Published: 05:00, 25 November 2021
It's the moment kids across Kent have been waiting for (and as parents you may be dreading!) The elves will soon be on their way and coming to a shelf near you.
Fast becoming a treasured tradition for lots of families, scout elves are positioned in homes throughout December able to report back to Father Christmas about the nice and not-so-nice behaviour they witness as well as causing some minor mischief of their own when backs are turned. Here are some things your pint-sized pixies might get up to...
1. I'm back!
Every elf likes to make an entrance. Writing I'm back in toothpaste, flour, icing sugar, lipstick, chocolate spread, strewn sprinkles or any other smear-able material will make for an arrival of sugar-high proportions. They might even top it off with a snow angel - just for some added mess!
2. A season for giving
Alongside monitoring behaviour, elves are particularly good at encouraging kindness. Before the children get an influx of new toys for Christmas perhaps your elf, with the help of an empty box, could encourage them to donate a handful of things they no longer play with to a charity of their choice or suggest that they help donate some items to their nearest foodbank. Advent calendars for children are particularly welcome in late November and early December.
3. Ride the shoe train
Parents hate mess in the run up to Christmas and one thing guaranteed to make them angry is an emptied shoe cupboard as the elves, and the rest of the toys, snake their way around the living room in a train of the family's shoes.
4. Marker mayhem
The elves love a marker pen! Be prepared for funny faces on bananas, eggs or the front cover of mum's new magazine! And if there's any 'googly eyes' laying around in a craft box, watch that they don't appear over the eyes of granny in the framed family photograph!
5. North Pole breakfast
The elves can go to town on the weekend! If you're family is lucky, they'll bring a mountain of treats from the North Pole for a weekend breakfast which is perfectly laid out on the table in readiness for the kids to wake up. Think pancakes, waffles, marshmallows, hot chocolate, syrup, sprinkles and even the odd candy cane thrown in for good measure.
6. Tree decorating
An elf likes to help - or hinder! Be prepared to find them raiding socks and underwear drawers in search of unusual decorations for the Christmas tree. Despite the chaos the kids will love to see their school vests, socks or even the odd pair of their pants hanging from the the tree like icicles!
7. Marshmallow Olympics
We could be a few years away from Paris 2024 but the elves are already in training. Weightlifting marshmallows with cocktail sticks or straws is one of their preferred winter hobbies.
8. On your marks, get set, go!
Watch those toy cars parked up at night. A midnight grand-prix against all the other toys, complete with a homemade black and white chequered flag, brings out the elves competitive streak.
9. King of the gingerbread
Elves love sugary treats. It also means they're armed with the best recipes. The elves often make a quick dash back to the North Pole to collect some recipes and ingredients for a proposed weekend baking session. This Christmas gingerbread recipe for kids here is one they suggested earlier.
10. Snow scene from home
It's not unusual for the elves to get homesick. With a few white towels, toilet paper, kitchen paper and cotton wool the elves are able to recreate a snowy scene to make them feel right at home of an evening.
11. That's a wrap
Elves are expert wrappers. The kids love to find the contents of their lunch box, mid-morning fruit snack, school books or their hat and gloves wrapped in Christmas paper when they arrive at school and open their bag.
12. Write a letter to Santa
If the kids haven't yet written a formal letter to the big man - the elves are brilliant at encouraging them to put pen to paper nicely. If they come armed one morning with a nice writing set, sparkly piece of paper, or stickers to decorate, writing to Father Christmas can become quite the occasion and a nice festive activity for everyone.
13. Christmas karaoke
If you're having trouble tracking down the festive tunes - rest assured your elf soon will. Either armed with headphones, a Christmas CD or the lyrics for the school carol service, be prepared to come down and find that your elf has had quite the late-night party listening to anything from Wham to Bing Crosby.
14. Treasure hunt
They might decide to hide the advent calendars one night, perhaps a special Christmas card, or the family tickets to a pantomime, Santa's grotto or a surprise festive outing to see the Christmas lights in your town and streets. A festive treasure hunt with house map and clues will lead you back to what you've lost and can be a fun weekend activity for all the family. A few chocolate coins along the floor from the kids' bedrooms to start the trail go down a treat too.
15. Festive film fest
Watch that unopened bag of popcorn you had in the cupboard - when the kids go to bed those elves will be raiding the Christmas DVDs for some festive viewing and running a movie night for all the toys. You're likely to find the crumbs from unfinished sweets, popcorn and crisps across the carpet by the television not to mention a mess in the DVD drawer or cupboard as they look for Elf, Home Alone or Arthur Christmas. It's not unknown for them to make their own cinema tickets too!
16. Prepare for landing
Making paper aeroplanes is a popular pastime when the kids have gone to bed. Expect to find the planes on bookshelves, in the Christmas tree, on tops of photo frames and coming into land with a runway of fairylights along the carpet.
17. Snowflake city
Left alone with some scraps of paper and a pair of scissors and your house will soon look like the North Pole when the elf gets to work. Think Will Ferrell in Elf when he decorates the department store after it closes.
18. Fun in the tub
Just like small children - every elf needs a bath. A sink or bowl full of mini-marshmallows or small white balloons make for the perfect elf-sized spa for a soak. And don't forget to leave them out a rubber duck too!
19. Do you want to build a snowman?
If your house is distinctly lacking in real snow be prepared for a few rolls of toilet paper to go missing overnight as the elves attempt to build their frozen friends. Stacking the rolls and adding black and orange paper for buttons and noses make more than suitable substitutes for company.
20. A LEGO ambush
If the other toys are getting fed up of the elf's mischievous ways or feel like they missed an invite to the karaoke or Christmas movie night - all it takes is a few well-built LEGO men with a vehicle and some Christmas wrapping string or a few elastic bands to tie up the elf, load him on like a roof box and cart him off in revenge.
21. Food and fridge forages
When the sugar craving gets too much you will find your elf foraging in the kitchen for food. You could find him attempting to knock over an open cereal box, with his hands in the Christmas chocolates or his face in the chocolate spread jar.
22. Sweet dreams
Every elf needs a place to rest their head. You may often come downstairs in the morning to find your elf asleep in the kids' dolls house, a shoe box, a tissue box (still with the tissues inside for some extra comfy bedding), a Christmas-looking tea towel or oven glove from the kitchen or in the style of Goldilocks - sound asleep inside a small child's shoe having discovered that mummy and daddy's shoes were neither the right size or comfortable enough for a good night's rest.
They're not adverse to roping in a teddy for a Christmas-themed bedtime story either. The Night Before Christmas is a firm favourite.
23. Embrace the toilet humour
As parents it often makes us cringe but the kids love it - and every good elf knows the kids do too! A popular pastime of the elves is to encourage a visit from Santa's reindeer who aren't' adverse to leaving their poop - in the form of chocolate chips or chocolate-covered raisins - behind.
24. Paper pranks
We all know toilet paper can be in short supply during a pandemic but the elves are not quite so conscious when the inside of the roll makes a great zorb or toboggan. Don't be surprised to find your elf wedged inside the cardboard tube of toilet roll that has been launched out of the bathroom and down the stairs at speed - leaving a trail of paper in its wake.
25. Rocking around the Christmas tree
Sometimes the elf likes to turn up the volume on his night time antics - and an impromptu music set is often the way to go. Upturned tins of food in the back of the cupboard - and a couple of tea spoons - make for the ideal drum kit to enable the pint-sized pixie to rock out to an enthralled audience of dolls and soft toys.
26. Anyone for mini golf?
Elves love a game of mini golf - North Pole style. They prefer to use candy canes for golf clubs and miniature marshmallows for their golf balls.
27. I'm an elf get me out of here....
There's no need to travel to the bush - or even a castle in Wales - to have your own eating trials. A pack of jelly worms is enough to let the elf try their own mouth-watering challenge.
28. An elf on the shelf suitable goodbye
They might borrow Barbie's car or a truck from the toy cupboard to move their belongings, leave behind a Christmas Eve box with new pyjamas or chocolate treats or could even spell out 'see you next year' in magnetic letters, on a chalk board, or with sweets on the kitchen worktop.
It's not unknown for them to even leave a postcard as they prepare for a post-Christmas holiday and a well earned rest after Christmas morning.
But however your elf disembarks the night before Christmas it's usually memorable. After all, it's more than 300 days until you'll set eyes on them again!