~~~~~Last year, Buddy the Elf came to visit us for the first time. Even though my kids had met the Elf on the Shelf in their Kindergarten classes, the Elf had never come to visit our home. While some people love Elf on the Shelf and some are not so keen, we've found the Elf tradition to be a fun part of our holiday season.
Our Buddy the Elf may not be as mischievous as other Elves; I've seen some wild stuff. Whew! Buddy can get himself into some shenanagins like getting stuck inside the fridge during his midnight snack. Some of us were happy to see him go on vacation last December.
Buddy and I decided to do something a little different this year. While he was on vacation down in Florida, we texted back and forth about a simple countdown to Christmas activity. Buddy knew I needed something easy and flexible. Given the difficulty of traveling back and forth from the North Pole, sometimes Buddy just wasn't up for surprising the kids.
We decided to create the countdown using square tin boxes which I found in the wedding aisle at Michael's Craft Store. At $.66/box, 30 tin boxes for $19.99 fit my budget. In the scrapbooking section, I found rectangular labels by Martha Stewart that fit the boxes perfectly. Buddy suggested I add an Elf boot, also found in the scrapbooking section, to each label. I'm handwriting the numbers, 1 to 24, with a gold paint pen .
Buddy the Elf loves jokes. I can't tell you how many awful jokes he's been texting me this fall. Fortunately, he was able to come up with 24 jokes that I knew my kids would appreciate. Next, we brainstormed a list of activities for Buddy to do with the kids. Fortunately, we didn't have to tax our brains too much since the editors at Jersey Family Fun already had a huge list of Elf on the Shelf activities we could borrow.
*Starting and Ending the Elf on a Shelf Countdown*
Our Elf on the Shelf Countdown starts with a North Pole Breakfast Sunday morning. On the menu are Snow-cover donuts, Floating Glacier Hot Cocoa, the Land of Sweets and Santa Party Poppers. After reading The Elf on the Shelf plus Buddy's first joke for the kids, we'll talk a little about why Buddy is visiting. The kids may not remember that Buddy's magic drains away when touched, preventing him from going back to help Santa at the North Pole.
Each morning, the kids will find a new box from Buddy. Inside will be the joke of the day and occasionally an activity to do. Most of the activities will happen on the weekend or every other day during the week since Mom is busy with her own holiday magic.
* Rub-a-Dub There's an Elf in Our Tub
* Elf on a Playdate with Lego guys
* Place a pad of paper next to Elf to share what they're thankful for
* Hang elf from cabinet
* Stick elf in someone's underwear drawer
* Letter from Elf to children about behavior
* Elf Band - on floor with pots, pans, and spoon
* Elf in Fridge
* Elf raiding the candy or cookie tin
* Snowball Fight using mini marshmallows
* Make snowflake from q-tips
* Make a fort with video games
* Elf on the Shelf Campfire
* Find 5 candy canes on the first floor
* Wrap your toilet in wrapping paper and set the Elf on the TP near by
* Roll a toilet paper roll down the stairs and put the Elf in it at the bottom of the stairs
* Printable for Planning Your Elf on the Shelf Activities
* Goodbye Letter to Kids from the Elf on the Shelf
* Elf on the Shelf Jokes from Over the Big Moon
* square tin boxes
* Martha Stewart Labels
* Elf Boots (found in scrapbooking supplies)
* Double Stick Tape
* gold paint pen
* Elf on the Shelf Pinterest Board by Barb of A Life in Balance
* Jersey Family Fun's List of Elf on the Shelf Activities
Barb is a mom of 5 kids who spends her day keeping track of socks, stuffed animals, library books, and a 5 year old when she isn't writing about all the frugality, gardening, cooking, and reading she manages to fit in between the chaotic moments. She can be found at A Life in Balance.