My two daughters are young, so I know I'll be doing Elf on the Shelf for many, many years to come. But I have friends with older children who've already started plotting how to end Elf on the Shelf for good, once this season is through. They're ready to officially retire their little red-suited buddy, and I get it. Elf on the Shelf may be magical for kids, but the whole premise is kind of torturous for parents. I mean, trying to remember to move it for 24 consecutive nights, on top of all the other holiday activities you're juggling — it can all start to feel absurd.
So, whether your kids are on the cusp of growing out of the Elf on the Shelf idea or you've just had it "up to here" with the constant moving, you need a a rock solid strategy for offing your Elf. Fortunately, there are some ingenious ways to permanently say adieu to Santa's little helper.
Below you'll find 10 glorious ways to ship off your Elf on a Shelf once this holiday season draws to a close. So go ahead, do a little happy dance, because you're about to free yourself from the shackles of Elf-dom for good.
1. He's Getting Married
Your little Elf has been flying back to the North Pole (almost) every night, and he just happened to fall in love with an elf while he was there. They're planning a wedding and will be starting a family of their own, so this will be the last year your Elf on the Shelf will be visiting your home.
To really sell the idea, stage a photo like this photo like this one, and have it arrive in the mail sometime after Christmas.
2. He Got A Promotion
Your kids might think that their Elf on the Shelf has the best job in the world, but actually the most prestigious Elf role is working in Santa's office.
Tell your kiddo that your Elf got a big-time promotion and will be staying at the North Pole from here on out to work on the administrative side of things!
3. Send Him Off On "The Polar Express"
This is the perfect excuse if you want your Elf to take an immediate hike.
Explain to your child that your special Elf has been summoned by Santa to jump on The Polar Express, and get back to the North Pole stat.
If you have a train set, put Elf on board, and chugga chugga choo choo, off he goes.
4. He's Retiring
All that flying to the North Pole is hard work. No Elf can keep up that pace forever. Tell your kiddos that your Elf has reached the age of retirement and this will be his last year of service.
5. He's Been Too Naughty
This is the perfect excuse to use if your Elf has been a little too mischievous this year. Tell your kiddo that your Elf has been suspended indefinitely for being a little too wily.
6. He's Taking A Permanent Vacation
Not all Elves love flying to the North Pole every night. (It's freezing there, after all.) Tell your kiddo that your little Elf prefers warmer climates and has decided to move to the tropics.
Sell in the idea by sending them a tropical "postcard" from Elf.
7. The Dog Ate Him
If you have a dog that loves to eat everything, it might just be time to stage an Elf meal. Leave just a little bit of red felt on the ground and say that the dog, well, ate Elf.
Sure, this might be a little traumatic, but it is believable.
8. Another Little Boy/Girl Needs Him
Explain to your kiddo that there are only a finite amount of elves in the world and that when a new baby is born, the elves need to move on to a new home. At the end of the holiday season, have your kid write a letter to the new kid introducing their Elf, how they got their name, etc.
9. The Other Toys Banned Him
You've probably seen the Elf on the Shelf ideas that have the other toys ganging up on Elf. Take this idea a step further and claim that the other toys banned Elf from your home because he was getting all the attention. You can leave a clever note from the "toys" explaining their actions.
10. Come Clean
Okay, this one might be the hardest strategy of all, but it's one that you can feel good about in the end. Explain to your child that you've been the one moving Elf all along. If you explain your intentions — that it was all about the magic of the season — your kiddo might just take it better than you think.
After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.