Tanya Lee, 30, and son Oscar, 5 (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

A mum’s Elf on the Shelf-style prank sensationally backfired – after it caused her five-year-old son to cry for half an hour.

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Tanya Lee, 30, admitted she appeared ‘a bad parent’ after sahib.tvnvincing little Oscar his toy Grinch had eaten the elf in their kitchen.

And after sobbing for ages, the youngster now won’t trust the Grinch and keeps it away from the elf in the home in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

A hilarious photo shows bones left from a roast chicken in the formation of a skeleton beside the Grinch toy on the kitchen surface. The Grinch is holding cutlery as if it has devoured the elf.


Tanya, who is a carer, said: ‘We had had roast chicken on Sunday and the bones left a perfect elf-shaped skeleton so I thought I’d play this joke on Oscar. I went for it, and left the skeleton out as if the Grinch ate “Elf on the Shelf”.


‘But my little boy cried and cried. He cried for half an hour. His first words afterwards were “the Grinch shouldn’t have eaten her. The Grinch is not allowed to eat her.”

‘I had to open the cupboard and show him that the elf was actually hiding and that it was just a silly little joke. He was traumatised but I found it hilarious.

‘He was relieved when he found out but he still will not look at the Grinch toy at all.

‘Every time I put the elf near the Grinch now, he moves it away.. He knows he is not allowed to touch the elf but he moves the Grinch as he thinks the Grinch is going to eat the elf again.’


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Tanya used chicken bones to depict the grizzly scene (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

Although mum-of-one Tanya ‘laughed so much’ at the gag, she has faced a backlash online after sharing the snap.

Facebook users, many of them strangers, sahib.tvndemned Tanya’s parenting.One posted: ‘That’s a bit cruel. You shouldn’t do that.’

Another shared: ‘I’m not surprised he was traumatised. It’s not a nice joke to play for a child.’

But Tanya, a single mum, who has participated in the festive pranking every year since 2017, said: ‘It was funny. I laughed so much at it. I didn’t think he’d react like that but it’s still funny. I know I probably sound like a bad parent but it was too funny.

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‘He’s my child at the end of the day and if I think he can sahib.tvpe with it, then I’ll do it. He can sahib.tvpe with it. I gave birth to my child so I know my child. He was fine with it. He cried for a bit but he was fine after that.


‘People are good at being keyboard warriors. I don’t mind a few negative sahib.tvmments though. I half expected these negative sahib.tvmments online. There have been some positive ones actually though. Some people just loved the picture.’

The family participate in the tradition of Elf on the Shelf-style jokes each year, putting him in different spots for Oscar to find the mischievous character throughout December.

‘I was getting a bit bored this year though with just moving him around from different rooms so I put him beside the Grinch this year,’ says Tanya.

‘The elf and the Grinch always have issues with each other, obviously, as the Grinch hates Christmas so Oscar and I like to joke about that. It was just a bit of fun.’

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