The Elf On The Shelf

Yesterday on Facebook I shared last years post about the cheeky little “Elf On The Shelf” and due to popular request, here is some more information!

Firstly and most importantly…..


Naturally like most things there is the “real deal” and imitation.  The “real” Elf On The Shelf is sold as a Book and Elf pack.  The OFFICIAL ELF STORE is where you can buy and register your elf but from my knowledge they don’t ship to Australia. You can buy an Elf and Book pack  from The Book Depository just click this link to go straight to the page.  My children have heard the story before so now it is just a case of refreshing their memory.   I don’t believe the book is vital to the tradition you can sum up the whole idea with a letter written to the child, from the Elf, that explains all the rules. If you can’t get your hands on the set, forget the story and simply by a soft toy elf!  These are available in most “Dollar” stores close to Christmas! 

How it works……

The Tradition: Everybody has different ideas on how to “work” the elf tradition.  But basically…..The Elf (during the night) puts themselves in various positions.  The Elf may be hanging form the Christmas Tree, playing with your childrens toys, even cooking in the kitchen.  When your children awake each morning they find their Elf has gotten up to mischief whilst they have been sleeping.  Their imaginations will run wild!

 It is just that, a tradition, so make it your own! Change it to suit the age of your children and the dynamics of your family.  Last year, Little Miss A was not quite 2 and we had a few “scared of the elf moments”  we had lots of talks about him being a kind and generous person who wants to look out for us, and spread joy at Christmas and not “spy” on us.  We don’t like to use the words “trick” or “spy” “secret” as this then contravenes what we teach them about avoiding secrets, people who try to trick you or spying on people. Instead we emphasise that the Elf is  “silly” “mischief” “cheeky” and a helper for Santa.

So in our house…

The Arrival: 

Our Elf (Trixy) arrives on the 25th of November thoughtfully providing us with an “Elfy Breakfast” to celebrate!   

I completely took inspiration for this idea from Jessica at My Little Pumpkin Grace. You HAVE to  pop over and read her blog when you have a few spare HOURS!  You will be hooked!

He comes with a letter introducing himself and the rules of having an elf.  If you have the book you could use this to introduce the elf for the first time! The beauty of him coming this week is that he will have some jobs to do with the Advent Calendar and Christmas Tree.  This also gives him some time to make the all important visit to the classroom or Kindy, before school breaks up for the year!  Many families choose to start the tradition on 1st December.


  You know me, I like to get organised! During October/November I start to make plans and gather nick nacks. There are some dates I plan ahead using our “Elf Calendar”.  For example on the 30th of November he brings with him the Advent Calendar for us to hang and on the 1st of December he brings a special Christmas Ornament for each child to hang on the tree. 

I will post about the Elf Calendar next month and have it as a free printable for you all!

The Advent Calendar:  Our Elf leaves little clues to his whereabouts in our Advent Calendar.  The Clue is a printed rhyme and sometimes also includes an object.  For example….

Cookie Cutter with….. 

“This Little Elf is feeling kind of hungry

Looking for something to fill his little tummy

Its shaped and sweet and soemtimes kind of crumbly

but most of all it’s all kinds of yummy!” 

And there he is the Elf on the kitchen bench amongst the flour!  All ready to make some Christmas Cookies as a family! We make a huge batch and deliver them to friends.

I have our “Elf Clue Cards” all ready to go before the Elf arrives so I am not caught out! Once again this is how we do it in our house.  Many just place the Elf in a funny position and let the kids discover him!  For my littles this means the fun is over in less than 5 minutes and we wanted a whole ‘Christmasey’ experience!!!

Giving, Cooking, Creating, Doing, Laughing

 The Elf provides the guide to the activities in our household in the lead up to Christmas.  Some days the Elf is all about giving.  Helping others in need, donating items to charity, sharing Christmas Cheer with neighbours or the elderly, cleaning and preparing the house for Christmas.  Sometimes the Elf is about Creating.  Christmas Craft, Cards, Stories , the elf is always giving us ideas on how to celebrate Christmas!  Somedays he is just there to provide us with some joy with his mischievious antics like rolling down the stairs in the toilet paper roll!!!! 

From Amy Sanders on Flickr

 The ideas and joy to be had are endless, it is truly one of our favourite Christmas Traditions!  All seem a bit complicated?  Never fear I will be sharing our printables in November so you can just print, cut and enjoy this wonderful tradition.

Have any questions about The Elf On The Shelf? Ask Away!


  1. I love this idea and can’t wait to do it with my kids! Maybe next year!

  2. I can’t wait for the Elf games to begin. Looking forward to your printable – where do you get the clue cards

  3. Hi, this is the most fun possible, but wanted to let you know that our online scrapbooking and memory event store will be stocking Elf on the Shelf for Australian consumers from the first week in October. Ordering information will be availabe at our website from October 1st. You can find us on facebook too, Scrapbook Central, Perth, Western Australia ( I have sent a message to your email as well) Hope you don’t mind the information on here like this, feel free to delete if you do, I just wanted to let people know that there were other options than Book Depository. I am looking forward to introducing the elf to ur young grandsons this year – it will be so much fun.

  4. We received our elf today. Do I allow my daughter to open the box or do I do this and set him somewhere for her to find? Also, is it true she cannot touch him?

    • My PIgeon Pair says:

      The Elf holds special magic and childrens hands take it away!!! So no touching! I read the story first and then let the children find them last year (our first year)This year I had the table set up with the elves on it and the book for the first appearance! Check out our facebook page for pics!

  5. You should check out The Pajama Elves by Hayden Edwards. It is the story of elves at the North Pole who sew magical pajamas that help children sleep on Christmas Eve, so Santa can visit unnoticed. Another fun Christmas tradition for families!

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  1. […] To get back to basics and explore what the “Elf On The Shelf” concept is all about, check out my posts HERE and HERE. […]

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