How to Introduce Elf on the Shelf in Fun, Creative Ways

Published December 6, 2021
creative ideas for elf on shelf

Whether Elf on the Shelf is already part of your family's Christmas traditions or you're introducing that rascally elf for the first time this year, creativity is key. Don't take the "shelf" part of the name too seriously. Instead, opt for a super-fun and creative way to welcome Santa's little helper into your home this holiday season.

10 Fun Ways to Introduce Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf should arrive with a splash early in the holiday season, based on how long the parents are willing to open their home to a cheeky guest from the North Pole. The elf sometimes shows up as early as Thanksgiving, but usually arrives on the scene in early to mid-December. The little elf loves to kick off the Christmas season in a creative way.

  • It's a lot of fun for kids to wake up and find the elf at the breakfast table. Enjoy some Christmas-themed cereal that morning to celebrate the elf's arrival.
  • Since the elf will want to see the kiddos first thing in the morning, he might like to perch on the countertop in the bathroom, next to the soap or toothbrushing supplies.
  • Of course, the elf might be feeling a bit dirty after traveling to your house all the way from Santa's workshop. So, maybe the elf should be perched on the bathtub or in the shower.
  • The elf may have been so tired upon arrival that it fell asleep just inside the door. Kiddos will love discovering a sleeping elf when they wake up, especially if a snoring sound effect leads them to find the elf.
  • If the elf is stealthy and your child is a light sleeper, it might be fun for your little one to wake up and find the elf snuggled up on their pillow or perched on their nightstand.
  • Elves love to find fun hiding places. If your kiddos need to add laundry to the hamper first thing in the morning, it could be a fun surprise for them to find the elf perched inside.
  • If you drive your kids to school, the car might be the perfect place to introduce the elf. Imagine their delight at finding the elf napping in the backseat when they climb in the car for the ride to school.
  • If your Christmas tree is already in place, it may be the perfect spot for the elf to make its first appearance of the year.
  • If your kids like to play tea party, it could be fun for the elf to appear with their tea set, all set up for a light repast. Include some fun pint-size Christmas treats to enjoy.
  • The elf may need to check its social media apps upon arrival, so consider letting the kids discover the elf using their tablet or a parent's mobile device.

Tips for Introducing Elf on the Shelf for the First Time

Once the elf has made their first visit, your kids will know what to expect, though the elf will usually bring a welcome back letter as a brief reminder. When introducing Elf on the Shelf for the very first time, you'll need to provide the kids with a bit of context. It's particularly important to make sure they don't think that the elf's presence is scary or punitive. There are a few ways to do this.

  • Attach a note to the elf that explains the purpose of the elf's visit and how he got in your home, as well as what to expect throughout the holiday season.
  • Send a letter to your kids from Santa a day or so before the elf first arrives to explain what to expect.
  • Explain the elf via a bedtime story. Simply read The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition to your littles the evening before the elf's early morning arrival.
  • Show your kids a fun video (like the one below) that tells them the story of how and why the elf was sent to spend time with them.

Whimsical Christmas Fun for Everyone

The Elf on the Shelf is a whimsical Christmas tradition that helps make the season as magical as possible for children. The time will come for the elf to head back home to the North Pole for some well-deserved rest and relaxation in the off-season. Just like there are cool and creative ways to introduce the elf, there are also some fun and simple ways for the elf to say goodbye.

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How to Introduce Elf on the Shelf in Fun, Creative Ways