What is This Elf on a Shelf Idea About?
I was inspired by the idea of the Elf on the Shelf at my son Otto’s daycare. Much to the delight of Otto, the elf would appear in a different spot every day. Because of that, Chickazeet, our familys’ elf on the shelf, arrived in our house a couple of years ago, to two super excited boys, Oscar (8 years) and Otto (5 years).
In the community of elf on the shelf lovers, the elf has become known for having some slightly mischievous or funny ways. Let’s go back to the beginning to know what this elf on the shelf idea is all about.
The Elf on the Shelf Story
This is how the story goes…Have you ever wondered how Santa knows about you? According to the story, when your little ones are asleep, your friendly scout elf returns to Santa in the North Pole to report whether you’re naughty or nice. The elf hides in a new spot each time he returns to your house for the morning. (We have a boy elf on the shelf, so I will use “he”. There are girl elves too).
Elf on the Shelf Magic
For your elfie magic to work properly, there are a few simple rules that are important for children to remember. Grown ups have special exemptions when the children aren’t around. The rules of the elf are there to make it feel like your elf is really telling Santa each night whether you have been naughty or nice. If your child believes in Santa, then believing in your elf is easy. The rules are:
- Don’t touch the elf or the magic will go
- Your elf doesn’t speak to you, but he will listen
- Say goodbye to your elf on Christmas Eve
We try to put our Chrissy tree up around the 1st of December. Once decorated, we see it as a way of letting our elf know that we’re getting ready for Christmas. There is no hard or fast rule about when your elf comes to your house. Whatever works for your family, your motivation and your imagination. Trying to figure out 24 good hiding spots in our house and yard is more challenging than you think.
Our Elf on the Shelf Adventures
I love keeping to the simplicity of the story – a friendly elf that returns in a different spot each morning. It makes for a lovely hide and seek play adventure every day.
My eldest is a bit clued on to the hiding “He was there yesterday, so he won’t be there again” as they search high, low and roundabouts for his whereabouts. I only give them clues when I think they have made a genuine look. The longer they look, the more they’re engrossed in fun and play. “Found him!” echoes through the house as they share their excitement of our elf’s new hiding spot each morning.
Things crop up. We’re not the most on-top-of-it parents and sometimes we forget to move the elf. The boys initial disappointment is quickly covered up with “maybe that’s the elf’s way of tricking you, thinking you’re never going to find him in the same spot”. Parent self-preservation accepted…and protected!
Each year the boys look forward to re-meeting our family elf. The countdown is now on until elf returns in early December.
Which Children love Elf on the Shelf?
I haven’t heard one child say they didn’t like the elf on the shelf. And I haven’t heard one grown up with any complaints either! This shows that the elf on the shelf is one of those toys that brings families together to share in a bit of family Christmas fun.
There is never a right or best age to introduce the Elf because there are so many ways your elf can become a part of your family Christmas tradition. Children who love the elf on the shelf are:
- Santa Believers – children who believe in Santa are more than likely to believe in your Elf. Which means, don’t scare your children with crazy over the top kinda elf tricks.
- Two-Five Year Olds – they love the elf because it hints at magic. Simply hiding the elf for children to find is a great start.
- Five-Eight Year Olds – they are still totally happy with the hide and seek game, but the occasional pranking/ joking elf won’t go astray.
Every child reacts in a different way to the elf idea, being mindful of your child’s personality and emotions. My eldest son Oscar is now 10 and seriously doubts the whole Santa thing, which I’m totally cool about. But nothing will stop him from joining in the search for our family’s elf on the shelf. Enjoy bringing in your own elf on the shelf traditions at Christmas.
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