Got Your First Elf on the Shelf This Year? Check Out These 24 PERFECT Ideas!

December 1- Put the Elf back in the box. Don’t tell your kids about it. Tuck the receipt in the bag and stick what was almost one of the biggest mistakes of your parenthood in the trunk of your car.

December 2- Return your elf to the store. Walk in, take it to the returns counter, and smile as $30 goes back into your bank account.

December 3- Use the $30 you got when you returned your elf to get a pedicure. Tell your family you’re running errands and spend a little extra time relaxing and reading magazines as your feet soak.

December 4- Scroll through Instagram and notice that your friend's elf will be drinking hot chocolate tonight. Grab some hot chocolate from your pantry and snuggle up with your favorite book.

December 5- Remember the cookies that you bought for your elf to much on, bring the cookies out as dessert for your family and watch them all enjoy some elf-free sweetness.

pefect elf on shelf

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December 6- Delete the Elf on the Shelf idea tabs you’ve had pulled up on your phone since November. Replace those tabs with the websites of your favorite store. Do a little Christmas shopping for yourself.

December 7- Run all over town getting groceries, art supplies for your kids semester end projects, gift cards for teachers and babysitters. At night, fall into bed and actually sleep. Don’t wake up at 2:00 am in a panic because you forgot to move the elf.  

December 8- Listen to other parents at drop off talk about how stressful it is to remember to move that damn elf every night. Feel a little smug that you avoided the elf for another year.

December 9- Remember that you bought glitter and sparkles to use with your elf back with you still thought you were going to jump on the elf train. Use the glitter and sparkles to make holiday cards with your kids instead.

December 10- Scroll through Facebook again and see other peoples elves doing all sorts of wild stunts. Take a warm bath and go to bed.

December 11- Panic for just a minute when your kid asks why you don’t have an elf. Deflect the question with an offer for milkshakes. Do a little happy-dance when you realize you successfully dodged the question AND that you get a milkshake.

December 12- Spend a little time reflecting on how creepy the concept of Elf on the Shelf really is – I mean it’s a spy. Watching your kids at all times. And reporting their behavior. Shake your head at the other parents who would subject kids to that awful creepiness.

December 13- Feel a little guilty that you’ve robbed your kids of a sweet holiday tradition. Go to the store and buy a $.99 chocolate advent calendar. Eat the first 11 pieces so your family is not behind.

December 14- Spend the evening making gingerbread houses with your little ones. Hey, this is just as nice a tradition right?

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December 15- Bake cookies with your kids and deliver them to neighbors. When a neighbor starts to ask about the elf, shout a “Happy Holidays!” and get out of there before your kids have a chance to wonder what they’re missing.

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December 16- Take the cash you would have desperately spent ordering an elf-activity kit on an Amazon Prime when you ran out of ideas and go to a movie. By yourself. Get popcorn too.

December 17- Decorate your Christmas tree. Nod and smile when your kids find a few elf-like ornaments in the box and comment that THESE must be the elves their friends are talking about.

December 18- Watch a Christmas movie with your family. Let your kids stay up late and fall asleep on the couch as a family. Don’t stress about setting up an elf cookie shop or an elf mess or any elf thing at all. Cuddle up.

December 19- Realize that Christmas is just 6 days away. Frantically shop for last minute gifts. Realize that Elf on the Shelf kits are now on sale. Grab one for the SIL you’ve never liked and smile at the thought of her spending her December nights for years to come stressing about elf placement.

December 20- Read holiday stories as a family in front of the fireplace or the fireplace on TV. Smile at how wholesome your family is. Be grateful you didn’t add any extra commercialism to the holiday season.

December 21- Again, see Elf kits on sale at the store. Consider getting one for next year. Put it in the cart. Take it back out again. Figure you’ll have time to think about it before next year starts.

December 22- Kiss your kiddos goodnight and get in bed early. You have no reason to try to stay up later them them since you don’t have anything to secretly set up.

December 23- Frantically coordinate last minute changes in your holiday plans. Sigh at how stressful it is to be the parent during the holidays. Ask your partner for a foot rub and spend the night on the couch. Scroll through Instagram and see everyone else's day 23 elves. Shake your head about how the quality of their work has gone down as the month progressed. I mean on December 1 there were elf run cookie shops and elves making adorable messes and all sorts of silly fun. Now the elves are all on “bed-rest” or “taking a break” or just sitting there. Those other parents are so not creative.

December 24-Stay up late putting together toys and wrapping Santa presents. Feel really good about the traditions you have. Feel really grateful that the holiday rush is coming to an end. Feel really damn glad you made it another year without that elf.

What do you think?

Got Your First Elf on the Shelf This Year? Check Out These 24 PERFECT Ideas!

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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