By HarvardHomemaker

I'm a Harvard graduate and homemaker who blogs about living (and loving!) the domestic life with my husband and four young daughters. My blog now permanently resides at www.harvardhomemaker.com. Please visit me there!

Posted on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 04:23:00 PM in Holidays
Tags: parenting,  tradtion,  fun,  kids,  gift ideas,  holidays,  christmas eve,  tradition,  family,  making memories,  elf on the shelf,  christmas photos,  christmas,  mom tips

Elf on the Shelf Winter Wonderland and Photo Gift

I must admit that I love the Elf on the Shelf tradition.  It's so fun to see our girls jump out of bed each morning, starting with Thanksgiving, to look for "Tom", our beloved elf.  But I'll also admit that making sure that little guy moves each night can be a lot of work!  My husband and I finally got smart and added an alert on our phones so we get a reminder each night.  I'm proud to say that for the first holiday season in five years, Tom has shown up in a different hiding place each morning!  (insert fist bump)


When you do have those panicked moments, and you realize your elf never moved, this is how we cover for ourselves:  "Tom must have seen you misbehaving.  I bet he loves you so much that he didn't have the heart to tell Santa about that.  I think he decided to stay here for another day before he reports back..."  Our daughters are always more than satisfied with that explanation, and we typically find them whispering "thank you" to Tom throughout that day.  :)  Crisis averted!  Whew!


When Tom does move, we are not very creative.  He moves from the mantle to the Christmas tree to a stocking...to...well, to a shelf.  I admire all the people out there who do something awesomely clever with their elf each and every night; but we are not those people.  We don't want to peak too early.  :)

Our elf usually has a big finish of some kind, though, on Christmas Eve.  Our kids adore him so much, and even though they are beyond thrilled that Christmas has finally arrived, they are honestly pretty emotional that their days of racing around to find Tom each morning have come to an end.  They consider him to be part of our family (seriously--they say they are glad Dad has Tom so he's not the only boy!), and they sincerely miss him the rest of the year. 

So last year, Tom created a winter wonderland by gathering all the Christmas decorations in the house and bringing them to the dining room table.  He lined the table with wrapping paper and got into the marshmallows, candy canes, and even brought some Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes with him to line his path.  He dug up a doll chair in the playroom, and Tom took a picture of himself in his "throne" while holding a snapshot of his four favorite girls.  And then off he went to the North Pole until next year!

When our girls came downstairs on Christmas morning, they were beyond thrilled to find the winter wonderland, complete with a framed picture of Tom sitting in that very spot before saying goodbye.  They treasured that picture he left all year long!  I know it helped them to miss Tom just a little less!   

Here's Tom posing for his photo shoot!  He taped the little note to the picture to make it easier to hold.

Here's a close-up of the picture he left for his four favorite girls.  He left the wallet-sized photo and the note behind.  They couldn't believe he'd been holding that!

That sneaky guy got into the pantry and used what he could find to make a winter wonderland!

Here's a shot of the path to his throne (the doll chair)!

He even collected the decorations all over the house and brought them into the dining room.  This is the scene the girls discovered on Christmas morning.  

Their reaction was worth every bit of the effort!

Organize-It Your Storage and Organization Resource

Enjoy the magic of the season, everybody!  I hope you create some memories that will stay with you for a lifetime!  

What's the best exit your Elf on the Shelf has had?  I'd love to know!

Until next time,

~ HH

Little Jar of Happiness: Choose to Be Happy in 2013!

"Choose to be happy."   That is something we say all the time in our house.  To some degree, we believe that happiness is a choice. Yes, there are good days and bad days.  But you

Dec 30 2012, 03:10 PM - 8352 Views - 0 comments

New Year's Resolutions for Kids

The year 2013 is almost here!  I love this time of year when everyone gets to regroup after a busy holiday, reflect on events of the past year, and look ahead to the clean slate that a new year

Dec 26 2012, 01:08 PM - 6704 Views - 2 comments

Harvard Homemaker's Favorite Things of 2013

Over the past year, I have shared various gift ideas or products that I swear by.  It's not uncommon for me to receive emails saying, "I remember you mentioning ______, but now I can't find it

Jan 2 2014, 10:44 PM - 2637 Views - 0 comments

15 Fun Photo Gifts From My Favorite Card Sites

Minted, Tiny Prints, and Shutterfly are easily my three favorite places from which to order cards this time of year.  I have ordered my holiday cards from Minted the last two years (I think

Dec 7 2013, 11:40 PM - 2411 Views - 0 comments

20 Unique Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything

We ladies are so easy to shop for... give us some pretty earrings, a scented candle, or clothes (love this cool black jacket!), and you men can call it a day.  But shopping for you guys?

Nov 26 2013, 11:04 PM - 91741 Views - 0 comments

25 Personalized Gift Ideas for Kids

With four daughters, we do a lot of hand-me-downs around here.  Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of personalized gifts for kids!  I know my own girls love to have a few things that are

Nov 7 2013, 12:28 AM - 2328 Views - 0 comments

Father's Day Secret Footprints and Poem

Father's Day is almost here, and many of us are trying to come up with creative ways to make the dads in our life feel special.  As for our family, we have four girls--the youngest is just 15

Jun 12 2013, 11:26 PM - 4007 Views - 0 comments

Add comment

Signin or Signup to comment