How to Break Up With Your Elf on the Shelf (Without Ruining Christmas)

How to Break Up with your Elf on the Shelf - without ruining Christmas!About 10 years ago, a mother daughter team published the book “Elf on the Shelf” (affiliate). The book – centered around an elf who reports back to Santa nightly on the behavior of children – was and is accompanied by a pointy eared stuffed elf that sits on a shelf and each morning appears in a different spot. The plan is that children wake up each morning and hunt for the elf. Before I get started, let me be very clear… I DO NOT HATE ELF ON THE SHELF. We have young kids and our elf has lived with us for 6 or 7 years. Each year, when we arrive home from our Thanksgiving travels, he is found upon a high shelf in a common area room, anxiously awaiting our arrival. The children squeal in delight. It really is a fun tradition. Our kids are 10, 7, 6 and 2. So, for all but one of them, they don’t remember a Christmas without the elf.


We’re beginning to feel that it may be time to break up with our elf. This is definitely a “It’s not you, it’s me” sort of breakup. He’s done nothing wrong. He’s brought a little added Christmas joy into our family for years now. We’ve never been over the top about it. There’s been no glitter. No toilet papering of the house. Our elf has never touched our children’s underwear or vandalized their dollhouse. We simply feel as if the relationship has lost a little something. Our kids get less and less enthusiastic about the hunt as the month progresses and when they do talk about him, it’s to lament about how they wish they could play with him.

Christmas magic is fun and the LAST thing we want is to ruin the fun for our kids. We love the lights, the tinsel, the Nativity, the tree, Santa, the cider, the stockings and all the other fun Christmas-y goodies. So, breaking up with our elf must be handled delicately. What better way to make a change than to have the kids think they’re getting the better end of the deal. A letter seemed to be a good option. Feel free to use this one and make personal adjustments where needed.

“Dear kids,
For years, I’ve watched you all grow and change. Your laughs have made me smile so much! But the more I’ve watched you, the sadder I’ve gotten. I’ve wanted to get to know you better. I’ve wanted to feel your warm hugs. When I flew back to Santa one night, he noticed my smile wasn’t as big as normal and when he asked me what was wrong, I told him. I felt like flying to see him with a daily report was a waste of time because you all are such good, sweet kids. Santa is so wise and understanding. He had an idea. You all have to want it, too, but Santa has offered to let me become one of your toys so that we can play together.

Would you like for me to play? Circle: yes or no

Tonight, I’ll bring this letter back to Santa and if you want me to come live with you, Santa will make it happen. If not, I’ll happily keep being your elf –
reporting to Santa until Christmas Eve and will see you again each year after Thanksgiving.

I love being your elf. Thank you for loving me!


Download a printable version here.How to BREAK UP with your Elf on the Shelf! Free Printable Letter!

If the letter isn’t the way to go for you, maybe there’s another family that you could send your elf to live with. Or maybe you can explain that because your kids are such helpful and well-behaved kids, your elf is no longer needed. Whatever you decide, please remember to see the Christmas magic through your kids’ eyes.

Pin this post to save it for later and to share it with other parents who may be ready to consciously uncouple from the Elf on the Shelf!How to Break Up with your Elf on the Shelf when you're ready - without ruining Christmas

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