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ABC’s “GMA” nearly killed Christmas during a morning segment on the children’s toy “The Elf on the Shelf.”
The magical elf doll toy is designed to travel to the North Pole and deliver kids’ wishes to Santa. Created by Carol Aebersold and her two daughters, the elf is adopted by a child, given a name, and at night “travels” to the North Pole to tell Santa if the child has been “naughty or nice.” The elf returns to a different spot in the house, and the children search for him.
The elf is not allowed to be touched by the kids, or else it loses its “magical powers.”
ABC’s Lara Spencer explained during the segment that the parents really move the elf in the middle of the night, and was shown on camera handling the doll. That set off hundreds of complaints online from viewers who claimed Spencer was “The Grinch who stole Christmas” for ruining the fairy tale for young viewers.
“THANKS A LOT U MORONS!!!!,” wrote one viewer on the show’s Facebook wall. “My kid ran upstairs this morning saying the elf on the shelf isn’t real and that parents hide it in the middle of the night!!! I’M PISSED!” Another wrote: “Tune in tomorrow when Lara tells children all over the country that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are really just your parents.”
On Thursday, GMA aired a “clarification,” with elf executioner Spencer explaining that since the elf didn’t have a name at the time of Wednesday’s segment, it didn’t yet have magical powers. He was later named “Gary the Good Morning America Elf.”