The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes a variety of traditions that add joy and cheer to Christmas. For parents of little ones, there is no tradition more exciting and frankly more anticipated than the Elf on a Shelf. While still relatively new, this one has caught on fast around the globe, giving kids something special to look forward to during the countdown until Christmas day.
Not familiar with the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon but you’ve got kids asking for any elf of their own? Let’s take a look at all you need to know about Elf on the Shelf so you can execute this new family tradition flawlessly.
What Is an Elf on the Shelf?
Before we get too far into the nitty-gritty of the tradition, it's important to discuss what an Elf on the Shelf is. It is a toy elf that is about the size of a Barbie doll in height. You can find different iterations of the Elf in stores with different expressions on their faces. You can also find both male and female elves.
Some parents opt for just one Elf on the Shelf for the whole family, whereas others will pick one elf per child. It comes down to your budget, and how much work you want to make for yourself. Having an Elf on the Shelf “visit” during the holiday season will take a fair amount of creativity on the part of parents.
The premise behind these elves is that they are magical, and each night while everyone is sleeping they move about the house and often get into mischief. Kids then look for them in the morning to see what they were up to overnight.
But these cute elves aren't just magical, the other part is that they act as Santa's scout, trying to figure out if kids will be on the "nice list". The elf is always watching, so it can be a great incentive for kids to be on their best behaviour before Christmas.
When Does the Elf on the Shelf Appear?
Once you have picked out an Elf you may want to read kids the official Elf on the Shelf book so that everyone becomes acquainted with the tradition. Remember to also have the kids name the elf.
The magic of the elves typically begins in December, but when is up to you? Many parents find that December 1st is a great day for the tradition to begin, but remember you'll need to keep up with it for almost a whole month.
Each night you'll need to move the elf around the house, creating different "scenes" that kids will wake up to. It can be a big commitment, which is why you’ll find all kinds of Elf on the Shelf ideas and tips online for other parents in the same position as you. You can also purchase cute little accessories for the elves.
The final night of “magic” is Christmas Eve, as that’s the night that Santa arrives and checks in on what the elf has to report.
Learn the Rules of Elf on the Shelf
It may sound simple enough so far, but there are also a few rules that kids need to follow for the elf to keep its magic.
These rules can be discussed before the elf even begins to move so that kids are well aware of what to expect.
The Elf on the Shelf rules are:
- The elf always returns to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve but will be back for the next Christmas season.
- Even though the elf has "magic" and can move around at night, they can't talk. They can, however, listen to kids.
- Kids must not touch the elf, as this will take away its magic.
What If You’re Stuck for Ideas?
As mentioned above, coming up with ideas for the elf each night can start easy enough, but as the month continues it can get much tougher. Try searching for inspiration on social media, and online as there are plenty of fabulous ideas that you can recreate.
A Fun Family Tradition the Whole Family Can Enjoy
So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to invest in an Elf on the Shelf, keep in mind it can be a very fun family tradition for the family. It’s a wonderful way to countdown the days until Christmas and give kids something cute to wake up to each morning.