Jingle Flower

My kids have yet to ask for the famous Elf on the Shelf. I debated over whether we should begin the tradition or not and of course consulted my favorite parenting resource, Facebook.

I dreamt of Pinterest-esque plans of elf snowball fights and Cheerios disguised as elf-sized donuts.

Then, I remembered who I was talking to (myself, as usual) and knew that more often than not, I would be telling morning stories of how our elf-gathering-dust-on-a-shelf still loved where he was the night before SO much that he begged to stay there again and again and again.

Last weekend on our third overly-obnoxious car ride, in between the high notes of the 92nd meltdown of the day, Mark yelled, “What’s that elf everyone has? We’ve got to get one of those things.”

And that was that. For the past week we’ve been in search of the slightly creepy looking little Christmas spy and finally found one today.

elf on the shelf

We gathered the kids and read them the story of their new friend as they fought over Legos, who would sit on whose lap and why someone’s toe was touching the other’s paint leg seam. They agreed upon a name after much negotiation and we recounted the story none of them listened to the first time, watching the red and green light bulbs go off above each of their now-enchanted heads.

Jingle Flower, the latest addition to our family, was now a direct line to the Big Guy and what happened next was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. United, my children decided to clean the living room as Jingle Flower looked on smiling, because that’s the only face he can make.

My husband and I patted ourselves on the back as we always do when we think we’ve outsmarted them. Enjoying the view as they ran around cleaning the living room, we almost had to break out the smelling salts when they promptly announced they were heading to brush. their. teeth.

Jingle Flower’s power will dwindle as the days go on, but for now I’m making a chore list for day two, surfing Pinterest for ideas that do not involve home renovation for elf placement, and enjoying the extra dose of Christmas magic he brought into a house full of kids who are still young enough to believe.

magic quote


One year down with Elf on the Shelf and I’ve discovered that I’m not an over-achieving elf-mover. We came up with all kinds of easy ways to place our elf that the kids loved and I could pull off five minutes before they got up. Here’s a few of my favorites…

easy elf on the shelf ideas


squished in a cup

in Barbie’s bathtub

making a snow angel in some spilled flour or sugar

digging in the cereal

drinking syrup from a straw

driving a Barbie car/remote control car/dump truck

drawing with toothpaste in the bathroom

hanging onto a Christmas ornament

peeking from behind a picture

making a paper snowflake

taking a marshmallow bath in a bowl

playing cards with another toy

holding the television remote

in a Christmas stocking

sleeping in a drawer

playing with a video game remote

fishing with goldfish crackers

lining up matchbox cars

coloring a picture

sitting with money outside a piggy bank

Do you have more easy ideas to add? I’d love to hear them!

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  1. Kim S. says

    On the rear view mirror of your car because he wants to ride to school one morning. In the freezer because he misses the cold from the North Pole. In a box of cereal or pop tarts or whatever your breakfast consists of. In your manger scene. I have teen agers and one in college and my kids STILL love to hunt for our elf!! Its all about the hunt :)

  2. says

    Oh my gosh, those mini donuts, SO CUTE!!! Our guy hides in the blinds in our living room and inside the top of the Christmas tree. He’s not NEARLY as mischievous as the elves we see on Pinterest and FB, he just finds a new spot (most days!) 😉

    “Jingle Flower”, that is SO much more inventive than our name, Elfie. lol.
    Elaine A. recently posted..I wish she would have stayed

  3. says

    i look forward to watching the elf’s adventures unravel, or i guess perhaps you… in a odd holiday coincidence, i made those cheerio doughnuts for my kids’ squinkies last hanukkah! they really do turn out cute (though not as cute as the ones in the photo of course!)
    anna recently posted..Nine.

  4. says

    my kids love our elf Hermey….I even trot him out a few times during the year to remind them that Santa’s always watching…
    But please, please don’t be one of those elfie moms whose elf is always up to crazy antics, I just can’t take the pressure…he’s just supposed to watch and report to the big man in red,,,
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..My Kids Are Bastards

    • says

      Right there with you, so far he has been in a cabinet with windows and sitting on top of our microwave. That’s as creative as I’ve gotten.

    • says

      I was not into it at all until we thought it might actually work. I’m famous for starting out with these ideas and then slowly giving up so stay tuned for my failure which is soon to come I’m sure.

  5. Amanda says

    Ours has to stay up high, too. And I set a reminder on my phone to go off nightly at 9:30pm to remind me to move him. It’s NOT GOOD when you forget! 😉 Best decision I’ve made so far this holiday season. We stuck a clear tack in him and pinned him “sitting” and “lounging” on the trim above various doors and on picture frames hung on walls.

    • says

      Oh the tack is a good idea, I was wondering how people got this thing to stay up. When the kids woke up this morning they were disappointed to not see him walking through the house but they were still excited that he had moved.

  6. says

    This is our first year with the Elf too, and I loved this post! Jingle Flower is the perfect name, and I’m dying over “surfing Pinterest for ideas that do not involve home renovation for elf placement”. Have a feeling that in a few days our elf will be collecting dust in the exact same spot night after night. Darn that I’m just not more creative!
    Meredith recently posted..What Moms REALLY Want for Christmas: Week 2

  7. says

    I keep mine up high (i.e.: out of reach) but usually in the main living area. I don’t even mention him, I just let the kids go about their business and when THEY remember (or find) him, the search is one (or the telling him the nice things they’ve done is on).
    Real easy stuff: fireplace mantel, top of curtain rods, kitchen shelves, over the fridge, in the wine rack, then in various holiday decorations once they are up. I keep it simple.
    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying recently posted..The Ultimate Elf on the Shelf

    • says

      We were just discussing how our kids have zero self-control so Jingle Flower will always have to be up somewhere high or they will be screwing with him all day long.

  8. says

    I put our elf in my purse one night and they looked everywhere for him the next morning, but finally gave up. I “found” him as we got in the car and screamed. They still talk about that. It was their favorite.
    anymommy recently posted..Goodnight, sweethearts

    • says

      Love that idea, so cute and the best part is if I forget to move him I could just quickly shove him in my purse before they notice.