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Meet the newest form of holiday pretend surveillance: The "Santa Cam"

Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Time.com, Brain, Mother, The Rumpus, Scary Mommy and Narratively, among others.

Big Santa is watching

While many of us are just trying to figure out how to get through the food and family bonanza that is Thanksgiving, others are already looking forward to Christmas and its opportunities for joy — and family surveillance.

Meet the Santa Cam: a Christmas tree ornament made to look like a camera that transmits images of your child's good and bad behavior straight to the North Pole. It's like the Elf on the Shelf, but without the middleman. After all, why wait for that Tingleberry the Elf to travel halfway around the world and back every night when Santa can just pull up a chair, grab some pie and judge your children in real time?

More: 33 hilarious ways to pose your Elf on a Shelf

Right now on Etsy, there are over 1,000 search results for "Santa Cam." You can purchase a PDF or JPEG image for those of you who prefer a DIY Santa Cam, and for those who want one pre-made, the options are tear-inducing (that's tears of both laughter and sadness, or "laughness") and endless.

For example, you can purchase a Santa Cam from the "North Pole Department of Behavioral Investigations," which is not at all disturbing. Or you can buy a Santa Cam that looks like one of those ceiling-mounted domes they use in Vegas to catch swindlers and thieves. And for those of you who prefer to leave nothing up to the imagination, there are some that come with letters like this:

"Because Santa is busy, he delivered this cam

He will be watching whenever he can

He will log in and then he can see

Everything that happens...and NOT only be the tree!"

P.S. That includes when you are pooping. Love, Mommy and Daddy.

Yes, Santa surveillance is all the rage these days, whether you choose to use an elf or a not-so-hidden camera. Some will argue that the Elf is creepier, but those of us who have watched Dateline are probably a little more spooked by the cameras. And even if this form of behavioral bribery doesn't float your boat, Santa Cams are, at the very least, entertaining to look at when you're tired of working and need something to Google.

He sees you when you're sleeping, indeed.

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