There's An Elf On The Shelf Calendar, So You Don't Have To Check Pinterest Every Night

I'm going to go ahead and lay it out there: my mom is the original inspiration behind The Elf on the Shelf. When we were kids, my siblings and I eagerly anticipated what she dubbed "The Christmas Mouse," an advent calendar that, in our house, had a cloth mouse who left a note and small present (often candy) each day in December. Today, parents scramble to come up with creative ideas for their Elf on the Shelf, but I have news: There's an Elf on the Shelf calendar so you don't have to check Pinterest every night, and it's seriously a lifesaver.

That's right: The gem of a human being Steph Moore over at A Little Moore has created an entire 2017 calendar packed with ideas for getting your Elf on the Shelf into all kinds of shenanigans. First of all, let's start with the most important factor of all: Buying an actual Elf on the Shelf. If this is your first year celebrating with the mischievous elf, then you are going to want to grab the original boxed set ($30, Amazon).

Now on to the ideas. I have a few favorites from A Little Moore, starting with the printable Elf On The Shelf Caught You Being Good Tickets.

Like Moore says, one of the benefits of Elf on the Shelf for a lot of parents is that he acts as Santa's eyes, monitoring behavior leading up to the holiday. These tickets emphasize positive reinforcement, which can go a long way with kids. Personalize and print via A Little Moore's handy PDF.

I am also completely smitten with the Elf on the Shelf Harry Potter Sorting Hat Printable because, um, Harry Potter. Print it out and your Elf on the Shelf can have his very own sorting hat. When your kids head to bed, you attach the house crest to the Elf and in the morning they will discover which house he has been sorted into. I know, I am geeking out for this one, too.

Please also don't forget to take a look at Moore's Elf on the Shelf Cheer Meter. Print and cut it out to see just how much holiday spirit your kiddos have. Bonus? You can use it for four different days to gauge holiday cheer. That's a parenting win if I ever did see one.

Other good ones from Moore include a Candy Cane Jail Tutorial, Elf Outhouse Printable, Elf on Shelf Snapchat filter, Elf on the Shelf Cheer Meter, and "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" activity.

Of course, there are a ton of other ideas out there ranging from simple hot cocoa parties or mini countdown paper chain via I Heart Naptime to the more complicated, like a robbery and toilet paper roll swing fashioned by A Small Snippet.

Then again, if you just want to take it easy while still having some fun, then you can rely on a few super easy ideas. Try wrapping the elf in a hand towel and placing him in the refrigerator or sitting him a top a mug and have him fish for Goldfish. Fitness inclined? I'm obsessed with this elf who is practicing yoga with a few Barbies.

Most of all it's important to keep in mind that the Elf on the Shelf tradition is just that — a tradition. Some of my most beloved holiday memories are running down the hall to my family home to see what shenanigans the Christmas Mouse was up to on that particular day. This year, I pass along the tradition to my daughter and I can't wait to see what memories the mouse brings us.

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