Dear perfect Elf on the Shelf people, an open letter.

Dear perfect Elf on the Shelf people,

stop it.

Seriously, quit it.

You’re making the rest of us parents look horrible.

It’s only December 11th and do you know what our Elf did last night? I’ll show you:


That’s right. He’s in a freezer. Why? Because when our Elf on the Shelf iPhone “hide the elf” alarm went off, we were out of ideas. Let’s pause for a second. That’s right, we had to set a freaking alarm to remind ourselves to hide this thing. We are the worst parents.

So @JennyAcuff and I decided, “Let’s put him in the freezer. That’s a thing. We’ll make him hold a popsicle. That’s whimsical or something. Whatever.”

I think he’s sitting on a loaf of bread or maybe some ham. I don’t care. The day before that he hid in a jar. Why? Because jars are easy for me to open. Don’t judge me. You don’t know my life.

Then I get online and see photos of your elf. You’ve built a trapeze with the elf hanging from the roof of your house with some sort of homemade jet pack. The day after that he’s driven your car into the front yard and left some clever message spelled out with Skittles. You’re making the rest of us parents, who hide the elf in the Christmas tree 9 times in December, look bad. Plus, you’re not showing all of your elf days online, just the greatest hits. (That’s the photographic equivalent of putting the song “Christmas Shoes” on repeat.)

And don’t tell me you got that photo in one take. You didn’t. You took at least 10 photos of that scene, I guarantee it. You tried 5 filters before you found the perfect one. Do you understand that? We’ve become Elf on the Shelf paparazzi. You also never show the after photo. The one where there are ants all over your counter because you left a trail of powdered sugar footprints when the Elf had a powdered sugar snowball fight with a teddy bear.

I think next year Jenny and I are going to have to move houses because we’ve run out of ideas. This is our 6th year. If this is your first, I totally give you a free pass. Have at it. But if you and your spouse are holding brainstorming meetings in November for elf planning, we’ve got a problem.

It’s exhausting.

Please stop,


p.s. If this is you, please sign this petition by forwarding this or sharing it on Facebook or tweeting it or doing anything you can to get it into the hands of perfect Elf on the Shelf people. They must be told.

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      • ocie says

        Encore Dec. 26th?????… that “elf” should never be back after bedtime on Christmas Eve…you are killing us here!!!! If you have an encore we will all be forced to do it I can hear my kid now “”” waaahhh Johnnys elf came back after Christmas!” For the love of all sane, tuck that little stuffed monster away on Christmas Eve night!!!!!

        • Slick says

          Amen! My alarm clock is set for 5:15 every morning to remind me to get up and do something with our elf before my daughter wakes up. She’s going to sleep AFTER me (don’t judge; I’m a single mom and don’t get in bed until 10:00!) because she stays up & plays on Instagram – AGAINST MY ORDERS. If I happen to get up to go to the bathroom IN THE NIGHT, I brainstorm and try to do something with him then. I told my ex-husband that next year, HE GETS CUSTODY of our ELF!!!

    • JOhanna says

      THANK YOU!!!! I am a fellow parent elf on an f’in shelf underachiever…..Glad I’m not the only one.
      LMFAO, tears rolling down my face!!!!

      • julee says

        Really? U r on a CHRISTIAN website and your CURSING that way? Who does that! So what and who cares what people do with their elf! It is all in good fun! Get a life and worry about more IMPORTANT issues!

        • Carrie says

          @Julie…You realize that Jon is a writer and he’s hilarious and writes these silly little things to amuse us and himself, don’t you? He has no control over the people who read these things and reply with nasty language. And I’m quite sure that he thinks about and writes about much more important issues than the Elf on a Shelf topic, however, humor is a gift from God. God doesn’t require us to be serious all of the time. Lighten up, Love. It’s Christmas.

          • Susan says

            Christians celebrate Christmas because it is about the birth of our Savior! There is no harm in having some fun during Christmas with the family and friends. God made us in his image and obviously that included a sense of humor. The pagan rituals you speak of are only pagan if we are pagans…otherwise they are Christmas traditions that have been passed on down from previous generations. Every holiday is what you make it. It doesn’t have to be pagan. If we rejoice at the Christ child’s birth, teach our children the true meaning of Christmas, and that it is better to give than to receive, then how can anyone see that as pagan?

        • jamie says

          I do not understand why you are being so judgemental of Jon. True Christians accept others for who they are and they do not judge. So that is not very Christian of you.

          • jewdy says

            Crazy how it only took five comments before all the Christians started harping on the other Christians about what is a Christian behaviour!! Oh wait….perfectly predictable. Stop that. You make your faith a joke. Next, Elves are Pagan healers not Christian jesters. Third, Jesus, aka Yeshua, was born in September during the feast of Sukkot when all were required to be in Bethlehem and it was still warm enough to be tending the sheep at night. NOT ONE THING you do on Christmas is about Jesus except maybe the prayer before gluttony. – the Jew who accepts Christ but not the nonsense

        • Amber Elise says

          It’s people like you who ruin the fun for everyone else. I’m 17 and I help do this for my best friend’s kid (she’s 4 now) and what Jon has written is absolutely spot on. So stop killing everyone else’s vibe.

        • Trudy says

          Response to Julee, The Elf on the Shelf article;
          Really?? I reread this letter looking for curse words, and the closest I came to finding one was the word “freaking”!! I didn’t know that freak was cursing, but if it is in your christian religion, let me appologize for this writer and any other “freak” that has offended you. It was obvious that this letter was written in good fun and good taste for the season, yet you feel the writer needs to worry about other, more important issues?? I think Santa should bring you a sense of humor for the holidays!

        • KC says

          You have a good point, but you are telling the writer of this post what to do and think, too. And, then chastising the writer for doing the same thing.

        • Melanie says


          Lighten up.

          Hospitals are for sick people not saints.

          Galatians 6:1 says to correct a brother with gentleness.

        • jenavieve says

          Just trying to make a fun article around the holiday and someone have to take it the wrong way because they don’t have the joy of happiness.thank you and sorry

          • Aaron says

            She wasn’t responding to Jon, but to a fellow commenter who used an acronym for foul language. Let’s cut Julee some slack, folks. She’s allowed to be offended by foul language, even if the rest of this audience isn’t. Or is grace and kindness only extended to those who hold the same views as you? ;-)

    • Kenae Jumper says

      Love this! Is a ridiculous “balls to wall” effort on behalf of my husband and i just to get 10 seconds of joy from the kids. Who invented this?

      • Barb says

        A toy company found a warehouse full of circa 1960’s felt elves and said, “How can we get rid of these things?” Their marketing manager said, “I know…let’s prey on the angst of new but well-meaning parents.” Et vois la! Suckers!

        • Kristen says

          Marketing at it’s best :) Gotta love it !
          My kids are 13 (girl) and 11 (boy) and had never heard of this tradition but when I told my son about (crazy, right?), he was all over it. Unfortunately, we are just now going to decorate our tree this evening (read = find our elf ornaments that we actually have from when I was growing up that actually went on our tree). Better late than never ? I’m with the author of the article about being made to look bad by other perfect elf on the shelf parents. LOL :)

    • Stephanie says

      Let me get this straight. Because some parents don’t have fun with this means you can mock and belittle the ones that do. Hmmm. Sounds like a little parent guilt. Sorry you work 80 hours a week promoting your books and traveling. Sorry you can’t have a little fun with your children. Jon Acuff, I’ve heard you speak at Dave. Ramsey events. You’re a funny guy. But don’t turn into an arrogant know it all just because a few thousand people know your name now. Lighten up. This article is in bad taste. It’s actually just plain rude!

      • philip garrett says

        Get over yourself…it was a freaking joke. Wow, some people will find anything to bitch about. I thought the article was funny and I could see me and my wife doing a few brainstorming sessions about the damn elf on the shelf! !!!!

      • lisa B says

        Really, Stephanie? You seem to be the only one here who didn’t crack up laughing. It was meant to make us laugh. Laugh, Stephanie, laugh!

        • Beth says

          No, Stephanie’s not alone. Been attacked on FB a number if times over the elf just because we think it fun. Why so much division? It’s Christmas. Merry Christmas to all.

      • says

        Whoa, take a chill pill. My kids are grown so never had to do this. Wish I had. I know a lot of people doing this though.I found the article funny. The world needs more laughter!

        • Diane says

          Hahaha!!! Our children our grown too! I enjoyed this letter! But, I’m relieved the Elf on the Shelf did NOT exist for our kids….it would have just been one more thing to deal with during the holidays!!! Kudos to you that have the creativity….I lack in that department too! :) I would have felt like a bad parent too! I dread writing the Santa letter….which we still do…

      • Christine says

        I agree that this seems kind of rude…let those parents who still have ideas and are having fun with the whole elf thing enjoy it. Stop feeling so bad about running out of ideas…start a new thing…where did the reindeer leave his droppings….but don’t berate those who are creative and enjoying the process. FYI – i do not have and elf on the shelf because I have no young ones around right now…I would however have fun with it for about one year and then move on to something else…

        • Karyn says

          Very well said. While the article was funny, I have 21 year old twins who did not have an elf (didn’t exist then). I now have a 7 year old and I actually enjoy coming up with cleaver and exciting ways for her elf to move. It’s not in an attempt to make any parents feel inadequent or like bad parents. And for the record, I work full time with 2nd graders all day long so it’s not like I, not just as busy as the next parent. But, if you “dread” writing a letter to Santa or can’t find time to be a little creative in moving an elf for 3 or 4 weeks a year (for your child) – then that is just ashamed

          • talitha says

            Hey Judgy Judgerson! Some parents choose to do other traditions with their kids. Maybe it’s not the same thing you do. Maybe they don’t agree with the commercialization or gimmicks maybe they just don’t want one more thing to make them feel like they’re not doing “enough”….iI do plenty of other things with my kids, so no, I don’t feel ashamed that I don’t have time to move a toy elf around for 3 or 4 weeks out of the year.

      • Trevor says

        Oh chill out. You’re getting way too amped over a funny article demonstrating how 90% of us feel. Continue to build the amphitheater where your elves will be singing Christmas carols on December 25. Go on. We won’t stop you.

        • Pat says

          Like this! I am reading all these comments and can’t understand why some people can’t take some things
          as just plain funny! A movie like Anchorman makes fun of newscasters and it makes us laugh. This made me laugh because it is talking about parents wanting to be GOOD parents and they are all in the same boat!

      • Bryce Belcher says

        To be honest, this doesn’t seem like an attack, it comes across as a whimsical frustration. I’m would say I’m about 99.9 percent sure that it was not putting people down. If you read it with that mindset this yes it will be. To be truly mature and adult about it you must remember people will have their opinions and at the end if the day your opinion on what you do is what really matters. So before we start reading things and not know in what context or mindset things are being said in, let’s be open minded. This is what’s wrong with the world today, you post something online and a select few take it up the ass!!!!….that’s America for you….

      • rmmiller says

        You’re ridiculous. Learn to laugh a little. This article was hilarious and not meant to seriously offend anyone.

      • says

        Dude, your a fuck if you seriously just said that. This article is hilarious, and was obviously made to make people laugh, if you haven’t realized that, then I’m sorry that your too closed minded to open up your eyes and stop taking everything so personal.

  1. lizzzzy says

    Ah, I so relate! To be honest, I accidentally-on-purpose touched our Elf yesterday just so I would have a 24 hour reprieve of figuring out where to hide the little blighter.

    • Kerri says

      Ha ha ha ha!!!! That’s HILARIOUS!!!! I’ve never even thought about “accidentally on purpose” touching the Elf in front of the kids!! Ha ha ha ha!!!!!

    • Verna says

      I usually blame it on the cat for accidentally touching our elf if I have forgotten to move him!!! I love love love this letter!!

    • Jyll says

      This is FABULOUS!! I love that someone else sets a dang alarm every night!! Do you live in fear you will move him before you go to bed and the kids will wake up in the middle of the night and see him in his new place and wonder why he’s not at the North Pole?! Now that it’s a “thing” to get creative with the Elf, I’m doing better. But before, yeah, he just moved from spot to spot in the house. And sometimes that’s still all I can muster…

      • Emily says

        I realized that fear last night! after putting our kids to bed at 8pm I waited until 11:30 (yawn) to move him…as I was placing him in the window sill (because we too have run out of ideas) my daughter (who normally sleeps like a rock) “heard noises” and came out of her room and caught me… I played it off like he had already been to the north pole and was back and I just happened to see him there. Last week she had set an alarm without me knowing and popped up and ran to the kitchen to see me pulling the cinamon rolls out of the oven that the elf was supposed to be bringing…. I get worse at this every year, haha!

        • janie manasco says

          OMG, this is hilarious. I was just at the mall and heard a woman explaining to her elderly parents what this “elf on the shelf ” was. They had a hard time understanding. But I chimed in and said, “well, I didn’t ask Santa for one of his elves because it is just too much responsibility!” So funny, how it has become a torturous skill for so many parents and grandparents!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Terri Gorman says

            Oh my! My daughters were little in the Cabbage Patch craze…as a single parent I waited in lines, irritable of what I could have/needed to be doing (like being with the girls!).
            Now, as an almost 60-year-old grandma, I soooo enjoy watching my daughters stress about an elf on their shelves!
            My daughters tried to explain the concept to me after I saw one hanging in the chandelier at one daughter’s home at Thanksgiving dinner. Little ears were around so the explanation was a little cryptic. Even so, my daughters were stifling grins and laughs as my understanding was as cIear as my “deer-in-the-headlights-look”. Oh, make that a reindeer in the headlights, please.
            We add and lose traditions over time with our families. The more traditions we can keep, the better our children fare in this world (yes, I am a psychotherapist; not to be confused with “psycho” therapist, well, maybe sometimes).
            At any rate, the dear elf, and the stressed, but caring parents are remarkable…silly, yet loving!
            Let me add how much I now enjoy relaxing and watching my 5 young grandsons put my 2 thirty-something daughters through payback. If I had to do the elf thing now, I would forget where he “went”(like how I find a few hidden Christmas packages around the following summer), and he would ultimately be found during springs Easter egg hunt for some lucky child’s basket…figure an explanation for that one!
            Now, excuse me as I try to decipher why my box of Christmas decorations smells of rotten sulphor. I think it has to do with the rabbits running in my yard…MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!! And long live you Elves on Shelves! (Bah! Humbugs? you are not required to participate…make your own fun tradition that fits better into your schedule and quit throwing stones at anyone else…Merry Christmas to you, too. Oh, and the keyword here is “merry”!)

      • Mike says

        I somehow think you missed the entire point of this post. Allow me to clarify for you: STOP IT! You make the rest of us look bad!

        On a related note, I find it slighly unnerving that in response to a blog outlinging how much we dislike “perfect” EotS parents, you include a link to your ELF Blog!!!! Perhaps Jollipop could suggest a good therapist for you.

        • mickey says

          Wow Mike…all the comments I read above are people telling folks to lighten up because Jon was joking…that this is satire. I believe you are now the one who needs to grasp the point of the article…satire, humor and such.

          It’s just a stuffed toy and if it ‘unnerves’ you that someone else (a stranger, even) enjoys theirs more, perhaps you should throw it away and move on.
          Merry Christmas lol…

    • Eryn says

      We recently moved, and I could not find “Scout” the elf ehen December 1stperformance) came around. I told my son that I called Santa and Scout was on a vacation and was delayed in his return for a few days but not to worry, if he wasn’t back in a couple days, Santa would send a substitute elf this year. (I went to Target and bought a $3 stuffed Hermey the Misfit Elf and started hiding it). Wouldn’t you know I just found Scout and now I’m hiding 2it) elves because Hermey is in training. Ugh… and this morning, little man woke up early before me and saw that neither elf had moved. Upon discovering, I pointed out that he must have woken up before the elves had left for the North Pole. I told him to go get dressed (so I could move him)… I’m getting worse and worse. He’s 8 so maybe not much longer…

      • Wendi says

        I couldn’t find Amelia (my daughters elf) so I went and bought a new elf this year. Only to find out that the elf’s looks had changed. I knew my daughter would know it was not the same one as last year. So I came up with a story. I had bought another ‘elf’ earlier in the year to be Amelia’s ‘husband’ so he came back on thanksgiving and Amelia stayed at the North Pole. When Amelia’s did get to come home she had a new baby elf with her. The husband elf ‘Bucky’ is not a scout elf but a ‘toy elf’ so he only stayed the first few days but goes back to the North Pole to help Santa make the toys. He does get to come back and visit once in a whole. If I so fined our first Amelia’s…. I figure she can be the baby girl elf Scarlet grown up next year. Yea I know an elevate story but I figure my daughter is worth it. Oooo and when Bicky came back he had to bring a letter to explain what was going on so too may questions weren’t asked of mommy! Sometimes I think I like it more then she does.

  2. says

    Would it make anyone a bad parent if they made the elf really creepy so their kids would be afraid of it so they wouldn’t have to bother with elf creativity anymore? …I’m asking for a friend

    • says

      A friend took a picture of his elf at the top of a well. At the bottom? A Barbie. He was lowering a bottle in a little basket. The caption? “It puts the lotion on the skin!” ;)

      • Michelle says

        Paige I saw that picture and some other very inappropriate Elf on the Shelf pictures with it. The picture you’re describing was actually a scene from Silence of the Lambs.

      • Shari says

        That’s hilarious! Right up there with roasting him on a spit and taped to the wall in front of a little green army firing squad!

        • Jenni Curran says

          My niece did the little green firing squad – i was hysterical at that one. We just started, and we’re still not that creative with it – but the kids adore it.

          • John G. says

            My kids are past that stage now but here is a little trick I had…I set up an e-mail account from the Elves, they are free on Yahoo and Google, and when I knew I wasn’t going to be creative, magically the Elves were called back by Santa to do some important work. They would then send an e-mail to my wife and I explaining they wouldn’t be back for a few days that we would show to the kids…definitely takes the pressure off…If you don’t want to do the e-mail thing – just have them type up letters in Word and have them sitting at the computer when the kids wake up…

      • laura says

        Thank you, Michael…I have barely-manageable issues from childhood from watching JUST THE COMMERCIALS for scary movies involving clowns and creepy dolls. What kind of therapy would I have needed if my parents had bought a creepy doll…that moved at will…in my own house…in the dark…while I slept?!?

    • Niki says

      Our elf fell off the mantle two years ago and landed next to a naked Barbie. He was eye level with Barbie boobs. I found it more hilarious than the kids did who clearly didn’t get it. He was not I mean NOT placed like that by an adult. He legitimately fell or his magic is REAL and he has the hots for plastic barbies!

    • Betsey Riedl says

      David, you don’t think that thing is creepy enough? I’m very glad my kids were old enough not to believe in Santa or any of that stuff before this elf thing started. I don’t know how you could make your kids afraid of it without some psychological damage. But you know your kids better than anyone else. Why not just get rid of the thing and say the elf left a note saying he had enough information for Santa and was going back to the north pole?

    • janetm says

      I decided before I had a kid that I was not going to take on the responsibility that comes with eots. So, when my 3 year old “discovered” him at the mall this year, I responded, “he sure is a creepy looking elf.” Of course he agreed with his mommy and we left him in the store. Later, One of his shoes referenced the game so I explained and “together” we decided we didn’t want any creepy little elf walking around our house while we sleep. So now he makes sure we set the alarm each night so that creepy guy doesn’t get in. Now that’s good patenting! LOL

  3. says

    There’s an alarm app? I have to find this so I can stop creeping downstairs at 2 a.m. after I wake up remembering I forgot to move the stupid Elf.

  4. says

    Conversation at our house at 7 AM
    Me; “Babe! 911!!! Come stat!” (husband rushes out of bathroom in a towel as the kids begin to come upstairs!)
    Husband: “what???!?!? Is the house on fire?”
    Me: “No, GO GO GO hide the E-L-F!!! Kids go downstairs and find your favorite cars!”
    Husband: “That’s not a 911. you suck.”

  5. says

    You know one of those perfect trapeze elf people is Carlos Whitaker. Maybe he could come to YOUR house and move your elf since he’s up early working out and all.
    Would that be even creepier?

    Thank God my kids were grown before this madness was born!

  6. says

    Ha! I’m with you Dr. Acuff. No alarm here, but we’ve certainly had the “oh oh, we forgot to move the elf moments a couple times…” We use the stockings as “oops we forgot” insurance. That gives us 4 days of new spots just in case we forget. :)

  7. Alison says

    Someone’s going to say it so it might as well be me – We solve this dilemma by not doing Elf on the Shelf :) I can sit back and enjoy everyone’s overachieving Elf antics – keep ‘em up!

    • Alison says

      That being said, it sounds like you were an early Elf on the Shelf adopter and may not have realized what you were getting into – I know it’s not really feasible to abandon something like that!

      • Rikki says

        Maybe the elf needs to be the victim of an “accident.” Or recalled by the North Pole’s Elf Unit. Or, if the Acuffs move, the elf won’t be able to find their new home.

        In case it isn’t obvious, we haven’t done the whole “Elf on the Shelf ” thing here. Personally I think the elf is pretty freaky/creepy looking.

          • Trixie Bryant says

            Oh elves can have an “accident” in any house with a

            fireplce, pets or a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

  8. Amanda says

    We have an elf on the shelf… know where he is???? IN THE BOX that he came in, when Nana and Papa bought him….Evidently we are supposed to watch a video about said elf, read the story, then the elf will magically appear to begin taking naughty and nice notes about our two-year-old. I have a couple of problems: 1. Why is the elf only magical for kids….can’t he really do all this stuff (why do I have to set it up)? 2. Our daughter is 2, she is going to be naughty (every stinkin’ day). If this poor elf has to report her to Santa she will be doomed! Luckily, she has wonderful parents who are keeping the elf in the box…maybe he (or she if you buy the skirt separately) will make an appearance on Christmas Eve so he doesn’t have such a long naughty list to report ;)

    • Ryan says

      Ha! This is EXACTLY what happened to us!!! My mom bought us an elf…we were not happy…said elf is still in the box also….Where he will stay….forever… :)

    • Rachel says

      Amanda, ours is still in the box that my mother-in-law gave it to us in. I had specifically told her I did want to do this for my kids – I don’t have the time to do yet one more thing everyday, nor do I have the creativity to have the elf do “fun” stuff. She still went and bought us one, even showed it to my boys. It is now in the box in a cupboard somewhere and you know how much my boys have asked about – non at all. I don’t think they are missing out on anything!!!! I don’t need an elf to make them behave – I just have them thinking Santa is on my speed dial and I can call him whenever I want – actually have once or twice – luckily my husband goes along with it when I start calling him Santa when I talk to him on the phone! hahahaha

      • TiaMarie says

        HAHA That is awesome! We don’t have an Elf nor have we ever done the Elf thing. We do however tell our kids that we are ‘close’ friends with Santa and we talk to him via email and phone. Luckily we haven’t had to call him in front of the kids yet :P

  9. Cathy says

    I’m cry with laughter..and relief that we’re not the only parents that suck at Elf hiding.
    Ours was in the refrigerator last week, sits in the tree several times, and is most often moved in a frantic rush 10 seconds before our girl makes it down the hall…parenting greatness is defined by the speed at which we work to maintain the magic!

  10. elaine says

    Growing up and for my kids we had an invisible elf who took notes and reported back to Santa. Cheaper and a lot less work!

    • A Martin says

      Our “elves” were red birds. We would see one in the yard and our parents told us they were Santa’s reporters.

    • Sarah says

      My elf was a little ornament named Eggbert. He was given to me by my godmother when I was about 3 years old. I would tell him what I wanted for Christmas and he would report it to Santa. When I was 17 my wacko mom decided that we weren’t going to celebrate Christmas anymore and she sold Eggbert and all of the other ornaments (baby’s first Christmas, my little gold angel ect.) to a family friend. Later I tried to recover him but was told that their dog chewed him up. RIP Eggbert :-(

  11. Kay says

    Oh, how I wish someone would’ve just told me the truth about this responsibility BEFORE I made a mad dash out to buy the little guy. Now, I hear some parents have elves that can be touched! Someone obviously let them in on the hardcore truth. Hey, my kids think the tooth fairy actually writes notes so maybe our elf should write a note. So, I’d really appreciate it if one of those awesome, overachiever parents would come up with an idea for an elf note explaining that there is an easier way… Please.

    • Betsey Riedl says

      Your elf should write a note that he has collected enough information for Santa and has headed back to the North Pole. Done and Done!

      • Beth says

        Better make sure he leaves a note telling he is leaving at least a day ahead. ;) I can only imagine the disappointment in my house if he was just gone one day (there would most likely be a lot of tears). Or maybe he could leave them a little present :)

    • Mendi Mayhem says

      Santa Claus (any male friend/family member will do) called and told us that ONLY Mommy (ME!) has permission to touch Geekle (our elf) if he needs to be moved during the day and that it wouldn’t ruin his magic. Also, a friend of mine had a great idea…..if one of the kids touched the elf, he would lose his magic until Santa mailed some more….which was a baggie of glitter.

      • Paula says

        Agreed! We don’t even do Santa at our house let alone a creepy elf. We do teach our kids about the spirit of giving (i.e. Santa) but my daughter is OCD and high functioning Aspergers. When she was about three her grandma took her to see Santa and she completely freaked out. Then grandma told her all about Santa; that he will bring her presents if she is good… she wanted to know how he would bring them in, grandma told her that he comes in the night. That was world ending for her. She refused to go to bed, and was terrified that someone was going to come into her room while she was sleeping. So, no Santa here! We had to explain what really goes on… Same story with the tooth fairy. She is 9 now and told me a couple of weeks ago at Target that if I bought the elf on the shelf she would throw him away cause he creeps her out. Lol

  12. Julie says

    Look on pinterest. Great ideas. You can always make a parachute out of underwear and he can get stuck on the edge of something while “falling”. Lol!

  13. says

    I miss my kids…my last one is in her first year at college…but I am SO GLAD I missed this “fun” little activity! I struggled to remember to be the tooth fairy…and sometimes didn’t…so I’m pretty sure my photos – had I thought to take any – would have been “elf in the Target bag in the back of the car, still in the box”…over and over…

    • Amber says

      I stress a lot when I forget, but wouldn’t change her excitement nfor the world. Worth every second of my stress. She talks about Shake (our elf) on and off all year. Gonna be sad when the innocence is gone. That being said I def laughed at this story.

  14. Betty says

    1.Our iPhone elf alarm is set for 10:45 which almost became a problem when I let the boys stay up late for the UK basketball game and one was sitting by the dang phone.
    2. I thought the elf was spose to report on their bad behavior, my kids don’t need any help from the elf coming up with ideas.
    3. #2 is my creative way of saying I’m too lazy (mostly cause I used all the creative juice coming up with that excuse)

  15. Amber says

    I am with Alison. I am comfortable enough with my underarchieving slacker parenting style that there is no creepy elf in my house at all. That thing that just spells more work for momma and this momma has enough to do already!

    • says

      We don’t do this stupidity (sorry!) and it’s not because I’m an underachiever slacker. It’s because I don’t get it. And I might be boring, too.

        • Betsey Riedl says

          You’re probably a perfectly lovely parent. We are complete underachieving slacker parents, and guess what? Our three kids are wonderful young adults. One is graduating in July with her masters in psychology, our son is going into an MD/PhD program in two years, and our youngest daughter is taking high school AP classes and is consistently on the honor roll. Way to go for not doing this! Your kids will turn out great, too!

          • grandma says

            comments very funny. don’t have this elf,” mine is from the 50’s. did not know about these new ones till I started seeing the posts. I did not buy into cabbage patch dolls, pet rocks and those little mechanical things you had to keep alive. love Christmas, but I draw the line at being on an elf’s schedule . never equated being a good parent with elf hiding. now tooth fairy, santa claus, easter bunny. dug all those fellows. my little white elf sits my bathroom in a bowl of lavender . he does not judge me and I don’t talk to him. he is cute, don’t know if he is magical, he hasn’t said. we have that kind of relationship.

  16. Tami Latham says

    10:30 is my elf alarm time. However it says “medicine”. Mainly because I feel like after many years of doing this “stupid elf” (as I like to call it every night at 10:31) I should have been medicated thinking that this was a good idea! I don’t even take pictures anymore because I’m ashamed.

  17. Michael says

    Besides my wife and I thinking Elf on the Shelf is kind of creepy, the main reason we don’t is for this reason. We would forget and run out of ideas for the Elf on Year 1, let alone Year 6. We are doing good to remember our Advent reading for the day.

  18. Lori says

    I too, have an alarm set and still forget! ! Add to that I work graveyard. How am I supposed to be creative as I’m stumbling out the door in the middle of the night? My kids were acting up the other day. Our elf has not come back from the north pole yet, just to give me a break!

  19. says

    I cannot quite grasp why I am sitting here, in front of my computer, enjoying my first cup of coffee, and reading this. Well, yes I can; I just started reading my new copy of SCL last night, and had to put my book down several times and have myself a good chuckle. It is this kind of craziness that will change the world for the better. Elf on!

  20. SusanCK says

    That little guy can’t rule our lives! We don’t do the whole Santa thing thus eliminating the whole “Elf on the Shelf” issue. But I do like seeing what people come up with for that toy to do. I love the part about what happens when you leave powdered sugar foot prints on your counters *ants*. The freezer seems like a perfectly good place put the thing to me!

  21. Garden Lobster says

    You could simply not participate in the nonsense. Not to juke, but really, what’s the point? What spiritual lesson does this teach kids? You can’t tell me every parent is responsible enough to tell their kids its all in fun, and not all kids understand. Especially where young kids are concerned, Santa Claus is bad enough. They get confused – how does Santa know what they REALLY wanted? Do you pray to Santa? Do Santa and Jesus know each other? These are common questions out of kids’ mouths (you work in church kids’ ministry long enough, and you’ll hear these and more). We’re confusing our kids’ faith. It’s not about taking the “fun” out of Christmas, it’s about celebrating the miraculous birth of our Savior (and yes, I’m well aware that did not happen on Dec 25, 1A.D.)

    We don’t do Elf on the Shelf in my house, and we don’t do Santa. When my son was little I didn’t even do a tree. My kids know that the legend of Santa Claus originated with people who embodied Christ-likeness. They know that rather than make everyone change their holidays when they found faith in Jesus that early Christians simply adapted the celebrations, which also helped with analogies. They know that we give gifts to each other not because we’re deserving, but because we bless one another. They know that blessing the poor with a blanket, a toothbrush, a shoebox full of toys is something we should do year-round, but we’re reminded to do it now. The Elf embodies more commercialism and Christians are selling out faster than you can say youth group STD outbreak.

    While I believe we should be all things to all people and in the world and not of it, in THIS instance, where we have a holy observation, we need to avoid being wordly. We need to be different and set apart. The biggest issue non-Christians have with us is that we are hypocritical. We’ll bar gay representation in church leadership, but the gay guy can come to church. We preach doing good works for the less fortunate, yet throw ourselves into debt for a TV without so much as a donation to Goodwill because it’s easier to put the old TV in the dumpster. We’ll talk about the reason for the season, and then play stupid games that confuse young children with stuffed elves we purchase with money that could have gone in the red bucket, and tell them a magical being delivers gifts to them, even though magic doesn’t exist and witchcraft is bad. I’ve never put my hands on an Elf, but it does make me wonder, who stitches that together? Where is it made? Are we participating in the exploitation of workers when we buy these?

    If you want to teach kids awe & wonder, teach them to have faith that moves mountains, about the power of forgiveness, to pray for the bullies that pick on them, to tell the truth instead of lie about an elf on a shelf.

      • Boiled Lobster says

        This comment is layered in hypocrisy. Teaching kids the ‘reason for the season’ while stating that in truth “early Christians simply adapted the celebrations”. The reason for the season predates any idea of a Jesus type character.

        Also, it appears this parent is okay teaching his/her children about an apparent God spirit that is also mythical but not let them enjoy the fun of youth in a bit of pretend that is Santa.

        I agree the commercialization of a Santa and the Elf have gone to extremes but even the idea of a Santa type figure pre-dates the mythical Jesus.

        Feel free to blast and rant.

      • Betsey Riedl says

        The voice of TRUTH and REASON would be that god is a mythical being and people should stop believing these stone age ideas.

        • Mouse Mover says

          If you ‘re not a Christian I’m not judging you But I am a Christian who doesn’t like hearing my Father the Creator put down. God isn’t a myth but is in fact Truly very real He is Love itself. God Loves you whether you Believe in Him or not. The closer you are to God the closer and more real He will make himself to you.

          God sent his only Son Jesus to Die for the Sins of the Entire World Anyone who Truly Believes in Him will not die Spiritually but will have Eternal Life in Heaven. John 3:16

          If anyone Says with their mouth Jesus is Lord and Believes In their Spirit that God raised Jesus from the dead they will be Saved. Romans 10:9-10

          When anyone Belongs to God they become a new creation inside their Spirit.The ways of sin are dead and everything becomes new.
          Second Corinthians 5:17

    • Johanna says

      Thank you! Excellent thoughts that put my lack of Elf participation in perspective. Acuff actually did open the door on the “why am I failing at Elf on a Shelf?” parenting angst– so all is fair in discussing this topic. Faith that moves mountains always did more for my kids than Santa lore and the cool stuff under the tree.

      My creative energy has gone elsewhere over the years, trying to find a balance between being the mommy-overachiever with my kid’s Christmas pageant costume (nothing says Christmas like showing up everyone else in the biggest so-called “outreach” program of the year) and killing Santa altogether in a frenzy of ascetic devotion.
      As kids, we always clowned around with hiding the three Wise Guys from the Nativity set. For those who are looking for a way out of Elfing, (Jon? Jenny?) maybe the Wise Guys can come in and show Elf a catalog from Samaritan’s Purse or World Vision and redirect the family dialog to the needs of children in our own country and around the world in need, If Elf is *watching*, maybe Elf can *learn* some lessons to teach the kids about giving and receiving. ( I see Elf sitting on the catalog, the desired gift to send overseas circled with his Sharpie, and the contents of a piggy bank poured out on the counter and tallied up toward his giving goal…)
      Elf could sit in a pet’s empty water dish or next to some other indicator of a chore undone… Elf could become *quite* the parenting ally before the kids outgrow the fun of seeing what he has been up to… but he definitely should TP the Christmas tree at least once before he reforms his elfish ways.
      I have been the mommy overachiever silently but smugly gloating inwardly over my peers praise for my latest burst of creativity for school, church or community activity. I don’t want to be that person on the inside anymore. I want my creative energy to truly bless those who see it. So some invisible elf must have let me see that my attitude had put me on my own naughty list, leaving me empty inside with all my frenetic holiday doings.
      Trying not to juke! Totally loved the thread, looked at the Pinterest boards and other creative links in the comments. Just chiming in where my thoughts carried me! Peace!

    • JR says

      “Christians are selling out faster than you can say youth group STD outbreak.” I’m sure you weren’t trying to be funny, but I snickered at that one–which is sad in and of itself. It’s only funny because it’s far-too-often true. I get that the stupid/creeptastic elf is all just fun and games, and I really have nothing against fantasy or whimsy (I spent my entire childhood playing “make-believe”), but I appreciate your comment.

      I don’t have kids, but I’m really starting to doubt that we’ll “do” Santa. I grew up with Santa, and had a lot of fun with it, and I’m well aware of who he is and who he isn’t, but I can’t see myself getting my kids involved. I’d much rather light Advent candles and read Behold the Lamb of God and the associated Scripture, have a nativity (seriously, my favorite part of Christmas growing up was being the one who got to put baby Jesus in the manger–yes, even more than presents), visit friends and family, practice some extravagant generosity…

  22. Jennifer says

    My 6-year-old daughter pointed to the Elf on the Shelf book at Target the other day and asked, “what is this, mommy?” I hemmed and hawed and uhm-ed and said, “I don’t really know honey,” like she’d just pointed to contraceptives or something.

  23. Melissa Ogden says

    Thank you for speaking up about the Elf on the Shelf. So darn silly yet it brings a smile to our kids faces, which is why I suppose we continue to do this. Ours has been living in our plants this year.

  24. Crystal says

    When I first saw this Elf on a Shelf craze, I thought, “Oh, how cute! How fun!” And then I reminded myself that if I can’t even remember to do the whole tooth fairy thing on the occasional nights where there’s a tooth under my kid’s pillow, why on all that is holy would I do this to myself??? So thank you for this confirmation.

  25. Cinnamon says

    As the parent of children way past Elf on the Shelf age, I am just enjoying watching everyone scramble. Veteran parents everywhere are getting a good chuckle out of the insanity. *laugh*

    • Sue says

      Oh, we do! I am so glad this wasn’t around when my kids were young, because they would have most surely been deprived of the experience. I could barely get cookies baked, gifts purchased and wrapped, and the house clean enough for company, and I was a stay-at-home mom!

    • Christina says

      Yep we do!! We’ve never done Santa in our house either. I’m enjoying watching all the parents scramble this year. We almost bought one this year just to be fun, my kids(all teens) think it would be hilarious to take turns “hiding” him each night.

  26. Rachel says

    Love your article! I have a 6 year old and felt like I was failing him as a Mom because we didn’t have an elf. Last year I scrambled to find one on time and introduce him, as expected, right after Thanksgiving. Our elf, Yankee Doodle (named by my son), did all kinds of crazy things including hanging from the chandelier and swinging on the ceiling fan. What I could not understand – this elf is supposed to be reporting on my son being naughty or nice, but frankly he was setting a bad example. My son thought he was cute and that he did funny things…he looked for him, but I really got the feeling that he wasn’t that concerned. This year the elf hasn’t been mentioned, but I’m seriously considering telling my son that he did such a good job caring for his elf that his elf earned a promotion and had to go live with another family, who needs him more. Is that bad?

    • Mouse Mover says

      It’s not a bad idea as long as your Son doesn’t find him later. You could stick to your story that the Elfkins was promoted because you Son was such a great Elfsitter.
      After your elf leaves on his”new assignment”you’d have an opening to sell or give him away.

  27. Matt says

    My elf is on a shelf…in his box…wrapped in cellophane. Done. That’s how I roll. Ah the externally imposed expectations we try to live up to.

  28. Melanie says

    Love this. Our elf sits on one of the surround sound speakers up in one corner of the family room. He stays there. All Christmas. He has a bird’s eye view of all that goes on in the house. At least that is what we tell our 5 year-old. The only creative thing he has done so far is hold an Auburn shaker during the SEC championship game. Other than that he stays on his perch. Watching.

  29. Grant Medford says

    Christmas is coming, the Elf thing’s getting whack. Please to put that stupid thing in a sack. If you haven’t got a elfen sack, then a cardboard box will do. If you haven’t got a cardboard box, I feel for you.

    • Rikki says

      I laughed so much at this one that my kids came running to see “What’s so funny Mom?” Yeah, like I’m gonna explain this one! It does sound like something my daughter would do, if we had an elf.

  30. says

    The whole naughty-nice thing of Elf on the Shelf is quite silly… My family has a vintage elf (that the modern shelf elves were modeled after) that my grandmother used to hide as part of her christmas decor. The object was more like a good old game of Hot-Cold, and which ever grandchild found the elf first got to re-hide it. None of this stress out already stressed out parents non-sense! :)

  31. Anni says

    I know my limits. I’ve not even bought an Elf. As I age, I’m learning to be more realistic about my expectations. Our Christmas tree is up. It has lights. It has candy canes. And it has pony tail holders and hair bows on it. That’s it. Oh, and a miniature stocking and a Webkinz.

    I can’t even remember to do the whole Tooth Fairy thing after a kid hits 10 years, so what would make me think I could do the whole Elf thing?

  32. Amy says

    You have to be creative far less often if you only do a couple of wows a week, it isn’t cheating to have greatest hits, it is smart. I think it is perfectly ok to suck at it the rest of the week then. It is probably cheating really but I use small gifts a lot. Check the $1 bins at Target, today the elf brought him Penguin Christmas socks.

  33. Alyson says

    I didn’t bother with this simply because I’ve already failed so miserably with the Easter Bunny (I keep accidentally saying stuff like– No…there’s still three more eggs…I remember where we hid them…)…or the Tooth Fairy (she typically shows up anywhere from one to two weeks late….long after my kids have given up hope on ever receiving anything for their lost teeth) or Santa (when I keep saying things like this: ….”do you love it? I’m so glad…it was close, we nearly couldn’t find the one you wanted…whoops..I mean…..Santa brought you this…”)

  34. Tim says

    Here are some great and creative solutions for parents who need ideas on where to hide the elf:

    1.) Bake him into a small cake… At some point, he will be discovered.
    2.) Make a noose out of dental floss and hang him from a doorway.
    3.) Take a page from Braveheart. Pull off his arms and legs and hide them in different corners of the house. Put the head on the mantle, as a reminder for the kids to find the other body parts.
    4.) Freeze him in a square tupperware container filled with water. Then leave the ice cube on a plate somewhere. For an added effect, give the kids pop sickles that day and tell them there’s a little bit of elf in each one.

    You get the idea. If you do this for about a week, you’ll no longer have to worry about where to hide the elf because the kids WON’T want to find him. ;)

    • Betty says

      Ha! My FB cover photo is our elf hanging from a noose…just a little fun while the kids were sleeping…next up is a chalk outline crime scene.

  35. adam says

    spoiler alert: some of the “magic” of the elf on a shelf may be revealed in this comment
    for the last 4 days my wife has asked where is our elf on the shelf, I have been replying if you haven’t found him yet he must have hidden pretty well. I really don’t want to bother with him. Although seeing some of the online pictures i want to just take him out and do a photo session for instagram.

  36. says

    I’ve been doing Elf on the Shelf for the last three years, and I have yet to double up on “elf activities.” I haven’t repeated anything…on purpose. My parents raised me better than to repeat creative ideas. But every night at 11:00, I’m scrambling around in a half-sleep stupor trying to think of something – anything – our elf, Jasper, can do to surprise my boys (5 & 4) in the morning.

    Secretly, I’m hoping they quickly come the realization that I’m the one doing it just so I can stop.

    I’m tired.

  37. says

    I don’t get it and don’t need the added pressure- my husband texted me from the store right before thanksgiving asking if I wanted one- I quickly replied, “no!”

    It truly makes no sense to me to have a bad elf teach your kids to be good. No thanks.

  38. Rikki says

    You people are awesome! Thank you for confirming my decision to avoid the elf at all costs! And thank you for the laughs! Tim, your ideas for how to help the kids not want to find the elf were excellent- I’m still laughing!

  39. John G. says

    We had two going at one time…when I was really tired our elves would have to go back to the North Pole to help Santa for a few weeks, er, days…They would leave a nice e-mail (yes, they did have their own Yahoo account – hmmm…I wonder if that still works?). Every time I thought our elves did something really cool I too would hear about or see what someone else did and thought – you lazy, non-imaginative, poor excuse for a parent…oh well, those days have since passed and I do miss them, even when Elsie and Dudley were working back at the North Pole with Santa…

  40. says


    We didn’t do an elf, but my toys have come alive in the month of December.

    So far they have made friend eggs, emptied my bookcase, toilet papered my desk, washed the silverware, made Christmas cookies, decorated the Christmas tree, emptied my pantry, had breakfast with our cats and they wrote a note on my computer.

    If you would like to feel even worse, check out the adventures of my toys adventure on Facebook at Toycember.

    All the best,

  41. says


    It’s only our second year and my wife and I are running out of ideas too. I wrote a post on my blog titled 75 Creative Elf on the Shelf ideas and it has been getting 40-50 thousand views a day! Crazy right! So this must be a pretty widespread problem haha.

  42. Steve W says

    The night before last our elf was on a zip-line from the curtain rod to the tree. Last night, he repelled from the ceiling fan. Yep, I stole the zip-line one but my boys thought it was awesome. They no longer believe at 11 & 13 so we occasionally move him during the day when they are awake and deny, deny, deny just to freak them out some.

  43. Bryan says

    Good lord, I had to skim down a football field of comments, so no one is prolly gonna see mine.

    And if someone has already posted it…awesome. Here goes…

    Pinterest has been my saving grace Jon. Tons of ideas. Some nights we just don’t do it. Don’t force it, just have fun with it.

  44. HolliB says

    My kids are too old for Elf on the Shelf, so, thank God, I was spared all of this.

    But here’s my question: If the idea is, at least in part, to give the kids a daily reminder that Christmas is coming, what’s wrong with an Advent calendar?

    I don’t mean this as a Jesus juke. From the outside, Elf on the Shelf just seems rather silly to me: high-pressure for the adults, with not enough payoff for the work involved. And it points to the idea that Santa is coming, not the idea that Jesus is coming.

    Are all you folks running around like maniacs to hide your Elves also opening Advent calendars every night? I’m just curious.

    • Heather says

      I agree! It seems like Advent is something more in line with what Christian parents would be trying to teach their kids than this.

    • Mary says

      We do an advent calendar and the elf. Each night at dinner, we light the advent candles and say a prayer. After dinner, the kids open the box on the advent calendar. And every morning they go looking for our elf, Cookie, to see what crazy things he is doing. On Christmas, we have a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Having an elf does not preclude making sure my children know the real meaning of Christmas. It just adds a little more joy to an already joyous season.

  45. M Haynie says

    I LOVE HIM!! I wish he had been around when my kids were little. There is a plethora of ideas out there on Pinterest if you can’t think up your own (I am def not that inventive) but the kids absolutely love it! And after all, it’s about them right?

  46. says

    I find this post very amusing.

    I don’t have kids, so I get some kind of free pass from this Elf craze. At least for now. This elf is blowing up all my social media feeds. Along with him, every Christmas lyric and/or Christmas tree picture…let’s agree to keep those posts to a minimum. Please?

    No? Ok.

    But when you get sick of my “singleness” rantings and make a comment about it, I’m gonna remind you that I’ve seen just enough pictures of your kids making a mess of dinner and enough snow pictures/weather reports to last 25 lifetimes.

  47. Maria says

    I am that parent that you all hate!! lol Haters are going to hate! lolol Kidding! I am tired of Buddy. My son said he touch the tag I forgot cut off the back of the elf neck… does that count to loosing magical power?? lol

  48. Melissa Bergstrom says

    Listen! I’m 31 years old and my parents did this for my brother & I growing up. They just bought an elf decoration and came up with it on their own. I am here to tell you that he was never creepy to me and I have so many fun memories. Don’t make it difficult. I never cared that he was in the tree every other night or on top the curtain rod on the opposite nights. Lol. I am thankful my parents did it for us. Have fun with it! BTW- The freezer is an awesome idea!!

  49. says

    I’m actually moving the elf more this year because I’ve had more free time. Do I feel guilty about posting (after 500 shots of each elf pose) to IG or FB? No, actually, I’m even blogging about it. I don’t care what my friends think…. it’s the little smiles I’m getting in the morning that make it all worth it. I am not judging you for having a lazy elf… this is the first time ours has moved around like this since we got him in 2009. ;)

  50. Rootsmama says

    Solved it. I told the kids we had an elf when they were too little to remember and he’s moved on to other bigger adventures. Hey, don’t worry we can track him on other people’s FB pages. Like little electronic postcards. Done.

  51. Michelle says

    If I ever ended up with a stupid Elf on the Shelf.. He might accidentally get eaten by a dog. I’ve got 3 to choose from.

  52. Wendy says

    Our Elf-on-the-Shelf does just that….he sits on one shelf. I too am lazy…I have tried moving him, but it creeps out my son. He was watching you-tube trying to find ways to get rid of the darn thing. He found a video of kids flushing him down the toilet. So, to ensure that doesn’t happen in my house….the elf just sits there.

  53. Rebecca C says

    I know it is said that once you have kids, you’ll do a lot of things that you claim you’ll never do. But, as certain as I can be, I will NEVER do Elf on the Shelf. I hate it so much.

    And I’m sick of people posting pictures of their hiding places on Facebook. I’d rather see cute pictures of their kids, dogs, flowers, snow, anything but that stupid Elf.

  54. Lisa says

    I love it, and I am into it not only because it is my first year, but because my kids are at a awesome age and I finally get to do something fun other that being in Nursing school!!…Haters can hate and put there’s in the freezer and cry about it…I don’t care what they do…so don’t care what I do! You Bah Humbug~ers! If people have time to blog about NOT being creative…maybe they have time to move their elf off the shelf every once and awhile;) Call yourself a Christian?…That’s awesome how you judge people that actually go out of their ways to go above and beyond?! Great article…NOT!

  55. Pegel says

    My mother got one for my son. Since I collect wolf figurines, his elf gets to ride a different wolf for half the month. The rest of the time he hangs from light fixtures, ceiling fans, dream catchers or some other place high up where our four cats can’t shred him to bits.

  56. Charlotte F says

    I think there totally should be the “day after” photos of the real scenes! Now that’s a photo worth looking at ;) I do not do Elf on a shelf, I have enough with making and getting gifts for everyone I’ve ever met. What? We have a substitute mail carrier? Oh no! I have to run for another gift!

  57. Ms. H says

    I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you! This whole Elf on the Shelf thing is just stupid. Do you really think that your kids believe this thing gets up at night and does all this stuff? It is as bad as saying a big bunny brings them a basket of candy at Easter. Your kids depend on you to tell the truth and you are seriously damaging your reputation.

  58. says

    Oh, we don’t participate in *that* at our house. As good Christian parents, we simply move Francis Chan’s “Forgotten God” around and let it do its work…

  59. Denis says

    I really feel like this post is misplaced. This isn’t even a Christian subject (and no, Christmas-related doesn’t count). I feel like this site in general is fast becoming “Stuff Jon Acuff Likes…that most other middle aged Christians will agree with”…but, thats too long of an acronym.

  60. AJ says

    This is why in the Bible when it says not to compare yourselves to others, Christians need to take that more seriously. Comparison is a horrible thing that the Internet has turned into more of a horrible monster.

  61. Dawn says

    We don’t have an elf, and thankfully our kids are old enough not to want one! So I cheated and looked on the website for what the elf is really all about. To me all the shenanigans are fun to watch but seem to really be a lot to plan. I could probably have done an elf if all he did was sit somewhere different every day and watch on the kids…I’m just not creative enough for snowball fights with dinosaurs, card games with the cast of Toy Story, roasting s’mores over a candle, etc. All of that being said, I will still enjoy seeing all of the pictures on Facebook and Pinterest!

    “The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.

    There are two simple rules that every child knows when it comes to having an elf. First, an elf cannot be touched; Christmas magic is very fragile and if an elf is touched it may lose that magic and be unable to fly back to the North Pole. Second, an elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake! An elf’s job is to watch and listen.”

  62. Heather says

    I don’t understand why Christian parents are all about the Elf! I thought it was a Christian thing because everyone was doing it… and then I read the book at some Christian friends’ house and was shocked to find out how non-Christian it is. It’s worse than just celebrating Santa Claus! Can someone tell me why so many Christian parents have embraced something so secular and so ridiculous? The naughty/nice thing is so anti-gospel! Are these parents that really don’t try to teach their kids about the real meaning of Christmas? If so, how in the world do you balance the two opposites?

  63. Justin says

    I forgot to move the Elf. When my daughter woke up and asked why it didn’t move, I had to tell her it was probably scared. Your brother was up so much last night, the Elf probably didn’t want to be seen. He has slept the last two nights without waking. Win, win.

  64. Lysa says

    I think what we have here is an attitude of “keeping up with the Joneses”. The people who are having fun giddily creating ideas for their elf are not the problem. The problem is you comparing yourself to another human being, in an extremely narrow part of your life, I might add. So what if they go overboard in their house? So what if they share the fun online? I don’t hear anyone who does this implying that those who don’t are bad parents. That idea came from your own head. You are allowing yourself to feel inferior and guilty over a bit of fun during one month of the year. It isn’t that big of a deal, man. Let them have their fun and you have yours. Everyone has Christmas traditions, and to others some are weird, some are creepy, and some are downright insane. But no one /demands/ that others join in. Trash the guilt and have a Merry and Blessed Christmas. :-)

  65. Steven Snell says

    Given the fact this is so huge and popular, I’m surprised there is no “Christian” version yet. (They have a Jewish “Mensch on a Bench” for crying out loud!)

    But I’m sure we can pull our resources and come up with something…

    “Saul on the Wall”
    “Peter on the Heater”
    “Jew on the Pew”
    “Moses in the Roses”
    “Abel on the Table”


  66. Nicole says

    Why is it ok with Christians do participate in this to begin with? An ELF with MAGICAL POWERS (witchcraft anyone?) is in your house causing mischief and no one can touch him or he will lose said powers. He reports back to Santa Claus, a fat creepy old man who breaks into your houses and knows your children’s every moves. A mythical creature who uses magic and slave labor, who completely takes the meaning of Christmas away from Jesus. A creature you attribute the blessings of youth to, instead of God? I’m sorry, but if anyone thinks that these Elves or Santa are ok for a Christian to teach their children to believe in, they are seriously missing the boat.

    • AJ says

      The story of St. Nick is a BEAUTIFUL story. Jesus and Santa can co-exist.

      Also, i don’t see why Christians are so anti-Elf. Why cant we take the things and make them more Christ Centered. And teach our kids how to be in the world but not of the world?

      I think we would be a lot more relevant if we had this approach rather then condemning others for taking part in culture.

      I am not trying to be argumentative. Just hoping to share a different perspective. I think St. Nick was a beautiful human being.

        • AJ says

          Okay, i read the website. I mean, i don’t agree with “worshiping the elf.” And i honestly have LOTS of friends who do Elf on the Shelf who i know LOVE Jesus, whose kids love Jesus..etc. That is my point exactly. Why can’t Buddy the Elf leave your kids notes saying to bake cookies for your neighbor…etc.I think as Christians we have a GREAT opportunity to take the things the world has perverted and turn them into something beautiful and good. Buddy can even leave a different scripture every day. I mean. i just think GOOD can come from anything.

          Just a different view. You have your opinion and i respect it.

      • says

        Hey, AJ, thanks for posting a link to my Santa Claus post here! The cool think is that the real St. Nicholas is actually a person in history — someone who followed Christ, served the church, defended the faith and loved children.

        It is always worthwhile probing history and theology to get to the good stuff.

        (How St. Nicholas morphed into the guy in the red suit keeping lists of the naughty and nice is another matter.)

        • AJ says

          Gary! You are quite welcome!

          Your post sparked a lot of controversy and I have to respectfully share my views on this! I am a strong believer in Jesus! And also, a strong believer that Christians have an amazing opportunity to be in the world and not of it! But take things of the world and use them as amazing tools to teach our children, and love our neighbors!

          Merry Christmas! Love to ALL!

  67. Steve (fsucurran) says

    I may or may not have told my kids in a somewhat angry voice to get back to their beds and not get out again because the elf was on the couch next to me when they came downstairs while I was trying to think of a new location last night.

    AND since when did the Elf start doing things? Our’s just sits on the shelf, cause its called the Elf on the Shelf, not the Elf who made lifelong friends with Barbie and the stuffed dog and had tea and cookies for dinner and made tiny Christmas crafts Elf.

  68. Travis M says

    I’m not a parent or doing the “Elf On the Shelf” but I still found this article hilarious when I think about all my friends who are doing it for their children. lol.

  69. Anti-Christmas says


    Get a life. Church and your home is where you should teach your kids about Jesus and religion. If you do not believe in witchcraft (elves) , then by all means don’t play. The kids enjoy it and it is make believe. A lot like you heaven and hell. We trick people into behaving the way we want them to either though santa and elves or fire and brimstone.

    • Nicole says

      This is a Christian website. And I for one don’t consider my faith to be based on trickery and fear. It is important to not introduce pagan practices to our children, it opens the door to the occult and witchcraft. Point blank period.

        • Nicole says

          Really it’s not. Satan uses deceit, am I correct. Well it’s worth looking into don’t you think? I have looked into it. Research elves and Santa. Then tell me it’s ok.

          • AJ says

            Umm….check the link i posted on your earlier comments about the true history behind St. Nick. Its a beautiful Story.

            I am sorry. We will just have to agree to disagree. I still think saying the Elf on the shelf is evil is VERY extreme.

    • Nicole says

      I didn’t say you couldn’t post. All the non-Christians are always attacking Christians saying we are close-minded, when really they are too. I said this is a Christian website, so obviously I was talking to all the other Christian parents on here about things we should consider in our Christian walk. I am just an entitled to my opinions as you are, but you tell me to get a life and are telling me where to teach my children about Jesus and are basically calling Biblical teachings a sham by saying “A lot like you heaven and hell. We trick people into behaving the way we want them to either though santa and elves or fire and brimstone.” I think that is rude.

    • says

      I don’t think you are the only one who sees it. I have just concluded, over the years, that you cannot get everything out of your life which has roots in paganism. If you call today Thursday, you are continuing the worship of Greek and Norse gods (Thor is a mythological god, and Thursday is named after him.) The days that aren’t named after gods are named after planets, which comes to us from astrology. If you say “Bless you” when someone sneezes, you are perpetuating a pagan belief that goes back to when people thought your spirit would leave your body when you sneeze. And do you have a Christmas tree? Do you call Easter “Easter”? That name comes from Astoreth and Ashoreh, which is an idol mentioned specifically in the bible.
      I think God is more concerned with our intentions when it comes to stuff like this.

      Disclaimer: I don’t do Santa or the Elf on the Shelf thing with my kids. But I don’t judge those who do.

  70. says

    LOL – if this is still a thing by the time I’ve got kids (if I ever have kids) – it’s not happening in my house . . . I find it ridiculous – and this is why. No parent should be judged on their creative elf hiding abilities!

  71. tommy says

    I think your all one sneeze away from a mental hospital!!! I say an elf on a shelf plaque should cover the world and kill this brilliant marketing idea that jacked your wallet!!! Could personally care less what a freaky stuffed toy did in your house last night!!!

  72. says

    Thank you, Jon, for saying what many of us lack the courage to say. (Or the time to say, or the memory function to remember to say, or the creativity to say, on account of the memory function and lack of time issues…you get the idea.)

  73. Alisha says

    HA!!! Ours went in the fridge wrapped in a paper towel (baby it’s cold in there) last night! The most imaginative thing I’ve managed this far is taping him on a giant ornament hanging from a chandelier. (Yes, I took the opportunity to swing the ball ornament and capture video while playing Miley Cyrus.)

  74. Betty says

    After reading several of the uptight comments here I have come to the conclusion that several of these folks have an Elf up their butts.

  75. Sparkle says

    The Elf is about the dumbest thing ever. I am SO glad my kids are too old to buy into it. If I had to have one in my house, it would have some type of horrific “accident” on Day Four and we would have an elfin funeral. They are creepy and just another stupid way to take the real meaning of Christmas away. I have taught my kids about personal family traditions and the real reason we should celebrate Christmas (it is about giving, service, and love — no matter what your religion). Also to make other people’s lives a little brighter. On my 13 year old daughter’s Christmas list is to have the experience to volunteer at an animal shelter with a few of her friends. She didn’t learn that one from a stupid elf — she learned it through watching our family serve and make service to others important. I think the Grinch thought it best when he learned…”maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store…maybe Christmas means just a little bit more.” Lose the Elf and Find Yourself.

  76. says

    rofl All I can say is–I am SOOOOOOO glad my son was born before this elf nonsense started. I had enough trouble being Super Mom without having to deal with an elf. Besides, they just creep me out. I’d be terrified I’d forget where I put it and turn the corner and there it would be! I would wet my pants and not be able to sleep until after Christmas!

  77. says

    I think EotS is best utilized as a “show me on the doll where the gym teacher touched you” tool for school psychologists and other mental health professionals. It’s soothing and therapeutic at the same time.

  78. says

    So way back in the day, before the Elf on the Shelf thing started, my Dad took a box of almost empty cereal and mutilated it. He did the same thing a couple times in a week. It was his sick idea of subtle humor. (Cereal killer) Maybe you could have a surreal horror film scene with the elf one morning.

  79. Sarah Sutton says

    We have 2 elves we had crocheted (by Santa’s little helper lol) and a gingerbread man that we do crazy things with. My kids every morning for a week has asked when they are going to move again. I keep forgfetting to do things with them. Thanks for the tips ;) Penelope, Philemon, and Gingey will do something crazy insane and hang from the ceiling!

  80. Thea says

    This is why I refuse to do Elf on the Shelf. Not because of any religious reasons but because I would run out of creative ways to hide the stupid thing in about two days. *Shakes cane* I grew up with just advent and santa putting stuff in our stockings and turned out just fine.

  81. says

    Nicole, Garden Lobster, and Heather:

    Not everything that Jon mentions at Stuff Christians Like needs to be overtly Christian. I’m not even sure that “secular” is defined in the bible, but as someone who spent a lot of his Christian life inside the self-imposed prison of judging everything by attaching the “secular” or “Christian” label, I implore you to free yourself from overthinking these topics, and bearing a burden you need not bear.

    Just because something doesn’t look overtly Christian does not mean it’s evil, and certainly doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time or effort. When you do meet Jesus face to face, I’m quite sure you will find out that there were a lot of things in your life He wasn’t about nearly as concerned about as you thought He was. I am sure I will find out the same.

    • Denis says

      “Not everything that Jon mentions at Stuff Christians Like needs to be overtly Christian.”

      Um. Actually, it does. That is, in essence, the very point of this blog. To satirize Christian topics and things that are unique to that demographic. This post about the elf, doesn’t fit that criteria. (Read what he requires of guest postings. Its very strict.)

      Jon DOES run another blog where this would have been completely more at home.

  82. Mom2Maki says

    We told our kids that the motion detector on the burglar alarm was the “Santa Cam” where he could check their behavior, and that the spot lights on the neighbor’s Christmas display were the “Sweet and Sassy Lights.” If they had the red light one that night…it meant Santa saw them doing something bad (“Sassy”). The green spot light meant he saw them doing something good (“Sweet”). To this day, if they see a spotlight shining, they stop and check their behavior. The only problem was when they got in a fight and both blamed the other and begged us to “check the Santa Cam” to see who was lying. Yeah…um, ME! Well, it was good while it lasted…

  83. Kelly says

    I must confess… When my child asked for an elf, I told her only naughty children needed elves. Take that over achievers!

  84. christina says

    ok so, this is our first year and as much as i appreciate the free pass i am so not deserving…night 2 forgot to move the thing…kids awoke…wailing…mommy why hasn’t it moved we didn’t touch it….i totally stumbled over my words and said some ridiculous excuse that they totally bought…and…i set my alarm as well…i still forget…then I have to be reminded by my sweet husband as he nudges me as I’m drifting off to sleep, *honey, did you hide the thing?!*…my response…*dang it. NO*…as I leap out of my warm cozy bed to think up something awesome….all the while we are on day 11 and the kids state, *she really isn’t that active is she?!*….b/c like you said we don’t do a sugar trail on our kitchen counter for *us* to clean up!! so thank you for stating the reality, my thoughts…I’m going to make a complete mess of the entire house and then have to add more work on myself for the elf…rhyme as i may…i’m exhausted and i too LOVE idea of the freezer. epic. thanks for the post!! love the raw reality of it all!! -home4mk

  85. Kay says

    yes!! the ants!! I saw one where the Elf was making a snow angel….in mini marshmallows…on the counter. The ants here in Texas, who almost never let up in their relentless pursuit to overtake our food supply, would have a very Merry Christmas if I were to pull those shenanigans.

  86. says

    Let me sum up this letter in a few brief sentences:

    Dear Creative Parent,

    We’re not creative and don’t set aside time to try to be. So please stop making us feel guilty with your creativity.

    Uncreative KillJoys..

  87. Audrey says

    Big sister didn’t buy that Elf on the Shelf stuff for a skinny minute and confronted me the first morning when our Elf was moved to some lane place. I told her if she didn’t like how I did it, perhaps she should take over the job. It’s worked brilliantly!! She scours Pinterest and quizzes her friends, then creates these elaborate displays. I don’t have to do shit. She’s happy with the big theatrical productions and little sister thinks we have the coolest elf ever!…. Not sure what I’m going to do when big sis leaves for college in two years. ;-(

  88. Shauna says

    What’s really sad is my 8 year old is starting to look at the elf with disgust each morning. She is so disappointed that he is hiding in a vase. If her dang friends didn’t have such creative parents, this would be much easier.

  89. says

    BWHAHAHAHA… See, I think that the Elf is really recycled Chucky trying some kind of redemption and comeback.. though there are some very very very disturbed Elves out there that make Chucky look angelic.

  90. kim adams says

    I love all these comments from other frantic parents. Even though my youngest child is 12 and doesn’t really believe, she still gets up to see what the elf has done. It keeps her a kid just a little bit longer and I like that. So last night after cutting out 20 or so snowflakes and leaving a trail to our tree, our elf then redecorated our tree with his snowflakes and sat on top with the scissors with that funny little smile, knowing that tonight I will have to clean up his mess as he moves on to his next adventure. I wouldn’t trade these last moments of my daughters childhood for anything in the world.They grow up too fast as it is, so bring on the elf and any ideas you have.

  91. Toby Lilly says

    Lol, this is all hilarious, what about us really bad parents that haven’t even dug him out yet. ..o n even worse, the tree isn’t up yet either. … rough year… all in time (which seems very limited)

  92. Sarah says

    This is my first year with the elf, I only have to come up with a couple ideas a week and I am already stumped. My youngest niece has a deep disdain for the elf and has hidden her from us a couple times.

  93. says

    Love this, I have one in my classroom. He has literally sat on every shelf I have and today read a book, because the bell rang and I didn’t have time to climb to the top of the SmartBoard.

  94. says

    Just a ProTip, if any parents on this thread actually feel diminished because some zealots spend 300 hours devising EotS scenarios and building schemas in Illustrator, you need to take a giant step back and realize that this is comedy. There’s no “courage” here. It’s called a parody post, strictly for amusement.

  95. Paula says

    Cute article. I took it light hearted. I am THAT parent. I love setting up our elf! I love being creative. It’s my thing. I love seeing my kids’ reactions when they find our elf!

  96. Kim Goodman says

    This is our first year and I’m running out of ideas. Our Chippy is a good Elf yet I wish we had some Barbies for him to hang out with. This was funny.

  97. KJB says

    This is exactly why I never got an elf on the shelf kit. I would run out of ideas, or flat out forget, to set him up at night. Either that or I would wake up to x-rated things my husband did with the elf and I would have to fix it before the kids got up for the day. I am not always the first one up. I would probably run out of ideas in 6 days so I give you credit for making it 6 years.

  98. ARuthC says

    As a childcare provider who can’t stand Elf on the Shelf, I’ve found two ways to survive the holidays. 1. If a child is misbehaving, I threaten to touch the elf as punishment. 2. If a kid keeps talking about the elf, I make fun of the elf’s dumb name until the kid gets frustrated enough to just drop the subject.

    I have no shame.

    • Lori says

      I am a little worried that you are a child care provider and you would make fun of something a child in your care was excited about. That is more disturbing than any elf.

  99. Rik says

    Hmmm, to each their own – I just know the thrill my kids receive trying to find the elf each morning is exciting to see – it’s free (other than initial purchase of elf box), simple to do, festive, and makes the kids happy – they all talk about it at school – I will admit it, our elf behaves pretty well and is only creative once or so a week, he just simply hides somewhere new each night…. But some people act like this tradition is horrible cause they have to take 1 minute to move it each night – we get way more out of it then we put into it – I’m not a fan of the commercialization but like I said, to each their own – Happy Holidays however you get through it.

  100. Sidney says

    Lol my family’s elf brings us gifts and snack food (like reindeer cookies) every night and my lil brothers and sisters LOVE our elf.

  101. Amanda A says

    I saw one pic where the elf was hanging off a mirror, holding lipstick and had written ‘redrum’ on the mirror. lol

  102. Aimee Lewis says

    This is great. On the weekends our elf goes to the north pole to help out since Santa is here taking pictures with the kids lol also our neighbor kid didn’t know that you can touch the elf, so ours will be at the “North pole hospital” for a while till he is all better aka until mommy thinks of more ideas ahahah!!!!

  103. says

    Elf on the Shelf concept is cool, but people are going overboard. I personally think he’s kind of creepy moving around the house. We’re going to start a whole generation of kids who need therapy for elves as well as clowns! LOL!

  104. Becki says

    My daughter was upset that Elf wasn’t visiting her but was making nightly rounds at friends’ houses. I told her that Elf would visit us when the Tennessee Vols played for a national title. I think we’re good for a while. :)

  105. Lori says

    Your elf does not have to do bad things. Ours doesn’t. It just moves from one sitting spot to another. My kids love looking for it and if I ever forget to move her (Gliss) then I just tell them she must like that spot. If people don’t want to do it then don’t do it. But don’t act holier than thou about it. It is just a fun new Christmas tradition. Lots of families have different traditions. We don’t all need to be the same. You celebrate your way and I will celebrate mine. God bless…

  106. T~ says

    Elf on the shelf is fun if you are creative. We have one not the traditional creepy red EFFER though! Mine does crazy things, i don’t get elaborate. My kids done care we have fun with it. I hope this ”
    whining” about over achievers for EOTS is in jest because the whining about people doing it has become almost as bad a the over achievers

  107. Leigh Anne says

    So our kids have asked the past two years for an Elf. They hear about the Elf and its crazy stuff from friends, and a teacher had one in her classroom. We play Santa, but we don’t use him as a moral compass (Santa’s watching you, so you better be good.) Things kids have asked for gifts that we don’t want them to have and we’ve told then “Santa knows what we allow and do not allow.” For the Elf, same thing. Santa knows Mom and Dad do not want one so he doesn’t send one…
    Haven’t explained why you can buy an Elf at Target…

  108. Terry says

    I grew up without Santa. I did not feel deprived. We did Advent devotions and lit our candles and got our bag with an orange and candy cane at our Christmas Eve service
    I never taught my kids that Santa was real and never had Santa in my decorations. We would always provide Christmas for a family in need, going for cutting down a tree, hot chocolate, my kids picking out a present and grocery shopping with me for someone else.
    I might have fallen for the creative fun of hiding an elf. My grand kids have an elf that moves but have never heard the story that he does naughty things. They bake cookies and take them to fire stations; they participate in fun group activities. My own kids lives are stressful parenting in this age of driving kids to and from school, working, overseeing play dates etc.
    They do like Advent This year I wrote them how much I love Christmas, decorations, giving gifts, ornaments, but especially Advent – watching for Jesus every day. My grandson looked at me quizzical when I told them Gods world says something that applies to every aspect of our lives. I gave them an Advent storybook on Dec 1 and the two older boys read the 5 min chapter to their little sister of a little bear’s journey to Bethlehem. Then they get to open a little gift. Attached outside is a Bible verse that gives a hint of the gift inside – soap, mints, long power cords in different colors, gum_ everything inexpensive all the way up to toilet paper. They’re reading and thinking about the verse to figure out the treasure inside. Some will stick with them a lifetime because of the association. By the time they get to the toilet paper, perhaps the neediest gift they’ll ever get in a lifetime and they read God’s instructions to carry a trowel close by and have learned how Gids laws in the desert kept them healthy and they’ve remembered the story if Moses calling to The false priests as they called out for Baal- call louder ,,,,maybe he’s just going to the bathroom. Pop rocks – god is our rock.
    I could not have carried through on keeping up with a Santa or figuring out how to get an elf to break open a bag if m&m’s and leave a trail , but this I can do with enthusiasm. My greatest joy is their daily finding a treasure and association to make the verses stick in their mind
    For me, the wrapping paper costs more than the gifts but searching out for treasures in the Bible to go with a book, candy, gum, toothbrushes (given the day before a candy day to keep me out if trouble with my daughter :-). – I’ve benefited as much as my hopes and prayers for them as they discover such special promises and hope in the goodness of God

    • Paul Mayhan says

      Very nice Terry. I wish my parents had had that kind of creativity. My wife and I are figuring out how to do Christian Christmas on our own. We’ve taken out the paganism and bad theology of Santa, but replacing it with the kind of excitement that you’ve created should be our next step. Thanks for the post.

  109. Paul Mayhan says

    Why do people, especially Christians, even do this stuff? The kids learn nothing but bad theology from it (works based earning blessings from God), it’s one more source of stress for parents, and it’s just plain obnoxious and annoying for others to hear about. The only Elf on a shelf pictures that other people actually want to see are the dirty ones; is that what Christians are supposed to represent? I have a 5 year old who would probably think the Elf is neat if we did it. She’d probably think Santa was neat if we did that too. But my wife and I agreed early on that we would never lie to her. We didn’t tell her her dog went to live on a farm when she died, we don’t tell her that the occasional mean kid really just acts that way because they like her, we don’t tell her that people are good when they aren’t (not even her!). We also don’t bribe our child into acting right, which is what the Elf is really about for many parents. I heard one talking a couple of years ago who said that she did it because December is the only month of the year when she can get her child to behave well. I truly feel sorry for that kid. Christians should consider doing away with the pagan Christmas myths (Santa, elves, etc), and simply let Christmas be about family time, a pause from busyness, some gifts, and the worship of Jesus. If you need some Santa myth to motivate your kids to behave properly, then you have already lost them.

  110. dee says

    I don’t get the elf on the shelf at all. How does an elf who misbebaves at night make kids behave? if I were the kid I wouldn’t think santa would believe a word that little bugger said because he is a brat. Then again I don’t even pull the ” santa is watching you better behave card”. I expect my kids to behave year round not just december.

    • Cris says

      I’ve been putting the elf in places to teach them something. The first day we put up the tree but wait 24 hours for it to settle and get all the dead needles out. So I had the elf decorate my daughters little 1 foot tree. So she asked why would Merry decorate her tree when she wanted to do it herself? I said, maybe she is trying to tell us to decorate. We had an emergency the 2nd night so the tree didn’t get decorated again and on day 2 my Christmas tree was covered in toilet paper, again, same message. That day my kids had a big fight over decorating, so Merry wrote them a message with dry erase makers that they need to stop fighting or she has to return to the North Pole and put them on the naughty list. Fighting has stopped (it always happens at this time of the year, yeah joy and happiness, right?) so positive messages are good, not necessarily mischievous creepy elf antics!

    • Brooke says

      We have made up our own rules for our elf on the shelf. We have him do silly things and just have fun with it. No naughty card or whatnot. My 8yr old played in his 1st hockey tourney last weekend, so the elves had one of his jerseys laid out on the couch and they were “wearing” it (sitting on the inside of the collar) and left a note telling him Good luck in his tourney and to have lots of fun.

    • says

      I am a Christian first and foremost! But I do sincerely believe we as parents should afford our children excitement and wonder during every season. My children learned about the nativity and they believed in Santa too. Elf on the Shelf is a fun way to help give your kids some extra excitement during the holidays!!
      Your elf may be cuter or prettier than mine and that’s great for you. For us are having our elf on the shelf is OUR elf on the shelf. Its our game to play however we see fit. Take and give it in joy !! I guarantee the good Lord will be shining down on us!!! Enjoy your Christmas season with your family and friends!!! Merry Christmas !!!

  111. Stacy says

    My kids must be extremely naughty or our Elf is the laziest little guy in the North Pole… He hasn’t moved since dec 1.

  112. Jen Gunning says

    We do the elf differently. Ours was found at a local thrift shop. He’s from the 60s or so. He looks like he’s about 500 years old. Dressed kinda of like a shoemaker might be. Big fluffy beard that hides everything but his eyes. He’s stiff and grumpy and ancient in the kids’ mind, so of course he only moves once or twice a month. He never does tricks or stunts and once or twice might leave a typed letter lett ing them know if things are going well. But he always leaves them a note on CHristmas Eve when he disappears while we’re at church which tells them that they’ve such joys for him to watch all month, that Santa has been delighted to see them helping each other and Mom and Dad through the house, that they play piano wonderfully or are so creative in their artwork or have a real knack for playing Xbox Lego games. And he reminds them that the real meaning of Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth and God’s love which couldn’t leave us alone in this world.
    I don’t know if I would’ve jumped on the elf bandwagon on my own. My mom brought him and started the whole thing before I knew what was happening, LOL. But we’ve actually been able to use him to support our Christmas focus on God’s love and the joy of waiting on Jesus’ advent into the world.

  113. Rebecca Holley Forty says

    Oh, dear. My grown children still harangue me for not doing the Santa thing. And I was worried about the consequences of lying to my children about a nonexistent jelly-belled jolly old saint in a red suit but instead have to listen to them “complain” to me about how I “deprived” them of the Santa experience. They, of course do this while winking at each other across the turkey on Thanksgiving day after we have prayed in thanks and reverence to the Turkey who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all, may he not be dry. My youngest, Abby was so bereft at the a sense of Santa in our very Christ-centered Christmas that she actually told us that we were wrong, there is a Santa and she would believe and that is we chose not to believe, well, no presents for us bad patents. She is a 4th year college student probably wishes that she had an Elf that would sneak in at night an do her homework.
    Our best Christmas ever: After the presents were all unwrapped and the floor covered in ribbon, boxes and bows, I asked them all if they found themselves looking for more. How many times as a child did I think and even say, is that all? I told them that we aren’t longing for more presents but longing for a Saviour. That emptiness is just more previlent after we mindlessly open boxes of things that don’t love us back.Praise God that is not all. I think God is okay with a little fun but its our job as parents to point them to our Saviour every day of the year.

  114. Cris says

    Last year our 2 kids touched “Merry” our elf and I told them that Santa had to send another elf to pick her up because when children touch the elf they lose their magic and can’t fly. They wrote an apology letter to Santa promising to be better and follow his rules and not touch her. So we got a reprieve for about a week. Santa wrote them and said that Merry was back with him and getting magic rehabilitation! (Magic rehabilitation? The stuff us parents come up with!) And when she was ready she would return. He stated that if they touched he again, she would never be able to come back because she can only have her magic fixed once. A week passed, door bell rang and Merry was back with a note from Santa reminding them to be good and follow all the rules. I’ve been (secretly) hoping this year that one of them would accidentally touch her so that she gets sent back to the North Pole. No touching so far. I couldn’t find her when we put up the tree this year, I searched for about a hour looking, I found her box but no elf, I swear that creepy elf moved back to the North Pole on her own during the hot summer. Needless to say, my kids woke up (thankfully my son didn’t even think of her before school) but my 5yo daughter freaked because she couldn’t find her. So of course I waited until we were at the bus stop and asked her if she checked the basement – NO! As soon as her butt was on the bus, I had to mad dash to B&N to buy a stupid replacement of creepy elf and put her cutely in the basement. I’ve vowed not to post any stupid elf pictures on facebook because I’m already tired of it! LOL! Thanks for the article, this is great. Gotta get me one of those creepy elf shirts (good thing my 5yo isn’t reading completely yet)!

    • Marie Bynum says

      My sister’s kids touched their elf, Leo, and she laid him down on the kitchen counter on his side with some guacamole pooled beside his mouth…those kids made poor Leo sick! She let him lay there for 3 days before he returned to his creeping around!

  115. Susan says

    We hid ours in the bottom of the drawer in our bedroom for 3 days so the boys wouldn’t find them. We told the boys that the elves needed a break.

  116. sus says

    We never even started Elf on the Shelf for a variety of reasons. But this biggest reasons: 1. Another flipping thing to DO in December? Are you kidding me? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat! 2. Being creative 25 days in a row? Sorry, can’t do it.

    And I’d like to take a moment to thank you and Jenny for NOT putting your Elf on the toilet and taking a picture of that.

  117. Christy says

    What about the post to the parents who never did elf on a shelf?! I never knew what this was until the few times your Instagram & this post now have informed me.

    You’re way ahead of my parents! And California!

  118. Bev says

    Sometimes I put our elf in my closet for a few day and tell the kids he must be hiding so well we can’t find him. We need a break from hiding the elf the holidays are hard enough without trying to be creative, I mean we have reindeer food to make right?

  119. Marie Bynum says

    We don’t participate in the Elf craze. I don’t have time to be cleaning up an elf’s mess that I made myself lol! But, if someone would invent a “knome on the roam” that cleans up the mess everyone else makes then count me in! Maybe this knome could trade places with elf on the shelf after Christmas and it would be the kids’ responsibility to keep up with it and help it ‘clean messes’ till Christmas…yeah, that sounds like a wonderful idea to me!

  120. Randy says

    Sounds like my Tooth Fairy incident… Falling asleep on couch, and middle of the night my son came in bawling because his tooth was gone and the Tooth Fairy didn’t leave anything. After a quick search of the room, we found that it had been pushed from under the pillow and fell under the bed. Problem solved for the moment. He’s back to sleep… I stay up 30min to an hour to make sure he is good and asleep and quietly slip the $prize$ under the pillow! Crisis solved!

  121. Tracie says

    Wayne, our Elf, comes every year on December 1. It’s hard to find hiding places for him every day, but this year something wonderful happened. We made Wayne his very own house out of a big box complete with wallpaper, flooring, and a big screen TV (that we borrowed from Barbie). So, now my daughter finds Wayne on the bed (she made for him), the next day he’s under the covers in the bed, and sometimes he’s sitting in the chair, that we also borrowed from Barbie. It takes the “anxiety” of where he should show up next – down a notch.

    Making the ‘house’ was a really fun activity for my daughter and I to do together, and it’s nice that she’s just as excited to find him in the same spot, but ‘doing’ different things there.

    Wayne never comes to report back to Santa on how Abbie is behaving, he just comes to spread a little holiday joy, which he succeeds at every day.

  122. says

    I had a moment of brilliance this year… instead of the Christmas tree, he’s perching on top of the kitchen cabinets every few days. The last time, right before Christmas, I’m going to stage a little ‘elf condo’ and carry my kids up there to “see this awesomeness – he’s been up there so much because he was making a little condo of comfort!..and THAT’S where your missing toys were!…”

    Lazy, I know. But hey – it’s getting tiring hearing my wife say “oh, babe – make sure you go do something with the elf…” right after I get comfortable in bed!

  123. Andrea says

    Kudos to you! I am an even worse parent. My children are 8, 7, and 5 and a wee bit skiddish, so I convinced them that the Elf on the Shelf is really creepy. They decided that they didn’t want some elf sneaking around the house when they were sleeping. :) Bad parenting? Perhaps, but much less stressful.

  124. says

    Jon – a little tip, since you’re getting so many comments… consider changing the following code in wp-comments.php & wp-comments-popup.php:


    comments = $wpdb->get_results(“SELECT * FROM $tablecomments WHERE comment_post_ID = $id AND comment_approved = ‘1’ ORDER BY comment_date”);

    comments = $wpdb->get_results(“SELECT * FROM $tablecomments WHERE comment_post_ID = $id AND comment_approved = ‘1’ ORDER BY comment_date DESC”);

    …Adding the “DESC” will reorder to show the most recent up top. I would also consider moving the “respond” div above the “entry-comments” div in the single.php theme file. This will put the comment box above the comments so people don’t have to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

  125. says

    OMG!!! I laughed so freaking hard at this!! It’s soo true..I see pictures everyday and these people are crazy with the elf. Our elf was in the top of the cat tree last night because we almost forgot and I could’t think of anything else!

  126. Amanda says

    When we start it (our boys are only 6 months old now) our elf is going to write a letter that sometimes the traffic between our house and the North Pole gets really bad, so he may not make it back for a few days sometimes. ;) I don’t see being in the mood to do it every day.

  127. Crystal says

    I just have to say to those parents who state that they will never “lie” to their children about Santa or Elf on the Shelf, that’s your prerogative, and everyone is entitled to one, but come on. Society, in general, is way too serious and trying to get our children to grow up way too quickly. They’re only children for a short time. They retain their innocence for just a few short years before they become jaded by the world we live in. There is nothing wrong with keeping magic alive for children. If Santa and/or Elf on the Shelf keeps that look of wonder and amazement on a child’s face for just a little longer, it’s worth anything. That’s just my opinion though.

  128. Maggie says

    Fabulous! Our elf has been in the tree 3 times already. We have 3 yr old twin boys and a dog. He cannot be down low. I’m trying the freezer tonight. Sounds good to me!

  129. Rachel says

    This is our first year. I have accidently on purpose left out the pages in the book that say the elf must change places every night. In fact he has set in the same place for days. I’m hoping by the time he realizes I’ve edited he will be used to an elf that doesn’t move. (Crossing fingers)

  130. Ann says

    Thanks for the great idea. Rudy is freezer bound tonight.
    I also set an alarm…you only have to wake up once, on a Saturday morning, pre-sunrise, with a whiskey headache praying that your kids is still asleep, so you can move the darn elf.

  131. Bridget Weishaar says

    We love our elf!!!! Our’s is VERY creative and only likes to live out scenes from popular movies. Wish you could see it ;)

  132. TrenisG says

    I am that Elf parent. We have 3 elves, one is an Elf on the Shelf and they have fun. From hanging underwear on the tree, gift wrapping the kids doors, to a marshmallow spa, it’s really fun to watch my son and daughter wake up each morning to search for their elves. There are so many ideas and so much fun. Spelling out Merry Christmas in green M&M’s was the hardest one so far :)
    Enjoy your elf, they only come one time a year. LOL

  133. MC says

    Thanks for this! I do feel a bit inadequate in my elf locations (small apartment) but I do like the magic of it all. Our elf, Bakisheesha, leaves notes about kind things we could do for others also delivers messages to the big guy. I try not to stress the present thing bc really, is Santa not going to bring gifts to my drama queens? Of course he is. I am actually excited for when my older daughter figures it out and maybe she will be able to help with the moving one day. I have great memories of my mom sending me out to the mall with a list to be “Santa’s helper” and I find it very cool to be on the other side of the magic. But for now, our elf just bops from tree, to mantle, to vase and usually at 7am before she starts her “hunt”….

  134. Brooke says

    I am an “elf on the shelf” parent if that’s the term, and I found your post hilarious. Hilarious because for like a month before our Elves- thats right we have 2 elves- 1 for each kid (more on that later) came back to our house for the season, I went Elf pinning CRAZY on Pinterest (I have a board specifically for the elf shinanigans) of all kinds of NEW ideas I could do with the elves this year, and how much fun I was going to have with it… and it just hasn’t happened at our house. I had GREAT intentions for it this year, but it just isnt happening. Today our elves were in the Christmas tree. Yesterday they were hiding under Christmas tree cones on top of the TV…. I forgot until I could barely keep my eyes open and wanted to crawl into bed and just didn’t have the energy to go over the top. I have several times though done some really fun things with them this year- We got a BIG snowstorm last week, so naturally the elves had to make snow angels in the first snow of the year on our kitchen table (flour “snow”) and invite a couple friends- the sock monkeys, to join in. I even made a couple snowmen out of left over marshmallows from s’mores ingredients this summer! My boys (ages 8 and 2) ADORE the elves and thats the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning…in fact yesterday my 2 yr old flung himself over the side of his crib, dragging his blanket behind him stumbling through the house trying to find the elves before he could even fully open his eyes. I love the excitement it brings the kids, but those elaborate scenes just don’t happen and THATS OK! . I have found my kids enjoy the elves whether they are doing something crazy or something “quick” like sitting on the couch reading a book together. Have fun with it and if you do something elaborate or not, the kids won’t be pondering why their parents suck so badly at the whole elf thing! They enjoy finding them and seeing what they are up to. As for having 2 elves, my mother in law loved the idea of the elf so much and saw how much my oldest boy enjoyed it, she bought another one for the youngest so that when the boys grow up and have families of their own- they each have their own elf to use with their own children. :) All in all, whether you are THAT Elf parent or not, have fun with it and enjoy the joy it brings to the kiddos regardless of where that little red elf pops up!

  135. Rachelle says

    This is so true. Sometime our elf doesn’t move for days and then we (parents) get accused of touching it and the kids are mad at us.

  136. Lauri says

    I just have two friends who keep going off on the elf not being Christian. Yes, we know, but when you are hiding an angel so your kids don’t feel totally left out, I’m wondering how the kid will be explaining it to their therapist in 20 years.

  137. crazy says

    I just don’t understand why we are deceiving our kids like this. They grow up in a world that is hard and horrible. If you do teach your kids about the God spiritual Jesus stuff or any kind of religion you set them up to have a built in doubt that as an adult they either have to seek out truth about this God they aren’t sure they believe in or they just say to themselves well, like santa, I will believe he’s real and hope for the best without any real understanding bc they have adopt the same behavior they learned as children to their adult belief system.

  138. Stevie says

    This has been our best year’s our 3rd or 4th year..lost track. I haven’t had to be creative at ALL. This year my three oldest children are in charge of hiding him for the two younger children. They love doing it, the little ones love finding him, & I don’t have to remember or clean a thing! It’s a win-win-win!! :)

  139. Linda says

    You know that elf on a shelf is not a parental requirement!! Send the elf back to the North Pole, so he can be someone else’s elf next year. You ‘re the parents-you don’t HAVE to do it. somebody is making a lot of money from this idea. Don’t feed into it!

  140. Dee Dee says

    I think you should probably just take a deep breath, step away from the elf, and calm down just a smidge… oh, and take a break from the computer too. Why be ‘jealous’ of what others are doing with their elfs – or anything else for that matter?? Do your thing, have fun, and move on. This isn’t supposed to cause an aneurysm.

  141. Ebeth says

    I feel the same way. I am a really bad parent. I don’t even have our elf out yet and I am using the guise of the Christmas tree is not totally decorated yet so he can’t come unitl that’s done. I don’t even know what box the silly little elf is in right now. My youngest comes home and tells about her friend’s elves and all of their escapades. I am already exahusted just listening to the stories. It’s meant to be an elf on a SHELF!!!!!! Not a ziplinning, toilet papering, snowball fighting fiend. He’s just supposed to move not interact. These people need to get a life and do something else constructive with their time like making their own Christmas cards and baking and decorating the cutest cookies in the world. But who am I kidding! I am even more exhausted thinking about all of that. I just want to spend time with my kids and not worry about some creepy elf that is watching over us to make sure we are good.

    Oh and the 9 times in the Christmas tree…. It was every other day in my house last year. LOL

  142. Mandy Holbrook says

    One of my real fears is that the dolls in my house will come to life and murder me, so there’s no way I’m having a creepy Elf in my house that moves locations every night. My husband would just use it to torture me by putting over the toilet to freak me out one of the 15 times a pee a night. Nope my children will never get this psychotic little Elf guy.

  143. Carrie says

    Our elf is invisible. And that want my brilliant idea, it was my kids. They learned about it and I stalled a bit and then they filled in the blanks. Some elves use santas magic to be invisible. And they bet he was watching them through the a/c grate in their room. Creepy, totally. But they were happy. Our elf is invisible. Which is cooler then powered sugar snow ball fights with teddy bears.

  144. says

    Stupid question:

    Why do you folks even do this thing? Why do you torture yourselves? What’s the payoff?

    Who would want their children to believe in an elven spy in their house, anyway?

  145. Amy says

    I don’t do the whole elf thing the idea this “thing” watches you and comes alive at night is too creepy even if I’m doing the moving. That’s a big NOPE

  146. Laura Green says

    I love all this elf business…. I am 55 and my mother use to move an elf around the room when we were kids. We’d come home from school to find the elf in a different location. Wish we had thought to write the book!

  147. Brittany says

    On Saturday nighty best friend had a adult only Christmas party at her house. She has 2 young girls. She put the elves in the room with them and told them not to come out at all or the elves would tell Santa. From
    5-11pm those girls NEVER came out of their room. We don’t do the Elf thing, but after that I have started reconsidering :)

  148. PKG says

    If you’re not creative enough….go to Pinterest….type Elf On The Shelf into the search box. You should find enough ideas for a lifetime.

  149. Andrea says

    My husband asked me the other day, “Have you heard of Elf on the Shelf?”

    I said, “Yes.”

    He said, “Why don’t we have an Elf on the Shelf?”

    I now have a good answer for him.

    I’m afraid I would just take it literally and leave the thing on a shelf all the time.

  150. Dani K says

    It is 2:30 and I am. Now moving him. I did put some research to get ideas in the beginning… But mostly he sits with my many decorations around the house. Hanging on Santa, riding my reindeer, sitting in the sleigh, chilling with the nut crakers… Ect. I have made myself accountive by posting a picture everyday.

      • Dani K says

        Ok so I read your “hate mail” and now I
        am fully awake from laughing so hard! She had to be kidding! Or in my kid’s words “she is cray cray!’ Bahaha! So while awake I scanned some of your comments. This is actually not just an anti creative issue… Lol people really feel inadequate. Don’t! I
        Think your child will appreciate whatever level of participation you put in… They are not taking notes and keeping score inn the playground over Elf! And why do we have to make such a huge deal and read into him. I am catholic! And I am just having fun with him… It’s a little magic in the mornings to make my boys smile… That all.’

    • Tracey says

      I totally agree! Maybe if enough shameful pics get out there, Elf will get enough of a bad rap that it will just go away :D

  151. Terry says

    My friend’s daughter complained that the Elf was in the same place it was LAST YEAR!! She’s 4. What the heck. LOL

  152. says

    When I was a kid, born in 1964, we had two elves, a red one and a green one and they hung on the Christmas tree with their arms clasped around their tightly folded legs.

    They were the CREEPIEST ornaments that I had ever seen and I never would touch them. Now I have an Elf on the Shelf and it really creeps me out. I might need to let him go explore the dog’s food and see what happens to him —>>>> “BACK FANG! BACK!!! GIVE ME BACK THAT ELF’S HEAD!!”

  153. Beth says

    Our elf, Sherman, simply moves from one spot to another. He is observing the children’s behavior and reporting that back to Santa. Our kids seem quite content just to “find” Sherman each morning – hopefully they don’t find out any of their friend’s elves do crazy things and expect Sherman to do the same!

  154. Joe G says

    This is a great article and I LOL reading it. Not toention I totally agree. I actually never thought of setting an alarm to move him. Thankfully thus is my first year and my son is only two because there are some morning s when I had to run downstairs before him and just sit Ernie ( our elf) in another room just so he moved. Even when I move him the night before it has become a struggle to find a cool spot for him. My best have been stuck between the mini blinds, hanging off the misiltoe, in the tree and on the very top(yes that is twice on the tree). Some pics I see on Facebook do make me llkk bad but I take the first year pass lol. I need to get better but some people go to far and dam sure won’t be me.

  155. T says

    I so could have written this…. my elf never leaves the same room and just goes from one flat surface to the next…UP HIGH I might add so my 4 year old doesn’t make off with her and send my 6 year old into a melt down over the elf “losing her magic” Oh yah that was a fun morning….. LOL

  156. Stephanie says

    HALARIOUS! With my warped mind, my elf would have to visit rehab…we’d find him draped over a bottle of Petron and off he’d go for a months stay to some AA Rehab. Be done with the little creepy creature. But of course, one year Santa skipped the cookies and milk for a shot of bourbon and a cigar…LOL The kids thought that was hilarious!

  157. Rikki meredith says

    We don’t do elf on a shelf. I think it takes away from the meaning of Christmas. I personally don’t have the time or creativity to bother with it any way. I am a mother of 3 girls 8, 5, and 2 I can barely keep everyone bathed fed and keep a house clean so we just dont do it.

  158. Sally says

    We have “operation relocate” on our phones as reminders. We are so tired at night sometimes he doesn’t gets moved so we just explain to the kids he was probably to tired to go to the North Pole. Normally get put up on a high piece of furniture somewhere. Love the freezer idea. Will do that one tonight.

  159. Carol Sue Egan says

    My niece is doing a bang up job never forgetting the Elf on the Shelf for her four kids, three who are 9 month old triplets. She posts everyday what Cookies Jangles, named by her 2 year old son, is doing and it is wonderful, I gave the Elf on the Shelf to my grandson and grand daughter and my grandson has refused to have the elf in his room, whom he named Howard by the way. My grand daughter will read the story, watch the movie and do the activity boo, but Howard has remained in his box.

  160. Tracey says

    Elf on the Shelf makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. I am not a scrooge. I love Christmas, the Christmas spirit and everything about it. But the Elf is a horrible burden on anyone who takes this ridiculous tradition on. It takes away from everything important (your family for one) and enslaves you into another lie and holiday fake fantasy. Do yourself favor and spend time and efforts figuring out what you will do with your kids and things that will actually make them feel loved and important during the holidays.

  161. chuck says

    I’m 63 years old. When I about 10 my mother bought an elf for decoration purposes. She put it in a big glass goblet with Christmas balls. We started a game where I removed the elf and put it somewhere else. When she would finally find it she would put it back in the goblet. This continued for 50 years till my mothers death. I once took it home with me and mailed it to her in a box. That elf is still being used with my Grandchildren. When we remember to move it that is.

  162. Theresa says

    Hello, I name is Theresa and I am THAT mom. :P We homeschool and change our theme each year to make our learning space more fun. This year is wild west since my daughter is really into Annie Oakley right now. So when our elf came to visit again she came decked out in a bandanna skirt and neckerchief. LOL. I have done everything from giving Oakley (our new elf name) a target and foil gun to go target practice to building a outhouse our of Lincoln Logs for her. I have a bit of fun with this and I am not ashamed to use my creativity. That being said I do not have good days all the time. I get tired and cranky. I fall asleep to wake up 3am to realize I didn’t set up my next scene. I have stuck Oakley in a mason jar and put her upside down hanging inside a slinky on these night. After a few years of this now I am prepared for this and have a list of go to ideas for “those” nights with some supplies in a box. I don’t go out of my way to do this, I just get materials the year before that I used and keep it in a box. I can reuse it for something else down the road. To defend myself though I do take pictures of every situation Oakley has gotten herself into and I let my daughter take the picture so some of them don’t turn out too well. :P I will also vow not to do the birthday idea they came out with now. For your elf to take time off from North Pole duties to visit the child on their birthday is pushing it to me. I am tired as it is during the holiday season. LOL. This week was our Native American week. Oakley has been showing up what Indians would look like if they were elves. Next week, our last week, is Duck Dynasty theme week. :P I might make a book up about this.

  163. Aaron says

    Somebody had to say it! Although the elf did hide in dad’s (my) stocking last night! I think it’s more a matter of when the elf gets there. Parents around the world need to unite and make Dec 15th the official day that the elf arrives.

  164. Erika says

    Our tooth fairy has been delayed since summer. There have been 5 teeth lost between last night and her last visit. I still have a bale of hay in my front yard. (I threw the pumpkin away Last weekend.) But, we had a nice Thanksgiving and since then my children have recovered from a monster cold (Alan and I as well) attended a ball, made an awesome science experiment and an awesome video project for school, performed in 7 of ten performances of a community theatre play that is still running, won a football championship and a basketball game, had a painful medical issue, and given a superior performance at a theatre competition, and among all the doctor visits and practices for such, parents who have laid a floor in the laundry room, recovered and caught up from 2 international mission trips and kept up 2 full-time jobs, the kids have also had more than one home cooked meal and plenty of hugs, kisses, help, nursing and encouragement and are wearing clean clothes. I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we DO do!
    BTW – we do not have an elf. We have a golden retriever. She’s not magical, but she makes her own funny messes. :)

  165. says

    My kids were too big once the Elf craze really hit but last year when we saw all the hilarious things peoe were doing with them we bought one for our daughter who was 15 at the time. She is in charge of the Elf and it watches over Mom and Dad. All three of our kids (18, 16, and 13) all work and plan together to surprise us each morning. ..its absolutely fantastic and for those of you who have kids “growing out of” the Elf…you may want to try this…its pretty fun for us and anything that gets teenage siblings to get along and work together for even 5 minutes is worth it

  166. michael says

    the important thing to remember here is that if you would of never started it in the first place you wouldn’t be having all these problems of where to hide it or getting seen by your children while you were trying to re-hide it.

  167. Stefanie says

    We burnt our elf’s leg off. Clean. Off.
    He was sitting in our chandelier and fell into my eggs right in front of my 2 year old. His leg landed a little further north. Thank God the kid doesn’t quite “get it” yet. That would have been some trauma.

  168. Lacy says

    Abso-stinkin-lutely! My sister asked us if we had one. I looked at her like she was crazy. Why do I need one more thing to remember to do? And why do I want to create a mess that I would have to ckean up the next morning? No thanks. So she bought us one. And guess how many nights she’s been over to move this stupid creepy stalker. ZERO. It’s only the 13 and we’ve missed a couple nights which send the kidswondering why he moves some nnights and not others? So then I see him one morning while the kids are upstairs thinking my husband hadn’t and the kids had already found him that morning and were then wondering why he moved again. SMH. I’ll stick with Santa just knows if you’re naughty or nice and elves need to go back to making the toys.

  169. Perfect_Elf_Mom says

    HA! I am this mom!! I craft elven donuts out of cheerios, I made a hot air balloon out of a balloon, a straw and my child’s underwear and hung it from his bedroom ceiling, I get all the neighborhood elves together and take pictures of them having meeting about the kids, and last night our elves DYED OUR DOG AND CAT. yes – that’s right – they dyed the pets – do you need a second to let that set in? Anyways – I feel no shame from your article because from Dec 26th through November 30th of every year I am a mess. An ugly shameful mess who never turns book orders in on time and forgets my volunteer slots in my kid’s classroom (not because I am busy even – usually I am just wandering lost at Target or something), but for 25 days of the year I am ON MY A GAME and I apologize to no one for it! Hate on haters!! mwah HA HA HA AH AH! ;)

  170. KP says

    Seriously? I feel for those of you who struggle to be creative and selfless each day. What would you be doing otherwise? Sitting on the coach watching crap TV and stuffing your faces. This exercise takes maybe one minute out of your day and it makes your kids’ morning. You all sound a bit selfish and pathetic. I will give you, though, that the people who post pictures on Facebook every night of their ingenuous creations are pretty annoying. I don’t know who is worse, those who complain about nothing, or those who do it to impress their Facebook friends more than their kids.

    #lame #complainaboutrealissues

  171. Michelle says

    I can barely remember to alert the tooth fairy for their duties, I can’t imagine remembering the elf stuff everyday, so never even considered trying to do it. LOL

  172. john bob says

    Thank you thank you thank you…. my elf moves all by itself. However your kids can read and thanks for ruining the one cool thing this year because you have writers block and can’t think of anything else to write. So you out the fact that you move your elf and cant think of anything cool to do with your elf…. however you write this blazing article on how to ruin Christmas.

    Nice….. wait your going on the Naughty list …. don’t expect Santa to come popping down your chimney this year as you are officially off the list.

  173. Jennifer says

    I honestly couldn’t find ours before the scheduled time he was supposed to appear. Well I found him about a week later. Yeah he’s still hidden. Guess what the only one who misses it is my 12yo son who helped remind me to do it and would help with ideas! He will definetly not be coming back next year either!

  174. TooYoungtobeaCurmudgeon says

    Ok, I inherited my elf from my parents. Our family hung it someplace different every year. Once. And it stayed there until we took it down. My husband and I have continued that tradition. But isn’t the name Elf on a Shelf? So where is mine? It’s on a shelf — where else? I’m not a parent so maybe I’m missing some nuance here…

  175. Michele says

    I have learned to retaliate! My mother-in-law thought it would be a wonderful addition to our holiday traditions (traditions we don’t have mind you ) and had one shipped to me and her daughter. I cringed seeing the thing when I opened the mysterious Amazon package and then sighed. I’m not a religious person and the story has deep Christian beliefs. I also am not a Christmas person and this is obviously something meant to be for people who love the holiday.

    I tell my husband that since this is from HIS mother this is on him to do something with this thing. He agrees, yet has nothing to do with it. He has yet to move the thing once. My daughter’s birthday is in Dec so Christmas doesn’t start until a week after her birthday. So time rolls and here we are the night we are supposed to put up the tree and I tell him to do something with the stupid elf. He doesn’t.

    Now while this is happening I’m being BOMBARDED with the “cute” ideas from both sister-in-laws and my mother-in-law. Somehow they don’t get that I HATE THE HOLIDAYS. *Sigh* Needless to say I have to live up to my sister-in-law’s perfect, cute, and oh so wholesome, example with the EotS.

    I look at the thing and suddenly my perfect Grinch smile pulls to my lips and I cackle with joy as I figure out just exactly what to do with this terrible thing.

    Staring into it’s mirthful eyes I concluded it’s name is Betty. Betty isn’t the holly, jolly elf you see on TV… No Betty is an evil elf that relishes in the fact she has been set free of the fat man’s rule.

    I will admit I go “over the top” with my ideas. HOWEVER they aren’t the sweet, endearing, heartfelt ideas people fawn over.

    No, Betty’s first night here she was sitting on the mantle near our tree holding my Ginsu Butcher Knife with a note saying “Be good or else…”

    Betty’s second night in our home she got into an altercation with our Pocket Ninja, and was bound and gagged being prepared for decapitation. (His katana rested on her neck ready and willing)

    Betty’s third night you ask? Well she escaped the Ninja and found solace in the arms of Pinhead. Because no one will ever understand her better than a man directly out of hell with minions and chains at his disposal.

    Her fourth night was spent chain smoking and contemplating if it was THE night she would burn the tree down. Because burning it all down was going to happen it was just a matter of when.

    The fifth night Betty stayed with us she killed Vixen for getting to close to her blow and passed out in a pool of her own vomit after binge drinking and popping pills when she grew weary of snorting.

    Last night Betty ran into Micheal Myers and took a chapter from Dexter. He fits Harry’s code quite well and honestly Harry knew what he was talking about with the plastic wrap!

    Tonight Idk what Betty will do. I’ve yet to decide. But I ask my husband EVERY day what he wants done with it and he says he doesn’t know either. So never one to be outdone by my (obviously much better mother because she’s perfect and does exactly everything my mother-in-laws says) sister-in-law’s over the top-ness she had been plastering all over FB since Thanksgiving Night, I had to compete.

    And while this letter is trying to beg parents to STOP the perfect pics and crazy antics, I say if you have an OCD to go over the top, do it with revenge on the mind! Make it fun for YOU because in a few years your kids will laugh with you and no longer believe that there is a creepy stalker elf relaying msgs to a fat ped obsessed with red, who breaks in and leaves trinkets for them with the offer of a ride on his sleigh. No, in a few short years your children with have fun setting that creepy doll up in disturbing poses with you.

    And then it really will become a family tradition.

    (BTW I was asked if after I take the pics and post them if I put the elf in more “child friendly” poses……

    I Don’t!)

    *Tee Hee*

  176. J&L says

    I am so very much with you…we had to enlighten our little one the EOTS can’t fly when it is below zero, or his blood will turn to Icecream, since she was not having a good day, I pointed out that that was probably working in her favor… She agreed…However it makes me feel like a bang up mommy when I cannot even keep up with an elf 30 days out of 365….thank you so much for your letter. #reality

  177. EllenJ says

    I teach 1st grade, and one of my students told me today that her elf is a great hider because she never found it this morning!!! She said she had to look again this afternoon. I immediately thought that her parents either forgot until the last minute or ran out of ideas, so they stuffed him in their sock drawer…claiming he was an excellent hider!!

  178. barbara says

    what a big luck to live in Switzerland where the Elf on the Shelf is not arrived yet! So: my daughter is 20 years old and I am fareaway to be stressed with Elfes… Praise the Lord!

  179. A says

    Can I just say that I had to scroll for like ten minutes to find the bottom of this page. There are that many comments on this?

    Wow I’m wondering how the creator of elf on the shelf sits back with a smile on his/her face while parents try to create magical Disney experience with a toy elf. All the while this person is making a killing off the sales.

    I like to keep things simple. I neither promote Santa and his elves or crush my childrens’ imaginations if they think Santa is real. Should I go for it, even if my kids are just laughing at my expense one day for my goofy efforts? I considered the cuteness, but John and Jenny, I knew I would be filled with elf stress just like you guys.

    Seeing everyone posting their images on every social media avenue makes me a little glad I chose to forgo the elf adventures.

    I think it is great fun…and then I wonder if it is more like having the mark of the beast and all its followers must submit to the antiChrist. You know that ellf has an evil little twinkle in his eye. Lol!

    Well best wishes to all the elf minions!

  180. Cindy says

    I don’t do this thing, but if I did I’m afraid I will be one of those ones who place him in compromising positions with naked Barbies. :P

  181. Nick says

    Get over yourself, don’t blame everyone else for your lack of ideas. It’s Christmas!!! Be inventive. If not get rid of yours but I’m keeping mine.

  182. DebbieV says

    Elf wasn’t a part of my child’s life (16), apparently around then but not on my radar or as big a deal as they are now. But was keeping a couple of kids this past week while their parents were out-of-town and Jingle the Elf is visiting with them. The first day he slid down the stair banister and got stuck in the garland decorations, day 2 rode a camel from the nativity, day three had a ceramic snowman as an accomplice who helped him climb into the powdered donut bag, day four he had a magnifying glass looking at a Justice sales flyer laying on his stomach with his legs crossed, and day five he was riding in the sleigh (a sleigh the family puts their Christmas cards in). Loved seeing how excited she was each morning as she went to find what he had been up to the night before. Merry Christmas!!!

  183. Nikki Floyd says

    We are a Christian family and we love our elf on the shelf. We have two children 15 and 5 and they both enjoy the shenanigans and waking up looking forward to see where elf is and what he’s done. It’s amazing to me that during this time when there is so much else to be worried about people have nothing better to do than complain about an elf and parents who have chosen to make Christmas special. Seriously, why not focus that energy on something more important. It’s Christmas time. Be happy. Just because it’s not part of your traditions don’t judge others for making it part of theirs.

  184. Sharon says

    We didn’t have the Elf when my kids were growing up and I only learned about it in recent years so my 2 youngest grandbabes now have one.

    I never thought of being so creative with it! We just moved it around the house. Now I will have to think harder as when the kids visit I have a different elf, “Grampy Elf”, who takes over Elf duties and reports activities. Amazing how the 4 year old responds to the presence of the Elf, being so good and so aware of her behavior!

    So thanks for the ideas, now I can have the fun of seeing the kids respond to the Elf and maybe a little creative fun in just where that Elf ends up each day:)

  185. says

    Hilarious! I am this over achiever parent and love this!! Yes my elf has got out the sewing machine and made her self clothes, abseiled on strings of lights down our stairs, installed a new red christmas fairy door, cooked up a storm on the BBQ, had sack races with the other toys.. I love her! but she has also had moments of Im buggered she going in the Christmas tree! So funny! … and no I wont stop! hahaha

  186. says

    Haha! So true. I have to set an alarm too and then most nights I’m thankful that my husband stays up later than I because I forget. Fortunately I may not have to play this game much longer. I was asked today how the elf breaths without holes in his nose…. Good question.

  187. Jennifer says

    Have you not heard? There IS a Christian alternative to the EOTS. Check out The elf is fun but could you imagine the possibilities if parents put half the energy they do with the elf into The Christmas Angel? We’ve been given the best gift of love anyone could ask for in Jesus. How can we give that gift of love to others? The Christmas Angel visits our kids and leaves messages that encourage them to give, love or serve others during the Christmas season! Instead of an elf in every classroom or home, just imagine a creative and fun tool, The Christmas Angel leaving a message that has the next generation making cards for our troops, serving a meal to the homeless, opening the door for someone, and the list goes on! Is the Angel real? No, but the messages are because they are from our hearts as parents to our little ones. Teaching them in a fun and creative way that the greater blessing is in giving rather than receiving! Acts 20:35.

  188. Kristine says

    I’m such a bad parent that I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE DEAL IS with the Elf on a Shelf or whatever it’s called… good thing my child is 22 and doesn’t really care. I kept seeing my friends (the ones with younger kids) posting pics and finally had to ask what the deal was. I think I’m glad this didn’t come out 10 years ago or I would have been having to do it, but at least then there wouldn’t have been the pressure of social media competition…

  189. says

    Okay to anyone who feels this article is upsetting. It is 100 percent true! Here is the deal. Year one I was the perfect elf mover, I set an alarm and excitedly moved him. Year two we moved back to the States, me being the awesome mother I am hid hi in the suitcase. I set him out in hotels and Grandmas house. Then I forgot the elf as we mad a cross country move. This is year three…. Forget the whole month of December, we are bringing him for the 12 days of Christmas. This is morning three and the Elf forgot to move!! I actually found this article because the darn thing did not move itself. I googled “what to tell your kids when the elf does not move”. Clearly! This guy does the elf thing for the kids, clearly he has fun with them, and it sounds like he helps his wife move the stinking elf. This article is the truth. I have outdone myself in the past and now the kids are expecting the magical event every glorious morning…..well this Mom fell asleep and now is googling the best way to fix a huge elf mistake……one unnecessary mistake I put on myself. Laugh at this article because one day you will be throwing your elf into the fridge holding a pop cycle too!

  190. Krista says

    This is our first year with the elf, and I TOTALLY know what you’re talking about. My husband laughes at the number of alarms I already have going on my iPod, but I should probably add another one for “move the elf”. There have been a few mornings where I have literally said “no, come cuddle with me some more” as an excuse to hold onto my son, after nudging my husband and asking, in code, if he moved her. So while daddy “goes to the bathroom” (and relocates the elf) I can make sure the boy stays in the room.

  191. Cheri says

    LOL I am a Kindergarten teacher and have an Elf on the Shelf for my classroom! I totally understand the humor meant by this article LOL I am not sure where some of these parents come up with the imagination with their elves… I commend them! I love reading and seeing pictures of all the ideas they come up with and have “borrowed” some of those ideas for my classroom. I am not sure why so many people are getting upset over this article when obviously it was meant to make us laugh and smile! Tho don’t sell yourself short Jon, I think the freezer idea was really “cool” haha! I know my Kindergarteners loving looking for and finding where our dear elf has planted himself each day and the freezer is going to be one of the next places my elf is going to venture…Thanks!!

  192. Jill says

    We move our elf each night, but we don’t get overly creative with any mischief for him to get into. We’ve set an alarm to remind us to move him . . . our excuse for other nights when he didn’t move was that we were up too late.

  193. M says

    You do realizes you are all getting bothered by a toy right? Who cares what people do with thier elf and if they are being creative. If a little stuffed toy makes you feel inadequate then you have issues. We have an elf and I feel no competition or about where my elf goes. Sometimes he’s building a snowman from marshmallows and other times he sits on the Christmas tree and some times for day or two bc i forgot to move him. WHO CARE. It makes no big deal either way. Enjoy your Christmas!

  194. says

    Yet another Christmas thing we won’t be doing with our kid. We’re skipping Santa (I didn’t believe in Santa, and it certainly didn’t ruin the holiday for me, and there’s a few philosophyical-ish reasons we’re not doing it either), and this just seems like too much work at a crazy time of the year. Plus, I think the elf looks kind of creepy.

    • Michele says

      I can’t agree more! My husband and I have been going back and forth over Santa. I don’t want it and he does. Our compromise… Santa gives socks… ONLY socks. This way when our daughter realizes Santa isn’t real it’s not so detrimental to her. My mother-in-law thought that it was “cute” and had this stupid elf shipped to us. TY Amazon for the “this is a gift” tab -_- And of course her daughter is AMAZING at the “cute” tradition… Hence my reply on here further up. I get creative BUT I give this creepy thing, creepy things to do LOL

  195. cheryl says

    LOL our daughter (11years old going on 30) is our elf alarm. She tells us every couple of days to move him already. She also explains the “magic of Christmas” as seen thru the eyes of a child to us…I’m hoping that next year she’ll do it herself & then we’ll be the ones finding the creepy thing in strange places.

  196. Shelly says

    This is my 3rd year with Elves (two) and we haven’t repeated, but one thing (hiding in the tree) and I take pictures daily because some of my children have 2 homes and miss out on some days.

    It isn’t hard. If you are finding it hard and you’re cursing it, chances are that this tradition simply isn’t for YOU. This is meant to be enjoyable for all involved. I love setting it up (look forward to it) and love it even more when I see my children light up with excitement!

    Find another tradition. Your lack of creation/interest isn’t anyone’s fault but your own.

  197. Katie says

    I was watching the news with my cup of coffee this morning when I heard, “Mommy? MOMMY!”. My first thoughts were, “omgsh where do I put the elf?!”. All that came to mind was the marshmallow fight between the Toy Story characters. I saw a Mickey toy and a clean rocking chair and put their arms around each other. Close enough right? Someone finally posted my feelings =]

  198. Rose says

    The elf on the shelf is a great idea for the kids today, it makes them aware of the good and not so good things they do on a daily bases. I wish I would of thought of the idea. Its great to see my grandchildren be so happy when they find him every morning, especially the 21/2 year old, and if I’m not downstairs when they find him they come and tell me to come down and see where Sean (the Elf’s name) where he is.

  199. Aribee says

    If you can’t find ideas for elf on the shelf you are incredibly lazy. They’re all over the internet. Check: Pinterest.

  200. Tiffany says

    LOL! Loved this! However I am one of those people who get all into it! I only stay up until 11 most nights and my boy is already asleep by then, so I guess I have an easier time doing it than others. If I could get payed to do it, I so would go around to other houses and hide their elves! Last night he was hanging upside down as Spiderman, the night before he hung up clean underwear in a tree and well tonight he is hogtying Buzz and Woody while sitting on Bulls Eye. I know one day I will probably get tired of it but now I am thoroughly enjoying it. As for the picture you left; I can say I love it because you still made the decision to hide it and that is the point after all. Letting your children go on a hunt for the elf.

  201. Katie says

    I am literally having a discussion with my child right now about how the “elves” are coming during preschool/rest-time because it’s “better timing”. In reality, I forgot to put our little elf treats in their tiny stockings two nights ago and waiting until the afternoon to stick a Dum-Dum in there felt a lot better than fighting with them until 3 o’clock to be able to eat it anyway. Christmas traditions are a big job! Did I mention we’ve really fallen behind on our Nativity readings, and yesterday we ate all of our back-chocolates out of their advent calendars as our 10:30 snack with friends.

  202. Steven T. says

    The Elf on the Shelf is for parents who live in a fairy tale world. Its a “Sad” attempt to get your otherwise un-ruly & misbehaved kids to be on their best behavior as a threat that the elf will report back to Santa if they are not. – BS! at its Best. Learn to Parent first of all. Secondly, stop using fairy tale (lies/trickery/deception) to warp your kids into Good behavior. Learn to teach them about values the old fashioned way. Its Sad that you have to even use make believe to train your kids. FYI -Christmas is not about an Elf & Santa (unless you have really Bad kids).

  203. says

    Oh what a good Laugh Jon! We have an Elf on a Shelf as well…except I like to call him “Elf in the box”…because that is where he is and that’s where he will remain this year :D
    I too am an underachiever. When I first bought “Stewy” I read the book and to my understanding I thought you just moved him from spot to spot each day…and I did good the first year or 2, thought it was such a cute idea, I thought I was such a great mom…and then last year I saw all the overly fun things my FB friends’ elves were doing and totally lost my spirit for doing the elf on the shelf, I mean having an elf vandalize the house at night while the children asleep and then having the kids wake up to that…what is the point in this??? I don’t understand how that will make my kids behave better…But I see these pictures every morning pop up in my news feed and I’m like…really???? WHY? but to each their own right? lol

  204. Marta says

    This article was hilarious!!! Set an alarm? Not a bad idea!! But seriously, why is there always someone criticizing the Christians for this or that but on here judging them when that’s not very Christian. Why is there always someone one here complaining about Christmas being soooooo commercialized? If u can’t afford an elf on the shelf then keep it moving and don’t criticize the ones that do. If you don’t have time, then don’t do it! But please, this is meant to be funny, so can everyone just lighten up? He didn’t curse, he didn’t insult. But wow did he give me great ideas where to hide my son’ self!! My son is 9 and this year may be the last year for him believing in Santa!! Thank you for the article!!!

  205. Marta says

    And by the way Steven T, my son does not misbehaves. He is an honor roll student and never gets on trouble…. I do it for the fun of it!!! And I believe everything about Christmas is fun, but we do know is to celebrate Christ’s birth!!

  206. CJD says

    You know, instead of complaining that others are more creative than you, wouldn’t it be better to be grateful for all the creative ideas they give you? Or maybe just accept that everyone has different strengths and focus on what you’re good at instead of telling others to stop what they’re good at because it “makes you look bad.”

  207. says

    This article made me want to be a good Elf on the Shelf parent. I am now posting my pics on facebook. Nothing crazy but our Joanna elf did raid Barbie’s closet for some vintage frocks. She wrapped a bunch of gifts last night and collapsed amid her ribbon strewn workplace. We found the helpful elf with tape on her nose. We are a 1st year Elf family & will embrace the sentiments of this article in a few years ourselves. Until then…Merry Christmas

    • Alisha says

      We are a 2nd year elf family and I still do fun stuff with our elf. Our 7yr old is really into it and she loves to see what the elf did each day. Although by the last week I am running out of ideas! :) But, the look of joy on my daughter’s face every morning is totally worth it. Even when our elf does naughty things that we think will make her mad, like my husband suggesting we “cut Barbie’s head off with a saw while we were laying new flooring (no Barbies were harmed, we used Barbies with heads already detached!). My daughter thought it was hilarious, probably because she knew he used her Barbies that the head kept falling off of! Plus my 9 yr old son will soon stop believing. :(

  208. says

    Well…since my kids are grown we don’t have any elf’s at our house so when I told my son @JasonWeakley as we were making biscuits one morning “This is exactly the kind of thing those silly little elves do” he was a little puzzled since he didn’t know anything about the little elf’s!!
    It was so funny because there was flour all over the counter and the floor. If I only had an elf to blame it on!!!

    Merry Christmas!!

  209. says

    Our Elf didn’t show up until December 15th this year. He sent an email from the Bahamas saying he didn’t feel like coming to the cold until then. I just couldn’t face 24 days of cleverness this year – it’s our 3rd year. I’m exhausted. Good luck!

  210. Dustin says

    “Why? Because jars are easy for me to open. Don’t judge me. You don’t know my life.”

    Hilarious, so funny and true. I am with you man.

  211. anonymous says

    Here is my thing. I don’t necessarily mind it, but gosh people stop posting what your elf did on facebook/twitter every day – or twice or three times a day. THAT is annoying. Do you what you want to do. The rest of us don’t really care what position you set your elf in today – constantly.

  212. Sarah says

    I’m very grateful there are so many parents out there that want to make Christmas so memorable for their children. However, mine were extremely memorable without ever having my parents hiding a stuffed elf or lying to me about a fictitious Santa. Remember the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. My sister had her son put together a shoebox for another child this year as she was noticing too much “I want” behavior in him. I go caroling every year at the nursing home, giving of my time to others. Just a couple of thoughts this morning that go beyond what to me seems a bit shallow. Thanks! :)

  213. says

    So glad my kids are grown up. I can imagine the elf heading toward the door with a little suitcase on day 3 never to be seen again. I feel sorry for any grand kids I might have. My kids were over Santa by age 5… Probably something to do with us never mentioning him. What chance would an elf have.

  214. Andrew says

    You know, 1st Timothy 4:7 tell us that we should not have anything to do with “godless myths” like elves. Perhaps we’d be better served by using that energy to “train ourselves for godliness”.

    … this has been your friendly, neighborhood Jesus Juke.

  215. jess says

    About a week before Christmas Mary and Joseph start out for Bethlehem. They arrive on Christmas Eve. On Dec. 25 we start the Three Kings’ journey. They arrive on Jan 6.

  216. adam says

    We did the elf on a shelf gig for about five years. Doing the math, over 5 years, you have to move the elves to about 140 new places in your house! That’s why this becomes such an “issue”! Oh it’s very easy the first few weeks, but just wait until day 100 comes a knocking… The elves were gifts from an very special aunt. Our kids absolutely loved the elves. They will create such fond memories and are truly a special thing that you can give your kids… But I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I would finally get to bed, just begin to fall deeply asleep and then WAKE IN A TOTAL ^%$## PANIC because we forgot to move those $%#@ elves! How many mornings we woke in total fear, bolting down the stairs to move the elves before the kids made it down for breakfast. Or waking in the morning and shouting at each other, did you move them? it was your turn! I’m not doing it! You do it! But I don’t know where you left them yesterday! I can’t find them! AHHHHHHH! And oh, the few times we had to make up excuses on why the elves didn’t move the night before. Or worse yet, how the elves didn’t move during the night, but then magically moved while the kids were brushing their teeth, or walking the dog… or moved while they were off at school! We are extremely good parents, very involved parents, and even for us the elf on a shelf came to be a bit overwhelming and stressful at times.

  217. says

    This could be the funniest thing I’ve EVER read! Had to stop reading a few times as I was laughing so hard. While pawpaw and I have not done “The Elf on the Shelf” I want to! Thanks for the great laugh..and Merry Christmas to you and your family. :)

  218. N. beck says

    I don’t have the insane time some of you have to write a crazy lengthy post. All I can stay is…..ITS A DOLLL PEOPLE. HAVE FUN WITH IT, OR DONT! Honestly people, get a life. It’s a free country so do what you want. Get a grip iand deal with it or ignore it. If a doll works you up that bad, I’m sure there are great doctors to fix what’s wrong with you,

  219. Robert Seitter says

    Did you ever think there is a reason why Santa sent that Elf to sit on your shelf. Maybe he was just a disaster in the north pole that Santa had to invent a ridiculous idea to weed out the not so talented toy making elves out of the way. Hence the guy in your freezer trying to warm himself with a popsicle.

  220. Alisha says

    HAHAHA!! This made me LOL. Yes, I come up with something new every night.. Yes, I take multiple photos until I get the right one, sometimes using Photoshop to make a collage of them. Hey I’m a photographer, that part is just in my nature!. But yes, sometimes I do forget and have to come up with something last minute, that is when he just sits on the mantle or hides in a stocking. But, I post those photos as well. :)
    And yes, I build/make props for my elf, such as, a hang glider and a crocheted scarf this year, just to name a couple. But I’m getting the most out of the last year or so of my son believing that I can!
    And now, thanks to grandma, we have a girl elf. What the heck am I going to do with 2 elves? UGH Big thanks to my MIL for that one! Maybe the second elf can go live at her house along with the cotton candy maker she bought my daughter for Christmas. I’m pretty ecstatic about that upcoming gift… NOT!

  221. Lisa says

    You know that part in the book that says if kids touch the elf it loses it’s magic? When we forget, we ask the kids who has been touching the elf. That’s right, we blame it on them!

  222. Michele says

    I am in fact an Elf over achiever, Some things take a few minutes, others take longer, but to me it is worth every minute. I do it for my kids because if in a small amount of time I can create magic and memories that will last a lifetime. I don’t do it to “shame” lazy parents who I do in fact think are well…kinda lazy. Maybe it’s not the “Perfect Elf” people that are making you look bad maybe it is you. I would do anything to hear the laughter and excitement they feel when they wake up to look for Twixx and find her in some fantastic places even if that means sacrificing a little of my tine and possibly a little sleep to make it happen. Kinda sad that tonight will be the last night for a while, Not to fear Twixx will be leaving them the Birthday book so she can come back on their birthdays, She already comes back for Christmas in July! :)

  223. Shannon Cearley says

    Haha! Great article! I don’t have kids but can only imagine if we did and what our 3 cats would do to the elf if it were ever in their reach! Poor kids would find the elf in a horror scene!

  224. NotSoPerfectElfonShelfMom says

    LOL LOVE THIS!!! I am guilty of playing the greatest hits on my fb wall of my best ideas. BUT I am also guilty of forgetting to move the elves and then the kids see them in the same place the next morning and I have to tell them I guess they decided not to leave last night. haha.
    My favorite this year though was my idea to recreate Toy Story :)

  225. Jamie says

    My elf will be playing cards with all the other elves I found while cleaning out my basement last week. It seems I have buy a new one every year because I can never remember where I put it the year before. We now have 4 elves. I am grateful that I decided to use the less creepy plush one because it is half the price. It at least takes the sting out of buying a new one every year.

  226. Jessica says

    Oh I am so relieved to find out that my husband and I are not the only ones that feel this way! Our elf stayed in a glass pitcher in our curio cabinet for 5 days before the kids started asking why he hadn’t moved. We are guilty of putting him in the refrigerator and explaining that he wanted some cookie dough. There is just too much other activities to pay attention to (in my opinion, that are more important) to spend too much time on the elf.

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  229. Glenn says

    What happen with the naughty and nice list? This Elf stuff has taken it to another level
    of bullying our kids into being nice. Doesn’t work does it. We sin everyday and the kids do too. I don’t think any parent has followed through with not giving their children gifts at Christmas.

  230. Somer says

    I just read your elf on a shelf and have to say I am sooooo flipping grateful we didn’t have these when my kids where young. I like the freezer, it’s winter time, trust me the elf is missing the north pole, HE WANTS TO BE IN THE FREEZER!!. I think he needs to sleep in the dog toy basket one night. Trust me one night in the dog toy basket and he will never been seen again……..

  231. barbara says

    Praise the Lord! no Elfs in the Shelfs in Switzerland! How relaxing is this?!
    Just tell the kids next year, you do celebrate like in Switzerland, I will tell you what to do (you bake some stuff: Cookies. And the 6th a Grittibänz.) But it is not to compare with that stress with the Elf. Really

  232. Jojo says

    The way my husband and I see it is that this time of our children’s lives will pass so quickly. I think back on how much work it was to always coordinate having a diaper bag or baby carrier. However, now that my kids are 5 &7 I realize that precious time is gone. You control how simple or complicated the elf on the shelf is. It is for the enjoyment of you and your kiddos. Don’t worry about the people posting their overachiever elf. You be the best parent you can be. The children don’t have this high elf standard, they just love you and the magic of Christmas. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Enjoy your children!

  233. Katharine Kendrick says

    Dear Underachieving Mediocre Parents – stop – just stop complaining because you are not creative and have no sense of humor. Your children are going to be just as boring and whiney as you :( I am so sick of being persecuted as a parent who enjoys being creative. I enjoy sharing photos of my kids (& elf), and seeing photos shared by my friends. It is sad that miserable little trolls like yourself sit behind your keyboard, steaming mad over what other parents do. Especially if you are judging your so-called friends/family. Move on – get a life, if pictures of the Elf get you this upset, perhaps you need to put the laptop away and go play with your kids. Or get therapy.

  234. Katie says

    My grandson found his elf in the cornbread pan this morning. He told his grandpa, “Max is in the cornbread and he’s got a KNIFE!”

  235. Jama says

    I thank the Gods daily that my kids are too old for this Elf on the Shelf bs!!

    My sincerest respect to the parents trying to keep up with this kind of stuff in an already hectic season. Bless you. I couldn’t do it!


  1. […] I am updating again!  My kids are really enjoying the elf, are yours?  My little one, Kailani asks each day, “What message did Elfie send today?” and I love hearing that!  Kares likes to read them too.  Our elf is never really naughty, just silly.  I don’t want to teach my kids to be naughty, but I do want them to have fun. Our elf was in the fruit basket, hanging from the light, in the bathroom…nothing to crazy, but fun still. I want the focus to be Jesus, not the silly elf. Here are some hilarious blogs about some people who go over the top! Click here for 1 Click here for the other […]

  2. […] easy to feel deficient in the Awesome Department when there are all sorts of creative parents posting about their Elf on the Shelf abilities, sharing their houses decorated for the holidays that look like they come straight out of a […]

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