now it looks like half his class has been misbehaving, and I don't want him thinking he needs to be naughty to get an elf."

"I really don't want to begin Elf on the Shelf," the mom continued, asking the forum for advice. "I was hoping you lovely lot could help me come up with a better excuse?"

While no parent wants their child to behave poorly, especially during the holidays, parents in the comments were divided about the mother's lack of enthusiasm for participating in the annual tradition.

"I don't get all the elf hate! I mean, we don't bother with all of the big stunts. We move ours around the house. But [our children] absolutely love it and have been going on about him coming back for weeks. This morning they were so happy. Of course, you have your own rules and traditions in your own family, but I don't think it's very in the spirit to tell [your child] that it's for naughty kids or (in the case of some of the kids in [your child's] class) tell them it's all fake. They're only little once," one parent argued.

"We do it, and it's just a bit of fun. We don't do big 'stunts,' so no cleaning up flour, etc., but they just move around and stuff. It makes my children have a bit of a laugh in the morning, nothing more and nothing less. There's no talk of naughty kids or being watched... it's just something silly to do," another wrote.

Others, however, agreed with the mom's gripe.

"I've just told my kids I'm too busy to do Elf on the Shelf! It's a fun game, some families choose to play it, but we don't," one parent wrote.

"I refuse to do it too for my 5-year-old — I cannot think of 24 ways an elf can make a mess," another commented.

Another Mumsnet user had an entirely different idea for the mom.

"As a middle ground, there's something you can get called Kindness Elves, who suggest kind things you can do for other people. (Can get them to occasionally bring sweets too!) Still a bit of effort but seems like an all-around nicer idea than naughty elves and less clean up," they suggested.

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