Now there's a new, low-maintenance alternative straight from the North Pole. Meet Santa's Lazy Gnome, whose endearing quality is that he sits on his butt in the same spot every day.
The stuffed gnome with the bendable argyle hat was created by Utah mom Julie DeForest, who also wrote the accompanying book with illustrations by Andrew Laitinen.
"I was already a busy parent and didn't have time to stay up late or clean up after an elf,'' DeForest told TODAY Parents in an email. "However, I still needed to reinforce the 'be nice and kind' message."
Just because Santa's Lazy Gnome doesn't have eyes (at least ones we can see), that doesn't mean he isn't using his mystical powers to watch the kids and put them on the naughty list.
He does the same scouting for Santa as the Elf on the Shelf, just with a lot less effort.
"Santa sent The Lazy Gnome to help with the Naughty/Nice list,'' according to the product website. "These mysterious friends report to Santa if you're naughty or nice, even when you're out of sight."
Unlike Elf on the Shelf, kids are allowed to touch the Lazy Gnome without fear of angering Santa or mom and dad.
"When a child meets his or her gnome, they give it a hug,'' DeForest said. "Then the child picks the spot where the gnome will stay the rest of the season."
DeForest said children have written to Santa's Lazy Gnome to ask his favorite color (red), how he showed up in their home (the magic in his hat) and what type of candy he likes (candy canes).
As for his relationship with the Elf on the Shelf, it's complicated.
"I've also seen Gnomes with Elves,'' DeForest said. "Some sabotage, while others collaborate."