Elf On The Shelf Ideas Your Family Will Love: It’s Real

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Elf on the Shelf Ideas

The Elf on the Shelf phenomena continues. As the countdown to Christmas begins, parents worldwide are getting into the holiday spirit by adopting a scout elf.

The toy is not just intended for kids; many adults are having fun with it too by creating funny elf on the shelf ideas that add to the holiday season’s magic.

Taylor Hill via Getty Images

What Is Elf On The Shelf?

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a self-published 2005 children’s book written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chandra Bell; it comes inside a box together with a scout elf.

The book became an overnight success in 2007 after Jennifer Garner was photographed in New York holding an Elf on the Shelf box; then, the “Today” show ran a segment on the story, and orders skyrocketed, turning Elf into a Christmas must-have accessory.

The Elf On The Shelf Story

The book’s story tells about a group of scout Elves sent by Santa to hide out in homes from December 1 to December 23 to help Santa find out who has misbehaved.

You must name the elf so that it can gain powers to fly back to the North Pole. When everyone is asleep, the elf flies back to Santa to report who has been naughty or nice. Then, the elf flies back to your home and hides somewhere in your house before everyone wakes up.

Each morning elf hides in a different spot in your home, posing humorously for your children to find it.

The Elf On The Shelf Story

So, during the day, Elf will be watching and listening; then, at night, when everyone is sleeping, he/she will use its magical powers to fly back to Santa.

The elf doll does not need any batteries; all you need is imagination or funny Elf on the Shelf ideas. For more inspirations, you can check out elf on the shelf ideas on Instagram or by following hashtags like #elfontheshelf or #elfontheshelfideas.

Why Are So Many People Obsessed With Elf On A Shelf?

Almost everyone I know has this adorable little Elf on the Shelf. The story fits in perfectly as an extension of the  Santa Claus tale and brings a creative element to the Christmas season’s magic.

For me, it’s all about the Christmas spirit! I have two kids, and I must admit that I have two of those little toys. It’s not that my kids think there are elves with magical powers that can travel to the North Pole at lightning speed; they know elves are not real; they also know there is no Santa.

I know, that’s a sensitive one; don’t think of me as the Grinch, Scrooge, or holiday part-pooper because I am not. I actually enjoy Christmas, but think about it, why should Santa take credit for my hard work?

There is no Santa and no elves, BUT playing along is fun. My kids still write a letter to Santa, through their school, and at home. However, they know it will be me buying those toys, and it will be me making the naughty or nice list.

Some parents who fully buy into the tale say that the Elf on the Shelf fable helps keep their children’s behavior in check. At the slightest sign of misbehavior, all they have to do is say “Elf,” and their children will snap back in line.

After all, Santa is always watching, isn’t he?

Why are so many people obsessed With elf On a shelf

You are encouraged to name your elf.

The book explains that you must name your elf so it can get Christmas magic that allows it to the North Pole and back. Also, you don’t buy an Elf of the Shelf – you adopt them. In fact, the book encourages you to create a dummy birth certificate showing the elf’s name and the date of adoption.

Here is a list of suggested Elf on the Shelf girl and Elf on the Shelf boy names suggested on Pinterest.

List of suggested elf on the shelf names.

How To Introduce The Elf On The Shelf In Your Home

Introducing the elf in your home is simple. First, you read the Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition book to your kids, and then, parents use the accompanying elf to recreate the story in their own homes.

  • Pick a day for the elf to start appearing. The Scout Elf on the Shelf return week runs from November 24 through December 1; however, parents can choose a different date depending on their own holiday traditions.
  • Read the book to your kids. The book explains in an engaging way, what the elf does, where it comes from, and how it gets its Christmas magic. It is a fun way to get your kids more excited about the Christmas season.
  • Choose a name for your elf. The book tells that you do not buy an elf on the shelf; you adopt them. Therefore, you are encouraged to name them. It is naming your elf what will give them their Christmas magic.
  • Stage the elf somewhere in your home. For the first appearance, position your elf in an open area where your kids could easily find it. A good place would be the living room, on the Christmas tree, or beside the TV.

From there, you will be placing the elf in a different spot every day until Christmas Eve. Moving the elf every day gives kids the impression that the elf returned from the North Pole.

How To Introduce The Elf On The Shelf In Your Home

What day are you supposed to start your Elf on the Shelf?

According to elfontheshelf.com, Santa sends his Scout Elves during the Elf Return Week, which runs from November 23 to December 1. However, these are suggested dates; every family is free to choose a date that best suits them, as long as all elves must return to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve.

Last year, it was December 7 when my son reminded me our elf on the shelf should have returned on December 1. The lucky elf was on vacation in Europe before finally showing up in our house the next day on December 8. (wink, wink).

What day are you supposed to start your Elf on the Shelf

I must admit, though, after a dozen times of moving that puppet elf around the house, it can become a bit of a chore. So, after some investigating, I have come up with a cheat sheet of Elf on the Shelf ideas to set up your elf each day from December 1 right up to Christmas Eve.

The official site outlines the following Elf on the Shelf rules:

  • No one should touch the Scout elf. This is the most important rule; doing so could cause the elf to lose its magic, which means he/she won’t be able to fry back to Santa every night.
  • On December 24 (Christmas Eve), Elf must return to the North Pole to help Santa get ready for next Christmas.

Elf On The Shelf Accessories

Elf on the Shelf accessories help keep the tradition fun, particularly for families who have adopted a puppet elf in previous years. Amazon has a wide selection of Elf on the Shelf accessories that will take your Elf on the Shelf ideas to a whole new level.

  • These are great clothing accessories make elf dress up in fun characters for everyone to enjoy.

On the shelf T-Shirt Value pack

eLF On The Shelf T-Shirt Value Pack
  • Elf on the Shelf value pack.

On the shelf T-Shirt Value pack

  • This imaginative pack includes fun new outfits and Christmas classics for your Scout Elf.

Elf On the shelf Couture 6 Outfits with Travel Bag.

  • Perfect handmade doll clothes are  made to fit for Elf Doll

Elf on the Shelf E-Ting Couture T-Shirt.

  • Elf on the Shelf Girl outfit set

Elf on the Shelf Girl Outfit Set.

Elf on the Shelf Girl outfit set

You can also find most of these products, including the above elf on the shelf accessories, at Target, Walmart, and other major toy stores.

Is The Elf Of The Shelf A Good Parenting Tool?

Some people think that parents should not be tricking kids into thinking that good behavior leads to gifts. Dr. David Kyle Johnston Ph.D. calls it a
“Steroid shot to the Santa lie” Let’s Bench The Elf on the Shelf [+]

I don’t see it that way!

Certainly, Christmas should not be viewed or used as a transaction of good behavior in exchange for gifts. It’s not. The same goes for Elf on the Shelf. In fact, the elf tradition creators did not set out to encourage parental deceit at a global scale, even though to many parents, it may appear that way.

If you come to my house from December 1st to December 23rd, you’ll find an Elf on the Shelf; in fact, you’ll find two of them. It’s not that my kids think Elves are real; they know Santa and the Elves are not real, but we do enjoy celebrating the magic of Christmas, and that includes Santa and those adorable Elves.

My take on the Elf of the Shelf tradition is that it is fun, and it can add to the jolly mood of the season; for that reason, I embrace it rather than getting attached to the idea of whether there is Santa or Elves for that matter.

Elf On The Shelf Ideas

Keep scrolling to see our top picks of Elf on the Shelf ideas that will surely keep your family entertained this holiday season.

1. Elf driving a reindeer

2. Elf making mini muffins

2. Elf making mini muffins

3. Elf making marshmallows with a snowman

4. Elf decorating Christmas tree with toilet paper

5. Elf playing with lego

6. Elf playing with toilet paper rolls

7. Elf playing with snow balls

8. Elf rolled in a taco dough

9. Elf having a good time

10. Elf keeping warm and toasty

11. Elf playing scrabble

12. Elf was captured by Lego superheroes

Funniest Elf On The Shelf Tweets

About Elf’s magic powers


Elf saves the day

About east dropping

Elf Of The Shelf Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens if You Touch the Elf on the Shelf

The book sets one rule that everyone must follow so that the elf can do its job. Please do not touch me, it says, the magic might go away, and Santa won’t hear what I have to say. However, according to the official rules, there are exceptions.

For example, if an elf falls down from wherever it is sitting, a parent can use tongs to pick it up and place it back to its position. (But of course, parents can touch Elf on the Shelf to place elf on a new spot every day after the kids go to sleep).

Why can’t you touch the elf on the shelf?

As the book explains, if a scout elf is touched, they may lose their magic that enables them to travel back to the North Pole and back every day.

If anyone accidentally touches the elf, you can revive the elf’s magic by following the following steps.

  • Write a note to the elf apologizing for touching him.
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon around elf; this will help them get back to the North Pole, where doctors will revive their magic.
  • Sing a Christmas carol.
At what age should you start Elf on a Shelf?

One of the things many people wonder is, what is the age limit for Elf on the Shelf? According to the official Elf on the Shelf site, Elf on the Shelf is created for kids from 3 years to 15 years.

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