The Elf on the Shelf is set to return... making dark winter mornings a little bit more enjoyable and nodding off to sleep at night, at times, a little more stressful!

It’s almost that time of year again when Santa’s little helpers reappear to keep an eye on boys and girls ahead of December 25, writes EIMEAR HUTCHINSON
The Elf on the Shelf is set to return... making dark winter mornings a little bit more enjoyable and nodding off to sleep at night, at times, a little more stressful!

The Elf on the Shelf... coming to a home near you, very soon! Picture: Stock

I DON’T know about your house, but in our house, around about the end of November most years, two very small and very mischievous little elves arrive with palpable anticipation. They visit us under the guise of being Santa’s little helpers, keeping a close eye on the girls in this household in the run up to Christmas.

Each day the elves remain very, very still, listening to everything but not moving a muscle (not always, they have been spotted moving in this house on a rare occasion!) and at night they whisk themselves away, back to Santa to report on the going’s on in the Hutchinson household.

The interesting thing about these elves though is that despite the fact they report upon the behaviour of the people of the household, they themselves are not always the best behaved.

I don’t think we are the only household in the world to have these invasive species arrive so, for those parents out there who may be tired of the elf’s antics, crawling into bed at 11pm wondering what sort of mischief those rogues will be up to by morning, here is a list of our favourite Elf on the Shelf tricks over the last few years!


Our husband and wife duo love to hide, sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it can make us run late for school, so tricky are their hiding spots to find. You could find them anywhere, hidden in the Christmas tree, the jigsaw puzzles, the cereal boxes, in plants, in the cutlery drawer and bins... oh no, wait, sorry, not the bin, why would they hide in there? Wouldn’t it be awful if they ended up being taken away to the dump never to be seen again!

Elf on the Shelf.
Elf on the Shelf.


One of the more memorable incidents we had with our two was when we came down to find they had launched into the wine. 

The girls still talk about it to this day (yes, talk of the elves returned in earnest in late October and there is frequent querying as to when they will arrive!). 

The two were sprawled on the countertop, drops of wine all over the counter, one was head first inside a wine glass, and the other spread eagled across the ground, imagine!


They also like to hang off things — pictures, lights, lamps, the backs of chairs, curtain rails, branches of the Christmas tree, you name it, they love hanging around.


With our duo, the lady is a little more mischievous than her husband, we have often found him wrapped up in toilet paper, bound in Sellotape or tied to a chair.

We have seen her force her poor husband to make snow angels in the flour, he’s been wrapped in cling film and wrapping paper, found wearing Barbies clothes, and squashed into small spaces like glasses and bottles.


They do get on from time to time and we have found them playing board games harmoniously, hugging on the couch, building Lego, drawing funny faces on the eggs and bananas, building towers using wooden blocks, and creating works of art, all very courteous.


Sometimes our elves get injured or sick due to all the antics they get up to, but it must be hazardous all that whizzing back and forth between the North Pole.

They got into a crash on the way back from Santa one night and had casts on all their limbs so they had to rest up for a couple of nights which was good for them.

Another year they caught a mild dose of the flu, we found them with red noses and surrounded in tissues one morning, so we made them an offering of olbas oil and blankets to help them recover — it took a few days but our gesture was much appreciated.


My least favourite place for the elves to end up in the morning is a surface or space that we use as a family a lot during the day, for example a worktop, then you have to spend the day avoiding it because you know you can’t touch the elves.

I found it useful to have a little word with them to remind them to stay out of the way.


I know the elves are a new tradition that not many households escape these days, whether welcome or unwelcome. In truth, despite my husband’s grumbles, we really do enjoy the adventures of Elfy and Holly. It makes getting up on those dark winter mornings a little bit more enjoyable and nodding off to sleep at night, at times, a little more stressful.

But it all helps to add to the build up of excitement around Christmas time, and it is a bit of light enjoyment that can be enjoyed no matter the circumstance — not even Covid can impact upon it, thankfully!

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