While Elf on the Shelf is a cute tradition to add to your family tradition for the holidays, there are a few guidelines to follow during their visit. These simple Elf on the Shelf rules will ensure your kids stay on track during their elf’s visit.
Elf on the Shelf Rules
Having an Elf on the Shelf at home is a great way to make some memories with your kids and encourage them to be extra good during the holiday season. Each time your family’s elf visits, they remind your kids that Santa has an eye on them!
What is an Elf on the Shelf?
If you’re new to the concept of Elf on the Shelf, you may be wondering what all the buzz is about.
Whether you’ve seen your friends with kids posting pictures of their elf’s antics or you’re interested in adding an elf to your home, understanding the concept of the Christmas phenomenon is important.
Elf on the Shelf is a holiday tradition where Santa Claus sends scout elves down to earth to keep an eye on all the children while he’s busy getting things ready for Christmas.
Each elf is sent to a child’s house to watch the children during the day. And when the kids go to bed, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa. Before the kids wake up in the morning, the elf returns to the house and lands in a new spot. Your kids must them search the house to find where their elf landed that day.
When you purchase an Elf on the Shelf, you’ll receive the elf and a storybook that explains the elf to your child. The book outlines who the elf is and why they’re visiting your house. In the story, the book also outlines the Elf on the Shelf rules that your kids must follow during their elf’s visit.
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What are the Rules for Elf on the Shelf?
The Elf on the Shelf has three official rules that most families abide by. Each of these rules are outlined in the book that comes with your elf, but if you need a refresher, they are:
- Do not touch the elf. If the elf gets touched, they’ll lose their magic and won’t be able to fly back to the North Pole to report back to Santa.
- Elves can’t talk, but they can listen. Your kids can talk to their elf and let them know what they want for Christmas. Their elf can take their messages back to Santa each night.
- Your family’s elf must return to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. When your kids go to bed that night, their elf will fly back to the North Pole until next Christmas.
Although these rules are great guidelines for kids, the adults in the family might need a few more rules to add to their list so they can keep the magic alive for their kids.
- Each elf needs a name. Your kids will need to name their elf when it comes home. Luckily, most elf names are pretty silly, so your kids can have some fun creating a unique name to give your family’s elf.
- There’s no set date for the elf to arrive. Your elf can arrive at any time between Thanksgiving and the first week of December, which means you can pick which day your family’s elf comes.
- You’ll need to move your elf each night. This is often the most difficult part of having an elf at home. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to move the elf so you don’t forget!
Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable
How to Use Elf on the Shelf Rules
While the three rules that come with your elf are pretty simple to remember, sometimes your kids need a reminder throughout the day. With the help of some printable Elf on the Shelf rules, you can easily remind your kids of the rules before they get in trouble.
Start by downloading the printable rules and printing them out on plain paper. Then, you can display the rules in a prominent location so your kids can see them. There are a variety of fun ways to use these rules during your elf’s visit.
- Place them next to your elf when he arrives. Whether your elf is arriving for the first time or returning another year, placing this printable next to your elf when he arrives is a great way to remind your child of the rules. You can read the rules together to let your kids know what’s expected of them, then let them ask questions if they have any.
- Hang the rules on your fridge. Help your kids remember the rules by placing them in a spot they see every day – the refrigerator. Use a Christmas magnet to hang the rules on the fridge, then let them reread the rules whenever they need a refresher.
- Frame the rules and use them as a Christmas decoration. Add the Elf on the Shelf rules the rest of your holiday décor by placing it in a frame. It’s a great way to make the rules prominent so your kids can easily be reminded of the guidelines that come along with your elf.
How Can I Keep From Being Overwhelmed With Elf on the Shelf?
You’ll see tons and tons of ideas for activities and antics your elf can get involved in, but the most important thing for you to remember is that this is supposed to be fun!
We have a collection of FREE Elf on the Shelf printables to make the planning easy! Download the ones you need! They all coordinate!
- Elf on the Shelf Arrival Letter (for new elves and returning elves)
- Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Letter
- Elf on the Shelf Rules
- Printable Elf Adoption Certificate
- Elf on the Shelf Naughty Letter & Nice Notice
On my other site, I also have tons of Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas!
You can put as much or as little planning into it as you want! Some years we’ve had our elves get into all sorts of fun and other years they just play hide and seek each day.
Don’t feel pressured to do anything. The kids love even the most simple holiday tradition! It’s all about the Christmas memories you’re making!