Last year we started something new. Anjeanette went crazy buying up all the little Elves (aka knee huggers) she could find on Ebay. I am not kidding. She bid on many many many lots of elves. Then she gave one to each of the families to have their own “Elf on a Shelf”. There is actually a story book that goes along with this. If you are curious go HERE to find out more. However, you don’t need to buy the story book, all you need is a little elf and to make up a letter from “Santa”.
The idea behind the Elf on a shelf is to partially explain how Santa knows about everything children do and help children remember to be nice. Some time before Christmas (for us it is the day we decorate for Christmas) the elf shows up in your home with a letter from Santa. The letter explains why the elf has been sent to your home. Children are encouraged to name their elf. There are some rules for the children. They are to never touch the elf. If they find the elf on the floor then they are to ask their parents to pick up the elf and gently place him some place safer. They can talk to or write to the elf but the elf is not allowed to talk to children. However the elf can some times leave notes from Santa or in reply to something a child has asked. The letter also explains that the elf will move around at night and when they aren’t looking. The children can have fun looking for their elf every morning when they wake up. It becomes a fun game. The letter also states that the elf will report back to Santa on a regular basis. Santa may send notes back from time to time.
Some other ideas for the letter (especially if the elf has been at your home previously) along with the usual nice and naughty reminder are activities that reinforce the values you want to teach your children. This year I included two letters with the elf. One for the boys and one to addressed to my husband and I. We don’t have a “naughty” and “nice” list on ours but a “remember to” list. On it is a list of things we can improve upon or do to set the example for items on our boys “nice” list. This is a great way to work on any issues your family needs to work on. Elphie will be coming back with notes of encouragement from Santa on their progress.
Mostly I want this to be fun. Last years letter didn’t have lists. It explained the elf and the rules and how it all worked. It also reminded the boys to have fun. Always the letters have something personal in there about the kids. To point out some really great things they have done during the year. It adds to the mystery of how Santa could know all that he does and that he DOES know everything.
Here is the letter to my husband and I. It is something I did new for this year. I figure if the kids get a letter from Santa, why shouldn’t we? After all we all have some things that we need to remember. Plus I think the boys will like the fact that we all have items to work on.
I am thinking that maybe Elphie will have little notes for the boys from time to time with requests or even challenges. Some ideas I have are a scavenger hunt, bring back some snow (if we go to see snow before Christmas), make something, to hear a certain song or for the kids to sing or a service project. There are so many things you could do. If you do an Event Advent Calendar, the elf could arrive with it.
We had a lot of fun last year with our Elf. The boys even asked me a couple of times to bring Elphie into their room at night to watch over them as they went to sleep. Some times Elphie would appear on their foot board at night. Then while they were at school, he would move to a place where he could watch them better when they got home. Some days he moved only once and some days he moved a couple of times.
I would love to know if you have a similar tradition. Do you do Elf on a Shelf? What has “Santa” put in his letters to your family?
Anjeanette here. Somewhere when I was a kid, I saw the knee huggers for the first time. I fell in love!! A few years ago when I saw this book and elf that looked so much like a knee hugger, I had to have one! We love the story and have so much fun with the elf visiting our house. The last few years, I tried to convince my siblings to get the book for themselves and their kids. Our kids see a lot of each other and it is so much fun if they all have similar things happening in their houses. Well I couldn't convince my siblings that they had to have an elf. While they liked the idea, they weren't as crazy about them as I was. So I figured I would help them to add an elf to their traditions. At one point I was watching 42 different lots of these knee huggers on Ebay. I think I bought 4 different lots. Then a friend of mine found some more at a garage sale and bought them and sent them to me too. So right now I probably have 20 still hiding in a box;) I had my siblings choose the one they wanted and they were able to adapt the elf to their family. The cousins have a ton of fun talking about the elf at their house. And the adults have fun with it too. Our elf comes on Thanksgiving day and stays until Christmas Eve. Santa occasionally sends a letter with the elf during that time, if the kids need little reminders of how to behave. I have caught my kids talking to the elf and telling him what great things they did that day. I also like that these elves remind me of the Danish Nisser which is a little elf like dude too. I love the letters Katrina has this year! I'm totally doing almost the exact same letters (thanks Katrina!)