When to Start Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf Family Tradition

Elf on the Shelf season is approaching! Did you purchase an Elf on the Shelf set or receive one as a gift this year? Not sure when to start this fun holiday hide ‘n seek tradition? Don’t worry. Every family does it differently and here are some things to consider before the Elf makes his or her first appearance of the year.

Not sure what Elf on the Shelf is? (Read up on this fun hide ‘n seek tradition. We love this tradition so much we sell the Elf sets at ChocolateCakeClub.com)

When Does the Holiday Season Officially Start for Your Family?
When does the Christmas season officially start in your house? The day after Thanksgiving? The 1st of December? Christmas Eve? When do you get your Christmas tree? In our house, the Elf makes his first appearance the day after Thanksgiving. We traditionally switch gears to Christmas mode the Friday after Thanksgiving. (Really, right after the turkey dinner, it’s bring on Christmas!) It has been a tradition in our house to get out the decorations and go get our live tree that weekend, so it made sense for us to see the Elf at the same time. (Also, the kids drive us nuts asking where the Elf is way before Thanksgiving. While their constant queries can be annoying, I love that they are so excited about a tradition! We start as early as we can.) You can tell the kids that the Elf doesn’t show up until the decorations go up because he can only visit a decorated house. Whatever rationale works for you, go for it.

Key Dates Can Help You Remember
It’s easy to remember when to start this tradition if you tie the Elf’s first appearance to another key date in December. Start on December 1st when all of the advent calendars kick in. Or, a friend of mine starts her Elf on the Shelf fun on December 6th, which is St. Nicholas Day. Someone else told me they start December 13th because it is 12 days before Christmas.

What is Your Level of Enthusiasm?
I’ve had some friends say that they just can’t remember to hide the Elf or come up with a new hiding place every day for a month. It adds stress to an already stressful time of year. If that is the way you feel, start 5 or 10 nights before Christmas so the tradition doesn’t become overwhelming for you. (If you need ideas on where or how to hide the Elf, I’m starting a new series on creative Elf hiding places. Check back for some inspiration.)

Bottomline, there is no right or wrong answer on when to start the Elf on the Shelf tradition. Have Ziggy or Petunia or Mr. Twinkle Toes come out when you are ready for some Holiday family fun. If the kids are excited about the tradition then give them a date to look forward to. Anticipation makes it more fun!

When do you start your family’s Elf on the Shelf tradition?

Gotta get your hands on an Elf on the Shelf? We sell them over at www.ChocolateCakeClub.com. We also have brown eyed, darker skinned Elves and we even sell skirts to make your Elf a girl.

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Tags: 25 Days of Christmas Family Fun

4 Comments - Leave a comment

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  3. Thank you! This is out first year for Elf on the Shelf. The kids don’t know about it yet. We will be starting the day after Thanksgiving. What a wonderful idea. I’m excited myself!

    Tess Mahan
    11/10/12

  4. Thank you! This is out first year for Elf on the Shelf. The kids don’t know about it yet. We will be starting the day after Thanksgiving. What a wonderful idea. I’m excited myself! I’ve seen some awesome ideas so far. My favorite one is putting the elf on a stack of boxes in the front seat of the car, with McDonalds trash and wrappers all around him. He went for a late night snack! Park the car half in the driveway and half in the yard with a long stick he used to push down the pedals. I’m going to put a gift card under his arm for the kids!

    Tess Mahan
    11/10/12

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