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The Elf On The Shelf: A Christmas Tradition

Updated on December 16, 2015

The Elf on the Shelf Set for Kids

It's almost time to get your Elf out! The Elf on the Shelf Story is an exciting way to have some great fun with your kids. This story was written by a mother and her daughter who came up with a new idea for kids around the Christmas holiday. The idea of a helpful elf isn't a new one, but they told it in a very different way. The old Germanic and Scandinavian holiday traditions include elves called nisser, who watch kids before Christmas to make sure they are behaving!

Now, the Elf on the Shelf will do just that for moms and dads all over the world. There is just one rule that comes with the Elf on the Shelf...don't touch him! If you want on of your own, you only have to click on one of the many links you will find on this page. Every day your kids can wake up to their own house elf hiding in strange places and doing all sorts of fun activities...like taking a bath in marshmallows! Find elves, elf accessories and lots of crazy elf ideas on this page. The elf image to the right is from Amazon, and you can get an Elf on the Shelf there.

My grandson is a fan even though he is too young to understand what this relatively new Christmas tradition is all about. At this stage in his life, we adults have much more fun with it than he does. We've named his little elf, Buddy, after the main character in the movie, "ELF." My son, his wife and I make a game of it, we talk everyday during "the season" and decide where to put little Buddy next. I can't wait until my grandson can have as much fun with this Christmas elf as we do!

Where are you going to put yours today? Find some great ideas to keep it busy and your kids entertained during this holiday season. Wait until you see how much fun it can be!

The Elf On The Shelf comes with different hair and eye color choices.  See Amazon for more details; that's where this picture came from.
The Elf On The Shelf comes with different hair and eye color choices. See Amazon for more details; that's where this picture came from.

Start a New Tradition

Holiday traditions are an important part of many families, and few holidays have as many traditions as Christmas. Whether it is decorating the tree with the little ones, hanging the stockings, drinking cocoa and telling Christmas stories and singing carols, or just being together with family, Christmas is a special time, and this is a new and decidedly fun tradition that you might want to add. The cute little sprite is really starting to gain more of a following, and with good reason.

The Elf on the Shelf already plays on another holiday tradition, and one of the most famous. Good ole Santa Claus has elves living at his cottage and toy shop in the North Pole, so it's only natural that this elf would be popular! Let's see where it all began.

Do You Own An Elf On The Shelf?

Do You Have Elf On The Shelf In Your House?

Here's The Baby Elf On The Shelf - Find more information by clicking the link!  This picture is from Amazon.
Here's The Baby Elf On The Shelf - Find more information by clicking the link! This picture is from Amazon.

The History of the Elf on a Shelf

It started in the early 2000s when Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, a mom-daughter writing team and their book illustrator Coe Steinwart, went from publisher to publisher in an attempt to have them consider their book The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. Publishers, as so often is the case, wanted nothing to do with the book, believing it would not make any money for them. Rather than giving up, the writers persevered and self-published, something that was still a bold move back in 2005. After their initial printing of just 300 copies, they went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies, and the book is still selling. The tale has even been adapted to an animated special.

How It All Began

Decorate your Christmas tree with an Elf on the Shelf ornament.
Decorate your Christmas tree with an Elf on the Shelf ornament. | Source

What Is The Story Behind It?

Now that we know where it started, what is the story of this little elf? The story weaves a tale that lets readers know the answer to that age old question: How does Santa know who is naughty and nice? The story tells us how the elf arrives to sit on a shelf and watch over the children at around Thanksgiving time each year.

Start a New Christmas Tradition

Start a new Christmas tradition!
Start a new Christmas tradition! | Source

Each night, the elf returns magically to the North Pole and reports to Santa, and comes back by morning to watch the little ones again. Each time the elf returns, he is in a different spot. The only rule is that the children must not touch the elf, or else he will not return. However, they can talk to the elf and tell it about all of their Christmas wishes.

This fun, new tradition could be perfect for many families, including yours!

Where Is the Elf?

Where did you find him today?

A Grown-Up's Take

Are You Up for New Christmas Traditions?

Do you like to add new Christmas traditions or are you a bit old fashioned and like to stick with the oldie, but great holiday traditions you already have?

Do You Like To Add New Traditions To Your Christmas Celebration, Or Are You Satisfied And Happy With The Old Ones You Use Year After Year?

The Elf on the Shelf Christmas Training Video

Elf for Girls

Here's an Elf on the Shelf for girls!
Here's an Elf on the Shelf for girls! | Source

There's a Nightlight!

Nightlight
Nightlight | Source

Elf Coloring Pages

Coloring page of elves.
Coloring page of elves.

Where to Hide Your Elf?

The Elf goes to the North Pole every night to talk to Santa and when it returns, he or she has to be in a different spot! Here are some ideas on where the Elf can hide!

The bookshelf, the top of the TV, the edge of your curtain rod, on the chandelier, peeking out between kitchen canisters, hanging out of the hamper, or find more ideas from Complicated Mama. I've read some really terrific ideas so if you need a few, here's the place to find them.

My Favorite Elf Is Buddy!

Elf Shelf Books

There are lots of books out that are perfect for Christmas reading! Here are more fun Elf ideas in book form.

Elf On The Shelf Personalized Ornament For Christmas

Personalized Christmas ornament.
Personalized Christmas ornament. | Source

I found this Elf on the Shelf personalized Christmas ornament and I think it would make a great gift idea or holiday tree decoration!

Links You Will Love

Find activities, worksheets, ideas and lots of fun all revolving around the Elf on the Shelf!

Breakfast Ideas

Some people have a welcome breakfast celebration in honor of their Elf. Are you going to start this holiday tradition with your family? Here are some delicious food and fabulous decorating ideas.

Fun Ideas for December

Here are more fun ideas for your Elf. Take a look at the cards, printables, and fun ideas you can use to thrill your kids this December. Make the holidays more fun than ever with a new family tradition.

Elf Clothing

Your Elf likes to look nice and these new outfits will help them to look festive and fresh all through the Christmas season.

Proof that elves do move around the house.

Learn how to draw the Elf with these step-by-step instructions. Drawing is fun!

Week 2 with the Elf.

Grow Some Magic Candy Canes

Got this idea from Facebook and it's a great one.  You can begin a new holiday tradition and grow some magic candy canes!
Got this idea from Facebook and it's a great one. You can begin a new holiday tradition and grow some magic candy canes!

Here's a great idea...have your Elf plant some magic candy cane seeds in a bowl of sugar and watch as candy canes magically appear one day. The seeds are actually jelly beans (or whatever candy you happen to have on hand) and one day after however long you decide is a good growing period, you replace those jelly beans with candy canes...or your elf does! It's a fun and easy way to enjoy the Christmas season with your kids and their Elf!

Name Ideas

What did you name your Elf? Here are some fun ideas:

  1. Buddy - After the fellow in the movie Elf!
  2. Pedro - After Pedro from the movie Napoleon Dynamite
  3. Jingle - After Jingle Bells
  4. Jolly - In honor of the jolly holiday
  5. Charlie - After Charlie Brown
  6. Lightening - After Lightening McQueen of Cars fame
  7. Frostie - After Frostie the Snowman, another favorite Christmas character
  8. Terry
  9. Trouble
  10. Sweetie
  11. Jeannie - After I Dream of Jeannie
  12. Lilly
  13. Sally - After the character from The Nightmare Before Christmas
  14. Jack - After Jack Skellington or Jack Frost

More Fun Ideas

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Found this picture at http://www.poofycheeks.com.  Head on over if you need some ideas for Elf adventures this holiday season.Meet Zippy!  He can be found on http://www.rachelswartley.comOh the fun an Elf can have with toilet paper!  This little festive fellow can be found at http://www.homestoriesatoz.comOh no! The elf found the dinosaur toys—or they found him. Check out the fun ideas at http://sweetfunkyvintage.blogspot.comHere's 100 fun ideas for a little Elf mischief!  These ideas come from http://www.designdazzle.com/2011/11/100-mischievous-elf-ideas/.Fun ideas for your Elf at http://thatscountryliving.com/2011/10/master-list-ideas-for-the-elf-on-the-shelf/
Found this picture at http://www.poofycheeks.com.  Head on over if you need some ideas for Elf adventures this holiday season.
Found this picture at http://www.poofycheeks.com. Head on over if you need some ideas for Elf adventures this holiday season.
Meet Zippy!  He can be found on http://www.rachelswartley.com
Meet Zippy! He can be found on http://www.rachelswartley.com
Oh the fun an Elf can have with toilet paper!  This little festive fellow can be found at http://www.homestoriesatoz.com
Oh the fun an Elf can have with toilet paper! This little festive fellow can be found at http://www.homestoriesatoz.com
Oh no! The elf found the dinosaur toys—or they found him. Check out the fun ideas at http://sweetfunkyvintage.blogspot.com
Oh no! The elf found the dinosaur toys—or they found him. Check out the fun ideas at http://sweetfunkyvintage.blogspot.com
Here's 100 fun ideas for a little Elf mischief!  These ideas come from http://www.designdazzle.com/2011/11/100-mischievous-elf-ideas/.
Here's 100 fun ideas for a little Elf mischief! These ideas come from http://www.designdazzle.com/2011/11/100-mischievous-elf-ideas/.
Fun ideas for your Elf at http://thatscountryliving.com/2011/10/master-list-ideas-for-the-elf-on-the-shelf/
Fun ideas for your Elf at http://thatscountryliving.com/2011/10/master-list-ideas-for-the-elf-on-the-shelf/

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