The Elf is on the loose.
As early as the day after Thanksgiving and up until the night before Christmas, a mischievous elf keeps a watchful eye on children’s behavior to report to the jolly ol’ guy with The List.
The holiday tradition launched by an author who wrote a children’s book about her own family’s tradition can inadvertently become a source of stress for parents who run out of ideas on how to place the elf each night.
The story goes that once the family goes to bed each night, the elf flies back to the North Pole to make a daily report to Santa. He’s found in a new spot each morning and can’t be touched for fear of losing his magic.
Every day, the scene of the elven crime changes.
It’s easy to go Pinterest-overboard with this modern-day holiday tradition. But kept in its proper perspective, the Elf on the Shelf — or the Mensch on a Bench for Jewish families — can be a way to bring back that holiday spark.
We scoured all forms of social media to find the most creative approaches to the Elf or the Mensch. Some are very low-tech and will take just a few seconds, others are very involved and require some patience.
These ideas might inspire parents to do something a little less stressful than shopping among crowds, a little more fun than cleaning before entertaining.
Keep in mind: The goal is to make a little (or big) person smile. The Elf or Mensch are meant to help foster that sense of childhood holiday magic.