Are planning on having an Elf on the Shelf join your family? Are you wondering how to introduce the Elf on the Shelf to your kids? You are in luck! This post will help you with everything you need to know! From how to introduce Elf on the Shelf, how to start Elf on The Shelf and how elf on the shelf works!
How to Do Elf on the Shelf
In this post you will have all the information you need to have a TON of fun this holiday season with your Elf on the shelf! From Awesome Elf on the Shelf Ideas, to Elf printables and how to get started enjoying Elf on the Shelf with your kids!
What is Elf on the Shelf?
Year after year, children and adults alike are baffled by the mystery of how Santa really knows who’s been naughty or nice. After much urging by the elves and Mrs. Claus, Santa has allowed his biggest secret to be revealed in The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. At the start of each Christmas season, the elf appears to serve as Santa’s eyes and ears, traveling back to the North Pole each and every night to make a detailed report of the day’s activities. Children can register their elf online to receive an official adoption certificate and a special letter from Santa.
Ok so in short terms, elf on the Shelf is an awesome way to have a TON of holiday fun with the kids! The kids love elf on the Shelf and of course Moms love making their kids lives totally amazing! It is the perfect fit for the Christmas season!
How does Elf on the Shelf Work?
The Quick answer for How does Elf on the shelf work is you get an elf on the shelf, and then daily he or she makes the kids smile by doing funny things around the house, hides in the house and sometimes brings little treats.
After you get your elf, he or she will need to make an introduction and his first visit. On your elf’s first visit is when you will name them, However in this post we will go in depth on all things Elf on the Shelf so you can be totally covered on all things Elf on the Shelf!
How to Start Elf on the Shelf
- Get an Elf: This is a need. You can get an elf here. Plus you can get TONS of super cute outfits that you can buy for your elf here. You will want to check out these SUPER CUTE Girl Elf on the Shelf Outfits too!
- Pick when you want the Elf to start coming. This can be any time in November or December that your elf comes. But remember they will come daily once you start until Christmas Eve. Our elf on the shelf comes on December 1st.
- Decide How your Elf is going to make their appearance: For us, the first time On December 1st our elf was waiting for our kids on our dining room table. She was sitting there with matching pajamas for the kids. She also had a special Christmas book I am able to read to them the whole month of December. When our Elf on the Shelf comes each year, they also bring the kids their advent calendars, check out more ideas on what to have the elf bring below.
After all of this, there are a few things you still have to do after your elf arrives, like introduce him to the kids and name him but we will get into the details of all that stuff in just a bit, including answer any and all questions you might have about Elf on the Shelf.
When Does Elf on the Shelf Arrive?
You can have your Elf on the Shelf come out to start the fun whenever you want to. We tend to have our Elf on the Shelf come out after Thanksgiving, more specifically our elf on the shelf arrives on December 1st, to start the Christmas fun.
Just remember that whenever you start the Elf on the Shelf they will be coming every morning until Christmas and fly home with Santa when he comes on Christmas Eve.
Where to buy Elf on the Shelf
Want your own Elf on the Shelf? Grab your very own Elf on the Shelf from Amazon and you can grab these cool merry elf notes that are great for with Elf on the Shelf! You can also buy Elf on the Shelf in some stores. Personally I like ordering things online so my kids don’t see them.
How to Introduce Elf on the Shelf
Once you get your elf on the shelf, it is easy and fun to introduce Elf on the Shelf to your kids. You will want to do this on the first day that your elf arrives. You do not want your kids to see the elf on the shelf before their big arrival, so be sure to hide your elf where the kids won’t find him!
- Tell the Kids how Elf on the Shelf Works: Tell your kids how the Elf on the Shelf works, and how Santa sends elves down for some Christmas fun and how each night the Elves fly home to Santa’s workshop and tells Santa about how amazing the kids are being. Personally I would not tell them about anything Elf on the Shelf until the first time the Elf arrives, the surprise of Elf on the Shelf coming to their house is awesome! I love reading the Elf on the Shelf Book to the kids when first getting started, and for the younger ones reading it each year helps them remember all the fun that comes from elf on the shelf. My kids also love watching the Elf on the shelf movie that talks about the Elf’s story and how it all works, I find this to be a great way to share how elf on the shelf works with the littler kids.
- Explain the Elf Rules: Make sure you explain to them the rules. For example that they can’t touch the elf or they lose their magic power. Let them know he is watching them and that they need to look for him each day ect. The book that comes with Elf on the Shelf has all the rules in it. 🙂 You can also print out our Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable, and stick it on the fridge to help the kids remember the rules.
Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas
Here are a few of my favorite Elf on the Shelf arrival ideas for the first time your Elf on the Shelf comes to your house. If this is not your first year doing Elf on the Shelf then check out these Elf on the Shelf Welcome Back Ideas.
- Write a note to your kids from your elf. Explain in the letter why he/she is coming to their house and what he is going to do. Grab the awesome Elf on the Welcome Shelf Letter that you can print out.
- Read the Elf on the Shelf Book. Once your elf arrives read the book to your kids, the book tells the whole story about the Elf. Plus it makes a fun family night activity.
- Explain the Elf Rules. Make sure you explain to them the rules. For example that they can’t touch the elf or they lose their magic power. Let them know he is watching them and that they need to look for him each day ect. The book that comes with Elf on the Shelf has all the rules in it. 🙂 You can also print out our Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable, and stick it on the fridge to help the kids remember the rules, it is a good one to have the Elf on the Shelf bring with him or her when he comes for his first time.
- Have Elf on the Shelf bring the kids a gift! A small gift, you don’t need to go crazy here the kids will just be excited that they are going to have an Elf on the Shelf friend in their house! Advent calendars make a great gift from the Elf on the Shelf. When your elf comes for the first time, bringing a special treat like these ADORABLE Elf Cookies would be perfect and fun too! Some other elf on the shelf arrival gift ideas are Pjs, a Book, Elf Movie or Holiday socks!
Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter
You can print the FREE Printable Elf on the Shelf Welcome letter, then you don’t have to worry about writing it yourself.
How to Name Elf on the Shelf
You are going to need to give your elf on the shelf a name on their first visit to your home. Elf on the shelf doesn’t come with a name! It is the kids job to name their elf. Let the kids have fun picking out the elf’s name. Our elf is named George Twinkle! Check out this awesome list of 101 Elf on the shelf names! We have girl elf names and boy elf names!
What to do after Introducing Elf on the Shelf
The fun starts after your kids have met their elf and given them a name! Then it is time for the daily elf fun to begin! Every day your Elf on the shelf is going to fly back to Santa at night after everyone is sleeping. The next morning the kids will wake up to see what fun the Elf did at night when they returned.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Remember you do NOT need to go crazy every single night! There have been times when things were crazy and George was a little less creative. He ending up hiding in the toilet paper roll, pulling breakfast out or my coffee or just hiding in the pile of stuffed animals.
While it’s a TON of fun to see the kids excitement when the elf does something crazy it is not always needed. I have found that just him being here has brought a smile to their face in the morning!
Check out this Elf on the Shelf Ideas calendar which makes it sooo easy to know what you are doing each day for your elf fun! I am also going to suggest that you also check out Reasons your Elf Did not move… it might happen sometimes! 😉
We have LOTS of elf on the shelf ideas too so make sure you check them out!
- 135 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Toddlers
- Elf on the Shelf Kitchen Ideas
- Cheap Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- How to Make Elf on the Shelf Fly
- Hiding in A Water Bottle Elf on the Shelf Idea
- Easy Elf Ideas
- Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Lazy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Elf on the Shelf Plays with Barbie
- Elf on the Shelf Castle Take Over
Elf on the Shelf Pets
You will also have to decide if your Elf is going to have a pet. Yes there are SUPER cute pets for Elf on the shelf! It is super easy to introduce a new Elf on the Shelf pet! Just have the new Elf on the Shelf pet join your elf one morning when he comes back from his Santa visit the night before.
- Elf on the Shelf Pet Pack that comes with the Reindeer and Saint Bernard Elf Pets
- Elf on The Shelf Pets: St. Bernard
- Elf on the Shelf Elf Pets Reindeer
If your kids have an Elf Reindeer that joins him when your elf comes, there is also this super fun and gross Reindeer Poop Slime that the kids would love to make!
Elf on the Shelf Activities
If you are looking for more fun with Elf on the Shelf there are a lot of different activities that you can get.
- Includes the new Santa’s St. Bernards save Christmas DVD and Joy sugar cookie plush Elf
- This cool kit lets the kids write letters to Santa and then you can shrink them down and they will be elf sized to bring back to Santa!
- Use Mrs Claus’ Magic Press and Santa’s Special Paper to shrink letters to elf-size so they can easily be carried by your elf.
- After Santa reads a letter, your Scout Elf will hang it on your Christmas tree as a keepsake ornament.
- Kit contains 32 page children’s book, 8 x Santa’s Special Paper, Mrs. Claus’ Magic Press, 8 Scout Elf sashes, 2 markers and 2 pieces of parchment paper
How to Say Good Bye to Elf on the Shelf
Once it is time for the Elf to go home, you can write a letter to your kids from the elf! Or you can sign up below to get our FREE Elf on the Shelf Printable E-Book that has an exclusive Good-Bye Letter from Elf on the Shelf Printable in it! We also have this easy How to Say Good Bye with Elf on the Shelf idea!
Get the EXCLUSIVE Good-Bye letter Printable! In this FREE E-book you will get 3 Printables to make your Elf on the Shelf adventure easier! It includes Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter, Elf on The Shelf Rules and Elf on the Shelf Good-Bye Letter. Just fill out the form below! Plus you can also Call Santa for FREE with Santas Phone Number!
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Helpful tips on Elf on the Shelf “issues”
What to say when kids see the Elf in the store
One issue we ran into is that our kids saw the Elf in the hallmark store. While I don’t like to lie to my kids I do like the magic to stay alive. We told them that elves in stores are knock offs. We let them know they are not the real elves with magic. And that the magic is in the Elf that is just for our house. It worked for us.
What to say if your kids ask why their friends don’t have an elf
We have told ours there is a waitlist for the elves, and that it is long. So they know that not every child will have one because they have to get off the waitlist. We don’t want other kids to feel bad that they don’t have their own Elf. But I also know that not every parent is going to do Elf on the Shelf. We want to make sure they don’t mention elf in school and hurt other kids feelings who do not have an elf.
It also keeps the magic alive in our house because no one is telling them it is a fake thing or that they don’t have one.
My daughter has also told me one of her friends was sad about not having an Elf. I know it is not always in the budget for everyone and the waitlist idea helped. My daughter made her feel better by telling her that there is a waitlist for Elves and that maybe she would get off the waitlist soon.
More Christmas Fun for Kids
You can Facetime Santa for a fun Santa Phone Call!
There are so many tasty Christmas treats that the kids will love and they are all perfect for any kids Christmas parties that you might have. Some of our favorite Christmas treats are Santa Hat Cupcakes and Whoville Cookies !
But you can check out the full list of Kid Friendly Christmas Treats and pick out your favorites to make with the kids!
If you want to have even more fun you can get Personalized Text Messages each day from Santa!
If you are looking for a totally fun activity to do with the kids, reindeer poop slime is always a BIG hit!
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