UK Elf On The Shelf Ideas for 2023!

September 08, 2023 4 min read

Elf On The Shelf Ideas for 2022, including when the elf arrives & cheat sheet for the UK

What is Elf On The Shelf all about? Elf on the Shelf is a fun Christmas tradition from the US that started in 2005 as a children’s book written in rhyme by mother and daughter Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. It tells the story of how elves visit children in the run-up to Christmas before returning to the North Pole.
Having an elf on the shelf is beginning to catch on over here in the UK, so we’ve compiled some ‘Top Shelf’ ideas for you to try this year!  In celebration of Elf On The Shelf we’ve designed this awesome Elf card which is perfect for the goodbye letter or as a fun reminder of the elf's visit!


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What does Elf On The Shelf do  |  When does Elf On The Shelf Arrive and Leave
Where you can buy Elf On The Shelf   |  Where to put Elf On The Shelf
Best Elf On The Shelf Ideas  |  Elf On The Shelf App
Elf On The Shelf Rules  |  How to make your own Elf On The Shelf 

 All you need to know about elf on a shelf

What does Elf On The Shelf do

Scout Elf Registry Image



The Elf is one of Santa’s official helpers around the Christmas season helping Santa work out which kids have been naughty and which have been nice. Each night Elf travels back to the North Pole and reports back to Santa updating him on children’s behaviour and family Christmas activities. Your children will love the adventure of finding Elf each morning and discovering what he is up to.  


When does Elf On The Shelf Arrive, Leave and come back?

Elf arrives on 1 December, stays until Christmas Day and comes back at the same date each year. Celebrate the arrival of your Elf by officially joining the North Pole Registry! You will receive a free adoption certificate and a letter from Santa himself! Make sure you choose a special name for your Elf. Your Elf will leave on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (there’s no hard and fast rule). A nice touch is to have your Elf write your children a goodbye letter before they leave. In case you need it, here’s a brilliant list of answers  explaining why Elf had to return to the North Pole.  


Where can you get Elf On The Shelf

Adopt Your Own Elf On A Shelf

Adopt your very own Elf On The Shelf here  


Where to put Elf On The Shelf

Each day find a new spot in the house for your Elf to be. It should be somewhere Elf can enjoy Christmas and family activities happening. Elf loves getting involved in the Christmas spirit so you can put him in funny, charming, adventurous or joyous places and situations, but never naughty situations. He is always well behaved and needs to be at a good vantage point.  


Best Elf On The Shelf Cheat Sheet & Ideas

For all of you busy parents out there, we have compiled a cheat sheet to make it really easy for you to create a magical experience for the children!  No longer will you wake up in a panic thinking about where to move Elf!  Most of scenarios on the list can easily be created at home with what you have available.   

Elf On The Shelf Cheat sheet with printable version

 Download printable checklist:

Elf On The Shelf PDF


 Card ideas!

Our Buddy The Elf Christmas Cards are the perfect final elf on a shelf addition to surprise your little one with.  Combine this card with a special handwritten goodbye note from Elf himself using a sparkly gold or silver glitter pen. A beautiful memento of Elf for the children to open on Christmas morning and treasure!

 Our Buddy The Elf Christmas card selection is the perfect Elf on the Shelf addition!



Other Ideas

Elf writes a letter to Mother Claus
We love this special Santa Xmas letter writing kit which features Santa’s Special Paper which transforms into Elf size letters which Elf can deliver directly to Santa at the North Pole.


Elf parachutes into the garden en route back from the North Pole You can buy official Elf On The Shelf Accessories, as well as download useful templates  to help you recreate some of the above scenarios and more.    

Elf On The Shelf App


For daily inspiration, download the Scout Elves app  available in both the App and Google Play store.


Elf On The Shelf Rules


There are important golden rules that need to be followed:


1. Do not touch Elf, if you do they lose their Christmas magic and are unable to fly to the North Pole to carry out their duties. If your children accidentally touch Elf, before they go to bed they can write an apology letter to Santa, leaving it with a sprinkle of cinnamon next to Elf so that Elf can take the letter to Santa later that night.

2. Elf doesn’t talk, Elf’s duties are to watch and listen so do not attribute them any kind of voice.
3. Everyone knows that Elf gets around by flying when no-one is watching so do not say things in front of the children such as ‘Did you move Elf?’ or ‘I forgot to move Elf’. See Why Didn’t Our Elf Move? for a helpful list of answers you can use if you do forget to move Elf.
4. Just like us Elf doesn’t like any sharp objects such as pins or staples close to them as they hurt, so don’t pin anything to your Elf.
5. Elf is also aware of the dangers of fire so never lands next to light or flames. If you notice Elf is next to something dangerous, simply let Elf know so Elf can move to a safe spot.

How to make your own Elf On The Shelf



Keep us updated with all your Elf On The Shelf adventures this Christmas Season via our FB, Instagram and Twitter! We can’t wait to see what your Elf gets up to.


See our full range  of 3D Christmas pop-up cards to delight your loved ones!

Cardology Handmade Charity Christmas Cards

Keith Saye
Keith Saye

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