Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition

🎄 Fun Idea for Christmas

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher November 26, 2014

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf sent by Santa? We do! His name is Foddle and he's been visiting our house since our boys were in preschool!

Foddle magically arrives each year the morning after we put up our Christmas tree. As we decorate our tree, I reminisce over each ornament and my boys talk about Foddle — what he's been up to all year, whether or not he'll find new hiding places in our home, what they're going to tell him.

Once he arrives, my boys can't sit down till they've found Foddle's new spot. Honestly, they get along better during their morning hunt for Foddle than at virtually any other time during the day. Whenever they start to bicker, whine, or complain, I just have to remind them that Foddle is watching and an attitude adjustment happens in a flash.

Here's how it works:

Santa sends his scout elves to various families to act as his eyes and ears during the Christmas season. Once they join a family, the elves can not be touched (this can take away their magic), but they will always listen to special wishes.

Each night, the elves return to the North Pole to relay the messages to Santa. This is why they are in a new location each morning when their family awakes.

On Christmas Eve, the scout elf returns to the North Pole with Santa, where he or she will stay until the next holiday season. We let our boys hug Foddle on Christmas Eve. Since Santa will be picking him up, it's okay if he loses his magic.

Thanks to all the creative parents out there, this year we'll have more Foddle fun than ever! We are decorating our tree on November 30 so Foddle will arrive on December 1. Here's where we'll find him each morning (I have an alarm on my phone set to go off a few minutes before my bedtime to remind me to move our Elf):

  • 12/1 - On the kitchen table with a North Pole breakfast.
  • 12/2 - In the butter section of our fridge with a washcloth for a blanket.
  • 12/3 - Trapped under a glass in the cabinet.
  • 12/4 - Looking at toy catalogs in the family room (with marker in hand).
  • 12/5 - In the bathroom with holiday rug, towels, and shower curtain.
  • 12/6 - Near family pictures that he drew on with dry-erase marker.
  • 12/7 - Riding a stuffed animal.
  • 12/8 - Outside my sons' bedrooms, after he put wrapping paper over the doors (they'll have to bust through to come out).
  • 12/9 - On the kitchen counter making snow angels out of granulated sugar (powdered sugar is too hard to brush off him).
  • 12/10 - In a corner of the dining room with chocolate on his face and Hershey's Kisses wrappers all over the floor.
  • 12/11 - Rolled down the stairs in a full toilet paper roll (leaving a trail)
  • 12/12 - Sitting on top of a stack of Christmas books, reading.
  • 12/13 - In the kitchen with a batch of homemade muffins (that I'll make the night before after the kids go to bed) with a mess of flour, sugar, and dirty dishes all around him.
  • 12/14 - Building a puzzle, and only halfway done, so we'll finish the rest.
  • 12/15 - In the backseat of the car, under a blanket and with his seat belt on.
  • 12/16 - Near our stockings, which he replaced with a pair of each person's underwear.
  • 12/17 - In the bathroom, after he wrote all over the mirror with dry-erase marker (Foddle Wuz Here, Santa is Watching, Elves Rule, Fa La La La, etc.).
  • 12/18 - Sleeping in a tissue box.
  • 12/19 - On the kitchen table, where he spelled out I LOVE YOU with red and green M&M candies.
  • 12/20 - On dad's nightstand ... he put makeup on dad's face in the night!
  • 12/21 - In the bathroom, where he gift-wrapped the toilet so no one can use it.
  • 12/22 - Having a "snowball" fight with the stuffed animals (mini marshmallows are the snowballs).
  • 12/23 - In my office, where he spelled out his name on the wall using Post-It notes.
  • 12/24 - In the fridge, next to the milk which he dyed green, holding a note that says "Merry Christmas Eve!"
  • 12/25 - He'll be gone, but he'll have spelled out "I MISS YOU ALREADY SEE YOU NEXT YEAR" with Scrabble tiles by the front door.

If you don't have your own Elf, you can find one at just about every retailer this time of year or you can purchase it online. Elves are available as boys or girls, with light or dark skin, and each comes with a book telling the story.

 The Elf on the Shelf website is also a fun resource. It explains The Elf Tradition and even has a FAQ page that tells you what to do if your elf is accidentally touched (cinnamon is the cure) or why your elf might not have moved (happened to us on more than one occasion).

Visit our Elf on the Shelf Pinterest Board for scores of other ideas. We've been pinning for weeks, and have more than enough ideas to last you several holiday seasons!