The arrival of Mary (our Elf on the Shelf – as in Mary Christmas) is one of our favourite traditions of the holiday season. Here’s our run down of December 2017, giving you 20+ ideas for planning your Elf on the Shelf this year.

Last year saw a busy start to our festivities. November had been dedicated to the mischievous Dinosaur takeover – Dinovember. On their last night, the dinosaurs helpfully built an elf doorway for Mary’s return. You see, she needed an easy portal to transport to and from the North Pole easily. A smooth transition from one month of nightly shenanigans to another, some would say (and we’ll probably be repeating this arrival scenario again this year)….

Our elf arrived on the 1st of December with a couple of Lego advent calendars for the Twin Tornados. Lego was a hit in our household at the time (it still is), so later in the month Mary also surprised them with some mini Lego Santas to build.

Elf on the shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
She’s back – with Lego Advent Calendars

Mary always enjoys a good dress up. Last year she donned a Christmas Tree costume, grew scales to become a mermaid, attached some butterfly wings when she visited the fairies, and it seems that every year she manages to wrap herself in Christmas paper and hides under the tree for the kids to find her.

Christmas Tree, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Christmas Tree dress ups
Fairy, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mary the Fairy, complete with wings

Gift Wrap, Jandals and Jet Planes, Elf on the ShelfShe even wrapped the Twin Tornados school bags one night, which caused a lot of giggles in the morning.

Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes, Gift Wrapped School Bags
Gift wrapped school bags

It seems that our Elf also enjoys playing games. She challenged both Batman and Captain America at the same time in Tic Tac Toe and Checkers, and also set up a Where’s Wally styled i-spy game for the Twin Tornados using all their stuffed animals.

Games, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mary taking on two super heroes at once
I-spy, Jandals and Jet Planes, Elf on the Shelf
Where’s Mary?

Bowling with Barbie definitely brought out Mary’s competitive side and one night she was even found feeding the ducks in the bathroom.

Elf on the Shelf, bowling, Jandals and Jet Planes
Looking good for a strike, Mary
Elf on the shelf, duck feeding, Jandals and Jet Planes
Feeding the ducks

Even Hubby got creative when I had a twin mum dinner to attend, and whipped up a Noah’s Ark (creepy looking ark, but I loved his enthusiasm to be involved).

Noahs Ark, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
The animals went in two by two…

Mary also brought her own style of magic to the season. One night she sprinkled brown sugar on a couple of mandarins and turned them into chocolate oranges. Kids minds blown!

Orange magic, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Step 1 – sprinkle sugar on mandarins, Step 2 – wait patiently, Step 3 – enjoy chocolate oranges

Another night she created a shrinking toy factory where the My Little Ponies shrunk in size as they passed through the building (mental note – we have far too many MLPs).

Shrinking toys, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
The amazing shrinking toy factory

Being so far away from New Zealand is always tough at Christmas time, so to keep the Kiwi Christmas spirit alive for the kids, plus for my personal enjoyment, there were many Aotearoa themed scenarios.

Mermaid Mary lazed about on a New Zealand beach under the shade of a flowering Pohutukawa Tree, while chocolate fish swam by. Mmmmm – I miss chocolate fish.

Mermaid, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mermaid Mary lounging about on a Kiwi Beach

She brought a new Kuwi the Kiwi Christmas Book (Kuwi is a favourite in our household) and some soft Kiwi ornaments for the kids to add to the tree (which is laden with Kiwiana).

Kuwi the Kiwi, Jandals and Jet Planes, Elf on the Shelf
Mary brings kiwi Christmas ornaments and book

When a couple of pairs of jandals (that’s the Kiwi term for flip flops) arrived in the mail, Mary and her gang took them to the slopes for a little tobogganing.

Sledding, Jandals and Jet Planes, Elf on the Shelf
Sledding in the snow

One night she even challenged all the kiwis (and tui) to a sack race behind the couch.

Elf on the Shelf, sack race, Jandals and Jet Planes
Will Mary win the first annual Kiwi (and Tui) sack race?

Mary also brought her own unique Christmas spirit to our house. She set up a lovely North Pole breakfast, complete with a DIY colouring tablecloth that kept the kids occupied for days.

North Pole Breakfast, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
All set for a North Pole Breakfast, complete with a DIY colouring table cloth

The night she decorated her own mini tree, including lights, she also delivered a couple of craft trees for the Twin Tornados to decorate for their bedrooms – another hit with the kids.

Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mary had her own tree this year, and delivered trees for both the kids to decorate too.

To prove that Mary is hip and up to date on all things social media, she impressed the kids by taking a few ‘elfies’ in the Christmas photo booth.

Selfie, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mary takes an ‘Elfie’ in the Christmas Photo Booth

She treated the kids to Christmas bagels (it’s a thing) and she messed with the Kiwiana ABCs by swapping out a few of the letters for Christmassy things (M for Mary, R for Rudolph, S for Santa, etc).

Christmas Bagel, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Christmas bagel
Elf on the Shelf, ABCs, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mary, what are you doing to the Kiwi ABCs?

The day of the Twin Tornados’ school Christmas concert, Mary was found ‘Rockin around the Christmas Tree’ with the Dinosaurs on saxophone. I think she was a little upset that she missed out on the Christmas caroling action.

Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Rocking around the Christmas Tree with Dinos on sax

The most exciting thing was when Mary took us to visit the big man himself. No easy feat since you aren’t supposed to touch your elf, or she loses her magic. So, we transported her in a clear jar, and Santa gave me special permission to pick her up and put her on his lap for the photo. (Santa probably thought I was a little crazy). Unfortunately Mr E accidentally touched our elf, so she spent the afternoon inside our freezer to recharge her magic (phew).

Santa, Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Mary introduced the Twin Tornados to the big man.

We spent Christmas in Sequoia National Park last year. So, Mary got up early and had suitcases of fun activities packed for each child to make the road trip a little more fun. Thanks Mary!

Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Who’s packed and ready for their Christmas vacation?

On her last night of celebrations, she left the kids some cool reindeer and sleigh chocolate to bid the Twin Tornados goodbye for yet another year. Our elf disappears on Christmas Eve – to help Santa distribute all the gifts.

Elf on the Shelf, Jandals and Jet Planes
Chocolate reindeer and sleigh

Our Elf on the Shelf props are sourced mainly from the toys the kids already have and existing crating supplies. I try and incorporate theme of what the children are interested in at the time and this year I’m hoping to have more emphasis on acts of kindness, etc.

I also visit the local dollar stores, Target and Walmart’s cheap/seasonal section and keep my eyes open for things throughout the year.

If you want to check out a few of the previous year’s blogs on our Elf on the Shelf shenanigans, you can check out 2016 here and 2014/15’s effort here.

What are your plans for Elf on the Shelf this year?


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