New This Month

Try Our New Family Tradition: "The Elf on the Shelf" Christmas Tree

It's an advent calendar, Christmas tree, and Elf on the Shelf all in one.

christmas tree with elves
Photography by: Janelle Jones

As most boys and girls know, a scout elf (better known as the Elf on the Shelf) magically appears overnight at the beginning of the holiday season. He (or she!) is given an important task: to watch over the household and report back to Santa every night. The elf’s presence (and it’s daily debut from a new spot of the house) serves as a gentle reminder to small children to stay on Santa’s nice list in the days leading up to Christmas.


And where is that elf hiding this year? Your Christmas tree! Here's a new twist on the holiday tradition that is sure to surprise and delight the whole family. Re-envision your Christmas tree as a larger-than-life advent calendar, starring your adopted scout elf. Every morning, the elf moves to a new numbered ornament (and a day closer to December 25) only to be found in a fun new set of shenanigans.


[DON'T MISS: Fast Facts About "The Elf on the Shelf"]
Elf on the Shelf Christmas tree ornaments
Photography by: Shanna Sullivan

Pictured: ArtMinds™ Wood Number, $1.49 each,

Create your countdown with numbered ornaments: Wooden numbers (available at crafts and hardware stores) can be painted, stained or left natural for a handcrafted straight-from-Santa's-workshop look. Turn them into hanging ornaments by drilling a small hole into the top of each one, and then tie to the boughs with baker's twine in an ascending order.

Elf on the Shelf Christmas tree ornaments
Photography by: Shanna Sullivan

Pictured: Martha Stewart Winter Tidings House Ornament, $50 for 12, Red Glittered Berry Spray, $2, Glittered Curl Christmas Spray, $4, Martha Stewart Winter Tidings Letter and Mailbox Ornaments, $50, Glittered Peppermint Candy Ornaments, $14 for 6,

Transform the remainder of your tree into an elf's workshop! We used retro-inspired ornaments in merry, bright colors to round out the tree like it was delivered straight from the North Pole: oversized peppermint candies and ball ornaments, and holiday motifs like miniature houses, mailboxes, and letters to Santa. To top it off: glittered red sprigs.

Photography by: Mike Krautter

Now what to make your elf do? The rest is up to you! Every day in the month leading up to Christmas, find the elf in a new silly scenario: knitting with baker's twine, zip-lining along a length of red ribbon, sculpting a small snowman, or wrapping up a miniature gift. Every morning, the kids will excitedly hurry to the tree to spot their elf caught in a new clever means of mischief.


[GET OUR: Genius Elf on the Shelf Ideas]

Feeling inspired? Watch how to create your own Elf Christmas tree: