How to do an Elf on the Shelf for the first time. This fun Christmas tradition has been around for over a decade bringing kids joy each year. We’ll walk you through the 5 steps for how it works so you can get started with your elf this season!

Learn how to do the Elf on the Shelf for the first time

How To Do an Elf on the Shelf for the First Time

The magical season of Christmas is upon us, and it’s time to start planning for the big day. One tradition that many families start this time of year is Elf on the Shelf®!  

Moms, dads and grandparents, you’re in luck! I am here to show you how to do Elf on the Shelf for the first time. It’s super easy and will be so much fun for your little one. 

This fun Christmas elf tradition has been around for over a decade and every family has their own way of doing it.

Our elf Peter has been visiting us for nearly 10 years now and he loves bringing cute ideas for other elves to use too. See them all here!

How to do an Elf on the Shelf - First Timers Guide
How to do an Elf on the Shelf for the first time.

THE ELF ON THE SHELF® is a trademark of CCA and B, LLC. These printable prop designs, illustrations and ideas to use with an Elf on the Shelf doll are in no way associated with the company.

5 Steps for How to Do an Elf on the Shelf

Here are 5 quick tips and rules on how to do the Elf on the Shelf tradition for your first time! An Elf on the Shelf is a fun way to get your kids in the Christmas spirit. We’ll walk you through how it works with tips for making this tradition successful.

1. Get an Elf 

You can get the Elf on the Shelf or any other type of plush elf doll. Once you purchase a doll, Santa will know! If your kids see you buying the doll, make sure they know this is all pure North Pole magic!

2. Pick a Day the Elf on the Shelf Arrives from the North Pole

When you are ready to share your elf with your kids, the elf needs to arrive in style! Sometimes the elf shows up with a welcome note, candy or North Pole breakfast.

Find some fun Elf Arrival Ideas here.

Random Acts of Kindness Elf Arrival Letter and gift ideas for your Elf on the Shelf. Encourages kids to give back and be Secret Santa.
Best Elf Arrival Ideas

When Does the Elf Arrive?

If you’re wondering when the elf arrives? It’s usually after Thanksgiving or the first week of December. Your elf will stay until Christmas Eve when the elf returns back home to the North Pole with Santa Claus.

3. Name Your Elf

Kids will have a blast naming their elf! There are many different names for the elf, such as “Elfie” or “Elfy,” Other popular elf names include Twinkle or Sparkles. Whatever name you choose for your elf, it will be sure to put a smile on your child’s face every holiday season!

elf on the shelf arrival ideas

4. The Elf Moves on its Own

After your kids are in bed and asleep, your elf will return to the North Pole to give a report on how good or bad your child was that day. 

Then your elf will return early the next morning and magically appear somewhere else in your home! 

How Does the Elf move?

Wondering how the Elf on the Shelf moves? Some kids think the parents pick up the elf and move him around. We know that is totally NOT TRUE!

If a human touches the elf, there would be no more magic. From our testing and research, we have found that Santa’s North Pole magic is what makes the elf move and come alive after kids go to sleep.

With a hidden camera, we got video of our elf Peter moving on his own. Watch the video below to see him move! Click Here for the –> Elf Kissing Booth.

Why Didn’t Your Elf Move?

The most asked question we get is “why didn’t my elf move?” Because this is a complicated answer, we have all of the details here in this article “Top 10 Reasons Why Your Elf on the Shelf Did Not Move”. Read about it all here.

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Elf on the Shelf Did Not Move. List for Kids to Read! LivingLocurto.com
Top 10 Reasons Why Your Elf Did Not Move

5. Enjoy a Few Weeks of Elf Antics

Create some fun games or activities for your elf to do throughout December. (Examples are below)

Make sure your child will see him or her every day (this is important) like on top of their toy chest, next to their bed at night or even tucked away under the couch cushions during the day. 

Kids can write letters to Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas and why. Send those back with your elf.

Your elf keeps track of all that the kids do until Christmas Eve when the elf returns back home with Santa Claus into his sleigh. 

What are the Elf rules?

There is one very important rule you need to tell your kids about the elf. Humans are not allowed to touch the elf. 

If you do touch one, the magic disappears. Don’t worry if you accidentally have to touch your elf. We have a solution for that here.

Elf Magic Dust - Printable Tags with directions on how to bring back an Elf on the Shelf's magic!

Here are some more elf rules that you might recognize from the movie Elf…

  • Treat every day like it’s Christmas.
  • There’s room for everyone on the nice list.
  • The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
Fun Last-Minute Elf Printable Props

More Elf Ideas:

We hope you have fun doing your Elf on the Shelf for the first time this year. 

Let us know what you name your elf in the comments below!

How to do The Elf on the Shelf

Learn how to do the Elf on the Shelf with a step-by-step guide. Here are the 5 steps for this fun Christmas tradition.
Author: Amy Locurto

Instructions

  • Get an Elf – You can get the Elf on the Shelf or any other type of plush elf doll. Once you purchase a doll, Santa will know!
  • Pick a Day the Elf on the Shelf Arrives from the North Pole
  • Name Your Elf
  • The Elf Moves on its Own – After your kids are in bed and asleep, your elf will return to the North Pole to give a report on how good or bad your child was that day.
  • Enjoy a Few Weeks of Elf Antics. – Create some fun games or activities for your elf to do throughout December.
Plan To Make This?Please share if you do. Mention @LivingLocurto or tag #LivingLocurto on Instagram. We’d love to see!
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Course: Craft
Keyword: christmas, christmas tradition, elf, elf ideas, elf on the shelf, kids, kids activity, printables

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