The Elf On The Shelf is just one of those weird traditions that has taken off in recent years. And no, it isn't the meme that's been doing the rounds, although it inspired that.

If you don't know the story, The Elf On The Shelf was a 2005 U.S. book about a 'scout' elf that 'watches' kids between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to report back to Santa Claus about how well behaved they've been.

The growing American tradition has now manifested in real life kids' dolls which parents move around the house overnight, acting as one half Christmas decoration and one half babysitter. The stuff of nightmares, if you ask me.

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Now one U.S. family has their own real life Elf on The Shelf - in the form of their youngest son Rockwell, who has donned the role for the third year running.

"On the weekend before Thanksgiving, my family and I were pulling up into our driveway when we noticed some suspicious activity going on in our house," dad Alan Lawrence wrote on his blog That Dad Blog.

"As we approached the front door we could hear giggling and tiny feet running from one room to another. I made Nikki and the kids wait outside as I slipped in the front door to investigate. As I peered into the living room I couldn't believe my eyes - Rock the Elf was back!"

Parents have long been subverting the slightly creepy Elf on a Shelf tradition by posting pictures of their elf dolls in questionable scenarios - chugging beer, womanising Barbies and, er, murdering snowmen with the serial killer doll Chucky.

The Lawrences, who live in Paradise, Utah, have been photographing 'Rock the Elf' in more wholesome poses, showing him eating advent calendar chocolates, helping to cut snowflakes and using squirty cream as toothpaste.

This year, Rockwell has gained a rival in a more traditional Elf On The Shelf doll, a scenario which hasn't gone so well:

Lawrence has posted all of these photos on That Dad Blog, his blog which explores the joys and challenges of being a father to six boisterous kids.

The Lawrences have previously been on U.S. TV speaking about their experiences in raising their second youngest son, Will, who has Down's syndrome.

The family hoped to encourage a better understanding of Down's, trying to do their bit to help other parents of children with the condition.

Now with Rockwell dressing up once a year, it's just another reason to admire this American family more.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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