That first year, you think it’s such a great idea. You’ll have so much fun hiding this little stuffed animal (little stuffed human? stuffed creature?) around the house. The kids will get so much glee out of discovering what new mischief their elf has gotten into overnight.
But after two or three weeks of Elf on the Shelf fervor, you’re just … over it. And as you pack up the Christmas décor, you think, “Good Lord, I have to do this again next year.”
Maybe not. Maybe there’s a way to phase out your elf when you’re just done, when you can’t deal with another evening of, “Where the hell do I put Elvie tonight?” These tips might work, too, if your kids are approaching that age where they’re getting too old for Elvie and her magic.
Here are a few ideas to kick that elf off your shelf—for good.
George wants a new job
Christy Heins, an Illinois mum, shared on Facebook how—and why—she retired her family’s elf, George. She wrote:
I forgot to move him more times than I can even count, and I cut it close a few times trying to sneakily move him after the kids were already awake. Today my pastor’s sermon was all about how advent is supposed to be a season of feeling PEACEFUL, and cute little George wasn’t exactly falling into that category for me.
So she crafted a letter for her kids from the Big Guy himself, where Santa explains that George had just one Christmas wish this year: To be a real toy in the Heins home. Santa explained that, just like people, some elves love their jobs—they love flying to the North Pole each night, and they love returning to their families each morning. But George, he just wanted to spend all his time with Heins’ daughters, Amelia, Evelyn and Lauren.
Jupiter’s girl has hit her age limit
On Christmas day, have a letter from your elf explaining that this is the last year they will spend with your family because, now that your child is X years old, it’s time for the elf to work at the North Pole full time.
Allison Andrews used this technique when it was time for her family’s elf, Jupiter, to move on. She couldn’t just make Jupiter disappear because, as she wrote in Good Housekeeping:
The thing is, the elf brought so much joy to my daughter. I decided Jupiter needed to go out with a little more meaning.
Andrews’ letter is lengthy: Jupiter implores Sydney, Andrews’ daughter, to be kind and thoughtful. The elf thanks Sydney for always being so thoughtful, leaving notes and treats for Jupiter. She tells Sydney to share, forgive and be curious, and she says that she’ll no longer have her elf powers after she goes back to the North Pole tonight. “Jupiter” writes:
You can touch me and nothing will happen. In fact, I’d love to have a hug after all this time.
Buddy gets hitched
During all your elf’s travels back and forth to the North Pole, what if he falls in love and gets married? Tell your kids it’s time for Buddy to plan his wedding, and after he gets married, he wants to settle down and have kids.
What if Holly was just a little too mischievous during all her exploits? I mean, how would Santa—or any boss—feel about all those poker games with Barbie, those nights she spent hanging from the chandelier, that time she got into the flour and made a right mess of the kitchen?
So tell your kids that Santa found a new job for Holly, one where he can keep a closer eye on her.