Elf on the Shelf: Ideas for a New Holiday Tradition
If you haven’t been swept into this craze yet, you will undoubtedly hear about it before the end of the season. If you don’t know much about it, here’s the quick background. Elf on the Shelf is a fun activity for your kids and family, from the extremely popular book of the same name. However, the new family tradition has evolved into something much more fun and interactive. The premise is that from Thanksgiving until December, the presence of Christmas elves in the house monitor kids’ behavior to make sure they act extra nice until the holidays. The Elves “move” from place to place in the house to show the children that they are, in fact, watching them.
We have seen some absolutely extraordinary Elf on the Shelf ideas that are extremely creative and effective in purpose, simultaneously. One of our personal favorites is the “morning scrabble” elf. The morning scrabble elf is a very versatile idea, and is very dramatic because of your ability to add text. Essentially, Santa’s elf magically appears seated on a scrabble board spelling out a message to your kids.
The effect is always powerful and almost instantaneous, because it appears as though the elf spelled the letters out themselves. For maximum, effect use messages to reinforce good behavior in order to play along with the theme. This is always most effective if your children are old enough to read but young enough to believe the possibility of an elf magically spelling out words, and it works better in families that tend to play more scrabble than others.
The goal is also to make people in the family smile. One of the easiest ways to do that is simply through personification, or making the elf seem really human. We love the mischievous elf idea at Lakeside. Essentially, your family elf gets hungry helping Santa assemble all of his toys and treats for the holidays and visits your kitchen for a quick snack. In order to make this appearance look real, it is very important to make sure that you leave an obvious paper trail back to the “scene of the crime”.
Prop your elf up on the kitchen counter, next to a bowl of candy or doughnuts. Next unwrap some of the candy and make sure wrappers are strewn about. Finally, to complete the effect, take a few small bites out of the candy or food and place the half eaten piece firmly in the elf’s hands. This will complete the effect with the utmost flourish. Watch people’s faces light up in wonder as they marvel at your family elf’s appetite!
Keeping in line with the mischievous elf theme, we are fond of the graffiti elf. This one is almost self-explanatory to people. However, one of the things that we don’t see enough of with this one is creativity. Remember, if you are the one creating the “artwork”, you will use a dry erase marker for cleanup. This means that the sky is the limit. Don’t restrict your amazing work to dry erase boards. Feel free to markup a few family pictures (as long as the picture is covered by glass). Make sure to position your elf by the picture with the marker firmly placed in hand!
You are only limited by your own imagination with this wonderful family tradition. Do you have an Elf on the Shelf tradition? Tell us about it!
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