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Last Christmas was a big year for our family. Having survived the first half of a pandemic, things were starting to get dull. It’s hard to keep life interesting when you have to avoid large crowds and not go to indoor activities.
So, we decided that we needed something to keep things fresh and interesting.
One of the holiday traditions that I’ve avoided for a long time has been adopting a Christmas Elf. It’s not because I don’t like the elf. I actually think he’s kind of cute.
My issue was the work involved in figuring out how to move him every night. It seemed like a big commitment. And I was too sleep deprived when the kids were little to even consider it.
But, now we were celebrating the holidays during a major world crisis. We weren’t going to be able to see family this holiday and didn’t trust traveling. It seemed like a good time to some holiday cheer to our family.
So, I invited a Christmas elf to stay with us from the North Pole for the season.
How Did the Christmas Elf Tradition Start?
When I saw my first Elf on a Shelf, I thought he was a vintage elf from the 1950s that someone had rebranded. It wasn’t until I started researching its history that I learned the Christmas Elf tradition is actually pretty new. Especially when considering the history of Christmas.
The idea originated from a stay at home mom and her twin daughters back in 2004. As kids, they had a Christmas elf that visited them. His name was Fisbee. Each night he would report to Santa and return in a different place in the house in the morning.
Then one day, the daughter – Chanda Bell – wrote a poem about the elf’s special job during the Christmas season. That’s the story you now find in the Elf of the Shelf storybook (affiliate). From there, they built a business featuring this Christmas Elf. Who knew one elf could make such an impact?
How Do I Start My Own Christmas Elf Tradition?
It’s easy to start your own Christmas elf tradition with your family. First, you will need to pick out the perfect elf. Elf on the Shelf dolls have come a long way from when they were first created.
Today, you can choose a boy or girl version and there are even different skin colors. We stuck with a traditional boy elf (affiliate), but definitely browse to find the best elf for your family.
If you aren’t a huge fan of the traditional Christmas elf, you can also have kindness elves (affiliate) come visit you. They also like to move and help you spread kindness all around.
After you have your Christmas elf, it’s time to prepare for his arrival. You can have him just appear one morning or prepare a special breakfast for him. Other ideas include making him a welcome box or having him delivery a personalized letter to the family from the North Pole.
Once he has arrived, you will need to be sure that he moves each night after everyone is asleep. How creative you get with your elf shenanigans is really up to you. Last year, I kept an elf calendar to make sure that I didn’t move him to the same place twice. You could also make a check list to help keep track.
We tried some very creative movements such as an elf scavenger hunt and bathing with marshmallows in a pot on the stove. But eventually, especially by the end, my husband would just move him to a new location. This let me be very surprised in the morning too.
My favorite part about the Christmas elf tradition was listening to the kids patter downstairs in the morning trying to sneak up on him. They loved seeing what he was up to (even if it wasn’t much) and our elf brought much glee.
Although elf accessories aren’t needed, they can add to your Christmas Elf experience. You can get everything from an elf sweater set to an ice fishing hut (affiliates). They really have thought of everything.
How to Choose the Perfect Elf Name?
If you have some opinionated people in your family, choosing the perfect elf name might be hard. There might be some squabbling and everyone will have a different idea.
One of the hardest things about getting our own elf was deciding what to name him. Brainstorming elf names was a week long adventure. We had ideas from Nicolas to Albert. Ours was a boy elf.
As each of us came up with an idea, we created a list. After a week of thinking, we discussed which name idea might be the best option for him.
I have always had a love for The Nutcracker. So, we eventually settled on Fritz. It fit his mischievous personality and was Christmassy.
When choosing your perfect elf name, be sure to have everyone’s input. If no one can agree, then you could also pick out of a hat. Another idea is to have a family vote – which is easier done with an odd number.
Favorite Elf Names
There are hundreds of elf name ideas to consider. And you can truly name your elf anything. There is no wrong answer here.
I have compiled my lists of favorite boy elf names and girl elf names below. When considering an elf name, I look for names that are Christmassy and would fit an elf’s personality.
Boy Elf Names
1. Fritz (Of course, I love our elf’s name so I’m putting it first)
2. Fisbee (Why not name him after the original Christmas Elf?)
8. Gabe or Gabriel
11. Rudy or Rudolph
12. Eli or Elliott
14. Pax or Paxton
16. Buddy (think the Elf movie here (affiliate))
22. Kevin (referencing Home Alone)
24. Ralphie (thinking about A Christmas Story here (affiliate))
25. Kris (as in Kris Kringle, but you certainly can spell it as Chris)
27. Nicholas or Nick
Girl Elf Names
2. Avery (actually means Christmas elf)
6. Stella or Estelle
11. Natasha (means Christmas Day)
24. Neva (means “snow” in Latin)
25. Lucy (means light)
27. Clara (another “Nutcracker” reference)
Love these elf names and want to save them for later? Be sure to pin it below.
If you want to start your own Christmas Elf tradition, you can find your first Elf on the Shelf set here (affiliate). It makes a great early Christmas gift too.
Looking for more Christmas Elf fun? You can find our Free Printable Elf Scavenger Hunt that we enjoy playing with Fritz here. Or you can play this Free Printable Roll a Christmas Tree Game or Christmas Charades at your elf welcome party.
For more Christmas printable fun, be sure to stop by our shop. We have lots of great printables to help make celebrating the holiday season easy and enjoyable.