Started back in 2005 when Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell self-published the book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” along with a special box with a small Scout Elf inside.
After Thanksgiving this little elf starts appearing in different areas of the house to keep on eye on the children. Each night they report back to Santa and say whether the kids have been naughty or nice. It’s a cute way to keep the spirit of Santa alive and encourage good behavior with the children.
Santa advises that no family member can touch the elf, so no touching is allowed.
Some rules you need to remember
1. The elf comes out for the first time on December 1st. You can bring him out sooner, but he must be moved every night so it may be hard to come up with new ideas to place him.
2. He leaves on Christmas Eve. Your elf will return to the North Pole on the 24 December, hitching a ride back with Santa when he comes to leave the presents.
3. You have to put them in a new position every day throughout December. (Parents, this means you)
4. Your child has to be in bed before you can move the elf. The elf doesn’t move if they are being watched – another great reason to get your children into bed on time.
5. Your elf only gets their magic by being named. Families can name their elf anything after ‘adopting’ them, some top names last year were Buddy, Jingles, Shorty and Snowflake.
6. They are keeping watch for Santa. The whole point of having an elf lurking around your living room for a month is that they are keeping a close eye on your children’s behavior and feeding back to HQ, to decide whether there will be any presents under the tree this year.
7. Children are not allowed to touch them. Elves are very fragile, and if they are touched by human children they lose their magic and ability to communicate with Santa.
8. If they are touched, your child has to write a letter to the North Pole apologizing.
The elf also has various accessories you can purchase to help you with your evening fun of hiding the elf. Some ones I’ve seen are, a self hanging hammock (so you can hang him in your Christmas tree), many different costumes, wizard robes, large ornaments to place them in, hot cocoa stand, a photo booth, luggage and tiny map, snow ball fight set, sleeping bags, letter board notes, footprints stencil, backpack and beach accessories. There’s many out there to create little scenes for your little ones.
Where to hide your elf
Need some ideas on where to place your elf every night? Check out these . . .
- Inside the holiday wreath
- Above the stockings or in one
- Tucked in the kids toys
- In the tree
- On the coffee table
- By the family photos
- On the refrigerator with magnets
- In the bathroom
- Hanging from the curtains
- Popping out of blinds
- Hiding in a small bowl of popcorn
- Hanging down from the chimney
- Hiding in the presents
- Near the gingerbread house
- Riding some Christmas decor
- Hiding with the kitchen utensils
- In the pantry, coming out of a cereal box
- In the cabinet, sitting in a bowl
- In the refrigerator
- On the mantel
- On a shelf
- On the staircase
- In the windowsill
- Hanging off the corner of the TV
- In a blanket
- In the plant
- On the bed
- In the shoe rack
- On top of the toilet
- In the linen closet
- On the ceiling fan
- On the bookshelf
Each Elf on the Shelf kit consists of the Elf and a Christmas tradition book. They also make great gives to parents of younger children who haven’t started the tradition yet. Better yet, hand them down every generation.
You can find them in different colors and whether you want a boy or a girl.