Christmas Traditions: The Elf on the Shelf

Day 15 of 25 Days of Christmas

Our Elf on the Shelf arrived at our house like clockwork on December 1st. I really look forward to the arrival of him and I love the process of moving him from one place to the next. Yes, I am “that mom”. The Elf on the Shelf over-achiever and frankly, I don’t care what other people may think. I do it because of the look on Shawn’s face every morning. I do it because honestly, it IS boring to just move him around. I do it because I simply want to. If you don’t want to do more than move him around, that’s ok! No one out there is putting any guilt on you except for yourself. There is no shame in just being simple about it.

However, I hope to show you once again this year that even simple, can be creative too. Not all my ideas this year are super simple but none of them took more than 10 minutes to set up. It’s all about getting the prep-work done in advance and having a plan. You can see last year’s Elf on the Shelf HERE. I also want to note: I post my complete Christmas season of our Elf and not just my “best ones”.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 1: Our Elf arrived with a great North Pole breakfast. Since it was a school day, breakfast is not a huge meal, so I focused on some great things to start off our Christmas season. A new book, stickers and a Polar Explorer Map from Hallmark. I just used decorations from around the house and typed up a small note from Santa. I also made a waffle Christmas tree with cookie cutters. This set up took a bit longer but it was the first day and well worth the effort.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 2: The next day our Elf decided that put up his own tree. I found this sweet little tinsel tree and garland at Target. They didn’t cost much and it will fit in with my other decorations later on. I was able to get him to stand up on his knees simply that branch by his arm. He stayed like that all day long and never moved an inch.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 3: Normally, our Elf wouldn’t give Shawn gifts but I found this cute little mug at Target and knew it would be perfect for Shawn. My big thing this year is all about positioning the Elf and making him look more “real”. This pose was really easy. His chest is taped onto the mug in the back and there was no way Shawn would ever be able to tell. Funny story: all those marshmallows disappeared throughout the day. We knew it wasn’t our dogs, so it had to be the cats that ate them. lol

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 4: SUPER SIMPLE IDEA! I always plan easy ideas into the month (I also am ok with changing my schedule based upon what’s going on each day). I didn’t want to do the standard, Elf sitting in the tree, so I posed him like he was laying down in the tree. Shawn had a super hard time finding him because he just blended in with the garland. (See tutorial for my garland HERE).

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 5: I swore up and down that I wouldn’t buy any type of clothing for our Elf. I wasn’t playing into the commercialism of it but Shawn begged me to. So I caved… He also made some snowmen out of marshmallows, toothpicks and a marker. It took me longer to get the sweater over his head then to make the snowmen. lol

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 6: This was the day before my Annual Cookie Exchange Party. Shawn was really looking forward to helping me in the kitchen and talked about wanting to make these cookies in his Gooseberry Patch, Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook. A week or so previous to this, Michael and I were out Christmas shopping and I came across the apron kit (one for the elf and one for a kid). I wanted it but like I said, I refused to buy anything extra. I walked out of the store without it until the day before when I decided that I really did want it and made Michael search on his way home for it. I will say this… it was worth it. In case anyone is wondering, we asked our Elf to move on his own, so we could use the space for baking. He was happy to move for us.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 7: It was the day of the party and I kept it super simple. I just placed him up on the garland across our dining room window. All of my guests got a kick out of him and Shawn thought it was great that he could watch the party. It doesn’t have to be complicated but be fun!

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 8: Writing Shawn’s Christmas List is always fun and our Elf wanted to make sure that we didn’t forget. We already had the cute stationary from last year and the mailbox was too (read about our Magic Mailbox HERE), so this set up was simple.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 9: I have said it before and I will say it again. Don’t feel like you can’t just take a break and do something easy. I was tired and just didn’t feel like doing what was on my schedule (even though everything is quick and easy to begin with). I just plopped him inside a stocking and went to bed. Shawn thought it was funny and didn’t think twice about why he wasn’t “doing” something.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 10: This only looks more complicated than it really was. I cut a piece of felt and tied it on him. Printed our a cute “C” that I found online and taped it to his chest. We took some fishing line and wrapped it around his chest and made a small slit in the cape for it come through. We took a couple straight pins and placed them in his arms and legs (on top) to make them stand out. Michael helped a lot with his one but had I done it myself, it would have only taken me 15 minutes. The way I see it, I am allowed 1 set up that takes a little bit more work, considering how easy the other ones are.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 11: We had some leftover m&m’s from Shawn’s reindeer cookies (he made them to exchange at the cookie party), so our Elf decided to help himself. I do not feel that because our Elf does something like eat candy for breakfast that Shawn will think it’s ok. He knows that just because our Elf can do something, doesn’t mean that he can too.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 12: Shawn LOVES his Legos and always laughs when our Elf plays with his toys (last year he set up a train set). We built a quick tree and stocking with the blocks and set him on the table. Waiting for Shawn to fall asleep, so I could sneak a bin of Legos from his room took longer than anything else that night.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 13: This was not a planned thing at all but I had fallen asleep snuggling in bed with Shawn, when Michael woke me up to tell me that I hadn’t moved him yet. I was so tired and groggy that I just put him in one of our trees and went to bed. Honestly, keep it simple because there is no need to stress yourself out night after night.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 14: Our Elf made a tiny countdown chain for Shawn. It’s super tiny and was really easy to make. I am not sure if plan on removing it myself each night (pretending that the Elf did it) or letting Shawn do it.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 15: Our Elf decided to be silly and sit in a paper rocket ship all day. Shawn was full of theories this morning on what he was doing inside the rocket ship, where he was going and wondering if he was going to leave it behind so he could play with it. I decided to leave it so he could play around with it. I got the template from HERE.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 16: Not a great looking photo (my hallway is terrible for taking photos – high ISO means grainy photo). Our Elf decided to play a small prank on Shawn and trap him inside his room. VERY easy set up and only took a couple minutes to do. The only thing I needed to worry about was waking him up in the process (he can be a light sleeper at times). Of course he thought it was hilarious when he woke up. He crawled out at the bottom and after crawling back into his room, he declared that he wouldn’t be able to go to school that morning. lol

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 17: Another easy-peasy set up. I just started putting together one of Shawn’s puzzles and plopped the elf down with a piece in his hands. Shawn gets the biggest kick out of him playing with his stuff.

The Weekend Housewife - Countdown to Christmas - Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Day 18: Our Elf is getting quite adventurous this year. The hardest part of this set up was getting his legs into position (that and trying to keep our cat away from the string). We tied a long piece of string to the top of the tree, tied his hands in it (I still refuse to take this hands apart), wrapped it around his chest and positioned him in the tree. The branches help keep him stable and in place.

The Weekend Housewife - Elf on the Shelf Idea Guide

Day 19: Apparently our elf can’t get enough of the snow an ice around here! He built a fort out of sugar cubes and looks like he’s dressed for a snowball fight! This was actually harder than it looks! Those sugar cubes didn’t want to stay in wall form. lol

The Weekend Housewife - Elf on the Shelf Idea Guide

Day 20: Lets play hide and seek! This was actually harder than I thought it would be but only because I had a difficult time moving him into other rooms without being noticed. Still a cute idea that doesn’t take a ton of effort.

The Weekend Housewife - Elf on the Shelf Idea Guide

Day 21: Who wouldn’t want to rest all day on a pile of super soft snowballs? (You can make these yarn snowballs too!) Just a simple day where our elf was placed among the decorations.

The Weekend Housewife - Elf on the Shelf Idea Guide

Day 22: You can tell it’s getting closer to Christmas because our elf starts to lay off the silliness and just finds a place to be for the day. You don’t have to feel as though each day has to be the most complicated setup. Sitting on top of a tree star is good enough for me (and for Shawn too!)

The Weekend Housewife - Elf on the Shelf Idea Guide

Day 23: Another hanging out pose on the wreath on the back of the front door. You should have seen me the night before opening and closing the door 20 times before I was sure he wouldn’t fall off as people came in and out. lol It worked though! This proved to be a difficult place to find him for Shawn that morning too!

The Weekend Housewife - Elf on the Shelf Idea Guide

Day 24: The last day before heading to the North Pole. He always brings a present or two for Shawn on the last day. Some years it’s a sticker book or Magic Reindeer Food, but this year he brought him new play-doh. It’s always a mixed bag of emotions come this last day. I love doing our Elf on the Shelf but after a month of it, I am ready for a break until next year!

The Weekend Housewife - 25 Days of Christmas - Graphic ©Whispy Hollow Graphics (No Longer Online)This is part of the 25 Days of Christmas Series here at The Weekend Housewife. Join me for 25 glorious days of Christmas recipes, crafts, activities, photo prompts and tips and a lot more!

2 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions: The Elf on the Shelf

  1. Kim

    You are amazing, Jules. The most creative person that I know. I think it’s amazing what you do for Shawn. You only have these years for so long, so why not spoil him? Great job with Elf on the Shelf!

  2. Susan

    You are so creative Jules. I bet Shawn will carry the tradition when he is a dad.
    I bought my grands their own mini trees and decorations. I found crafts for them to make this week and next. Maybe I need to buy them the Elf on the Shelf book and see what happens. Eddie would love the Lego idea.

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About Jules

Hiya! I’m Jules and I am the Weekend Housewife… I am a graphic designer during the hours of 9-5 during the week and the rest of my time is spent being a mommy, a wife, a cook and baker, a memory keeper and photographer and a crafter.

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