What are the rules for Elf on the Shelf? The rules for this magical elf are simple and they start with why the elf is at your house. Don’t start it too early or your family will be “elfed-out” by the time Christmas rolls around, which is offered as more of a tip than a rule!
The concept of the Elf on the Shelf is simple. The elf shows up one night around Dec. 1 and the kids are told that he sits and watches them throughout the day. Once they go to sleep at night the elf will magically fly to the North Pole to tell Santa just how good or bad you were that day. In other words they are helping Santa with his “naughty or nice list.”
The kids wake up one morning to the elf perched somewhere in your house where he or she has a bird’s eye view of what is going on. The elf usually arrives the day after Thanksgiving or if it is your family’s tradition to do a 30 days of Christmas type-thing, the elf can arrive on December 1. Basically the elf can show up any day you pick for your family tradition to begin.
The Frugal Coupon Living reports on November 11 that they celebrate their Elf on the Shelf starting on November 1. That might be too early for some folks as a lot of family’s do the Elf on the Shelf for a shorter duration so the elf doesn’t grow old before the holidays arrive.
According to PopSugar , if you space out the night before and forget to move that Elf on the Shelf, you won’t be the first parent to do so and you certainly won’t be the last! One mom who was stressing out over what her kids had been up to lately confessed that she told the kids that they were just too naughty for the elf to make the trip to the North Pole that night. She did this after she had gone to bed forgetting to give the elf a new perch the night before.
That is probably not the best way to deal with a missed move of the elf, even if your kids are off the walls leading up to the holidays. Why not tell them the elf was taking a much needed break from the long journey to the North Pole each night and that the elf as been known to do this from time to time. Or do the opposite of the mom above and tell the kids that they have been so good that the elf didn’t need to make a report to Santa!
If it is the first year with your Elf on a Shelf, the kids need to name him. Some families have their kids write to Santa and ask for an Elf on the Shelf and when it arrives on the door stoop, they open the box, name the elf and then place the little guy in its first perch in the house. After that the kids don’t touch him.
There are only two rules for the Elf on a Shelf:
1. You can never touch the Elf on the Shelf or it could lose its magic.
2. The Elf on the Shelf never talks or moves while people are awake in the house.
One of the great aspects of this Elf on a Shelf is that it gives you the tool to start your own family tradition, so you can pick the day you want to start each year. Some families leave it up to the element of surprise each year and they don’t have a traditional date for the elf to arrive, so there’s plenty of liberty to take here with this elf’s arrival! Many just have the elf appear on any random morning leading up to Christmas and other families have a traditional date of arrival!
The elf flies back to the North Pole each night to help Santa with his naughty and nice list. Then he flies back to your house and finds a different place to perch so he can watch the kids from another angle in your home.
Each morning it is like a treasure hunt as the kids get up and look for the elf’s new location, whipping around the house to see where that elf has planked himself down for the day. Over the years families have gotten extremely creative with the places they’ve put that elf and they’ve also gotten creative with activities they have their elf doing throughout the time the Elf on the Shelf is with the family.
Here are some creative websites to give you ideas on where to put your Elf on a Shelf and some creative things you can do with the elf to get those little eyes open in awe each morning:
Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Elf on the Shelf Ideas from Pinterest
Elf on the Shelf Ideas from The Domestic Engineer
Most of all have fun with this elf and use it as a tool to start your own family tradition. There’s nothing written in cement, so the elf’s arrival, name, and the places the elf uses as his perch are all up to you. The elf doesn’t have to be the perfect house guest. The kids can get up in the morning and see that the elf has made a bit of a mess whether it be with torn newspapers, toilet paper scattered or their toys in a pile. It is up to you and what you do with the elf that will make this little intruder all the more real for the kids!