Feeling overwhelmed coming up with Elf on the Shelf ideas already? Don’t give hope — the elf is supposed to be fun, not stressful! Try these easy moves to make everyone (including you) happy.
Every Thanksgiving, we are visited by an adorable elf named Peppermint Stick. I’m not sure how we decided to have this mischievous elf join our family. It just happened. One day we were going about our business. The next we’re jumping out of bed in the middle of the night because we forgot to move the blasted elf! This post contains affiliate links.
I have to admit, I think we jumped the gun for Peppermint Stick a year too early. We had toddlers. And when you have toddlers, you’re beyond exhausted. That first year, there were many nights when, in the darkness, I would ask my husband if he had moved the elf to a new place. <Sigh> So one of us would turn on the light, creep out of the warm covers and find a new $%#@#$ spot for this red-dressed dude.
A couple of nights we completely forgot, only to have our three-year-old son Vman ask why the elf hadn’t moved. <Sigh> We hemmed and hawed, claiming that Peppermint Stick stayed because he was just so cozy he didn’t want to move. Vman was three. What did he know? Now my boys are seven and five and much wiser. They aren’t buying any malarky from me or their dad. So game on!
This year I promised myself that rather than cursing our elf, I was going to have more fun with him. After all, our elf is strictly for fun in our house. We don’t use Peppermint Stick as a threat or a chance to force better behavior. My kids have good hearts, and I’d rather they learn it’s important to be kind and respectful without threats or promises of toys. So as Thanksgiving approached, I started looking for great Elf on the Shelf ideas and am now incorporating them into our own Peppermint Stick.
Every week this season, I’m going to share what our elf has been up to. And for even more fun Elf on the Shelf ideas, check out:
- 50 Creative, Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- That Mischievous Elf! Elf on the Shelf Ideas Week No. 2
- Elf Fail! Elf on the Shelf Ideas Week No. 3
Looking for more great Christmas ideas? Be sure to check out Christmas Crafts and Activities for the entire family!
Peppermint Stick arrives at the same time every year — Thanksgiving weekend. Just because you haven’t already started The Elf on the Shelf doesn’t mean you can’t begin now.
This year, he left a note for the boys. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just knowing that the elf was thinking about my kids was enough to fill them with holiday excitement.
People make such a crazy deal about how you set up your Elf on the Shelf. Honestly, in the beginning (and when your kids are very young) just moving the elf from one place to the next is enough. And not every new place has to have “wow factor.” We moved Peppermint Stick to the Christmas tree and had him hug an ornament from a place we love to go — The Shedd Aquarium!
The next night, Peppermint Stick was interested in reading some books. He pulled out one of our favorites — Giraffes Can’t Dance. The boys thought it was awesome he had picked out such a great read! (By the way… If you haven’t read Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy.)
Oh, and in case you’re wondering how I got Peppermint Stick to keep his arms crossed, I added wire to the limbs. It felt a little bit over the top as I was doing it, but it just gives you some extra strength in the arms. You can get this thin wire at any craft store. I cut a short piece and slipped it directly into the arm. Presto!
The following night, Peppermint Stick got stuck trying to get into our dog Lucy’s stocking. He got caught with his tush up in the air. The boys thought this was absolutely hysterical.
All day long, we talked about how on earth Peppermint Stick was going to get out of the stocking. Would he figure it out on his own? Would he call for reinforcements? We weren’t sure. But we were all relieved to see he had managed to get out the next morning.
The night Peppermint Stick hid in the cabinet, the boys couldn’t find him. We had left the cabinet doors open, but they just weren’t looking in that area. So they dragged us out of bed so help look. What a surprise to find him there! 😉
The kids gave kudos to Peppermint Stick for finding such an awesome hiding spot that was also in plain sight.
The Elf on the Shelf can be fun, a burden, magical and a serious pain in the a$$. I recommend you keep it fun but don’t kill yourself trying to over the top. Your child isn’t going to remember that you spent a half an hour setting up some elaborate stage. He’s going to remember the magic and joy he felt at seeing his elf move every night.
Looking for more great Christmas ideas? Be sure to check out my collection of Christmas Crafts and Activities for the entire family.