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What to Do When You Forgot to Move the Elf (On the Shelf)

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Chances are good, that you found this post because last night you totally forgot to move the elf and now you’re panicking. 

Hang in there, we’ve got some great excuses for what to do when your kids call you out that the elf isn’t in a new spot today. 

Just remember – it’s a chaotic world of the Elf on the Shelf! 

Now, relax and take a deep breath. 

We’ve all been there. 

And fear not, I’ve got your back with some tried and true strategies to handle this sticky (and occasionally glittery) situation without your kids losing all hope of the magic of the elf on the shelf. 


elf on the shelf sitting in a christmas tree saying "oops!", with text that states 9 great excuses for when your elf on the shelf forgot to movePin

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9 Excuses for When You Forget to Move the Elf On the Shelf

Here are some clever excuses that might just save the day, and your kids’ belief in Christmas magic!

​1. The North Pole Weather Delay:

Blame it on bad weather at the North Pole! Those snowy conditions can cause a delay in elf flights, you know. Your elf couldn’t make it back to the shelf in time. It’s a great way to teach kids about unpredictable weather while saving face for our scout elves!

2. Elf’s Magic Training:

Your elf might be undergoing some serious elf magic training sessions in their favorite spot to learn new tricks for Christmas Eve. After all, being Santa’s little helper requires skill and practice, right?

3. Scout Elf’s Surveillance Mission:

Explain that the elf found a great vantage point from their current spot to keep an eye on the holiday happenings. They’re on a secret mission, observing for any signs of the Christmas spirit to report back to Santa.

4. Elf’s Secret Message:

The elf might be trying to communicate a secret message to the kids! Encourage your children to look closely for clues around the house, turning it into a fun scavenger hunt adventure.

5. The Elf is Feeling Under the Weather:

Just like us, elves can have off-days too! Mention that your little elf isn’t feeling their best and needed a day of rest in their favorite spot to recharge their magic for the next big adventure.

6. Christmas Carol Karaoke Night:

Perhaps your elf was enjoying a festive karaoke session with the other scout elves and got caught up in singing Christmas carols all night long. Hey, even scout elves need some downtime!

7. Elf’s Extra Day of Planning:

Explain that the elf needed an extra day to plan an elaborate surprise for the family, ensuring that the next move will be the most magical one yet.

8. The Elf’s Sticky Situation:

Here’s a fun one! The elf got stuck in their spot and couldn’t move. Offer to help them out using kitchen tongs as an example of problem-solving skills.

9. The Elf’s Mischievous Antics:

Frame it as the elf’s clever way of playing a prank or testing the kids’ observation skills. “Can you spot what our naughty elf is up to?”

Remember, these excuses are your go-to arsenal for those “next morning” moments when you need to think fast! 

And when all else fails, turn it into a life lesson about the value of patience, observation skills, and the unpredictability of the Christmas season.

What to do Instead of Making an Excuse for Elf Being in the Same Spot

Embrace the Oops

Let’s be real: forgetting to move the elf doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. 

It’s a chance for your kids to exercise their observation skills and see if they really remember where their elf was the day before. 

​Encourage Imagination Building

As parents, we often overthink some of these magical Christmas traditions for our kids. 

Consider taking a backseat on this one, and letting it play out. 

Your kids may come up with some brilliant ideas themselves for why the elf didn’t move without you having to come up with the perfect excuse. 

Sometimes less parent involvement and input into the elf’s magical world is actually best. 

And you might be surprised to hear your kids’ reasonings that make PERFECT sense in their heads. 

elf on the shelf sitting in a christmas tree saying "oops!", with text that states 9 great excuses for when your elf on the shelf forgot to movePin

How to Save the Magic When You Forget to Move the Elf On the Shelf

So, whether it’s the first year or you’re a seasoned pro at this “elf thing,” there’s always a reason why our favorite little elf might stay put. Embrace the fun tradition, get creative with those explanations, and keep the holiday spirit alive!

P.S. Got some brilliant ideas or hilarious excuses of your own? Share them below and let’s celebrate the joy of the holiday traditions together! 

🎥 Check out the WebStory of what to do when you forget to move the elf on the shelf.

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