February 28, 2024

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24 Days of elf on the shelf… you’re welcome | Parenting 101

24 Days of elf on the shelf... you're welcome | Parenting 101

I think this tradition was invented to throw parents over the edge right before Christmas. Here’s the thing: we never did the Elf on the Shelf tradition in our household. I figured I had enough to do that I couldn’t be bothered setting up the elf every night of December.

When my son was introduced to the Elf on the Shelf at school (thanks guys), he couldn’t understand why all the kids would talk about their elves and we didn’t have one. So, I let him in on Christmas’ first secret: the elf is fake. I knew he was a good kid and wouldn’t spoil the fun for others. And I needed a good “out”, so he didn’t feel like he was missing out.

Two years ago, everything changed when he found out “certain truths” about the big man from the North Pole. And that’s when I decided to start this tradition. At least he knew it was us doing it so if I slipped up and forgot, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Because there’s less pressure, I find it more fun to set up.

So, leave the guesswork to me – here are your 24 days of Elf on the Shelf.

Fishing in fishbowl. We have a Beta fish so our mischievous elf will be fishing for him. He could also be fishing for Goldfish crackers.

Marshmellow. Using markers, I will make a mask of Marshmellow for our elf and add some other marshmellow marshmallows.

Hershey Kiss. Wrap the elf in foil and shape it into a giant Hershey Kiss.

Snow angel. Sprinkle a cookie sheet with sprinkles or flour and lay down your elf to make snow angels.

Loungin’. Set your elf up floating in the tub with pool toys. Maybe he even has a summertime drink or sunglasses.

Captured! Roll the elf up in toilet paper and make it look like he’s being pushed by LEGO people or other little bonhommes.

Relaxing. Lay him in a hammock made from towels on a towel rack.

Elf-abet soup. Put the elf in a pot and have the Grinch stirring it.

The next day, he ties up the Grinch.

Draw an elf reflection in bathroom mirror using wipe-off markers so when someone looks in the mirror, they’ll have pointy ears and a festive hat or scarf.

Hang him from a mirror or shelf with a sign that says “the floor is lava” and see if your child can get to him without touching the floor.

Playing tricks. Prop up your elf with a tube of white toothpaste and some separate Oreos like he’s trying to play a prank.

Drinking maple syrup with a straw.

Oops! He poops! Stand him next to a row of chocolate chip poopsies.

Put him in a homemade “kissing booth” and spread Hershey Kisses around him.

Playing games. Set up Jenga using mini Kit Kat bars.

Cutting toilet paper in paper snowflakes.

Make a scaled-down version of a Twister board for your elf.

Draw minion faces on bananas and position your elf with a Sharpie next to them.

Staying toasty. Put him between two pieces of toast.

Set up a small makeshift lemonade stand and make it look like your elf is being naughty and peeing in the cups to make the lemonade.

Make it so he’s climbing gift bows up a wall.

Give him a cozy spot and put him curled up in tissue box.

And for the last day, do a scavenger hunt. Hide a few candy canes around the house and attach a note to your elf challenging them to find them.

A full-time work-from-home mom, Jennifer Cox (our “Supermom in Training”) loves dabbling in healthy cooking, craft projects, family outings, and more, sharing with readers everything she knows about being an (almost) superhero mommy.