It won’t be much longer before my oldest son finds out the truth about Santa. He is nine and my younger son is almost seven and they both still believe! They are at that magical age where the holidays are so much fun through their eyes.
One of their favorite Christmas traditions is the month long visit from our Elf on the Shelf, Stiller. (He received his name in honor of Ben Stiller’s elf character in the Elmo’s Christmas Countdown movie that Quinn watched about 3,000 times when he was 4 years old.) Stiller arrives at our house on the morning of December 1st and says goodbye on December 24th. I make the effort to bring Stiller to “life” for 24 days because of the happiness it brings to my kids. They wake up every morning asking if they can go find Stiller. I love to hear them yell with excitement when they find out what he is doing. That is the magic that Stiller brings to me.
Oh, and this reason too... A text message I received from Quinn while he was still in his bed on the morning of December 1st last year.
Planning + Inspiration
Some people find this to be too much work and hassle, but a little planning and some inspiration will make it fun and easy.
- Pinterest has tons of Elf on the Shelf ideas. That is where I get my inspiration and lots of FREE Elf printables. (Print them early so they are ready to use when you need them.)
- Search the hashtag #elfontheshelf on Instagram for even more ideas.
- Print a December calendar (I love this one) and pencil in your ideas for the month. This helps me keep track of the things I want to do and makes each night's movement fun instead of leaving me wondering what to do.
- Set an alarm on your phone to go off each night after your kids fall asleep. When they were younger, my alarm said "move Stiller" but now that they can read, it says "kiss the boys goodnight". This has saved me on many nights when I would have forgotten to move our elf!
Stiller the Elf
Here are a few of Stiller's fun antics from the past few years...
- Hanging above the kitchen table with snowflakes he cut out of paper coffee filters
- Hugging a photo of our family
- Enjoying marshmallow "snowballs"
- Building a Lego Christmas tree (thanks to dad!)
- Reading a Christmas book to some of the boys' favorite duck stuffed animals
- Wearing a paper Minecraft head (download a free printable creeper head from The Lunchbox Memoirs)
7. Hanging from a rope (attached to the ceiling fan) and wearing a Spider Man mask
8. Wearing an apron made out of felt and ribbon - new sewing, just hot glue and scissors!
9. Wrapped in a Darth Vader cape (um, black felt taped on him) and a glow bracelet
10. Getting ready for an FSU football game with a tiny scarf knitted by Nona, a blanket cut from a piece of fabric and a beanbag Seminole football helmet for a pillow.
11. Hanging on the rear view mirror in the van - a favorite because he got to ride to and from school with us
12. Paper elfs made with photos of each boy and some construction paper. Seriously easy.
13. Coloring a Christmas tablecloth
14. Bringing a special Stiller Christmas ornament for our tree - thanks Etsy!
15. Getting an official warning about some recent not-so-good behavior. This really worked! Pinterest free printable for the WIN!
Elf Pages for Project Life
This will be the fifth year that Stiller comes to visit our family. Every year, I document his visits with nightly photos that I post on Instagram. The lighting is usually less than perfect and I take most of the photos with my iPhone, but at least I’m capturing all of the things that he does for the boys. It is so much fun to look back over the years to see all of these photos.
I create pages with Stiller's daily antics to put into our Project Life album every year. I keep it simple with the 12x12 page template that holds exactly 12 photos each - just enough for Stiller's 24 day visit to fit onto two pages in my Project Life photo book.
2015 Stiller the Elf Pages
For the 2015 pages, I used the new Simply White Designs - December Days V3 templates. I changed the word art color of the date to red so it coordinates with Stiller and makes it festive. You can use any of the new December Days templates that fit your own modern scrapbooking style.
2013 Stiller the Elf Pages
For the 2013 pages, I used the classic Simply White Collection 3x4 photo collage templates and typed in the date and a little bit about what Stiller was doing that day.
Embrace the Elf on the Shelf magic and think about how much fun this is for the kids!