Elf on the Shelf

The first rule of The Elf on the Shelf is that you can’t touch the elf. The second rule of The Elf on the Shelf is that the elf will not speak or move while you are awake.

This is a new and growing tradition with families since the book started in 2005. The premise was simple – this little elf was sent from the North Pole to watch over children. At night, the elf would return to Santa to tell him about the children’s behavior and return home to take up a new position in the house.

The Baity Family has started this Elf of the Shelf tradition years ago. With many inspiring and creative ideas for finding the Elf in mischief or adventure, they have made their ‘Elf on the Shelf’ tradition grow with their family.



“The spirit of Christmas is upon us, and one of our family’s favorite holiday traditions is the oh-so-popular Elf on the Shelf. This “magical” elf usually appears (or rather is unpacked from the Christmas decoration containers) around Thanksgiving. He comes with a book that explains his story: In short, he uses his magical powers to fly back and forth to the North Pole each night while your child sleeps to tell Santa all about your family’s behavior––you know, to make sure everyone stays on the “good list.” But the real fun behind the elf is finding him in the morning and discovering what kind of mischief he got himself into overnight.”

“The first year I did Elf on the Shelf for the kids we just hid him in different spots. The second year I got a little more creative and started letting “Jangles” get into mischief around the house. Depending on how hard he partied the night before I had a huge mess to clean up the next day, which was a little bit annoying at times. The third year I decided to do scenes from the kid’s favorite movies and have Jangles act them out. One of the best was ‘Tarz-angles’ and we had Jangles in a leopard loin cloth swinging from vines. After the third year, the kids lost interest a little so I would take Jangles with us on out outings and holiday adventures and take his photo while we were there. On Christmas, I gave the kids a book that included all the photos. They were excited to see that he was there with us, and they never knew! Jangles went Black Friday shopping with us, to see a holiday movie and to visit our family in Georgia where we went to our favorite restaurant in Atlanta, The Varsity.”


Elf of Shelf Tradition


Photography: Amanda Causey Baity


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