Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf

A special "scout elf" sent from the North Pole to help Santa manage his naughty and nice list

Written 15th September 2022 | Subscribe to our Christmas newsletter

Many parents with young children will already be familiar with the phenomenon that is Elf on the Shelf. Love or hate him he has been voted in the top 5 of Christmas Traditions, so it looks like he is here to stay.

Elf on the Shelf came into our lives back in 2005 when Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell released a book called The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.

The book is a Christmas-themed story, written in rhyme. The story describes how Santa Claus has 'scout elves' who live at your house during December and watch for good and naughty behaviour. At night they return to the North Pole and this is how Santa Claus knows if you have been good or bad. You must write to Santa and ask for a 'Scout Elf'. When the elf arrives you must give them a name - and that's when the fun starts!

Each morning the children wake to find the elf in a new place. This has developed over the years as parents have come up with mischievous things elves have done when they return home.

There have been controversial views on Elf on the Shelf. Once you have decided to have an elf, you can't decide the following year that you don't want an Elf on the Shelf anymore. So a decision to get one shouldn't be taken lightly. It has also received negativity as parents have a lot of extra hassle at this time of year and it's adding extra pressure to an already busy time of year.

However, the Elf on the Shelf does come with a lot of positives, which we think out weight the negatives. It helps children develop an understanding of the consequences of good and bad behaviour. And the most important thing is that there is nothing more magical than seeing a child's excitement each morning, as they hurry to see where the elf has landed and what he has done. It creates fantastic memories for children and adds to that Christmas magic.

We have compiled a few different lists to give you some inspiration. 


Super Quick Elf on the Shelf

All of these can be done in less than 1 minute!

Important Elf rules

Latest reads