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Elf on the Shelf

We offer a selection of free Elf on the Shelf printables below. They are all editable and customizable to suit your elf and your family.

elf on the shelf

Girl Elf on the ShelfGirl Elf on the Shelf

Boy Elf on the ShelfBoy Elf on the Shelf

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What is Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the Shelf refers to a Christmas tradition that originated from the North Pole and involves a special scout sent to people’s homes. Its purpose is to encourage children to behave well. According to the story, Santa has an assistant known as Scout Elves, who flies to the North Pole every night during December and reports to Santa how the children have behaved.

The elf is a little guy or girl who comes to your house any time you want it to. Most parents get one after Thanksgiving, but they can also start as soon as the Christmas tree is up, around December 1st.

The tradition was started by Carol Aebersold’s with Fisbee, who was her family elf. In 2005, Carol and her two girls Christa Pitts and Chanda Bell, decided to share their tradition with other people. They wrote a book titled Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. However, real magic started in 2007; the rest is history as Elf has become popular worldwide.

Scout Elves like hiding and are sneaky in your house, and can even stir mischief.

When your Elf on the Shelf arrives, the first thing you will want to do is give him or her a name.

When Does Elf on the Shelf Start?

Your Elf should arrive between November 24 through December 1 (according to the official Elf on the Shelf website). This is also known as Scout Elf Return week (i.e. the time when Santa’s little helpers leave the North Pole and head out to the houses where they will be staying until Christmas).

Elf on the Shelf Rules

The tradition follows simple elf rules.

Rule 1: Give Your Elf a Name

You must give your Elf a name, and usually, it should be a silly one. For example, Bubble Sparkle Toe. You can use our free online elf name generator or look through 135 suggested Elf on the Shelf names to help you find the perfect name for your Elf.

Rule 2: Adopt Your Elf

Once you have given your elf a name, you will want to officially adopt him or her. You can create a free printable custom elf adoption certificate.

Elf Adoption Certificate

We offer 15 different free Elf adoption certificate templates you can customize online before you print. Add the name of your elf, the name of the child or family, and the date. You can also add a picture of an elf. There are many images to choose from. When you are satisfied with your certificate, you can download it and print it. There are many more Elf on the Shelf printables below.

Elf adoption certificate

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elf on the shelf adoption certificates

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elf adoption certificates

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Rule 3: Never Touch Your Elf

You cannot touch the Elf because he can lose his magic ability. However, if it happens, you should just put some cinnamon next to him or her and let it stay there overnight. This will help restore the elves’ magical powers.

Rule 4: Never Move Your Elf Until Your Children are Deep Asleep

You cannot move your elves until your children are deep asleep. Make sure the Elf moves each night while your children are sleeping. You can set your alarm clock so that you do not end up forgetting.

Rule 5: Kids Must be on their Best Behavior at all Times

Elf watches what the children are doing during the day and takes the report back to Santa so kids must be on their best behavior at all times.

Rule 6: Elf must leave your house before Christmas day.

Elf must go back to the North Pole before Christmas day.

When Does the Elf on the Shelf Come?

The Elf comes to your home as early as December 1st, but may wait until you set up your Christmas tree. You shouldn’t worry if your friend’s or neighbor’s Elf on Shelf comes and yours has not yet arrived. Be patient.

Some Elves appear quite early and come to your house on Thanksgiving night, but others will not come until December. The Scout Elf Return Week is from the 24th up to December 1st. You can check with Santa to see why he is late.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

The first day your Elf is in your home, you can use these ideas to welcome him or her.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Letter

When your Elf arrives in your home he should send your kids a letter telling them why he came to your home, the things he intends to do daily, and what he will report to Santa.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Letter

Welcome Breakfast

Set up a fancy breakfast and put Elf in the middle. Your children will be happy to welcome him home and know that he’s already there to monitor their behavior.

Advent Calendar

If you choose to welcome Elf into your home and introduce him on December 1st, place him according to your child’s Advent calendar. You can also accompany him with open sweets and some popped tinsel around him to create a festive look.

Hot-Air Balloon

A hot air balloon makes children believe that Elf arrived directly from the North Pole. You simply blow up a colored balloon and make a basket using cardboard which the Elf will sit on. Hang from your home’s ceiling or door, and it will look like he has just flown in a hot air balloon. If you can get the balloon filled with helium it will be even better.

Movie Night

This is ideal if you want to introduce your Elf later in the day. Create or even buy sets of hot chocolate and choose a great festive movie.

Set this up with the elf arrival letter and once the movie is over, give your Elf a name together with your children.

Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Kids

There are many ideas for kids to have fun with Elf. Some of them include:

Elf on the Shelf Notes

Elf on the Shelf Notes

  • Create printable Elf on the Shelf notes on this site. Use them to send messages to your kids, motivate them to behave well, or to praise them for achievements.
  • Adopt the Elf officially by giving a name related to your family. See the Elf Adoption Certificate above.
  • Put your Elf on self-quarantine with a mask. This will also remind your children to stay safe.
  • Take Elf on sledding using white washcloths to create snowy slopes.
  • Create a drive-movie for your Elf.
  • Create some leisure settings for your Elf, such as golfing.
  • These are just a few ways to have fun with Elf and your kids. Buy the right accessories to make this possible.
  • The Christmas season is incomplete without some traditions such as Elf and Santa. Include them and let your children create memorable memories.

Elf on the Shelf Games

See the top 7 best Elf on the Shelf Games!

Elf on the Shelf games

When Does the Elf on the Shelf Leave?

Elf should leave as Christmas nears; if you have one in your home, start getting ready to let it go and even prepare your children. If your Elf was messy, clean up or ask others to help you. Remember, the main work of the Elf is to check children’s behavior and report to Santa daily from December 1st up to 25th. Elf is believed to hitch a ride on his way to the North Pole to meet Santa, who is ready with Christmas gifts.

Let your children know he will be back in the following year and should not be sad to find him gone.

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Ideas

You can give your kids an elf goodbye letter. If you like the wording of either of the sample letters then download a free printable Elf on the Shelf goodbye letter in PDF format below. If you want to edit your letter then select the free printable Elf on the Shelf goodbye letter in Word format and make any changes you want.

How to say goodbye to your Elf on the shelf

After Elf has been part of your household for some time, he becomes a part of your family. He will be gone by Christmas Day morning. He deserves a good send-off. The first thing you should do is write a goodbye letter. You can create printable custom Elf on the Shelf notes below.

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Letter

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Letter

A Selfie with Elfie

Snap a selfie with Elfie, and let it be a memory that Elf was at your home. Show your children the selfie on Christmas, and together be surprised to discover that Elf has left.

Throw a Farewell Party

Ask your child to invite Elf to a party. Choose a spot in your house, decorate it on Christmas Eve, have some fun games and snacks, and then bring Elf to the party. You can add some creativity, such as having to dance under a small disco ball. Create a scene that will make children bid Elf goodbye and feel at peace.

Goodbye Gift

Help your kids wrap some gifts such as a marshmallow, tiny doughnuts, or a scarf, and put them under a Christmas tree. If it’s something to eat, leave some crumbs as evidence that Elf ate.

Elf Report Card

You can create a free custom and personalized elf report card on this site. The elf report printable is totally customizable. You can change all the text, add clipart, change the border, etc.

Elf report card

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Elf on the Shelf Coloring Pages

You can customize each Elf on the Shelf coloring page. You can edit the text, add more coloring images, move the images around and make them bigger or smaller. If you prefer a female elf, then replace the elf image with a girl elf with a click of your mouse. If you want more children, then add kids with a click of your mouse. You can also add your kids’ names or your elf’s name. Instead of “10 days until Christmas” add the number of days or write something else such as “Merry Christmas”.

elf on the shelf coloring pages

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We have many more Christmas template printables on this site.

If you were looking for any Elf on the Shelf printables that you didn’t find here then please leave a comment below.

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