Ah, Elf on the Shelf. Santa’s little spy that became a holiday tradition, much to the chagrin of parents around the world. Opinions about elfy are pretty polarizing- you either love it and think it’s festive and fun, or you hate it and think it’s creepy. Either way, Elf on the Shelf is only gaining popularity, so it looks like it’s here to stay- until Christmas Eve that is. On Christmas Eve, the elf has fulfilled it’s duty of filling in Santa on who’s naughty and who’s nice, bids the kids adieu til next year, and goes back to the North Pole (aka, gets put in a box in the attic) It’s nice to finish the build up to Christmas with an Elf on the Shelf finale, something fun and super easy without being over the top or require too much detailed execution; because let’s be real, you’ve got enough going on Christmas Eve without worrying about an elaborate elf send off.
Looking for some quick and painless ways to say goodbye to the elf and give your kids one last holiday hunt for the little lad (or lady) in red? Say no more, we’ve got you covered, so don’t feel like you’ve burnt out all the best elf ideas on the days leading up to Christmas. After all, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, so finish the year out with an Elf on the Shelf goodbye your kiddos will be sure to remember (be sure to save some of these ideas for next year!)
Christmas Eve Box
Have your elf give a final gift before heading home; a Christmas Eve box, filled with a holiday movie, popcorn, some Christmas pj’s, and hot cocoa packets. Giving the gift of a cozy evening with the family in front of the fire, watching a holiday movie- what could be q better goodbye gift?
Sneaky Sleeping Pic
Snap a sweet pic of your elf with your sleeping kids, and make that picture the background on your phone. When they wake up in the morning, tell them you discovered that your elf had gone back to the North Pole, but not before taking one last selfie. If you can get away with it without waking up your tots, perhaps your naughty elf can do one last prank and draw some mustaches on your sleeping angels. Maybe stick an elf hand up their nose. Just a suggestion.
Have your elf leave behind a new Christmas book before he jets off to the North Pole, and your kids and you can read it together before bed. Leave a sweet message inside the front cover, and each year your kids will have a new literary treasure to add to their Christmas collection.
Leave your elf in a pile of crumpled up tissues to let your kids know that despite the smile painted on their elves face, they’re actually heartbroken to have to go home.
Lights, Camera, Action
Leave a disposable camera behind for your kiddos to document Christmas morning and send the photos to their elf (just put their elves name on an envelope with Grandma’s address) so you don’t wind up with your phone’s camera roll full of 2,948 pictures of crumpled up wrapping paper. Download this cute free printable elf goodbye letter at Eighteen25.
Elves Gone Wild
If you want to keep your elves departure light, leave a note for your kids saying that your elves have gotten a little out of control and needed to come back to the North Pole for a timeout before their Christmas duties. If your elves have been particularly naughty during the countdown to Christmas, laugh at their antics and their return to up North, so their aren’t any tears from the littles.
A version of this article was originally published in November 2015.