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Free Elf on the Shelf Rules For Beginners Printable 2023

If you’re new to Elf on the Shelf, or are considering getting an Elf for your family, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and what the rules are for your elf’s arrival. 

This is where you will learn the Elf on the Shelf rules and how to get started with your Elf this Christmas season!

Don’t forget to grab your free printable Elf on the Shelf rules, which you’ll find below.

One of the most popular Christmas traditions in recent years is Elf on the Shelf.

The idea is simple.

A family adopts a Christmas scout elf who comes to visit them from the North Pole each holiday season.

Each night, while the kids are asleep, the elf visits Santa Claus to report on the child’s behavior and any good deeds for the day.

Then he/she moves to a new spot in the house. 

In the morning, the kids have to find their elf.

Elf on the Shelf Rules: How to Do Elf on the Shelf for the First Time + Free Printable

While this may sound like a lot of work, there are some easy and fun ways to get started with Elf on the Shelf (without feeling overwhelmed or stressed).

how to use elf on the shelf rules printable

What Are The Rules For Elf On The Shelf?

Here are the official Elf on the Shelf rules:

1. Elves cannot be touched. If an elf is touched by a child, they will lose their magic and will not be able to fly back to the North Pole.

2. Elves cannot speak. They can only communicate by ringing bells or moving objects. However, your child can talk or sing to the elf.

3. The Elf returns to the North Pole every night. This is where they report back to Santa about whether the children in the home have been naughty or nice.

4. Children are encouraged to write Santa a letter. Your Elf on the Shelf will deliver your child’s letter.

5. Serve others around you and be kind to everyone.

What Is An Elf On The Shelf?

This is a special holiday tradition that involves a toy elf who comes to visit children in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Some families start this tradition right after Thanksgiving, while others have their elf arrive on December 1st.

Between you and me, the most important thing for this fun tradition is to start when you’re ready.

​You can get lost in all the Elf on the Shelf ideas and Christmas magic.

There’s plenty to keep a young family busy during this time of year already.

So promise me you’ll keep your fun activities and holiday traditions as simple as possible this year?

Download this Beginners Rules Printable Now! 

You can grab your personal copy of our free printables including this Elf on the Shelf Beginners Rule printable.

You’ll have all the rules of Elf on the Shelf at your fingertips for your own personal use.

Simply put your best email address below and have this festive printable (PDF file) sent straight to your inbox.

Download this Beginners Rules Printable Now!

Get Ready for Hours of Fun with our Easy-to-Follow Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable.

Start Your Elf on the Shelf Tradition Right This Holiday Season!

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    Elf on the Shelf began in 2005 when a mother and daughter (Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell) self-published a book called, “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.” 

    The rules are simple but unfortunately culture has made this tradition complex and stressful for parents.

    Every Christmas season Santa’s scout elves go into homes to keep an eye on the children.

    They’re visiting Santa every night to report if the child made good choices or bad ones.

    The goal is for your kids to be on their best behavior, so they can stay on Santa’s nice list.

    Each night, while the kids are asleep, their new elf moves to a different spot in the home. 

    In the morning, the kids look for their little elf hiding in their home.

    Sometimes their boy elf is in the fridge sneaking into a plate of cookies.

    Or maybe their girl elf is building a Christmas tree from candy canes.

    No matter what your cute elf is doing, this activity is a great way to get your kids excited about Christmas.

    How To Do Elf On The Shelf For The First Time

    If this is your first year with Elf on the Shelf, then welcome aboard!

    Here’s how you can have a happy Elf on the Shelf holiday time from now until Christmas Eve when your favorite elf returns back to the North Pole until next year.

    First, pick out the perfect elf for your family.

    There are all sorts of different elves available, so take your time and choose one that you think your kids will love.

    Once you have your elf, give him or her a name and introduce them to your family.

    Some O’ so much fun Elf on the Shelf names include…



    Candy Cane



    Or my kid’s favorites…

    • Frank
    • Bob
    • June
    • Steve
    • Dogfood

    Once you have your elf’s name picked out, it’s time to read the Elf on the Shelf story together as a family.

    This is a great way to get everyone excited about your new holiday tradition.

    After you’ve read the story, it’s time to start playing!

    Your elf might come with a Elf on the Shelf welcome letter or leave to go back to the Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve with one of the many Elf on the Shelf goodbye letters (you’ll find right here).

    These free printables is a perfect way to eliminate the work you need to make this tradition a happy time for your kids.

    Next, decide where you want your elf to hide each night.

    This is where the real work begins.

    It’s easy to welcome a new elf into the home, or bring one back from last year.

    You might even have fun watching your kids good behavior shine through this holiday season.

    But, each night while the kids are asleep, you get to move this Santa’s little helper to a new spot in the house. 

    ​You can do a simple idea like having an official Elf on the Shelf certificate printed and waiting for your child.

    Or maybe your kid wants an Elf Adoption Certificate, to make sure their elf’s return will happen every year.

    I’ve seen parents hide their elf in a different place every night.

    And when your kids wake up in the morning, they can search for their little guy or gal.

    To make your great idea even more fun, you can leave little clues around the house to help the kids find their elf each morning.

    There are so many Elf on the Shelf printables and elf activities you’ll find on this website and on the official Elf on the Shelf website.

    Just promise me you’ll do everything you can to keep your elf’s hiding spots simple, so you can enjoy your Christmas holiday too.

    Here are a few easy elf ideas to hide your own elf:

    – inside a shoe

    – under a pillow

    – in a stocking

    – on the Christmas tree

    – in the fridge (on a plate of cookies or hiding behind the eggs)

    – inside your kids hot chocolate mug

    – under a stack of paper with a naughty list

    – playing a fun game, like Tic-Tac-Elf

    You can also have your elf do little mischievous things around the house like putting whipped cream in your family’s mugs for some homemade hot chocolate, or making a card that reads “To The Best Elf – me!”.

    Remember, the important thing is that your elf brings holiday cheer to your home throughout the month of December, while you maintain your sanity with your already busy holiday schedule.

    So don’t stress about being perfect – just have fun with your new family tradition!

    Finally, make sure to stick to the rules.

    There’s one great thing about young children you can always count on…they have a memory like a steel trap.

    From your elf’s first visit to the last Christmas day, your children will know when the rules aren’t followed.

    Because, if any of these rules are broken, the elf cannot move.

    And if their elf cannot move, he/she cannot return to the North Pole and report on their good behavior for Santa’s visit.

    Download this Beginners Rules Printable Now!

    Get Ready for Hours of Fun with our Easy-to-Follow Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable.

    Start Your Elf on the Shelf Tradition Right This Holiday Season!

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Free Elf On The Shelf Rules Printable

      You can download this free PDF printable to help remind your family of the Elf on the Shelf rules.

      free elf on the shelf rules printable

      Post it on your fridge or keep it in a visible spot so everyone can see it.

      Get the Elf on the Shelf rules printable below.

      Download this Beginners Rules Printable Now!

      Get Ready for Hours of Fun with our Easy-to-Follow Elf on the Shelf Rules Printable.

      Start Your Elf on the Shelf Tradition Right This Holiday Season!

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

        How To Use Elf On The Shelf Rules

        In all the excitement of having a family elf you may need to remind your children of the important rules from time to time.

        There will be moments when your child might touch the elf (which goes against the first rule) and this is a perfect time you can remind them their choices have consequences.

        Simply explain to your child that their elf will lose its magic for the next 24 hours.

        He/she won’t be able to fly back to the North Pole until he/she gets their magic back.

        If your child is struggling to follow the rules on a consistent basis, then it’s important to talk with your child at an age appropriate level about why they’re breaking the rules and the importance of following rules.

        You can even use the Elf on the Shelf rules printable as a reminder for your family this holiday season.

        Maybe even print your own copy and place it in your child’s room or where your elf will be hiding, so the next day they’ll remember the rules to this fun Christmas tradition.

        I’d love to hear from you!

        ​Is this your first year doing Elf on the Shelf? If so, how many simple ideas do you wish you had to help you this holiday season?

        Or, if you’re an elf pro, what do you wish someone would have told you on your first day of bringing your elf home?

        Let us know in the comments below!

        Elf on the Shelf Christmas kit

        Save Your Sanity This Holiday Season & Grab Your Christmas Elf Kit Today!

        What if you could FINALLY enjoy this holiday tradition without all the stress and hassle of having to come up with clever ideas?
        How would it feel to know EXACTLY what your elf was up to for the entire month, and have all the printables you need in one convenient package?
        We get it – that’s why we created The Christmas Elf Kit.
        Imagine having all the printables, activities, and ideas you need to make your elf’s visit special for you kids.

        Check Out These Other Elf On The Shelf Printables And Elf Ideas To Make This Christmas Easy Planning

        Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Letters

        Free Elf on the Shelf Bad Behavior Letters

        Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Poems

        Christian Elf on the Shelf Ideas

        Elf on the Shelf Christian Alternatives

        2 thoughts on “Free Elf on the Shelf Rules For Beginners Printable 2023”

        1. Marilyn

          Hello Micah,
          Thank you for all the hard work you put in to helping home school families and all families. It is generous of you to give much away. I read your email this morning and was very concerned that you are promoting this seemingly innocent tradition. I would like to implore you, as one who seeks to promote home, faith, and family, to seriously reevaluate promoting this tradition that takes away from the true meaning of CHRISTmas and employs ungodly elements of magic and deceit in communicating to children things that are absolutely not true or a part of reality. God’s clear instruction on how to teach children in Deut. 6:6-7 holds teaching about God to be the primary and foundational teaching parents are to offer their children. I would respectfully beg you to “test ALL things, hold fast what is good and abstain from every form of evil”. God also said to “ Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Please consider these words in deciding what to promote in your work. God also said that “what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God”. May our Lord bless you as you seek to honor Him.
          In Christ,

          1. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, Marilyn. I know not everyone does Elf on the Shelf in their home, but instead look for other ways to teach Biblical principles to their children and keep their homes and hearts centered on Christ (not just during the holiday season but all year long). I know (myself included) families who use the Journey to the Manger or the Little Lamb from Bethlehem to teach Bible stories to their children. Both of these activities are simple, memorable and fun ways for families to focus on the real reason for the season. Thank you again Marilyn and may God bless your home with faith, family and joy!

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