Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had a full day celebrating, enjoying great company and wonderful food!
I’m a planner by nature, Elf’s visit has been thought out in detail. It was so much fun to imagine what and where ‘Oliver Sugar’ will be each day in December around the house. I started the process by going online and searching images and blogs about Elves that have visited other homes. I compiled all I found on my Elf Pinterest board . Pinterest is great for those of you who haven’t ventured there yet.
Elf has been around since 2005 and is really catching on (likely in part to children talking with one another about it, but also..its so much fun)! The basic idea is that Santa sends an elf to stay with your family for the month of December to keep an eye on the kids for Santa. He gets into some silly antics! He/She goes to the North Pole each night to help Santa in his workshop and returns to your home by morning. Elf moves each day and part of the fun is discovering where he/she will be, as well as what elf was doing while you were sleeping.
The pinterest board has links that have many ideas (often many ideas through one link). I’ve learned through experience that I pin some things on my board for the link and some for the cover picture. The latter being the case for most of my Elf on a shelf board. (I didn’t want to continue re-clicking the links to see all the the ideas. This way I can easily scroll through my board to see the ideas).
After I found the best of the best from my searching, I compiled a list of everything I needed to do to get elf ready for his arrival (see list directly below, which I’ll expand on). What’s fun about Elf is that one can make him/her as simple and easy as they’d like, or can get really involved (I tend to be in the later camp ;) ). See my pdf links below for my lists and ideas.
Letter from Santa LetterfromSanta
Elf Antics ElfAntics
Reasons Elf didn’t move Elfdidntmovebecause
Elf can be purchased online or at some bookstores. After purchasing elf and hacking him, I’m puzzled why he isn’t made with bendable arms/legs. After some more searching, I’d likely go with this collection of Elves in the future. From what I understand, they come with bendable arms and legs…plus they come with other accessories as part of their arrival kit. I’ve never seen one in person but they look superior in workmanship than the traditional elf on a shelf. Plus they are only a few dollars more than the elf on a shelf version. Apparently they have local stores, so I plan to take a look and see them in person sometime! The only downside I can think of with these elves is that they have a fabric face rather than a plastic one (This could make certain antics more challenging or impossible).
The elf hack (or surgery as I like to call it) is not necessary but will make it possible for your elf to stay in different positions. Elf is made out of felt and has floppy arms and legs. When he arrived I frowned after taking him out of the box (despite the fact of seeing him online and others describing how floppy he was, actually seeing and experiencing him in person was, disappointing). Its odd to me that he’s $30 dollars and there is not much to him (I suspect the book that comes with him costs much more than the elf himself).
Interested in a hack tutorial? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll write a blog post about it. :)
I knew with time the right name would come to me. I started with a list of names (Zippy, Blitz, Elfie, Ralph, Louie, Jingle, Jangle), Then it hit me one day. MawMaw calls the children pet names (said with the best New Orleans accent of course :) ) ‘Sugar Bugger’ ‘Sugar Lovie Dovie’ ‘Sugar Plum.’ Why not call the Elf Sugar? Then the Scholastic books arrived from school, and I was drawn to the story ‘The Littlest Elf.’ In the book the elf’s name is Oliver. So the name Oliver Sugar was born. His nicknames are Sugar, Ollie or Ollie Sugar.
As with every aspect of Elf, his name and how it is chosen is as unique as each family. Some choose to write something in the letter from Santa about allowing the children to name the elf.
For this family, we decided the adults would name the elf and introduce him to the family already named (less argument over choosing one name, and the bonus of a name we enjoy saying everyday)
There are many ways your elf can arrive to your home. The most common way I found was in a box at your front door. Subsequent years Elf seems to arrive in different ways. Many put a letter from Santa in the box explaining why Elf is here and the rules surrounding his stay. I’ve seen him arriving subsequent years in a small toy car with other characters or in a sleigh near the front door with a trail of magic (glitter) dust behind him (with a sign saying: ‘I’m back!’), and arriving in a parachute or hot air balloon.
The box elf arrives in to your home often contains a letter from Santa. In all my searches, I found these three to be the best overall nice printable letter, great letter & blog, and this one (Letters are on the bottom of each blog post page). I’d recommend looking at these letter to see the different aspects and rules in each one has as well at the values each family would like to instill. The religious letters which talk about forgiveness and not having the naughty and nice list were neat perspectives. Worth a thought of including some of these if they are important to you and your family.
Here is an example of a letter I put together for the children (link below)
Along the ideas of choosing to have Santa part of your tradition…I ran across this wonderful letter a mother wrote her daughter about the Truth of Santa and thought it was such a magnificent way to do so! If your on the fence about adding the belief in Santa to your tradition I’d encourage you to give her blog post and letter a read. The time a child would believe in Santa is such a short time frame and really allows them to use their imagination (and you to enjoy the wonder along with them)!
From my research, it seems most families have elf be the eyes and ears for Santa in December. Many elves are reporting back to Santa each evening to determine on whether they will be on the naughty or nice list. While I do like to encourage children to make great choices, it seems odd to only encourage that for one month. Children should be given gifts regardless of behavior (unconditional love) and not be threatened with empty words (I mean who really don’t give a gift to a child if they are able to?) Elf apparently flies back to the North Pole each evening to help Santa and then is back by morning, appearing somewhere new around the house. Most elves are not to be touched at all or they’ll lose their magic dust and won’t move the next day. They also don’t move is there was behavior that was not so great.
For my charges impulse control can be a challenge and likely impossible for the boys not to touch Elf. We have decided what works for us is to allow the children to touch elf upon finding him and then putting him up in his ‘home’ spot, likely next to the tv (which is up out of reach). The children will have to leave him alone during the day or he may not move the next day.
There should be much thought and careful consideration as to how to introduce Elf to your family. He/She should emcompass the beliefs and values you’d like your children to have. Each elf is as unique as the family they visit, make it fun!
Now that everything else is done… on to the fun part! I have so many ideas for elf, enough for at least two years of Decembers. I’ve decided the easiest way is to make a calendar, like this one (picture of calendar below) and have everything already prepared. I’ve attached a pdf of a master list I compiled, if lists are your thing. I have an easy and involved list (for those nights/mornings when something quick works best). I’ll post a weekly blog post with pictures of what Sugar has been up to this week.
Here is a link with all the antics (enough for over 2 years!)
Reasons Elf Didn’t Move
There will be days/nights when Elf may not move. I’ve found some fun ideas for those days when you weren’t able to get it all together, or the kids behavior just didn’t match up with expectations. I’ve attached a pdf Elfdidntmovebecause for a list I made from this and this post.
Phew, you catch all that?! This is a long post (obviously), as I wanted this to be an all inclusive post so that you can know what you are getting into. Research is fun for me, so I’ve taken the work out of it for you by giving you a overall idea and plan for Elf. Have questions or ideas? As always I appreciate the dialog and ideas you put in the comment section below (I’ll do my best to check comments often this month, so you’ll have a reliable source during the hustle bustle of the month for any questions you may have.)
I anticipate the fun and wonder Ollie will bring this month.
See you soon!
p.s. anyone know how to post a picture of a pdf to post in my blog?