Friday, November 16, 2012

The Elf On The Shelf

What is The Elf on the Shelf? 

The Elf on the Shelf Boy Light Doll with Book: A Christmas Tradition

It's a really fun Christmas tradition you can buy in a box!  You've probably already seen or heard something about it?  It's become enormously popular in the States and has now made it to Australian shores.  Inside the box is an elf doll and a book...

In the hardcover book the Elf explains that Santa has sent him (or her) to watch over the children and family and report back to Santa every night during the Christmas season.  The Elf is a very good listener and is always looking for all the kind and the good things that children do.  (Of course, if there is some naughtiness going on then Santa gets to hear about that too. -  I personally don't love the idea of a 'Santa spy', but I do love the idea of being more aware of the good that people do, so I suppose it's up to us to put our own slant on it :)

Why has 'the Elf on the Shelf' become so popular?

When the Elf arrives the children get to name him/her.  This is important because, (as the book explains), elves get their magic from being named.  There is an Elf on the Shelf website where you can register the adoption of your Elf :)  Together your family read the book, which explains all this, plus the following:  

* The children cannot touch the elf or he will lose his magic
* The elf can listen to what the children tell him, but cannot talk back, that's Santa's law.
* The elf flies back to the North Pole each night and tells Santa what he has seen - when he comes back he goes to a new spot in the house.

The fun is in the last rule!  By hiding in a new spot each morning around the house, the Elf and the family play an ongoing game of hide and seek :)   Some elves are quiet and reserved, while some just love having fun and pulling pranks. Elves are apparently very adaptable and tend to meld into the culture and the personalities of the family who adopt it!  :)

When does the Elf visit each year? 

In the States it seems common for the Elf to appear at  Thanksgiving, (the fourth Thursday in November).   I would think in Australia that either the 1st of December or the 25th of November would work, (or whatever you like, because it's your family and your Elf - so he'll probably fit in with you!), and then would not be seen after Christmas Eve?   

I love the idea I found here of welcoming your Elf when he appears each year with a Christmas breakfast!

You will also find some ideas here about how to welcome your Christmas Elf to your family, with some thoughts here about naming your Elf.

Once you go looking you will also find a lot of ideas to have fun with your Elf on Pinterest and Google images.  The best site I have found is over at where the Blog author is currently presenting a full month of 'the Elf on the Shelf' ideas, along with downloadable activities and cards to suit a family or even a classroom.  The author is creative and very generous with her ideas.   (She's an Australian too :)

Some other sites or pages you may enjoy are:  (click on the blue links to go to the page or site)

Where to buy the Elf on the Shelf?  This is especially helpful for Australia.  I bought mine from Bundles of Fun.  They were a few dollars more expensive than the Book Depository, but it should be here in a few days instead of a few weeks.  The Elf on the Shelf is quite overpriced wherever you buy it..  However, it would be easy to buy or make an elf yourself if you preferred, and introduce the story in your own words.   Like all family traditions, we can make it our own :)

Interview with the author    This gives an interesting and informative look into how TEOTS came about.

How to improve your Elf!   This is a tutorial about making your Elf bendable and 'grippy'.  This site also has more fun ideas here and here.  

Remember for lots of great ideas!

And don't forget the official web site.  Girl elves, and elves with a 'dark' complexion are also available.


While we didn't have a TEOTS while our family was growing up, we did have our own fun-loving visitors each Christmas season.  I bought a handful of bendable Santas one year, thinking that the children would enjoy them.  Over the years those Santas got up to a lot of mischief !  Of course we didn't usually think to take photos (doh!) but we fondly remember finding them using our goldfish bowl as a jacuzzi, mountain-climbing up our picture wall,  playing golf on the sideboard, and napping off in front of a movie.  They make their appearance each year when we unpack our Christmas gear and start to decorate the house.  I'll leave you with the few photos we did think to take..  

Will you be welcoming an Elf this year? :)



As suggested, it would not be hard to make or find your own elf, as these additional photos show.  The first is of some shelf elf's that Jessima's Mum made as a Christmas ornament, although you could easily use one as your EOTS too.  All the materials needed can be sourced from a haberdashery shop like Spotlight.  He's cute, isn't he?  A good DIY project :)

Amy purchased her Christmas elf from a Christmas supply shop.  He has bendy arms and legs that make him easy to pose. Here he is, having turned all the milk in their house blue one morning!

Here he is reading  'The Little Christmas Elf' to Ken and the Barbies the following morning..

There are many ways to apply the tradition to our own family.  Just be flexible and just have fun with it! :)


I just came across these EOTS photos here, of an Elf being introduced to Australia and its wild-life.  Funny!

elf on the shelf reptile   elf on the shelf crocodile hunter

elf on the shelf spider   elf on the shelf shark

elf on the shelf with green sheep  elf on the shelf learning gday

elf on the shelf wiht lamingtons    

                    elf on the shelf sunbaking  elf on the shelf hiding under hat

elf on the shelf aussie night


  1. Fun info! - I love the 'how to make him cooler' thing - he definitely needs some wire in him so we can do as we did with the Santas!! I can't wait to get ours and get started!!! :) xo

    1. I don't know.. He seems from the pictures to be fairly sturdy and bendable anyway. We'll wait and see when he comes :)

  2. How fun! I love this idea - thanks :D

  3. Thanks for this!!! We will definitely be modifying our elf with wire :)
    How exciting to start a new tradition. I'm also going to make nativity costumes. Found a site with an easy pattern! Bring on the Christmas season!!!

    1. I thought at first that you were going to make a nativity costume for your elf! :) I was recently wondering about all the children getting together to give a nativity performance? The first year we did it, Tammy was Mary, Micky was Joseph, I was the narrator/angel, Jonny was baby Jesus and Neil was the audience. We all loved it :) xo

  4. Love it! Abby... would your family's elf be named gumpy perhaps?!!


    1. It's GumBY!!! :) And no, we already have a Gumby...that would be like naming him 'Maggie'. I like the one in the photo called 'Buddy' - that's cute. I can see James rolling his eyes and saying it's not a real guy name, but we're talking an elf here... I think I'll just name him and cook a Christmas breakfast so nobody questions the name... :)

    2. Haha - so close to Grumpy.. Can you have a grumpy Christmas elf? xo

  5. I LOVE this! What a fun idea. Those Santas we had growing up always were and still are lots of fun.
    I can just see little kids having SO much fun with an elf and getting so excited about where he's ended up each day. I wish Hallie was older so I could get one and she could be excited about it! Lol.
    Maybe next year :P I love this for a Christmas season tradition :)
    I do love this though. Thanks for sharing that Mum, I'd never heard of it before!

  6. I've heard of these, but I had no idea there was a whole tradition behind them! What a cute idea!

  7. i do love this idea so much... really looking forward to starting this christmas tradtion this year.. :)

    1. Amy, I've just seen them on the Book Depository website for about $12 less, with free delivery! I don't know how long this will last..