Monday, December 9, 2013


When I saw ideas about an “elf on the shelf” for the days leading up to Christmas, I was intrigued and thought it would be great fun to do with my family. My impression was that you put the elf doll in various places of the house, complete with fun scenarios—making brownies, going on safari, driving Barbie’s car, etc.

When I got onto Pinterest and started to glean serious ideas for what I could do with an elf, I was surprised and a bit dismayed that there are parents who are AGAINST the Elf/Shelf idea! Why? Because the tips and suggestions and assumptions of what you’re going to do with the elf lead to discomfort.

For example,
  • It is expensive: you have to buy all these accouterments to go with him and to make the story exciting.
  • It’s time-consuming: you have to write a long note with each scene, and you have to do it every day.  You have to spend every night setting up elaborate scenarios.
  • It gives the wrong idea about Christmas: you have to write the notes that tell about the elf’s history, about being naughty and nice, and what might happen to you if you’re naughty.
  • It’s scary: you have to buy the elf that everyone else does, and he frightens some children with his evil eye and his admonition that he is watching them all the time.
I had no idea.

I’m intrigued by the large amount of people who believe the words “have to” in all the above sentences.

My family at home now consists of my husband and a son who is in college. I think we could have great fun with an elf. Here is what I’m thinking:
  • Doesn’t have to have notes
  • Doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming
  • Doesn’t even have to be every day

Anna Luther has it about right in what she says in Elf on the Shelf for Slackers:

    Day 1: Your elf arrives. Put him on the nearest shelf. Read your kids the book. You’re done.
     Day 2: Move your elf to the dining room light fixture.
     Day 3: Move your elf to the kitchen windowsill.
     Day 4: Forget to move your elf. Tell your kids that he only moves if they’ve been good the 
     day before – so must be they were naughty. Tell them to try harder.
     Day 5: Move your elf to a shelf in the family room.

You get the idea.  As the days fly closer to the holidays, there are more and more "forget"s.  So funny.

I think all it has to be is that an elf that shows up every once in a while doing something goofy or funny, that’s all. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Well, I have to admit at being very surprised at my plans for Elf the Easy & Fun Way.  

I could not find an inexpensive elf to purchase.  I COULD NOT.  

When I was a child, these were considered junk toys that you could find anywhere, but I suspect that when this person came up with idea of Elf on the Shelf (complete with book and "kit"), he/she also bought out any and every elf-making company there is in the whole world--because the only way to get an elf seems to be to pay lotsa money for the whole kit!  While I could not travel out of town, I looked at every store we had (dollar, hardware, gift, discount) and searched online for a considerable more amount of time than I should have.

It's nice to have an elf like the socially accepted one, because his arms and legs are longer and adapt more easily to interesting poses.

But then I found a cute sock monkey at Walmart for $3.  I followed E-A-S-Y directions on how to add wire in his limbs and velcro on his hands.  I looked through ideas and have chosen only the ideas that 
  • are not time-consuming
  • do not cost anything
I began on December 8, where he arrived with a Walmart bag as a parachute and a short note:

          Hello, Welton Family!
          I’ve come to spend the holidays with you, hope you don’t mind. I won’t be any trouble.
          Love, Highjinks

Our adventure has begun!


  1. OK, get ready for a long "comment."

    About ten to twelve years ago, I got an old elf from the stuff that all of Scott's family was going through of his great grandma. His grandparents had these adorable elves that they set under the Christmas tree every year. I fell in love with elves and wanted more.....NONE were to be found! I have purchased a couple of ornaments and one wooden elf figure for the shelf, but nothing as cute as the ones his grandparents had. And the one old elf of Great Grandma's got put out each year.

    THEN a few years ago came "Elf on a Shelf" and I heard about it among some friends with younger children. Cute idea! Put the elf in a different place every day, tell the kids that he is Santa's helper watching to see if they are being naughty or nice. I immediately began using "old" elf in this manner at home. My girls thought it was "creepy" and fun as he showed up in mysterious places to watch them! haha! That is how we still do it today.

    Along the way I heard a few cute, funny stories about friends who used elf to demonstrate naughty or nice scenarios for kids. Some used him to demonstrate Godly behaviors, like reading the Bible, and serving others. Great stories that I have really enjoyed reading and hearing. But NEVER have I thought I "had to" start doing more with our elf. COME ON! Be your own person! And enjoy life!

    I love HighJinks! Can't wait to see more pictures!

    Thanks for your post!
    Esther Bates

  2. A friend for Melrose! What fun!