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Need a break from Elf on the Shelf?

Need a break from Elf on the Shelf?
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Take the pressure off yourself with our Elf on the Shelf hacks

He’s cheeky, your kids love his antics (even though they know he’s spying on them for Santa Claus) and he’s a fun way of encouraging good behaviour – but if you’ve ever woken up in a cold sweat because you’ve forgotten to move your Elf on the Shelf, this post is for you.

Wait… what’s Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the Shelf is a doll who visits families from the North Pole and reports back to Santa Claus about whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Parents move the elf each night in creative ways to keep the illusion that the elf is active.

Take the pressure off Elf on the Shelf

Social media loves these elves, so there can be a bit of pressure to make the whole Elf on the Shelf experience extra magical for your children. Some parents link the mischievous sprite to craft activities, outings to skating or the pantomime, film nights, special hot chocolate and festive baking in the run-up to Christmas Eve. Other parents set up scenarios like snow angels with flour, surprise pack lunches, balloon traps and small gifts.

It can all seem a bit much.

So take a moment to remember that your children would far rather you spent time with them than in creating elaborate elf pranks. One or two memorable elf days are more effective than a full-on campaign.

However, if you need a complete break from Elf on the Shelf, here are some ideas.

Send your elf to the North Pole for a few days to help Santa

Write a note from your elf explaining that Santa has had a staffing emergency and has recalled to the North Pole many of his elves, particularly those whose families are on the good list. Conceal your elf somewhere and then bring it back into play after a few days.

Elf is spending a few days at the storage unit inspecting your family’s Christmas decs

Write a quick note to say that your elf has noticed you’re short of a few Christmas decorations and has gone to your storage unit to retrieve them. You can then hide your elf away for a few days – you don’t have to actually take it to the storage centre, but your storage unit is a great place for hiding all manner of festive surprises, from Christmas gifts to preparations for activities to Christmas decorations. Monthly storage costs vary – see our post about costing up storage and remember to get a quote from us for your storage insurance.

Elf is poorly

Tuck your elf into a doll’s bed, or make a cot in a shoe box and explain that your elf has caught a cold and needs to rest for a few days – but is still well enough to send reports to Santa! Your children may even want to provide nursing care for extra good-behaviour points.

Is your elf in breach of data protection regulations?

For older children with some understanding about data protection and privacy issues, use the story that your elf is in a tussle with the Information Commissioner’s Office about GDPR because he’s been collecting and sharing data about your family. As well as getting you off the elf hook, it could provide a talking point with teenagers about privacy and personal data. Depending on your children, that could be more or less exhausting than setting up a nightly Insta-friendly elf scenario.

Remember the true meaning of Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf is just a bit of Christmas fun; and a couple of missed days is not going to ruin anyone’s childhood.

Elf on the Shelf movement can be quite subtle – from one end of the shelf to the other is enough to maintain the illusion for some children. Another idea is to get your older children who no longer believe in Santa to take charge of project elf.

Photo by Rajesh Kavasseri on Unsplash


Question and Answer


What is the best type of container to store seasonal decorations?

Most seasonal decorations will keep well in a large plastic box with a lid. Lidded plastic boxes can be stacked, and if they are heavy duty will protect your stored goods from moths and rodents. Cardboard boxes might be a better choice for keeping decorations in if you’re using climate-controlled storage, as they are cheaper and can easily be recycled at end of life. Baskets, too, are a good option for storing seasonal decs. They are pricy, but they can look good and become part of the decoration in themselves.