The Brighter Writer


To Elf Or Not To Elf

Ok, so I was a little weary about this "Elf on the Shelf" thing.

I see the creepy factor.

A toy elf sitting in the corner who flies to the North Pole and reports to Santa every night while you sleep.

I thought about it for months before I decided to dive in head first and just go with it.

After months of pinning ideas on Pinterest I realized that the elf's arrival was kind of a big deal. The way I present her for the very first time kind of sets the bar for the type of excitement I'll get out of Kalynn.


I thought about all the fun stuff my mom used to do with me as a kid and one of my favorites was always the scavenger hunt. Kalynn is just about to turn only 4, so riddle clues are a little too overboard for her taste.


A picture scavenger hunt; now that's totally do-able.

We have an Autumn tree that we put up right about the week before Thanksgiving every year. We decorate it with white lights and fall colored leaf garland, pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, little turkeys, etc and then the day after Thanksgiving we take down all the Thanksgiving crap, change the lights, and hang up all the Christmas ornaments.

So Thanksgiving morning, Kalynn walked out into the living room to this:

How to make Santa Claus footprints for your Elf on the Shelf arrival.

(Sprinkling a light mixture of red glitter and baking soda around your husband's giant size 12 flip flop makes for a fantastic magical snowy Santa footprint.)

These footprints went straight from the chimney to the tree.

How to make Santa Claus footprints for your Elf on the Shelf arrival.

The first thing she saw was of course the footprints. The second thing she saw was that the autumn decorations were gone and the white lights had been changed to multicolored.

Having Santa in the house way before Christmas was such a shock to her easily confused system, she immediately ran into our room and pulled us out of bed for a full assessment of the situation. Jason and I got up to check out the scene and sure enough, we both came to the conclusion that they were, in fact, evidence of a fat man in a red suit. Upon closer inspection, we found a little rolled up note left behind on the tree skirt.

How to do an Elf On The Shelf scavenger hunt arrival And a great loophole for the DON'T TOUCH rule

Kalynn unrolled the ribbon and found the paper to be a photo of her bedroom vanity table.

So we all walked over to her vanity table and low and behold, there was another rolled up paper which was a picture of our washing machine.

And on the washing machine there was a picture of my jewelry box.

And on my jewelry box there was a picture of under her bathroom sink...

This squealing, giggling, Santa trail went on for 20 different places around our house until the last photo brought her to our bedroom closet where she found a letter from Santa, a tiny chair and a wrapped up present.

How to do an Elf On The Shelf scavenger hunt arrival for kids and toddlers too young to read

(Bed head at its finest)

How to do an Elf On The Shelf scavenger hunt arrival And a great loophole for the DON'T TOUCH rule

So the majority of us as parents know the concept of the Elf on the Shelf. I've read the story, I've asked my friends, I've pinned the ideas...


There is one GIANT part of the elf concept that I just can't get around which is that the Elf must not ever be touched or else she will lose her Christmas magic and she won't be able to fly to the North Pole to report to Santa. Every morning this elf is supposed to hide in some new and exciting place doing some new and exciting activity and then she's supposed to just be left alone for the remainder of the day and we all have to just continue life around her.

But what if our elf is found some place that we need to utilize during that day? This part of the plan is so inconvenient.


I thought and I thought and I thought and I finally came up with a very simple solution.

How to get your own Elf On The Shelf chair so he doesn't have to stay in the same place all day long . AKA: The DON'T TOUCH loophole!

Santa wrote Kalynn a letter and explained in detail about the elf not being touched. BUT, he also explained that she does get 10 SECONDS of non-magic per day. Only 10 quick seconds every morning and that 10 seconds is for mommies or daddies only to carefully pick her up, run her as fast as we can to the chair that Santa had made for her. It is sort of like a viewing chair. We had special instructions, from Santa himself, to place the chair somewhere that she is able to see the most of our household activities.

So the next day when Kalynn went looking for her morning fruit bar and she found her elf in the pantry making a snowman out of our marshmallows, she shrieked with delight and then came to get me. We both did our "ready, set, go!" and I ran the Elf from the kitchen to her fancy magic chair while Kalynn counted to 10 as loud and calm (not calm) as she could.

It was all very exciting.

The Elf On The Shelf, a great Loophole for the Don't Touch rule!!

The chair is one that I picked up at the Good Will for .99 cents a few weeks back and I decorated it with ribbon, glitter, and sticky gems. It is seriously going to be so much more convenient than having to step over this creepy little stalker every time she's found in the middle of the bathroom or bedroom floor.

So now with Elf season officially upon us, may I just say good luck, parents!

May all your children be well behaved and may your elves be creative and effortless!