Friday, November 30, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

I have succumbed to the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon... and I can't wait to get started!! :OD As the story goes, Santa sends a little elf to your house to watch over your kids. Then the elf reports back to the North Pole each night whether they've been naughty or nice! The next morning, the elf is found in a new funny place in the house! Then on Christmas Eve, the elf returns to the North Pole to spend the year with Santa until returning to your house again next time.

Our elf will "arrive" on December 1st. I guess some families' elves start on Thanksgiving but I'm a little behind because I had kind of an issue choosing an elf. After an epic search for the perfect elf that wasn't too big, wasn't too small, wasn't too creepy and wasn't too expensive, I found a super cute elf on Amazon and had her over-nighted. Chrissy Christmas was delivered just in time!

Here is a list of ideas I've compiled for your own Elf on the Shelf! Some ideas I came up with myself and some of them are from Pinterest. I'll depict those with a (P) after them. Check out my Pinterest board called "Believe" for more ideas I've collected by clicking HERE.

1. Hanging garland or a new ornament on your Christmas tree
2. Dangling from the stairs railing with a rope like he's climbing a mountain
3. Peeking at the next activity on your Christmas Countdown Calendar
4. Making a snow angel in flour or sugar on the counter (P)
5. Building a snowman out of marshmallows (P)
6. By the window with new window clings to hang
7. By the cat (pet) dishes with a new toy for your pet
8. On an easel/chalkboard/paper with a hand drawn picture or note for your kids
9. On the couch with tv remote and bowl of popcorn (P)
10. Popping out of a box of facial tissues with tissues scattered around
11. Playing a board game or card game with other toys (P)
12. Inside your child's dresser drawer trying on their clothes
13. Reading books to an audience of stuffed animals (P)
14. Hiding inside your child's backpack with a new pencil
15. In the bathroom with a marker and a special message or picture drawn on the mirror (P)
16. Lining up a row of toy cars (P)
17. On a picture frame having drawn mustaches or silly faces with washable markers on the glass (P)
18. Hiding in a toy box
19. Peeking out from under your child's pillow
20. In front of the mirror trying on hair bows
21. Hanging onto a ceiling fan ready for a ride
22. With candy or cereal scattered around them and your child's name or a message spelled out in the mess (P)
23. Riding inside a toy truck or a ride-on toy
24. Inside the refrigerator all wrapped up in a small blanket to keep warm

Christmas Countdown Calendar Activities

So apparently I took off the entire month of November from blogging... until today. It wasn't a planned break and I still made lots of crafts and fun snacks with my kids but I just didn't get around to documenting them! Oh well! I have so much planned for December, as always, so I really hope I can get it together and type this month!

I am so excited for December to finally be here! My favorite holiday tradition is our Christmas Countdown Calendar - started by my mom years ago. The fun twist is that for each day, there is a little note with a special activity to do that day. A friend of the family sewed the original calendar for us, which still hangs in my parent's house each year. When I moved out to college, my mom made a calendar for me, and a few years later she made a larger, more colorful one for my kids to enjoy.

The newest version is pictured below. She actually found the tree part with pockets at a store, then attached it a large back ground fabric and quilted it. She added sequins for some sparkle, our last name in felt letters up top, and a sleeve for hanging.

My mom always wrote each day's activity in little rhymes! I have taken to drawing pictures on my notes, since my kids aren't old enough to read yet (but Molly (5) is almost there!). I guarantee mine will also rhyme when Molly can read it!

Anyway, here is the complete list of activities I have planned for our December. They are already in the pockets and planned on my family calendar (though still a secret to the kids!) so I know what we'll be doing each day. Of course, depending on unexpected schedule changes and my overall mood (hehe) I will change up the days as needed. ;O)

1. Decorate the Christmas Tree
2. Open a special gift (these are usually something small like some silly lip glass or a new book)
3. Set up our Dept 56 North Pole Village
4. Write a letter to Santa (here's an idea for kids too young to write: Collage Letter)
5. Read special Christmas books (my kids will each receive a new book this day, too!)
6. Go play indoor mini golf
7. Decorate gingerbread men
8. Drive around to see lights - there's a neat display at the Great Mall in Olathe, KS!
9. Go see a movie at the theatre
10. Make a special craft. Here's one idea from last year: Paper Plate Santa
11. Visit Santa
12. Eat a special holiday snack. Here's a great party snack idea: Rice Crispy Treat Wreath
13. Go roller skating (or ice skating!)
14. Make a gingerbread house out of graham crackers (as seen on Pinterest...)
15. Open a special gift (I repeat this a few times... a new idea might be to make and send Christmas cards!)
16. Have a holiday party with your friends (or maybe just a play date with fun snacks and punch...)
17. Make a special craft (OR go on a special shopping trip)
18. Wrap presents and play the Wrapping Paper Game
19. Holiday party at school
20. Have a pajama party complete with popcorn and a Christmas movie
21. Bake cookies to leave out for Santa
22. Eat a special holiday meal
23. Play in the snow (weather permitting!) OR make a mini snowman with homemade play doh
24. Open a special present (surprise! It's pajamas from my mom and a blanket from me!)

Just in case you need a few extra ideas, here's some blasts from the past: eat dinner by candlelight; have an indoor picnic; watch Christmas specials on TV; go buy/cut down a Christmas tree; decorate your house - indoors and out; write a Holiday Top 10; write a funny parody of a Christmas carol; sing Christmas carols; choose a friend to send gifts and cards to from a Secret Santa; make a popcorn chain for your Christmas tree; attend a holiday ceremony at church; host a holiday cookie swap; volunteer at a soup kitchen; adopt a family to buy gifts for; go see The Nutcracker Ballet; find a holiday puppet show/play/book reading to attend!

I hope this is enough ideas to get you started on your own countdown calendar! I can't wait to share all the things we do this year with ours as we go along! HAPPY DECEMBER!