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Best Elf on the Shelf letter

Which Elf on the Shelf letter is best?

"The Elf on the Shelf" is a bestselling children's book and a holiday tradition for many families. Letters from the children's elf make this holiday tradition engaging and fun for the whole family. There are several ways for an elf to send letters to their children. Letters such as Official Elf Reports are a top choice for their versatility and ability to be used year after year. However, there are a wide variety of options you should consider when shopping for an Elf on the Shelf letter. 

What to know before you buy an Elf on the Shelf letter

What is Elf on the Shelf?

An Elf on the Shelf is a special scout from the North Pole who encourages children to behave well during the Christmas season. Throughout the night, Santa's little helper — the elf — returns to the North Pole to report whether the children have been good or bad. According to "The Elf on the Shelf" book, it's forbidden for children to touch the elf, or they'll lose their magic. The official Elf on the Shelf website recommends writing a letter to Santa and sprinkling a bit of cinnamon beside the elf if they're touched by mistake. 

In addition, the elf can't talk or move while a child is awake; when the elf travels to the North Pole, it only moves at night. Upon returning home, the Elf takes up a new position in the house. 

'The Elf on the Shelf' book

Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell are the authors and published the book "The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition." Originally released in 2005, "The Elf on the Shelf" caught the world's attention and became a bestseller. 

"The Elf on the Shelf" book is based on a holiday tradition started by the Aebersold family in the 1970s. According to their family's tradition, an elf would come to their house every year after Thanksgiving to keep an eye on the children and prevent them from misbehaving. 

How to introduce Elf on the Shelf 

Parents should begin by deciding when the elf will start appearing. Typically, the elf shows up in December to keep an eye on the kids during the Christmas season. However, parents should keep in mind the elf must keep coming every day until Christmas Eve, so if parents forget or miss a day, there must be a good reason why the elf didn't move. 

Think of a name for the elf. Then, during their visit, introduce the elf by name and encourage kids to call it by that name. Kids love this because it makes the elf feel like a member of the family. 

To introduce the elf to the family, set up the elf in an open area where children can see them one morning. Traditionally, Santa delivers the elf by writing a letter. This letter explains what the elf does, how long they're going to stay and what rules the kids need to follow. 

What to look for in a quality Elf on the Shelf letter

Elf on the Shelf arrival letter

An arrival letter is greetings from the elf on their first day back for the holidays. The letter informs the family that the elf has been resting up for the upcoming holiday season. To reacquaint the elf at home, hand the note to the kids on the first day the elf is back at home. Look for an arrival letter that lets the children know the elf is getting all moved in and is going to make their first appearance of the season soon. 

Elf on the Shelf goodbye letter

The goodbye letter is a keepsake that children can treasure and reread. Typically, children receive a little goodbye letter from their elf on Christmas Eve. The best goodbye letters are comforting and help children process their emotions as they prepare to say goodbye to their elf until next year. 

Elf on the Shelf reports 

Elf report cards are given to children to determine whether their behavior has been naughty or nice. Traditionally, children receive a report after doing a chore such as making the bed and brushing their teeth. Parents can put their children on the nice list, which may make things easier around the house. Conversely, parents can use the report cards to warn children their behavior has landed them on the naughty list. 

How much you can expect to spend on an Elf on the Shelf letter

A digital download Elf on the Shelf letter is very cost-effective and typically costs $1-$6. Cardstock Elf on the Shelf letters cost slightly more depending on the size, quantity and design quality, usually selling for somewhere from $15-$35. 

Elf on the Shelf letter FAQ

What's the best way to respond to the criticism of The Elf on the Shelf?

A. The Elf on the Shelf is viewed by some as a sham that threatens children's trustworthiness and eventually causes them to become gullible. However, participating in Elf on the Shelf is known to foster imagination and creativity, just like believing in Santa. There's an argument that imagination is about pretending, so pretending that the Elf on the Shelf comes alive at night feeds a child's imagination and introduces them to the concept of what's real and what is make-believe. 

How can parents answer kids' questions about stores selling Elves?

A. Parents should prepare for questions about why the elf is also in stores. Parents can tell children that there's a long list of families waiting for an elf, and they were lucky to get one this year. Then explain that elves can be bought in the store for families who did not receive them from Santa. 

What's the best Elf on the Shelf letter to buy?

Top Elf on the Shelf letter

Official Elf Reports

What you need to know: Parents and teachers can use these reports to note children's behavior as naughty or nice during the holiday season.

What you'll love: These notes pair well with the Elf on the Shelf and can be used in between the arrival and goodbye letters. 

What you should consider: The manufacturer notes that the size and colors may vary slightly. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Elf on the Shelf letter for the money

Elf on The Shelf Scout Elf Express Delivers: Letters to Santa

What you need to know: This Elf on the Shelf kit has everything needed for children to create letters for their elf to take all the way to Santa in the North Pole.

What you'll love: The kit includes Mrs. Claus' magic press paper that shrinks to elf-size so it can easily be carried by your elf. 

What you should consider: Some found the process of shrinking the magic paper difficult. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Just Simply Mom Designs Printable Elf Welcome and Goodbye Letter

What you need to know: This digital download includes a personalized arrival and goodbye letter from your Elf on the Shelf. 

What you'll love: This 8.5-by-11-inch document can be personalized with the children's names, the Elf's name and body text. 

What you should consider: Basic computer and editing skills are needed. 

Where to buy: Sold by Etsy

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Elizabeth Foley writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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