Some parents love ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ tradition and wish they had started it when their kids were much younger. Other parents are sad as the Elf era has passed for them since their kids are not Elf-believers anymore. Others get terrified on the arrival of the Elf season.
‘The Elf on the Shelf’ is an enjoyable and magical tradition in the run-up to Christmas, but you need to know what you are doing.
The idea is simple.
Santa sends an Elf to spend a few weeks with the family. Elves don’t speak, only listen and watch whether kids have been naughty or nice. Every night they travel all the way to the North Pole to report back to Santa on how well the kids behaved that day.
To help keep the belief that Elves are real, they are found in a different spot in the house in the next morning. Elves sometimes get mischievous when they return back spilling flour on the floor and creating snow angels. Each morning is full of excitement and wonder as kids are trying to find where their Elf is hiding and what he/she may have done again.
Elves cannot be touched, or else their magic will disappear. If your kids accidentally touch the Elf, they can write an apology letter to Santa and leave it next to the Elf before going to bed. Cinnamon is like vitamins for Elves – sprinkle a little of it next to the letter to give your Elf energy to go back to the North Pole to have a quick check-up and bring the letter to Santa.
In this little guide, you will find a selection of our favourite tips to help you enjoy an easy and stress-free Elf season, and ensure your kids have a magical Christmas!
You may be very excited when getting your Elf but think twice when arranging when he/she is going to start coming. Introducing your Elf to the kids in the middle of November would mean around forty days of seeking new hiding spots and antics for your Elf to do – that may be too much. Now, if you are that obsessed with Christmas that you put your tree just after taking down Halloween decoration, you should have enough courage to get through this. If not, unleash your Elf the day you put the Christmas tree up or on December 1st, to celebrate the arrival of the month of December.
Don’t go crazy with your Elf. Do what you think you can handle. If your Elf does all sorts of wild antics around the house the first year, your kids will expect tons of creativity from him next Christmas. Basic antics can still be fun and magical.
Instead of or in addition to the classic advent calendar, you may have your Elf bringing little treats from the North Pole each day. This will give some colour to the Christmas countdown.
While having the Elf hiding in a different spot each day is one thing, adding some acknowledgement that Santa has heard about some good or bad behaviour is quite another. Santa may send notes with the Elf to remind kids behaviours they need to improve. This is the best way to prove your Elf is real.
Remember to set an alarm every night at around the time you would go to bed (and the kids are already sleeping) to remind yourself to move the Elf to a new spot. There is nothing more stressful than needing to come up with distractions in the morning so that your kids don’t notice the Elf didn’t move.
Well, it’s not the end of the world if your Elf didn’t move. In this scenario act like it is part of the magic. Say that the weather was bad and your Elf couldn’t travel to the North Pole. Say that the Elf may didn’t want to report on a naughty behaviour. You may have also heard that Elves do this sometimes when they prepare something exciting.
If you are running out of ideas and need a break for one or two weeks, the best thing to do is having your Elf “falling” and “breaking” his/her leg. This will give you time to rest and think of new moves and antics until the Elf has fully recovered.
Elves usually let kids know for how long they are staying in their welcome letters to set kids’ expectations and avoid any disappointment. It is also sweet to leave a little note saying goodbye on the last day of their stay. Your Elf may say that although he/she had a fantastic time with your family, it is now time to go back to his/her family. If you are planning a toy declutter, this is also a very good chance to have your Elf asking for toys your kids no longer play with to take them back to the North Pole in order to recycle them for other girls and boys.
Christmas is the time of the year we celebrate the love of family and the belief in the impossible, and create memories that will last forever. ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ is just another bit of magic to add to this season - so make this tradition your own.
Your Elf may be allowed to be touched. Your Elf may need to go to the Elf School during the week or spend some days with his/her family and appear only at weekends. Your Elf may only show up when kids behave well. Do what works best for you and remember that everyone deserves to enjoy the magic as long as possible.
Tell us the most surprising place you have found your Elf and be in with a chance to win a €50 Eason Gift Card. We have 3 to giveaway!
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