Call it a Black Friday impulse purchase.

We were at Target on Friday evening to pick up a few odds and ends. This was way after the Black Friday madness had ended. The store looked like a war zone: There was stuff EVERYWHERE. Some shelves were picked clean. We were passing by the electronics/books section when I saw it on an endcap—ELF ON THE SHELF.

Michael and I had discussed Elf on the Shelf before, and whether we wanted to start the tradition with Nora this year or next. We debated whether it was something she would understand this year. Thought maybe we should wait until next year, but weren’t sure.

But there they were—elves, both boys and girls, and they were on SALE. Well, $29.95 with a “free” $5 Target gift card with purchase. So effectively $24.95. We took the opportunity to snag one.

We haven’t started yet, though. I’m kind of intimidated actually. To have to come up with ideas of where to put him, and to have Nora search for him every morning. And I’m still not 100% sure she’ll get it. She likely won’t understand that we have to name him, or that she can’t touch him. So then I think… should we just hold onto it until next year?

What say you, fellow parents? Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? If so, at what age were your kids when he/she came into your home? Did your child understand? Was it worthwhile?


10 Responses to Elf on the Shelf

  1. Jenna says:

    Love to hear answers on this as we are going through the exact same thing. My daughter will be 2 in December and I am not sure if she will get it either!

  2. ktdid23 says:

    We started on Sunday with our 2 year old (25 months old today!) on Sunday and she LOVES her elf! We put up our tree on Saturday, and Sunday morning our Elf was sitting on top of the book under the tree. My daughter immediately noticed the elf (she wanted to see the tree first thing, so I assumed she’d see the elf too) and so we read the book and talked about what it meant. We ran through some names and Lily decided on “Abby” for the elf’s name. I don’t think she truly understands that Abby goes to see Santa at night, but we talk about it throughout the day and she always asks to go look at Abby. Last night I hung Abby from the light in the dining room and this morning Lily went out to look for Abby under the tree and was so disappointed she wasn’t there! I said we had to look for her, and when Lil spotted Abby she was THRILLED. We talk about how she can’t touch Abby because she has special magic that helps her go to the North Pole, but Lily has asked to give Abby kisses goodnight and how can I say no to that? :-) I’m glad we started this year!

  3. Erin says:

    I’ve seen lots of ideas on Pinterest. Check those out; they might give you good suggestions for “growing” with the elf.

  4. We started it last year when our oldest was 4 and youngest was 1.5, obviously it was more for the 4yr old. Now they are 5 and 2.5 (both boys). My oldest loved it last year, and he can’t wait for him to ‘arrive’ this year (which he will this weekend). :) My youngest… didn’t/doesn’t have a clue. I’m pretty certain when the youngest wakes up each morning, it won’t be the first thing on his mind to go look for him.

    I know all kids are different, but I bet she would be much more into it next year… but what do I know? :) Oh, and last year we forgot to move him a couple of nights in a row, and my son never really said anything, we just said he wanted to stay put. HA :)

    Definitely look at Pinterest for some neat ideas, because you will run out of them :) Good luck with whatever you decide!

  5. Anna in Ohio says:

    I have a 2 year old and have wondered the same thing. We’re waiting until next year for him. If you do start the tradition this year, I’ve seen two great tips – (1) The all-knowing Trest of Pin has zillions of ideas, and (2) Someone I know told her kids that the elf was supposed to make it back to the Christmas Tree every night, so if she remembers to do something mischievous with it, great, but if it stays in the tree, great!

  6. Jamie says:

    We thought about it this year but there is no way she’ll “get” it yet. We’d probably have a melt down because she couldn’t play with it! She is only 18 months though too.

  7. A follow up to my last comment :-) This morning Lily woke up and I said to her that we needed to go find Abby. She was very excited and looked in the last 2 places (hanging from dining room light and sitting under the tree). Abby wasn’t in either of those places so we went about looking for her together, and she was so happy when she finally spotted our elf, Abby. I don’t think she thinks Abby watching her to tell Santa but she does like looking for her in the morning and it’s a tradition that i think will really grow with us. Try it out and see what Nora thinks!

  8. rockess says:

    We started when our munchkin was 2. He didn’t really get it the first year, but it was a fun thing to do with him. We usually had to remind him to go looking for Twinkle and we would look together, but it also meant there was no pressure to remember to move the elf ;) When the elf came last year, he had no real memory of the year before, but was more in to it. Our son is 4 this Christmas and is already asking about when Twinkle will arrive so he can report to Santa that he has been good (our elf arrives on December 1st) so I know at least he remembers from last year. This will be the first year that we do any of the ‘creative’ things with the elf, but I figure now at 4 our son will get a lot of that more.

  9. nicole says:

    Interested to hear how this goes for you. Our girl is only 20 months so we’ll hold off this year, and I don’t know how on board I am with the tradition — but it does seem to be a hit with the pre-school set!

  10. Alicia says:

    We pulled ours out…but ONLY because my niece and nephew came over and asked “where’s McKynlee’s elf??” Well, crap. She’s only 15 months old. I had absolutely NO intention of pulling him out. She’s obviously not going to get it. But we pulled him out. And I only intend on moving him after they’ve been over. (they were over today and saw him, so he’ll be moved tonight). My hubby named him for now. Search elf on the shelf ideas on Pinterest. I’ve pinned TONS of them! :)

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