Like Racquel Bregg mentioned in her Holiday Cookie Ideas post, Elf on the Shelf is popular in homes across the globe! You’ve probably seen pictures of these little Elf friends everywhere, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered where they came from. So here’s the story behind the Elf on the Shelf and some ideas for what to do with your elf friends!
Elf on the Shelf Story
Elf on the Shelf really started to rise in popularity in 2004 when the book, equipped with an elf doll, came out. Here’s the skinny. The elf is a “special scout elf” who Santa sends from the North Pole to take over watching for who is naughty and nice and document daily activities. Then, a family adopts a scouting elf allowing the elf to receive its “magic” and be able to fly to the North Pole each night to report back to Santa.
Each morning, the elf returns to its hosting family in a new spot to watch the family’s daily adventures. Children are often anxious to find where the elf has landed in the morning! The rule is that children cannot touch the elf or it will lose its magic. Then, the elf will have to tell Santa who has been nice and who has been naughty.
Similar elves were around in the 1960s and 1970s. These “knee hugging” elves were not used to encourage better behavior (that I know of); they were more for decoration.
Elf on the Shelf — Ideas
People can get super creative with where they place the elves or the elves are doing! Here are some fun ideas if you want to get creative with your Elf on the Shelf!
- Have your Elf eating something Christmas-themed in the refrigerator
- Have your Elf sitting near a laptop surfing the web
- Have your Elf on the counter behind a wall of marshmallows in an “igloo”
- If you have a nativity scene, have your Elf taking a nap with baby Jesus
- Bake gingerbread cookies and have your Elf hanging out with the Gingerbread man
- Have your Elf tangled up in Christmas lights
- Put a pair of glasses on your Elf and have him reading the newspaper
- Have your Elf replace family photos with photos of himself
- Have your Elf jump sitting on the scale to weigh himself
- Have your Elf sitting in the mailbox
- If your child has been particularly naughty, maybe have your Elf go on strike!
Click on one of these links for even more ideas: elfontheshelf.com or mommysavers.com. Several children name their elves, too. There are plenty of lists of elf names out there, but I’m sure your children can come up with one they like with or without a list!
Some people think that a lot of pressure and time can come with the Elf on the Shelf each year. If you are one of those people, that’s OK! Your elves don’t have to do anything extravagant! They can simply just sit and watch…or make some of those delicious elf cookies Racquel Bregg talked about in her post (the link at the top) and eat them instead!
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf tradition? Share it with us!