New Brunswick

Moncton's real-life Elf on the Shelf is back

A Moncton couple became a small social media sensation last year when they decided to take photos as Elf on the Shelf and post them to Facebook.

Couple became social media sensation last Christmas with photos of 'elf' being naughty around the house

Joe Wynberg poses Friday for his first Elf on the Shelf photo of the season. (Megan Wynberg/Facebook)

​Being, once again, a real-life elf means Joe Wynberg will not get much sleep this Christmas season.

His wife, Megan Wynberg, says that's part of the job description.

The Moncton couple became a sensation on Facebook last year, when Megan decided to post photos of Joe dressed as Elf on the Shelf. All of the photos were taken at night, after their kids went to sleep.

It even earned them a mention on The Tonight Show.

Now they've decided to do it all again.

"It was just such a great feeling we had last year while we did it and it was one of those things where you can make someone laugh and put a smile to their face," said Megan. 

The Elf on the Shelf was originally a figure in a 2004 children's book, assigned to spy on children and report back to Santa Claus. The character became a small, doll-like object or figurine that has caught on with some families in recent years. 

Megan said the couple saw their friends posting photos of Elf on the Shelf figurines to Facebook and they liked the idea. But they wanted to take it a step further.

Stranger provides deer head

Last year's pictures show Joe, dressed in red with rouged cheeks, acting naughty all around the house: He hangs upside down from the roof, gets duct-taped to the wall and eats all of the chocolate.

Megan even took a picture of him sitting on a deer's head, which the Wynbergs borrowed from a stranger.

"He was an older gentleman and he was really kind about it," Megan said. "He looked at us as if we were crazy but he let us borrow it."

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      Megan said preparations for the photo shoot can take the couple several hours, and if they can't find equipment at home they get it at the hardware store.

      For Joe, the best part is coming up with the ideas, even if the pictures earn him odd looks.

      "Last year was funny," he said. "Right after we did it, I was getting looked at quite a bit. But life goes back to normal."

      Megan and Joe are not sure what kind of mischief the elf will be up to this year. But Megan wants to post one photo to Facebook for every day leading up to Christmas. 

      Kids caught on

      They may even take one with their children, she said. 

      The eldest kids, aged five and seven, found out about their parents' late-night photo sessions last year and now want to participate.

      But most of the pictures will get taken once the kids go to bed, because they still believe that Dad works for Santa, Megan said.

      "Knowing that kids aren't kids forever, and knowing that someday they will come to me and not believe anymore … if I can delay that longer because of what we do, then it would be fantastic," she said.