December 13, 2021 7 min read
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen...and if you're here then you are probably looking for Elf on the Shelf ideas and thinking about starting this new tradition.
This enchanting creature, bursting with Christmas spirit, may or may not have a reindeer-inspired name and I'm here to walk you through the whole process of navigating the Elf on the Shelf as a new parent of little ones.
The Elf on the Shelf has become a big part of our holiday traditions over the years and Poodle (yes,Poodle), is very special to our family. Named the year the boys wanted a dog for Christmas, he arrives at the beginning of December with St. Nick.
(Smart boys, because we ended up with Junie shortly after. Well played fellas. Well played.)
As a parent, Poodle brings moments of joy, and total panic. As a kid, the reactions can range from belly laughs, to elatedness, to 'meh', to complete disappointment. There have been times when white lies may or may not have been made up on the spot and times when Poodle has saved the day.
One thing is for certain: our holidays season would not be the same without the Elf on the Shelf tradition and we hope that it becomes just as much fun for your family, too.
Whether you have older children coming home from school with questions about the Elf or a new baby at home that you want to introduce the Elf to for the very first time, my goal is to make the process as seamless and as magical, and memorable as possible. And of course, if you have a few laughs or “oh fiddlesticks” moments, it just makes the memories that much greater. They are also fun stories to tell when your kids are old enough to hear them.
First and foremost, The Elf on the Self is a sweet holiday tradition that should be fun (re: not stressful) for your whole family. The Elf is categorized as a Scout Elf, as in they are a special type of Elf that doesn’t participate in toy making but has the important job of showing up in your home to watch over your kids during the holiday season.
Once your child is asleep, they fly through the night to The North Pole and deliver the news of the day to Santa.
Translation: they keep the jolly old fellow up-to-date onnaughty and nice behaviors.
Bottom line, The Elf on the Shelf encourages kids to put more effort into being well-behaved during the holiday season since their Elf is always watching them.
The answer to this question is going to be different for each family. At the end of the day, when to start the tradition is truly up to you. However, it makes the most impact on little ones when they are old enough to have some memories of the start of the tradition. The sweet spot for this is between the ages of two and three, as they are able to understand what’s going on and how much magic the Elf really brings.
Then there's the question of which day the Elf arrives. Poodle makes his way to our house with stockings on St. Nick's Day (he doesn't like to travel alone). Other elves are known to arrive on Thanksgiving, or sometime between Thanksgiving and December 1st. In other homes, he makes his appearance whenever parents can find where they hid them the year before.
First things first: go purchase the Elf from an official Scout Elf Adoption Center (meaning, go to a store without your kiddo in tow, or head online).
There are many different options now and if you buy a set, it will come with a sweet book that you can read to your children when the Elf makes its grand entrance.
The elves come in different shapes, colors, sizes, and genders, making a great opportunity to teach children to embrace differences.
For our first year, Poodle rang our doorbell late one night, and the boys found him on the porch with the book and marshmallows.
Another way to introduce the Elf for the very first time is to have it show up in a common place where your kids will notice it right away. Choose a theme of some sort that is unique to your family, as this will let your kids know that the Elf has been paying attention to your home. For instance, does your family love donuts? Have the Elf show up with donuts for breakfast. It can honestly be as simple as that, and the Elf doesn’t need to go overboard every single time it visits. The first introduction is important though.
Also, have the book with the Elf so that you can read it as a family and learn everything about your new friend. If you want to be a little bit extra, you can include a special note from the elf, too. Making the experience as personalized as possible is the best way to introduce your kids to the Elf for the very first time. Once the introduction has been made, you can move on to the naming ceremony…
If you are looking to choose a name that is more unique than all the elves named Sparkle that you probably see showing up in yourFacebook feed (or not, Sparkle is a great name, too - no judgment here!), boy do we have an idea for you! Choosing your elf’s name is very important. After all, the Elf on the Shelf will become a beloved part of our kiddos' Christmas traditions and they need a name worthy of those memories. In the Fulcher household, we play a game calledThe Tournament of Names when choosing a new baby's name (you canread all the instructions here), as well as when any new pets or magical creatures have been added to our crew.
There are only three rules that must be followed for The Elf on the Shelf and they are very important, so you will want to listen up:
Magic can be restored by a parent in some homes. Kids are clumsy.
If touching Poodle is truly an accident at our house, we bend the rules a bit to save the tears.
The rumor mill is running rampant on whether this works or not, but some kids swear that you have to sprinkle cinnamon or glitter on your elf to restore the magic. It works like vitamins to bring them back to health. Others hold their elf with tweezers, sprinkle the magic, and spin him around while everyone sings a Christmas song.
If the elf falls, they must be left where they are and not touched. All will be resolved once your child goes to sleep and their magic takes them back to the North Pole.
Forgetting to move the Elf is the fuel for the panic that I mentioned earlier. This is when you need to get creative and think on your toes. But you are a parent, so you have already mastered those skills. If you have a“mom brain moment” here are some solutions:
I hope you enjoyed all of my Elf on the Shelf ideas and that the process of starting this new family tradition is a memorable one for you and your family.
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