See How 1 Moms Mastered The Art Of Elf On The Shelf Creations
Think what you want about the Elf on the Shelf, but kids aren”t the only ones having fun with it. Plenty of adults have a blast planning their elf”s antics and showing off their creativity. San Francisco-based Michele Bell is one of them. The former first-grade teacher (yes, that”s a picture of her in her Halloween costume) is putting her artistry and ingenuity to work crafting elaborate scenarios for her kids” elf every night. The elf, nicknamed Alfie, has generated so much buzz that he even has his own Instagram account — Alfie on the Shelf.
“My mom sent me the Elf on the Shelf five years ago when my eldest was 3 years old,” Bell explains. “The first couple of years, I didn”t do much with him — just threw him from shelf to ledge and occasionally onto the Christmas tree. Then three years ago, I got into the marshmallow baths, sugar snow angels, and being captured by dinosaurs, etc. The kids, then ages 6, 4, and 1, really got into it. Well, the older ones did anyway!”
But it wasn”t until last year – just as the Elf on the Shelf was becoming a national phenomenon — that Bell really let her creative juices flow. “Last year, I went to another level and the kids went bananas,” Bell says. “I was into it just as much as they — if not more. So this year I am all stocked up on felt and every night at 9 when I”m sure six eyelids are shut tight, I get geared up for the next morning when the magic of Alfie is revealed.”
Magic that she thinks about throughout the year and jots down on her phone when inspiration strikes. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, though, it”s game time. “I have so many ideas that I can”t even pick which ones to execute!”
But Bell”s creations aren”t only about marshmallows and fun, she tries to use the Alfie to teach her kids about current events and some pop culture phenomenons. “Last year I did a tribute to Nelson Mandela when he died, and it was a great conversation starter for who he was and why he was so admired,” she says. “I also did a NASA theme the other night when Orion was scheduled to launch the next morning.”
Setting the scene does take time, though. Bell”s Elf creations can often take an hour or two to put together, an effort she describes as a labor of love because seeing her kids” reactions every morning is a joy! “They wake up every morning, run out of their rooms, dart around the house, and come running into our room to give us the full report on where he is and what he”s doing,” she says. “My husband and I just laugh and follow them to the scene, where we act surprised and dumbfounded. My husband is a full supporter of my elf antics, I think mostly because he sees how much the kids enjoy it but he knows how much I like putting it together too. As for my friends and family, they are either feeding my ego, or they enjoy it too!”
Read on to see Bell”s greatest creations thus far!
Source: Instagram user alfieontheshelf
“Alfie is quite the circus act! He did the tightrope one night above our littlest guy”s crib from the hot-air balloon to a plane!”
“When Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Alfie wanted to give him a proper send-off, so he raised his flag and braved the rain with his umbrella the same day he was celebrated in Africa.”
“Our daughter is in love with Washington DC at the moment and the Lincoln Memorial in particular. She and my husband made the White House Lego set that weekend, so it was the closest I could come to the Lincoln Memorial. In light of all the protesting and racial discussions, Alfie echoing Lincoln”s words on the card offered great talking points that weren”t too mature or intense for their ages.”
“Again, Alfie has a spunky side. He dressed up as Miley Cyrus last year and hung from a wrecking ball in our entryway!”
“Alfie shows up the Friday morning after Thanksgiving to keep an eye on my littles for the entire holiday season. This year he took their lists back to Santa via North Pole Postal Service.”
“Last year, my husband and I were watching Christmas Vacation when the lightbulb went off. I realized I had everything I needed to re-create the house lighting scene all in my playroom! I grabbed all the Calico Critters stuff I had and pulled off my dining room table garland, some extra lights, and 30 minutes later, Alfie Griswold was in our hallway! It”s still one of my favorite Alfie moments.”
“On Christmas Eve, Alfie helped deliver the presents to the kids of San Francisco with Santa!”
“Every year on Christmas night, Alfie sits by our nativity scene and soaks up the true meaning of Christmas.”
“We have some Potter fans in the house, so Alfie did his best to mount up on his Nimbus 2000 to catch the Golden Snitch!”
Last year, Bell transformed Pharrell (and his hat) into an elf scene along with his “Get Lucky” partners, Daft Punk.
“The viral Ice Bucket Challenge hit our house this Summer, and Alfie wanted to get in on the act to support ALS awareness.”
“Aflie loves this book. It was a good way for me to talk to the kids about how it”s more important to give than to receive, especially this time of year when so many people have so little and we are fortunate to have so much.”
“Alfie knew NASA had tried to launch Orion that day unsuccessfully, and the hope was it would go off the next day without a hitch. It did, and it was great timing to discuss the space mission with the kids.”
“While it”s not a kid-friendly game, Alfie indulges in some adult company every now and then. Kim Kardashian”s “Kanye West” card won Aflie”s vote for his card, “I”ve got 99 problems but ___ ain”t one.” I did have to put a little fabric on her tush before the kids saw her!”
“Through our church and our schools, we support people in need by buying them toys or clothes and Aflie just wanted to be part of the action.”
“Alfie was prepared for the big California storm! He anticipated it would be raining cats and dogs, and he was right!”
“We”ve unfortunately had many friends and family battle cancer over the past few years. The Stand Up to Cancer was an easy way to show them some support and love in the holiday spirit. And hopefully it pushed some people to donate to the cause!”
And one of our favorites — Alfie”s place in Goodnight Moon. He fits in perfectly with the bedroom!
Yesterday, Alfie sat down with his Jewish counterpart, the Mensch on the Bench, to give the newcomer some on-the-job advice.