I heard about this last year either right after Christmas or during Christmas. I slowly started pinning ideas on Pinterest and I couldn't wait for this next year to start a new tradition! Now that we're here, I made sure I picked up my elf with plenty of time for Christmas.
You can purchase the elf in a box set online or from any Hallmark store. The set includes the elf itself and also a book that explains the tradition. There is also a page in the back of the book so that you can document what year your family received your elf and what you named him. Don't forget to go online and tell Santa what his name is! Your specific elf will come back every year to spend time with your family.
Children are told that the elf can not be touched or it will take away his magic. They are encouraged to talk to him but he is on a gag order from Santa not to talk back. Every morning the elf moves to a different place of your house and he/she is sometimes doing something a little naughty. This is where the ideas come in for you, mom and/or dad. What should your elf be doing? He can be hanging from the Christmas tree, spending time in the freezer (it's as cold as the North Pole) or you can find something fun for him to do! Of course, the better ideas you have, the more fun your elf is. Not to mention the better memories for your children.
There has also been talk about a great side-effect of having the elf in your house. The kids behave better! Hahaha.
I thought I would share the collection of all the websites i've found that have different ideas for Elf on the Shelf. I hope this helps you in planning for your upcoming holiday.
Kinda Crunchy Mama - I added this in on 1/3/12. This is what we did this last year.
Diary of a Wannabe Domestic Diva - Includes a calendar of daily activities already figured out.
Clearly Candace - A list of ideas including pictures. Either ideas for older kids or adults that want to laugh. A few are jokes that you need to be a little older to understand. i.e. YMCA with barbies, planking on the tree, "I miss snow" elf watching tv on fuzz station). Cute though, pics are great.
Enza's Bargains - 30 or so ideas with pictures. Most ideas are easy to do with things around the house.
Elf on the Shelf Forum - This is a random forum with ideas for Elf on the Shelf. There are some creative ideas, not all include pictures.
Blossom Bunkhouse - 101 ideas - long list of ideas but no pictures.
The Elf on a Shelf Pool - Flickr group of 791 photos (as of today).
Living Locurto - 25 pictures in an e-book that the author created from her readers
Little Pumpkin Grace - cute idea on how to start the holiday season with your elf. They had a North Pole Breakfast. Includes pictures.
Less cake more frosting - Great idea when the elf has to go home. Create a photo of the elf with Santa in front of your Christmas tree. On the front of the picture write a goodbye note. Need photoshop or any other editing program that lets you layer. (I like picmonkey). *edit* I wasn't able to get a cut out of Santa to use to layer but I did find a site that does it all for you. I then added the text with picmonkey later. Check out my post on iCaughtSanta for more info!
Shelf The Elf - Pictures of the Elf caught on camera. Also a name generator to help with name choices.
DIY Elf on the Shelf @ The EcoFriendlyFamily I added this on 11/29/12 How to make your own Elf if you're creative Could be fun to personalize it yourself.
P.S. This is my first year so I will definitely be posting pictures of what our special elf is doing. Feel free to post on my Facebook page what your little elf has been doing! And if you don't have one yet, go on over to Amazon and order one in time for the holidays :)