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Elf on the Shelf Guide, Printables + Planner

Two years ago we introduced ‘Elf on the Shelf’ to my kids, at the time they were 6, 8 and 8.  Knowing now how much fun our elf is I really wish I had started this super fun tradition when they were much younger.  I mentioned on facebook this week about Elf on the Shelf, reminding those that are yet to get one to purchase soon so they have it in time for 1st December and there were many questions.  Here is my guide to ‘Elf on the Shelf':

What is Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the Shelf is an elf sent by Santa to spend a few weeks with the family.  Elf returns to the North Pole each night to visit Santa and report on the kids behaviour, telling him who has been naughty and/or nice.  When the elf returns he is doing something new and mischievous.  The kids have so much fun trying to find where he is hiding each day.  Elf does not speak, only listens and he cannot be touched otherwise his magic will disappear.

What I love about our Elf

I love the fun and excitement our Elf brings each morning and the magic of the kids knowing that he visits and talks to santa about their behaviour.  It’s a great way to get kids to improve their behaviour and attitude if they are playing up, Elf can acknowledge that he notices they are being ‘naughty’, ‘helpful’ or ‘caring’.

Where to purchase Elf

Our elf is different to the ‘traditional’ elf on the shelf, it was given to us a few years ago by a friend.  The traditional Elf on the Shelf can be purchased from The Book Depository, they are very reasonably priced (and cheaper) compared to the very few places that stock it here in Australia.  Shipping is FREE. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

Please note I am an affiliate of The Book Depository, I will receive a small commission when you purchase from this website, so thank you, I am very grateful. 

What are elf antics?

Each night when the elf returns from the ‘North Pole’ he is hiding in a different place in the home and sometimes is up to mischief.  Possibly spilling coconut all over the table and creating snow angels. Or lego men have tied elf up with dental floss.  It’s whatever you want them to be.  There are nights that we just have our Elf sitting on a shelf next to a christmas ornament, very basic, but the kids still have a lot of fun trying to find him.


Last year I had heaps of requests to help you create a plan of antics for your Elf.  This year I am so excited to share with you a brand new ‘Elf on the Shelf’ planner.  This planner is filled with loads of great pages:


November and December blank calendars to plan your antics.  Plus a December calendar filled with suggested antic ideas, all ready for you to plan

Antic Ideas

Included is some suggested antic ideas with pictures and a list to write down fun ideas as you think of them

Letters about Elf from Santa and a Letter from Elf – Editable, type in your child’s name

I’ve included 3 different letters, one from Santa explaining to the kids about your new Elf, another from Santa welcoming the return of your elf (this is if you have had an elf visit last year) and a letter from Elf to be given to the kids on Christmas Eve.  Each of these letters are editable, you can add in your kids and elf names.

Writing pages for kids

Get the kids to keep a record of what Elf has been up to each day, they can draw a picture with a few words, or write a longer story.

Official Naughty and Nice Acknowledgements

Use the editable (add in your childs name, behaviour and elfs name)  ‘official warning’ to acknowledge that Santa has heard about some bad behaviour.  Use the ‘official letter’ to make it known Santa is happy with their good behaviour.

Elf notes

Included is over 30 little notes that can be left next to Elf each night.  Notes vary from jokes, noticing behaviour with siblings, elf notices a room needs tidying, praise for helping mummy, Santa notices you are being very nice, elf noticed you cleaned your teeth really well and many more.  I have included an editable note that you can personalise unlimited times with your own message.

Elf Report

Use this special little elf to your full advantage and try and get the kids to keep their room tidy and improve some behaviours.  Elf will tick off the chart each night acknowledging which task was completed that day and will report back to Santa.

How did you come up with the name?

Our Elf’s name is Elfred, the kids came up with it.  I have included in the ‘Elf Planner’ a list of boys and girls suggested elf names.  My favourite girls name Candy.

What age group did you find your kids understood the concept of the elf?

We started our elf tradition when my youngest was 6, however we had friends with young kids that visited during this time and they were fascinated by the elf.  I can only imagine that children as young as 2 will wake with excitement each morning to wonder what their elf is up to.  In the later years you use the elf to help improve and acknowledge good and bad behaviour.

Did you strictly follow the no touching and leave him/her exactly where he was left for the whole day until his next lot of antics?

Yes we don’t allow the kids to touch, this is the keep the magic of the elf being real alive for as long as we can. The Elf stays still for the full day.

I’m wondering how did you introduce the elf to the household?

I created a letter from Santa.  Santa introduces the elf and explains that Elf reports back to him every night letting him know if the kids have been naughty or nice.  I have included this letter in the ‘Elf on the Shelf Planner’ it’s editable so you can type in your kids names.

Do they just turn up one day?

Our elf arrives on the 1st December and leaves on the night of Christmas Eve.  I have included in the ‘Elf on the Shelf Planner’ a letter from Elf, which is editable to add in your kids and elf’s name.  It says how much fun he had the past few weeks, apologises for the mess and mentions how proud he is of the kids.

Just wondering how to explain to my 6 year old why we suddenly have an elf this year, when we didn’t last year.

We started it when the twins were 8 and youngest was 6 and they didn’t ask any questions.  My hubby and I harped on about how special we are that Santa has chosen us to look after his Elf because we know other families that don’t have a special elf.

Why do you love your ‘Elf on the Shelf’?

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  • Melanie

    Some great details here, Katrina. I introduced our elf to my kids last Christmas (they were 9 & 6) but didn’t have him arrive from the north pole – he was introduced as an advent activity. He is just a very old felt elf ornament from my childhood and the kids just had a ball trying to find him each morning. As they already know he is not a naughty-or-nice spy, I can’t introduce that now, but I think I will try adding a note to him where behaviour indicates. I really like that idea! Thanks for sharing xReplyCancel

  • Brigid @ The Inspired Notebook

    Kat, this looks gorgeous, and so much fun! I bet you enjoyed creating the planner!!!
    My kids are a bit too old for Elf on the Shelf (they’re 11, 13 & 15!), but I love the idea. Might have to buy one just for a bit of Christmas family fun!ReplyCancel

  • karen

    unfortunately they are out of stock on your link :(ReplyCancel

  • I told my 4 year old boy that Santa has a list of kids all over the world and he only has so many new elfs a year to give to new family and when chippy turned up he was all excited that it was his turn and that explained why he had one but others didn’t yet. So he can’t wait for chippy to come back this year.ReplyCancel

    • Katrina

      That’s such a sweet idea Elizabeth!ReplyCancel

  • I told my 4 year old boy that Santa has a list of kids all over the world and he only has so many new elfs a year to give to new family and when chippy turned up he was all excited that it was his turn and that explained why he had one but others didn’t yet. So he can’t wait for chippy to come back this year. So merry XmasReplyCancel

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