What To Do If Your Elf On The Shelf Is Touched, Because It's Gonna Happen


If your shelf has ever hosted an Elf, your children likely already know the cardinal rule: No touching. But, accidents happen. In the event that a human hand accidentally grazes your family's beloved scout elf, you'll need to know what to do if your Elf on the Shelf is touched.

You know how curious kids can be, so at one point or another your Elf on the Shelf is bound to be messed with by your kiddos. Per official Elf on the Shelf lore, a touched scout Elf loses their magic. Learning this fact could leave your kids spiraling down an endless rabbit hole of unwanted outcomes — ending up on the naughty list and Christmas being cancelled being their chief concerns, according to my own kids.

If your little ones start down the path of no return after your Elf is touched, have no fear. When the inevitable happens, there are several ways to handle the mishap. Some ideas are a bit more involved than others, but in the end they all leave your family's Elf with his or her magic restored. Your family's Elf will be as good as new, able to report back to Santa, and your kids won't have to worry about getting any coal in their stocking.

1. Write An Apology

The first thing you can do if your Elf on the Shelf is touched is pull out some fancy Christmas stationary and have your kids write a note to the big guy himself, apologizing for touching the Elf. Santa would probably also be cool with a crayon-scribbled sticky note, as long as the sentiment is genuine. This tactic is listed as an official strategy on the Elf on the Shelf website, and likely works best for kids who touch the Elf on purpose because it can also serve as a reminder of how to apologize to people for breaking rules.

2. Sprinkle Some Cinnamon

Cinnamon is like vitamins for your Elf, according to the Elf on the Shelf website. So, sprinkle some of this life-giving substance around your Elf to help it regain strength and restore its magic if your Elf on the Shelf is touched.

3. Sing A Christmas Carol

When your Elf is accidentally touched, brushing up on your family's rendition of Jingle Bells may be in order. Have your family sing a Christmas carol to your Elf on the Shelf to help spread Christmas cheer and bring back your Elf's magic if your Elf on the Shelf is touched, according to the official Elf on the Shelf website.

4. Glitter It Up

A healthy dose of sparkle always makes everything better, right? While sprinkling loose glitter in your home may not sound like the most practical idea, keeping a small amount glitter around to use as "magic Elf dust" that can bring them back to life if your Elf on the Shelf is accidentally touched can come in handy.

5. Send Them To The Elf Hospital

Photo courtesy of Ashley Jones

Losing their magic could make your Elf sick. So sick, in fact, that the next day, your kids could wake up and find them resting on a box of tissues after spending the night in the Elf hospital with a note signed by Santa explaining that your Elf needs to rest for a few days after being touched. This also gives you a couple of nights worth of a reprieve from Elf duty, so it's a win-win.

6. Make Some Hot Cocoa

To help your Elf on the Shelf feel more like their old self after they lose their magic, you and your kids can make them a tiny Elf-sized cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows. If your Elf on the Shelf is touched accidentally, their magic may come back even faster if they share some cocoa and marshmallows with your kids.

7. Skip A Day

If your kids purposefully touch their Elf on the Shelf, you can have their Elf spend a day away at the North Pole. Write a brief letter from your Elf to explain that because they were touched, they have to spend the day getting their magic fixed at the North Pole and there will be no fun antics happening that day. This should help kids understand that they don't need to touch the Elf again.

8. Perform A Good Deed

Your kids can help earn their Elf's magic back by doing good deeds if your Elf on the Shelf is touched. They can clean their room, walk the dog, help your neighbor carry in their groceries, or perform any number of helpful tasks to help gain your Elf's magic back. You might just be surprised at how many chores your child is willing to do to earn their Elf's magic powers back and save themselves from winding up on the naughty list.

9. Freeze Your Elf

Just like Elsa, your Elf on the Shelf can gain powers from the icy cold. When your Elf on the Shelf is touched, transport them via kitchen tongs to the freezer to allow the Elf time for their magic to be restored in a sub-zero condition similar to that of the North Pole.

10. Read 'The Elf On The Shelf'

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If your Elf on the Shelf is touched and loses their power, you can read them "The Elf On The Shelf" book to remind your Elf of the magic that they once possessed.