Wednesday, December 7, 2022

My Tips & Tricks for Doing Elf on the Shelf

My kids have been asking to join in the Elf on the Shelf fun for years.  Probably at least 6 years.  I finally decided that this was the year that I would say YES.  We are not traveling in December like we did for so many years, we aren't moving like we did last year and I was excited about it.  I opted to skip the daily advent calendar we've done in the past.  This way I'd have more time for elf activities.  You've definitely got to pick and choose this time of year so that you don't drive yourself bonkers.

Our Elf Rules:

1. Our elves bring Christmas joy, not messes.

2. Our elves aren't naughty.

3. Our elves don't report good/bad behavior back to Santa.

4. Our elves deliver many of the holiday surprises I already like to scatter throughout December.

5. Our elves are not magic and anyone can touch them.  The kids know that I'm the one setting the elves up each night.  They just think that I collaborate with the elves for Christmas fun.  The elves move all around the house so the kids never know where to find them in the morning.  I think hunting for them is a big part of the elf fun.


I made a secret Pinterest board of easy elf ideas, wrote out a list of elf ideas in my planner and then set a reoccurring alarm clock for 10:00pm every night in December.  It just says ELF TIME and it's my reminder to get the elves set up at night after the kids have gone to bed. 

Let me show you what our elves have been up to so far this month.

I opted for 3 elves - one for each kid - and used elves that I already owned instead of buying the official elf on the shelf.  It was cheaper and easier so don't feel the pressure to buy name brand if you don't want to.  I named our elves and made sure that it would be something easy for me to remember.

Let me introduce you to Holly, Jolly & Chris.

1 // Edible Christmas Tree Farm

The kids loved this one and were really excited about the invitation to go Christmas tree shopping after school.

Kevin grew up with real trees and convinced me that real trees were the way to go.  We love picking out a new tree every year.  We looked up and down all the rows to find the perfect tree.

2 // Lost in the Cold

The elves were on the hunt for some ice cream and wound up getting stuck in the fridge.

3 // Gingerbread Breakfast

I combined our tradition of a North Pole Breakfast and the elves with a gingerbread delivery.  I grabbed one house, one train and one gingerbread book.  We did an easy breakfast of donuts and the kids got a couple of new ornaments for the year.

In years past, I would have stressed about the kids wearing Christmas jammies and making sure that I had done all the things for breakfast.  This year the kids wore whatever they wanted, I grabbed a few new gingerbread things and they loved it!  Sometimes less is more.

4 // Inflatable Santa

The kids have been asking for a fun inflatable.  I saved it for the elves to give them.  Aldi had several cute options this year for $12.99.

5 // Nutcrackers

I got each of the kids a new nutcracker for the year and left a note from the elves asking for help figuring out how to use these nutcrackers.

6 // Taco Tuesday: Elf Edition

I grabbed these Holiday Chips at Meijer and then a few days later Kevin came home with the tree shaped Tostitos.  The kids were excited about both for taco night.

Do you do a version of Elf on the Shelf at your house?  I would LOVE to hear about it!


  1. This is SO cute and I love that your elves aren't "Santa reporters" or messy!

  2. I love the idea that it doesnt bring messes. I see some pics & I'm like OHHH NOOOO - whose going to have to clean that up!

  3. I love your approach to the elves. Fun!


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