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A Bit of Burgos by Dale Burgos

Elf on the shelf

by Dale Burgos


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As December rolls around, there are a number of guarantees in the Burgos household, here are a few:

1. Netflix/Prime/Disney+ get used…a lot. Now that the dark comes earlier, we like to snuggle up in front of the TV and watch our favourite shows.

2. Our plethora of Christmas trees are dusted off and placed all over the house.

3. A sense of panic emerges as I am challenged to come up with a different Elf on the Shelf idea every day leading up to December 25.

Spoiler alert: Hopefully there are no kids reading this article as this will surely ruin the magic of elf on the shelf.

For those uninitiated, the elf on the shelf is a charming holiday tradition where a special scout elf visits homes to keep an eye on the kids and report back to Santa each night. These mischievous little elves are known for their creative antics and can be found in various spots around the house each morning. If you’re looking to add some extra sparkle to your elf on the shelf game this year, here are some daily ideas to keep the magic alive and your kids wanting more. You’re welcome.

The Arrival: Kick off December by having the elf use a tiny parachute or a zipline from a high shelf, wall, or light fixture. If it’s a first time the kid sees it, leave a note to introduce themselves and explain their mission to watch over the house.

dvent Calendar: This is truly for the crafty people out there. Create a calendar that has chocolate or little toys hidden behind a little door. This is especially handy for those days you have no time or creative ideas. Send the elf to the calendar and have it holding the daily gift.

Snow Angels: This is a favourite of mine. Use flour to create tiny elf-sized snow angels on the kitchen counter or dining table.

Make it a Movie Night: Have the elf laid out in front of the TV watching a favourite holiday movie. If you are feeling extra creative, create little props from the movie!

Sweet Tooth: Have the elf laid out on their back and add some stuffing under their little coat to make it look like their stomach is enlarged. Scatter candy wrappers around the elf.

Snowball Fight: Miniature marshmallows make the perfect snowballs. Create a snowball fight scene with other toys.

Play Dress Up: There are many accessories you can buy for your elf. Have them sitting by a mirror wearing a different outfit. This is a good filler for other days, so save other outfits for another day.

Hide and Seek: Leave a note that provides a hint to the elf’s location. This is another good one to use for multiple days.

Elf’s Day Off: Make a small bed out of an empty tissue box and wrap it in gift wrap. Feel free to do this on weekends. Leave a note letting the kids know that even elves need days off.

Teacher Elf: Have your elf encourage your kids to write their own letters to Santa. Leave out blank paper and colourful markers for the kids to write letters to Santa.

Elf’s Bath: Do your kids detest bath time like mine did? Create a tiny bath for your elf using a small dish filled with marshmallow “bubbles.” Leave a note from the elf saying how important baths are. Sneaky, right?

An Elf that Cleans: Pick up some Barbie cleaning accessories or make your own. Let the kids know that Santa loves a clean house before he visits. Are you sensing a theme here?

Last Night: Leave a farewell note from the elf and enjoy all the extra free time you’ll have in the evenings after the kiddies go to bed.

I haven’t had to do the elf on the shelf for the past few years as my kids are older now. Do I miss it? Yes, of course! Am I happy I don’t have to do it anymore? Yes, of course! Enjoy it while you can and hopefully some of these ideas help!

Happy holidays and enjoy whatever your family traditions may be!

Dale manages the communications department in a B.C. school district.

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