A mum left her son "traumatised" after an Elf on the Shelf prank sensationally backfired.
Tanya Lee, 30, placed chicken bones next to the film character to make it look like the Grinch had scoffed the naughty elf.
But she admitted she appeared to be "a bad parent" after the prank on five-year-old Oscar backfired as her five-year-old Oscar was left in floods of tears last Christmas.
According to the reports which resurfaced on the Mirror today, the youngster sobbed for half an hour and now doesn't trust other the Grinch to go near his beloved Christmas pixie.
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.
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"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."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, condemned Tanya's parenting.
One posted: "That's a bit cruel. You shouldn't do that."
Another said: "I'm not surprised he was traumatised. It's not a nice joke to play for a child."
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But single mum Tanya, who has used Elf on the Shelf 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.
"He's my child at the end of the day and if I think he can cope with it, then I'll do it. He can cope 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 comments though.
"I half expected these negative comments online. There have been some positive ones actually though. Some people just loved the picture."
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