As December inches closer, our shelves may soon be filled with elves.

The Elf on the Shelf is a mischievous prankster who inhabits homes in the weeks before Christmas to spy for Santa.

These busy intelligence agents traditionally move to a different location every night, although they are usually helped along by exhausted parents.

A judge in Georgia however has given parents the ultimate Christmas gift - a get-out-of-jail-free card in the form of a hilarious fake judicial order.

Judge Rob Leonard’s order banishes elves on shelves in Cobb county as they are a “distraction to school students” and pose a risk to Cobb’s children’s emotional health and wellbeing.

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He wrote: “Inexplicably, Elves sometimes move and don’t move overnight. When these Elves do not move, it leaves our children of tender years in states of extreme emotional distress."

Recalling a “horrific incident” in his own home, he wrote of how “three children were sent to school in tears, with one child being labelled an ‘elf murderer’ and accused of making the elf ‘lose his magic’.”

Citing the pandemic and “supply chain issues”, the order continues: “The Court has no choice but to BANISH all Elves on Shelves from Cobb County.”

Leonard tweeted a picture of the signed order along with the message: “Tired of living in Elf on the Shelf tyranny? Not looking forward to the Elf forgetting to move and causing your kids emotional distress?

“I am a public servant and will take the heat for you. My gift to tired parents. P.S. - If you love your elf, keep your elf. No contempts.”

Speaking to TODAY, the father-of-three said: “I figured I would take the heat off parents who need an elf vacation.”

He added: “The people who appreciate it the most are the ones who woke up horrified at 4 or 5 a.m. and think, ‘Did I move the elf?’”

In a joint statement from the North Pole and The Lumistella Company, Santa assured the children of Cobb County that Judge Leonard “has no jurisdiction over Christmas cheer”.

The statement added: “Santa has checked his list twice and Judge Leonard is still on the nice list. Despite this silly jest, his Scout Elf reports he’s actually a jolly good fellow.”

After all this chat of elves, what’s the judge’s elf like?

The judge posted an “elfie” with his resident sprite “Elfis”, who will leave the building on Christmas eve.

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