Surviving the Elf on the Shelf

By: Vanessa Armstrong/

Has the Elf on the Shelf made his way into your home yet?  If you’re not a seasoned veteran yet in the elf department, I’m here to give you a few ideas and tips to keep you sane during the month of December!  81mhqu8t1al-_sl1500_

If you haven’t heard of the Elf on the Shelf, he or she is a scout elf from the North Pole that reports back to Santa every night.  This little elf moves locations each night and your child gets up the next morning and tries to find him, Christmas Eve he goes back home to the North Pole with Santa.  You aren’t suppose to touch the elf, because if you do, he will loose his magic.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Thanks to Pinterest, easy doesn’t cut it.  Each night the little elf gets into more and more mischief, makes elaborate meals, obstacle course, intricate drawings on bathroom mirrors, you get the idea and you know what, the kids LOVE IT!

Just be prepared, even if you don’t have an elf, or plan on getting one, if your child is starting school, there is a good chance there will be an elf in their classroom.

When you get your elf, you have to name him or her, Skippy Elroy Armstrong is our elf and he has been with us since 2011!  So this will be our 6th holiday season with Skippy and I’ll admit, I get a kick out of “seeing” what fun things our elf comes up with each day and how much our kids love it, I’m also ready just to move this little fella from place to place and call it good. With all that being said, I’m going to give you some tips I wish I would have gotten back in 2011.


  1. Keep it Simple!  As long as the little guy moves, the kids will be happy (especially if they don’t know any better)
  2. If you want to try out some of those fun Pinterest ideas, do like one or two a week, that way you’re not staring at your computer screen 6 years later, trying figure out how to come up 24 new ideas, when your elf has visited for over 125 days (he came Thanksgiving night our first year)
  3. You don’t need to get an expensive Elf on the Shelf, Michael’s, JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby have elves that are around the same size, and their have bendable arms/legs.  With a coupon, these are under 5 bucks!  This little elf is super cute, I also wish I would have known about him before Skippy joined the family (yes, I refer to the elf as a real person)
  4. My biggest tip, that I’m trying to figure out how to make happen this year is, don’t have your elf arrive until like 2 weeks before Christmas!1

Here are a few of my favorite ideas (that aren’t too time consuming).

  • Bubble Bath (use cotton balls, not marshmallows, they will leave white stuff on him)
  • hiding in a cereal box,
  • making his Christmas list
  • bring a little surprise
  • having a movie night
  • reading Christmas books.
  • playing board games
  • decorate the tree with underwear or replace the stockings with underwear

Vanessa Armstrong is one of our Parent Liaison for Lenawee Great Start. Before joining Lenawee Great Start, Vanessa worked as a photographer and served in the United States Air Force of 10 years. She is a Florida native who has been living in Tecumseh with her husband Sean and their 3 children, Keira, Cooper and Harper since 2010.

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