Elf on a Shelf

A couple weeks ago, one of my cousins made a post on Facebook:

“Pookie, our elf has returned. Our older son is so excited and on his best behavior. Our youngest was happy to see Pookie, but could care less that Pookie reports to Santa.”

What in the ???

I thought:

A.) She is either really creative and inventive, or

B.) She has hired an “elf” in an effort to encourage good behavior, or

C.) She is going a little crazy, or

D.) All of the above.

Then, a whole bunch of her friends started commenting about how their kids are reacting to their own personal elves, what they had named them, and sharing general cute kid and Elf stories.

My cousin lives on the east coast.  I thought, maybe this is an east coast thing?  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I asked:

OK….someone fill me in…..what in the world are you talking about?

The great thing about Facebook, is that it can often supply good answers and advice when in need.  People love to share their knowledge with those who ask.  I learned that the elves are sold in stores, such as Hallmark, as “The Elf on the Shelf.”

THIS...is the Elf on the Shelf!

The concept is that the elf comes to your house around the Christmas season to help Santa keep an eye on the kids’ behavior.  He sits in an inconspicuous place and silently watches.  The kids can’t touch him, and he only talks to adults.  At night, he magically flies to the North Pole and reports both good and bad behavior to Santa.  When he returns, he finds a new place in the house to watch from for the day.

Many of the parents commenting on my cousin’s Facebook status were raving about how well their kids would behave whenever the elf was mentioned. That’s when my Aunt Joanne from the east coast posted on my wall:

The Elf is just leaving NJ to fly to IA to see the Nieman family. Hope all the kids in IA are good. Watch for him to pass your home.

The elf comes with a nice story book.

It instructs the kids not to touch the Elf, so he doesn't lose his magic.

Ha! She had read the whole Facebook exchange and thought we needed an elf for our family!  A few days passed and, the package showed up at the door.  When Russell got home from school we opened it up and read the book.  We chose to name our elf Arthur. Thanks Aunt Joanne!

He hides all over the place, such as on top of the fridge.

...or over the kitchen sink.

Russell, who is almost 5, totally “gets it.”  All it takes is a mention of Arthur, and he snaps in to super good kid mode.  Lucy and Hazel, on the other hand, aren’t quite old enough to grasp it.  I think Lucy gets the concept, but lacks the ability to really weigh the consequences of her behavior.  She likes looking for his new observation point every morning though.  And Hazel, she just points at Arthur and says “baby.”  🙂

We filled out the last page of the book, as a reminder of when the tradition was started.

It has been a fun tradition to get started, and I’m sure that next year, Arthur may be able to solicit good behavior from Lucy as well.  It has sparked some awfully cute conversations and scenarios with Russell too.  I may even go so far as to say it has made Russell a tad more considerate.

Here is the website for the Elf of the Shelf.  If you have small children, I would recommend you get your family an Elf.  It is a fun Christmas tradition!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. We killed our Elf on the Shelf off this year. Here’s his obituary: http://sdavria.blogspot.com/2010/12/rip-marco-elf.html

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