Got an Elf on your Shelf?

Don't throw yellow snowballs at me, but yes - I'm one of *those* teachers. This will be the third year I'll host my little hollow-legged felt elf.  I'm not sure who likes it more, me or the kids!

I'm often asked how I handle the kids who don't celebrate Christmas or just plain don't believe. That is definitely a sticky situation. This year I already had one little stinker announce super loud to the rest of the class that Santa doesn't exist. I knew it was coming because the question of the week seemed to be "Are you Christian or Hanukkah?" <--lots of misconceptions to clear up there...  My second graders are at a vulnerable point where they might be questioning things, so I had to stop what were were doing right then and there and have an impromptu class meeting. I always tell them that Santa is real, if you believe that he is. I also tell them that it's ok not to believe, but it's not ok to tell someone else that their beliefs are wrong. We make a pact to let everyone have the right to believe what they believe and for everyone, Christians or "Hanukkahs", to just enjoy the fun of the season. I usually have a pretty split class with close to half of my kids celebrating Hanukkah, half Christmas, and some who celebrate both and this little discussion always helps. I just like clearing the air and getting it all out there. If I hear any other chatter, I usually pull aside the child and have a one on one about it. I do whatever I can not to let the magic of the season be ruined by one little buster. Oh, and when the kids ask me, of course I tell them I believe! I do. {Hear me, Santa?}

I devote lots of time to both holidays so all of the kids feel equally included. I also make a special effort to include any other holiday my kids might celebrate. Once in a while I do have a child who doesn't celebrate anything, but I usually have a talk with the parents to find out how much their child can participate. In 20 years, I've only had 2 kids whose parents would not allow them to participate in anything seasonal. Usually, once I explain that we're just learning about how other people celebrate, not actually forcing their child to celebrate or believe a certain thing, they're pretty tolerant. 

So, if you're hosting a visiting elf this year, you might want to follow this Pinterest board of mine. I've added lots of pictures from my own adventures along with lots of other great ideas I've found online.

I used to have an Elf on the Shelf unit on tpt, but there were some copyright conflicts, so it's been unavailable for about a year. After getting several sweet emails asking me where it is, I decided to revamp it and list it again. If you already own it, be sure to download the newest version.

It includes two different journal ideas to write about the mischief created by your elf, as well as some other printables you can use to tie in the visit with your academic focus.

You can check it out here on tpt if you want to join in on the fun!


  1. I love that you say it's not ok to tell someone else their beliefs are wrong- I will totally be using that!!! We tell them that all the time with religion- Santa shouldn't be any different. Thank you! :)
    ideas by jivey

  2. I have taught grade 6 for the past 4 years and I am now moving to grade 1 when I go back from my maternity leave in March. Let me tell you that I am more than excited to do the whole Elf on the Shelf thing with my future kiddos! Love this little pack you've created!
    Miss Elementary

  3. I can't wait to do ELF on the SHELF this year!! It is my first year doing it and I'm so happy we have PINTEREST to get great ideas!! :)

  4. Wow! I love all of your ideas for Elf on the Shelf. I really like how you approached the different holidays and beliefs that are present in your classroom. "It's not okay to tell someone their beliefs are wrong" This is such an important thing for students to learn and understand! Thank you for sharing your ideas and what you are doing in your classroom!

  5. I love doing Elf on the Shelf!!!!!! I can't wait to start it on Monday!!!!

  6. We as a whole school (all 6 classrooms!) are going to do this starting next week. I'm a little excited about it too. I put your packet in my wish list for the sale! Thanks!

    1. Just to clear up my last sentence. . . . I'm putting it on my wish list JUST for me. . . not to share with my whole school!!!!


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