Forgot to Move the Elf? Elf on the Shelf Ideas Week No. 1

Every Thanksgiving, we are visited by an adorable elf named Peppermint Stick. I’m not sure how we decided to have this mischievous elf join our family. It just happened. One day we were going about our business. The next we’re jumping out of bed in the middle of the night because we forgot to move the blasted elf!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas | The Jenny Evolution

I have to admit, I think we jumped the gun for Peppermint Stick a year too early. We had toddlers. And when you have toddlers, you’re beyond exhausted. That first year, there were many nights when, in the darkness, I would ask my husband if he had moved the elf to a new place. <Sigh> So one of us would turn on the light, creep out of the warm covers and find a new $%#@#$ spot for this red-dressed dude.

A couple of nights we completely forgot, only to have our three-year-old son Vman ask why the elf hadn’t moved. <Sigh> We hemmed and hawed, claiming that Peppermint Stick stayed because he was just so cozy he didn’t want to move. Vman was three. What did he know? Now my boys are seven and five and much wiser. They aren’t buying any malarky from me or their dad. So game on!

This year I promised myself that rather than cursing our elf, I was going to have more fun with him. After all, our elf is strictly for fun in our house. We don’t use Peppermint Stick as a threat or a chance to force better behavior. My kids have good hearts, and I’d rather they learn it’s important to be kind and respectful without threats or promises of toys. So as Thanksgiving approached, I started looking for great Elf on the Shelf ideas and am now incorporating them into our own Peppermint Stick.

Every week this season, I’m going to share what our elf has been up to. And for even more fun Elf on the Shelf ideas, check out:

Looking for more great Christmas ideas? Be sure to check out my collection of Christmas Crafts and Activities for the entire family.

BTW – Do you need your own Elf on the Shelf? He (or she) is easy to get. Just click HERE. And if you’re confused by this whole Elf on the Shelf thing, read up on it HERE.

The Elf on the Shelf Returns Back Home; Leaves a Note for the Boys #elfontheshelf

Peppermint Stick arrives at the same time every year — Thanksgiving weekend. Just because you haven’t already started The Elf on the Shelf doesn’t mean you can’t begin now.

This year, he left a note for the boys. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just knowing that the elf was thinking about my kids was enough to fill them with holiday excitement.

We just love the Shedd Aquarium and so does our elf!  #elfontheshelf #sheddaquarium

People make such a crazy deal about how you set up your Elf on the Shelf. Honestly, in the beginning (and when your kids are very young) just moving the elf from one place to the next is enough. And not every new place has to have “wow factor.” We moved Peppermint Stick to the Christmas tree and had him hug an ornament from a place we love to go — The Shedd Aquarium!

Reading3

#Elfontheshelfideas

Our Elf Reads a Book #elfontheshelf #elfontheshelfideas

The next night, Peppermint Stick was interested in reading some books. He pulled out one of our favorites — Giraffes Can’t Dance. The boys thought it was awesome he had picked out such a great read! (By the way… If you haven’t read Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy.)

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how I got Peppermint Stick to keep his arms crossed, I added wire to the limbs. It felt a little bit over the top as I was doing it, but it just gives you some extra strength in the arms. You can get this thin wire at any craft store. I cut a short piece and slipped it directly into the arm. Presto!

Uh oh. Our Elf on the Shelf is Stuck!!! Help!!! #elfontheshelfideas

 

The following night, Peppermint Stick got stuck trying to get into our dog Lucy’s stocking. He got caught with his tush up in the air. The boys thought this was absolutely hysterical.

All day long, we talked about how on earth Peppermint Stick was going to get out of the stocking. Would he figure it out on his own? Would he call for reinforcements? We weren’t sure. But we were all relieved to see he had managed to get out the next morning.

I don't think they'll be able to find me here!

 

The night Peppermint Stick hid in the cabinet, the boys couldn’t find him. We had left the cabinet doors open, but they just weren’t looking in that area. So they dragged us out of bed so help look. What a surprise to find him there! 😉

The kids gave kudos to Peppermint Stick for finding such an awesome hiding spot that was also in plain sight.

The Elf on the Shelf can be fun, a burden, magical and a serious pain in the a$$. I recommend you keep it fun but don’t kill yourself trying to over the top. Your child isn’t going to remember that you spent a half an hour setting up some elaborate stage. He’s going to remember the magic and joy he felt at seeing his elf move every night.


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Looking for more great Christmas ideas? Be sure to check out my collection of Christmas Crafts and Activities for the entire family.

Talk. I'm Listening!

  1. I only wish there was an elf on the shelf when my kids were little. But, I do enjoy hearing about the elf’s antics from my grandchildren! One elf, named Sneakers (because he is sneaky – my then 3 year old granddaughter gave him the name) seems to be caught in funny predicaments – just as yours! Once she felt sorry for the elf for having to stay in a precarious predicament all day long and cried until her mother was able to help the elf (just this once) so that he would be more comfortable! It was good to know that she had developed such compassion – even for an elf!!! I love the picture of the elf in the upside down glass! Very clever!

  2. WHat a great idea! I obviously live under a rock as I’ve never heard of this Elfie thingy, but I should start a new tradition! I could put him in different places around my city and sned pix to my nieces and nephews (I don’t have kids of my own)!

  3. My kids are so into the elf on the shelf this year, but sometimes I’m racking my brain coming up with ideas…last night I was up most of the night with a sick kid and totally forgot this morning…good thing my 6 year old saw my husband touch the elves yesterday because he got blamed for ruining their magic for one night…phew!!! I’m off the hook! lol

    Jen

  4. I wrote about our elf last week. He just came out 7 days ago and I have already forgotten to move him once! Oops. The kids just love waking up to find him and I think I will use the elf under the drinking glass tomorrow morning!

  5. My youngest wanted an elf this year..still on the fence though…maybe next year! I’m one of those types who would totally forget to move it and have to schedule it on my calendar daily!

  6. I think I am a bit of a scrooge – I reckon there is enough to think about with Xmas without the Elf on the Shelf adding to my woes, so we don’t have one. I am in the UK, and its only a recent thing…so perhaps I can get away with it for a new more years. We have an “invisible elf” currently! Thanks for linking up to the Parenting Pin it Party 😀

  7. This is the first year I’ve ever heard of the Elf on the Shelf. The blog world has introduced me to it. Your ideas sound funny and interesting for the kids. I was cracking up when you were saying that the kids would ask why the elf hadn’t moved. Thanks for sharing with us at Countdown in Style! Don’t forget to stop by to see if you are featured on Friday! xo

  8. Love your approach, we’re trying to be a little more creative this year, but nothing too time consuming! As you say, the kids just love that he moves 🙂 We do often have the ‘have you moved the elf…’ conversation though! #ElfTakeover

  9. I absolutely loved this post! The magic of Christmas is so much fun now that our little ELF’s are around & also knowing that were all scurrying around in the middle of the night wondering what an elf would do makes me smile 🙂 Michelle