I've been so late to the party figuring out all the Elf On A Shelf madness. I noticed it last year but it was just too late to get started, so this year I made sure we'd be ready right after Thanksgiving. My boys are 7 and 10 years old now and luckily they still believe in Santa. Who knows, this may be the first and last year doing Elf On A Shelf. Nonetheless, we are all in this year and having a blast each day.
In case you don't know about Elf On A Shelf, it's a little magical elf that watches over your kids each day and reports back to Santa each night if the kids have been naughty or nice. After he flies to Santa each night, he comes back to your house and ends up in a new spot each morning for the kids to find. Sometimes he gets into mischief.
So I've scoured the web and Pinterest to find out ideas of what to do with this crazy elf every day and how to get started the first day. Of course, there's a TON of ideas which is great!!! So first, I had to go buy an elf. I was at Target and all the elf dolls and bundles were sold out. Bummer. But they did have the plush stuffed elf so I bought him instead. He's a little bit bigger than the "real" elf, but hey, I really didn't know the difference and thought my boys wouldn't care either.
I explained the whole ELF concept to the boys at dinner one night and they had heard a little bit about it from kids at school. I told them they had to come up with a name for our family elf. Matthew wanted to name him "Tinsel". Andrew wanted to name him "Elfie". And neither boy wanted to give in and give up their name. So the next morning, I gave them a list of about 20 elf names and told them they had to agree together on a name. They picked "Dasher" and thus our new elf now had an official name and we could get started.
But, how do you get started?? Was there some kind of magical words you say to bring this elf to life? What kind of ceremony were we going to have? I had to do some quick thinking here. I had the boys write a short letter to Santa that Dasher could deliver on his first night. The letter was on a plain 3x5 index card because it needed to small and lightweight for Dasher to carry. The boys worked very hard on their letter. They thanked Santa for the elf and told Santa how they were going to be good. We put Dasher on the fireplace mantel and the boys read their letter to him. Then we recited a few quick sentences I made up and NOW Dasher was real. The boys were a little bit spooked about the "no touched him" part. You're not supposed to touch the elf or the magic might wear off and he can't fly to Santa that night. Spooky!!!
With all my scrapbooking supplies, I whipped up a quick Certificate of Adoption and a letter from Santa. On Dasher's first night, he'd come back and deliver these to the boys.
I figured we'd start off pretty simple each morning. Just moving him around to different places in the house before he got into mischief. Here is the first morning. I rolled up the certificates and tied a red ribbon on them, then tucked that under Dasher's arms. Each day, I planned to take a photo of our elf and then make a simple 8x8 photo book. I created a page layout with 1 photo, a date and some journalling.
I had all our Christmas decorations up around the house, so there's plenty of good photo ops for Dasher. The second morning, Dasher moved over to the nutcrackers. He turned them all around to face him, like he was having a meeting with them. I figured I could use all these nutcrackers again later in the month.
I saw this one on Pinterest where the elf is reading all the kids books.
The boys had been making tons of paper airplanes and they were littered all over the house. So I gathered up a bunch and stuck them in our fake ficus tree behind the couch.
On Sunday, we baked some Christmas cookies and spent some time decorating them together. The next morning, Dasher made his own cookie and decorated it. The boys were getting really excited each morning trying to find where Dasher was and what he was doing.
On Monday, Matthew got the flu and was out of school with a bad fever and cough. This was good timing for Dasher to get sick too.
Luckily Dasher made a quick recovery and was back playing with his friends the next morning.
I had a huge list of ideas of what to do with our elf. I thought I'd just go with the flow and try to tie in what our family was doing each day. At dinner, we had steak and asparagus. Andrew was giggling about how this vegetable turned your pee green if you ate it. I had seen this one on Pinterest too where the elf pees green in your toilet. So this one was perfect for today. I put the asparagus can in the bathroom and put green food coloring in the toilet water. Very hilarious!!
Dasher went fishing.
My favorite Christmas show has always been Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. A few years ago, I bought a bunch of stuffed animals from the show for decoration. The Abominable Snow Monster captured Dasher in a container and was going to eat him!! I made a little sign that said "HELP". Loved this one!
So far, the whole family has been enjoying our little elf friend. It makes each morning a joy and an adventure. Tune in next week too see another round of fun with Dasher.