22 Excuses When You Forget To Move Your Elf On The Shelf Because It's Inevitable

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It happens. The one (and only) time your kids get out of bed on their own and the Elf on the Shelf is in exactly the same spot he was in the night before. But instead of saying what you might really feel (i.e. “Dudes, it’s just a doll!”), or feeling horribly guilty, you’re going to have to come up with a good excuse when you forget to move your Elf on the Shelf — like, now.

So here’s the deal on why it's so important that your Elf on the Shelf moves every night in the first place. According to lore (aka the official Elf on the Shelf website), Scout Elves travel back and forth to the North Pole each and every night so that they can report back to Santa about everything that happened during the day. You’re bound to slip up sometime, momma. That’s why you should have an envoy of excuses ready just in case something goes wrong.

From blaming your Elf’s lack of movement on him being tired, sick, or stressed, (to even making your kid think he’s seeing things), you can come up with a lot of creative excuses for those times when you forgot to switch up his spot. When you’re in those prickly parenting moments, here are 22 excuses to explain away why Elf on the Shelf didn’t move. Your kid will be none the wiser.

1. He Has A Tummy Ache

All that cake and candy is wreaking havoc on your Elf’s digestion. He didn’t want your child to catch him going to the bathroom, so the next best thing was to find the fastest spot, which was the one from yesterday.

2. She Overslept

Just like Momma, your Elf meant to move but was too tuckered out from talking to Santa to find a new location. She probably needs to sleep some more, so you should continue this conversation later.

3. He’s Sick

Sure, he might be racking up those frequent flyer miles, but all of that traveling is taking a toll on your Elf. So he was bound to come down with a cold at some point or another. Ask your child to go get him a tissue so that he can blow his nose, and your kid will feel sorry for his Elf and forget that he didn’t move.

4. She’s Playing Statues

Your Elf on the Shelf is the champion at playing Statues in her hometown of the North Pole. So naturally, she wants to play with your child, too. Encourage your kid to freeze, too (and maybe you’ll be able to get something done).

5. He Likes That Spot

Everyone has a favorite spot in the house, and your Elf is no exception. So the reason why he didn’t move is because he likes the way that the sun feels on his pointy red hat and white gloves when he's in that exact spot.

6. She Made It Back Just In Time

Rudolph was having a hard time seeing through all that fog, so your Elf just made it back to the house in time for morning. She didn’t have time to snag a new spot, so she went back to the spot from last night. Hey, sometimes reindeer aren’t a reliable form of transportation.

7. He Did Move…A Quarter Of An Inch To The Right

When you can’t come up with a reason why your Elf didn’t move, tell your kid that it did. Like, a whole inch. Trick him into thinking that he’s seeing things, and that should get you off the hook.

8. She Heard Someone Coming

Your Elf on the Shelf is an expert at being able to move incognito. And since she probably heard someone coming, she dove for cover — and it just so happened to be right where she was last night.

9. He’s Tired

When you think about it, the Elf on the Shelf is on duty for many hours during the day, watching over your child. So he might have been too tired to find a new spot. Tell your kid to cut him (and you, really) some slack.

10. SHe Didn’t Want To Tell Santa Your Kid Was Naughty

Yep, your Elf saw when your kid pushed her little sister. And since she’s an appointed reporter for Mr. C. himself, she didn’t want his report to reflect poorly upon your child’s standing with Santa. So actually, she was doing your kid a favor. You’re welcome.

11. She’s Tricky

She only wants you to think that she hasn’t moved…but aha, she has! It’s all part of his reporting back to Santa to show that your child has excellent observational skills. Congrats, your kid passed with flying colors.

12. He Missed His Flight

In an effort to give Santa the most detailed report ever, your Elf inadvertently missed his nightly flight to the North Pole. He feels terrible about it. No point rubbing it in.

13. It’s Her Favorite Location

Just like your child might prefer snuggling up on the center cushion on the couch, your Elf also has favorite spots throughout the house. Maybe she didn’t move because that location makes her happy—and you definitely want your Elf to be happy.

14. He Was Partying With The Other Elves

Your Elf isn’t all work and no play. In fact, he likes to shake things up with some of the toys (and elves!) when your child is asleep. And wrangling a bunch of pups from PAW Patrol and ponies from My Little Pony all night left him too pooped to move. He’s sorry.

15. She Can See Better From That Site

Although the marshmallow tub time was lovely, it didn’t really help the Elf to see what was going on during the day. But being left smack dab in the center of the kitchen counter... again? Perfect.

16. The Elf Has Off On The Weekends

Even elves need a day off, whether it be every weekend or a random Tuesday that week. Unless someone is paying for her overtime, the Elf ain't moving.

17. He's Going To Surprise You With Something Special

Sure, any old Elf can move from night to night, but your child’s Elf is super special. He didn’t switch his spot because he’s planning a super duper surprise for your child later. (And then it’s up to you to figure out said surprise.)

18. She Forgot To Change His Spot

If you thought that the Elf was just lazing about while your child is in school, think again. She' got a lot on his mind, and as such, she forgot to switch up his spot.

19. He’s Stuck

It requires great agility to be an Elf. And sometimes, your Elf might pull a hamstring or hurt his back trying to get into a new position. Give him 24 hours to stretch, and he’ll be feeling his usual limber self tomorrow.

20. Your Kid Didn’t Go To Bed Early Enough

Just like Santa, your Elf can see when your child is sleeping or not. She can also tell what time your kiddo hit the hay, which was wayyy past his bedtime last night. So remind your kid that unless he gets to sleep at an appropriate hour, your elf won't have enough time to fly to Santa and back before the morning.

21. He’s Not The Same Elf

Sometimes, if your Elf on the Shelf knows he’s not going to make it back from the North Pole in time, he’ll send in a substitute Elf to replace him. Thing is, the sub might not know all of the Elf’s spots, so he accidentally chose the same one. Your old Elf should return home tonight.

Hopefully you'll never need to explain why your Elf on the Shelf is sitting squarely where he was from the day before. But in case you do, these excuses can be a lifesaver.