Elf On The Shelf: Avoid These Seven Rookie Mistakes!

It’s that time of year again when the friendly little mischief-maker returns to your homes. Yes, I’m talking about the Elf On The Shelf.

Love him or hate him, he {or she} is back!

What is an Elf On The Shelf? One of Santa’s scout elves who helps to keep an eye on little girls and boys before Christmas.

Ours arrived when our oldest turned 5-years-old. We named him Frosty Christmas and he has come back every year starting Black Friday and stays until Christmas Eve.

There are a few rules to having an elf. First, you must name him. Second, you can’t touch him or his magic will fade and he will not be able to return to the North Pole every night.

While the Elf On The Shelf brings joy to children – and possibly curbs some bad behavior – it can be a headache for already busy and stressed parents during the holiday season!

After having our elf for a few years now I’ve learned there are a few “rookie mistakes” to avoid with having him {or her} visit:

1. Make sure your elf returns at the same time each year. Set a timer on your phone to remind you if need be. Trust me, the kids will remember even if you don’t.

2. Speaking of timers, set one on your phone every night for after the kids go to bed. You wouldn’t want your kids to worry if the elf didn’t move around the house each night.

3. Don’t put your elf somewhere where little kids or siblings can touch him. My 3-year-old niece loved to touch theirs claiming “I stole his magic” much to her older sister’s horror.

4. Don’t put your elf by anything you need to use that day. If he’s hiding in the microwave, you can’t use it to cook with for the day. Same with the shower or sink.

5. Make sure your elf is well-balanced. Having him hang off the ceiling fan might seem like a great idea until he slips and falls on the floor in the middle of the day or your child turns the fan on (luckily our elf survived in his hot air balloon).

6. Make sure to take your elf out of town with you. Since he flies back to the North Pole each night, he should be able to travel with you if you head out of town. However, since the kids can’t touch him you’ll want to get creative with carrying. Ours has used a basket, a mason jar, and a gift box.

7. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT let your elf spend his last day in your kid’s room. The elf leaves when Santa arrives on Christmas Eve. If let your elf stay his last day in their rooms, they will never go to sleep and always be on the lookout for their elf leaving and St. Nick’s arrival.

Do you “Elf”? What would you add to my list?


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Sarah was born and raised in the Motor City but has called Mid-Michigan home now for over a decade. She worked as a television news reporter covering everything from breaking news, investigative stories, sports, and lifestyle but has stepped back from the industry to be a stay-at-home mom for her two kids. In between swim classes and t-ball practice, Sarah enjoys running and bowling (she is a former state champion). She also has her own blog, The TV Mommy - @SarahJaegerTV or @TheTVMommy - and owns her own video production business, April Lane Productions.