Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Practical Guide to Elf on the Shelf

Our Elf, Jingle Van Happy Pants, will arrive on Monday.  He always shows up on December first.

When it comes to the elf, sometimes he gets a few haters who think it is just one more time consuming thing to fit into the Christmas craziness and that he is teaching kids the wrong thing.

Well, I love our elf, but I also take a very low key approach to the elf.

There are a couple of rules I live by when it comes to having an elf visiting for the holidays.  First, our elf does NOT do bad things. He NEVER makes big messes, he NEVER camps out all day somewhere inconvenience (like taking up one of the seats on the sofa in the Family room, at the bottom of the stairs, or on the toilet... seriously! the toilet people.  I don't know about you, but decommissioning a toilet all day because an elf is pooping skittles does not seem like a good idea.... and what if he fell in?? Gross.)

So here is what our elf does do.

Every December 1st our elf arrives in our fireplace.  It just seems like a good place for someone from the North Pole to show up and he brings the kid's advent calendars.  The first time I turned off the pilot light, but it was a pain getting it back on so now we just risk it.

 Throughout the month our elf does bring a few presents, but they aren't anything that I wouldn't have given the kids anyway.  He will usually bring them new Christmas jammies the first Friday and Christmas coloring books the first day of Christmas break.

Most days our elf keeps it really simple.

Riding the reindeer on the mantel or just hanging out on a shelf.  Pretty much anywhere that is out of reach.

 We will often find him hanging out reading the scriptures on a Sunday morning.  As long as he moved it is all good. After all he is there to watch good behavior and report to Santa. Not make more messes for me to clean up.

He also likes hiding.  The kids love trying to find him in the morning. He can hide in flowers, trees, stockings, the pantry, behind the TV, among Christmas decorations... once again pretty much anywhere out of the way.  

One of the best things about our Elf is that he helps me. 

One year I was super pregnant with baby number 5 and just having a hard time getting things done.  So our elf put up the Christmas tree in the front room.  Or sometimes he does the dishes and then gets stuck under a cup after putting them way.   If there is something you need to do after the kids go to bed there is no reason the elf can't do it.  It is a good example for the kids.  Just make sure you point out, "Oh, Jingle did the dishes.  how nice."

Or he will usually put together the gingerbread houses for me so they are all ready to decorate for our Gingerbread Family Home Evening.

Also our elf reserves the right to have a sick day.  And he usually does.

I think he was throwing up sprinkles for 3 whole days last year. Poor guy.

Every once in a while he does do something a little naughty, but the mess is minimal.

Like one time I couldn't find the star for the top of the tree so he filled in.  I think he thought he was helping.

And he does usually draw on the kids pictures.  But really it takes about 2 minutes to set up this little scene and I will often leave his art up for a few days.  

 Although most nights he keeps it simple.  He does usually plan one special treat or something.

And they LOVE that he paints their noses before he takes off for Christmas Eve at the North Pole.  

Okay so here is a quick idea list or Elf itinerary. This is what he would do that day so he would prep it the night before.  This is allowed to change as needed, but it is nice to think about it once and then not have to think about it again. 

Dec. 1 - Show up in the fireplace with the advent Calendars
Dec. 2 - Sit at the top of the tree getting the lay of the land
Dec. 3 - Up in the family room ceiling fan.  (I might tape his hands to the blade and put a cape on him so you can turn it on and he is superman, but I also might just throw him up there.  it kinda depends on how I feel at teh time.)
Dec. 4 - Goes fishing for our pet beta fish (A little hot glue, because my gun is always out, a paper straw and a little bakers twine.)
Dec. 5 - Give kids Christmas jammies
Dec. 6 - Hang out in the decorations at the top of the stairs
Dec. 7 - Sit in the Nativity hanging out with baby Jesus
Dec. 8 - Make gingerbread houses for FHE (He will put the houses together so we can decorate them.)
Dec. 9 - Hang out on the gingerbread house
Dec. 10 - Hide in the front room
Dec. 11 - Draw on the glass of some pictures (I usually use a little dap of hot glue so he can hold his sharpie.)
Dec. 12 - Get ready for a Christmas movie late night  (Sit somewhere where with a litttle bowl of popcorn so he can watch the movie too.)
Dec. 13 - Hugging the syrup in the pantry
Dec. 14 - Read the scriptures
Dec. 15 - Builds himself a Lego House
Dec. 16 - Hanging from the Chandelier like spider man
Dec. 17 - Gets sick (make sure to have a little bowl to throw up in.  Did you know that elves throw up sprinkles?)
Dec. 18 - probably still sick
Dec. 19 - Do the dishes (and get stuck in one of the cups)
Dec. 20 - Give the kids coloring books 
Dec. 21 - Leave magic seeds
Dec. 22 - Leave magic seed treats
Dec. 23 - Paints the kids noses red
Dec. 24 - He is back at the North Pole helping Santa

So that is my plan. What fun things will you be doing with your elf this year?


  1. These are great ideas! I just ordered us an elf for this year. I've been avoiding it because of all the "naughty" elf on the shelf Pinterest type stuff, I just didn't really get why I would want to do that to myself! I finally decided to get one and planned to keep him a more helpful elf, so it is nice to find some cute ideas that don't involve making messes. Thanks for sharing!

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