When Elf on the Shelf hit homes a few years ago, it wasn't immediately clear if it would be the sort of tradition families would keep around for the long haul. But several years later, Elf on the Shelf is still going strong, both in homes around the world and on social media. You can't visit Facebook or Instagram in the month of December without seeing an Elf getting into some dustup that inevitably ends with mini-marshmallows. But if you're new to this magical world, you might be wondering how to introduce Elf on the Shelf to kids without terrifying them, because the idea of a little guy (or gal) moving around the house all night has the potential to be just a little bit creepy.
Elf on the Shelf all began in 2005 when Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell wrote the children's picture book 'The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition,' according to reporting by Aol. The story surrounded an Elf who was sent from the North Pole by Santa to observe how well a little kid was behaving in the days leading up to Christmas. Every night, the Elf would return to Santa to tell him how the children were doing, and then he would zip back to the family to find a new spot in their house where the kids wouldn't be too quick to find him right away.
According to the Elf on the Shelf website, families are now encouraged to adopt an Elf on the Shelf for their own family and give it a new name. You can even get an adoption certificate from their website. But you might be a little stumped as to how to introduce your kids to their new spy, ahem, Elf, especially if they're the age where they might believe the Elf real and freaked out by the thought of him wandering around their house every night. Thankfully, the rise of the elf has also given rise to a plethora of ideas for introducing your kids to their new friend for the month of December.
A personalized letter is one way to introduce your kids to their new buddy who will be sticking around for the holidays. It can explain to them that the elf has been sent from the North Pole to watch their behavior for Santa, and that the Elf will report back to Santa every night. Writing in the first person, according to blogger Amy, from Oh So Savvy mom, makes the Elf feel even more real. In fact, she re-introduces the Elf to her kids when he arrives every year after an 11 month hiatus!
Another way to introduce the Elf on the Shelf to your kids is to read the book to them. This way you can familiarize yourselves of the story together and the kids can understand why the Elf will be hanging around the month and what he'll be up to. According to Mamapedia moms, you'll probably want to keep the box the Elf came in hidden. Instead, find a spot for your kiddo to find the Elf and wrap up the book so that his appearance looks like a surprise.
Becca Ludlum, of the blog A Crazy Good Life, suggests having your Elf on the Shelf waiting for your kids at the breakfast table, complete with a bowl of cereal and a tiny spoon. You could also have the Elf arrive with a suitcase at the front door, even ringing the doorbell, prompting lots of questions from your kids to be answered by you and your partner.
Whatever you do to introduce the Elf on the Shelf to your kids, know that you're in it for the long haul between now and Christmas. So long as your kids are old enough, they're bound to notice if the Elf doesn't move a few nights in a row, so try to do your homework and prepare yourself with some creative elf on the shelf ideas in advance. Trust us, you'll be glad you did.
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