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The Elf on a Shelf tradition continues to grow and be adopted by more and more families around the world. As a response, parents everywhere are looking for new ways to liven up the weeks-long buildup to Christmas.

Here are some ideas for how you can shake up the Elf on a Shelf tradition and create new lasting memories and laughs for your family this holiday season.

Give the elf new clothing

One way to surprise the kids this year is by providing the elf with new clothing. Who might he be today? Wearing a tie? New shoes?

Borrow a jacket or other clothing from dolls and toys already in the house to create a new mash-up Elf on a Shelf. What accessories might look good or unusual on your elf? A Barbie belt on his wrist? A set of Lego shorts? You are really only limited by your imagination abd what’s available in your home.

Elf on a Shelf is kind, right?

We assume Elf on a Shelf is a kind, generous elf, but that is really just all in our mind. This Christmas season, entertain the family by imagining an evil elf.

What sort of mischief might an evil elf be up to around the house at Christmas? Is he holding matches near the Christmas tree? Is he trying to catch the cat or dog in an improvised box trap in the living room? Maybe he got caught writing a threatening letter to Santa, trying to keep Santa away so Elf on a Shelf can eat all of the cookies himself.

Running with scissors? Standing next to a broken plate? Find something broken in your house and show how it’s Elf’s fault.

Not everyone can see Elf on a Shelf

A version of the Elf on a Shelf tradition is that in some families, adults have lost the ability to see him, just like they have lost the ability to hear the tingle in Christmas Bells.

Put Elf in a prominent place, and when the kids call you to look at him, you can’t see him!

“I’ve heard of Elf on a Shelf,” you say. “But that’s just a legend that people who really believe in Christmas made up. It’s really hogwash.”

Continue this until your kids get frustrated or until they do an act of kindness that restores your faith in Christmas.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya:

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