Each year, the arrival of Elf on the Shelf sparks joy in the hearts of my children and palpitations in my own. (You know why.) But during this unprecedented year, I'm faced with a new kind of Elf-related dread: Does Elf on the Shelf need to quarantine? What happens if our beloved little buddy carries COVID-19 germs all the way from the North Pole?
To find out exactly what parents need to do when their elf arrives this year, Romper went straight to the source. Here's the official word from The Lumistella Company, the expert authority on all things magical and elf-related: "Scout Elves are magical beings from the North Pole and do not get human sicknesses. However, they may choose to observe the protocols of their adopted homes. So even though they are protected by Santa's magic, Scout Elves may choose to quarantine or wear a mask when they first arrive to set a good example."
Knowing that your family's elf can't spread any sort of human illness should help you put an end to any concerns of your family catching COVID-19 germs brought from the North Pole. But the knowledge that your elf does have the option to stay quarantined for the first two weeks of their visit may also be a huge relief for some parents. (Me. I'm some parents.) Either way, the fact that your elf's magic still exists despite the definite lack of magic that 2020 has brought thus far is good news for everyone.
If your elf does need to quarantine, you can snag a special box for him to hang out in for his two-week sequester on Etsy. It'll keep your elf safe from any germs your kids pick up at school (you know they're still touching everything) and your family safe from anything he or she might have accidentally brought on their journey from the North Pole.
Another popular option for elf quarantine is a decorative mason jar labeled with a sign that indicates it as a "quarantine zone." Pretty much anywhere your elf can go, sealed away from the rest of the household to socially distance himself for two full weeks, will work. The only caveat is that your kids will want to keep their eyes on their beloved elf, so just make sure whatever container you use is clear.
Post-quarantine, if your elf still wants to adopt a human safety habit for the rest of the season, a mask may be one option to look into. As a bonus, if you have a child who is hesitant to wear their own mask, seeing their elf wear one may help encourage them to wear one as well.
Creating daily shenanigans for my kids' elf to partake in is fun for about a week before it becomes an annoying thorn in my side. I have to set an alarm on my phone for a few hours past bedtime, scroll Pinterest for fresh ideas, and then pray I have all of the supplies to put together an epic marshmallow snowball fight scene. Add pandemic fatigue to this already exhausting equation and I'm pretty sure I'll be over the entire concept of "helping" our elf out in about (checks watch) three days tops this year.
So, while it isn't absolutely necessary, it definitely would not be out of the realm of possibility to say that when your family's elf first arrives, your kids may find their elf in quarantine. And since it seems they're doing so out of respect and reverence for human life, how can you possibly argue with that? I mean, anything that will let our elf stay in one spot for up to 14 days sounds like a Christmas miracle if I ever heard of one.