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Elf on the shelf 2016 at Secret Smile Photography Leeds newborn portraiture specialist
Elf on the Shelf 2016

We have welcomed the Elf on the Shelf into our home for the last few years, have you heard of them? A scout elf who watches over the children in the house and reports back to Santa every night on their behaviour. On the scout elf's return to your home they are usually up to no good because basically the Elf on the Shelf is a hypocritical little so-and-so! The concept, borrowed from the US, is simply a way of trying to get children to behave in the run-up to Christmas. My partner hates the tradition and is desperate to let the cat out of the bag but I love everything about Christmas, including all the build up but especially the magic that goes with it. My son is now 8 and I suspect I am on borrowed time in terms of how long he will still believe in all the Christmas magic that I love so much.


The first year that the Elf came to our house my son named him Fred. Fred has been a bit slack in previous years, failing to report back to the big man several nights on the trot and forgetting to be mischievous in any way. In fact, Fred spent a lot of time hanging around in the Christmas tree. This year I swore that things would be different so over the past year I have been compiling an epic Pinterest board of all things elf to help inspire me on a daily basis (almost always last minute). My Pinterest board can be found here.


Fred was a day late this year (he usually arrives on 1st December) but he had a great excuse and made my son a Christmas breakfast so we forgave him. Here are the some of the things that Fred has gotten up to so far this year!


Day 1 - Christmas breakfast


Fred left a note for Jacob explaining that his flight from the North Pole was delayed (Mum was delayed going up the loft to retrieve the Christmas decorations). Fred made a breakfast of scotch pancakes, squirty cream, strawberries and chocolate chips arranged in the shape of Santa. Nom nom nom!

Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 1


Day 2 - Letter to Santa

Fred asked Jacob to write his letter to Santa and left some paper out (and the obligatory 'mess' that elves tend to leave in the form of pencil sharpenings). Jacob's list has always been limited to 3 items as the elves at the North Pole are so busy making toys for all the children around the world that any more than 3 would just be too much work for them. As 2 sheets of paper were provided, Jacob took the opportunity to ask for 3 items on each sheet. Gotta admire the sheer nerve of him! Luckily he hasn't asked for anything particularly extreme. If the list consisted of all electronics I think Santa might have had something to say about the list but he seems to be able to cope with a Toy gun, a remote controlled car, some Batman story cubes, an army camoflauge skateboard with a machine gun underneath (!!), a slap band with his name on and a football pump. There may have to be a couple of compromises but hey!


Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 2


Day 3 - A message from Santa


Fred, the scout elf, left a note on Mum's computer saying that Santa had a message for him. He also included instructions not to wake Mum until after 8am (it was a Sunday after all). 8am on the dot the knock on the bedroom door and an excited Jacob wanting to know where I had put the message from Santa. Bleary-eyed I went to see what all the fuss was about and ta-da Santa had sent Jacob a message via PNP (Portable North Pole). This is a free service where you can make short personalised video messages from Santa and this year I paid the subscription of £10 to be able to make different videos including the 'Naughty and Nice list' and 'Christmas Eve' ones. If you haven't checked out PNP before I thoroughly recommend it!


Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 3


Day 4 - Fred gets a cold!


It was VERY cold in Leeds today and Fred stayed snuggled up in the kitchen as he'd caught a cold. Perfect for the cold weather!


Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 4


Day 5 - Fred graffitis the hallway!


Naughty, naughty Fred had been too good to be true! He decided to grafitti the photos and mirror in the hallway with moustaches. Luckily he used a dry-wipe pen so the grafitti isn't permanent.

Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 5


Day 6 - Fred chillaxes


Tired from the previous night's shenanigans Fred has a lazy day lounging on top of Jacob's bookcase listening to some tunes...


Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 6



Day 7 - the REAL reason we use the Elf on the Shelf


Basically, for behaviour control (ok, so it's for the wonderful Christmas magic because, let's face it, us parents don't have nearly enough to do in the run up to Christmas so thinking up new and imaginative ways to pose the creepy little elf is what we live for in December - FOR FUN! Ahem).


Jacob is a cheeky boy, we mostly love love this part of his character. He has an answer for EVERYTHING. Especially when it doesn't require an answer, or any response at all for that matter. Most of the time it's low level but occasionally it is a full day of full-on answering back, whinging, pestering and declaring his intention to be right about absolutely everything. Some days it is infuriating. Yesterday was one of those days. So Fred didn't move last night. He was too afraid to report back to Santa in case the jolly big man put Jacob on his 'naughty list'. Bingo.


I may be a horrid parent...

Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 7



Day 8 - Fred is the king of dental hygiene - despite having no teeth of his own (as far as we can tell)


"Don't forget to brush your teeth before school Jacob". Short and sweet. Love the elf!

Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 8



Day 9 - It's the weekend!


Jacob is away for the weekend so he has to do his homework before he can go fun. Fred is a good elf, Fred reminds Jacob that homework comes first, then some fun! So Fred has given Jacob some Christmas colouring to do AFTER he's completed his homework. Of course, elves aren't naturally well behaved creatures so Fred has had some fun already and started the colouring off...

Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 9


Day 11 - Jacob's away but Fred still plays


Jacob popped in before school so, of course, Fred still had to leave a little message. The clever elf had finished putting up the Christmas decorations but he left a few snowflake window stickers to put up before school. Thoughtful elf. He does seem to have been very well behaved so far this year, I feel a super cheeky Fred elf post coming soon!

Elf on the Shelf 2016, day 11




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