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When does Elf on the Shelf arrive and leave for Christmas?


They’re back! (Picture: AP)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – and that means the devious Elf on the Shelf will be popping up in households across the country.

Since it started back in 2005, the cheeky Elf has become a favourite Christmas tradition for families in the UK and across the world.

The idea is for the Elf to move around the house each morning – seemingly by magic – with kids having to go on the hunt to see where the Elf has got to this time.

The Elf is often caught misbehaving pulling pranks, hiding among toilet rolls, getting themselves into the photocopier, or even running themselves a bath.

We’ve already put together some inspiration for where the Elf might end up this year, but when exactly does the Elf on the Shelf arrive and leave for Christmas?

Here is everything you need to know…

When does Elf on the Shelf arrive?

The tradition started back in 2005 (Picture: shop.elfontheshelf.co.uk)

Watch out folks, the elves might already be in your house!

Most of the elves arrive during the official Scout Elf Return Week, which ran from November 24 through to December 1, according to the official Elf on the Shelf website.

But don’t worry, you can still purchase – sorry, adopt – an Elf via the website for £21.99.

You can announce the Elf’s arrival with a letter detailing why they are there, what they will do each day, as well as the fact they report back to Santa Claus each and every night – so the kids better behave!

The adopt an Elf pack includes the following:

  • Adoptable Scout Elf
  • Artfully illustrated storybook
  • Keepsake box
  • Official adoption certificate

You can also register your Scout Elf to receive a personalised letter from Santa and an official family Adoption Certificate.

When does Elf on the Shelf leave?

The Elf on the Shelf ends on the night of Christmas Eve – December 24 – any time beyond that means they’ll be past their ‘Elf-bye date’.

The kids can get a chance to say goodbye to the Elf before hitching a ride with Santa as he delivers presents in the night.

The Elf can pen a letter saying goodbye, telling your kids that they are looking forward to meeting again next year for more Christmas high jinks.

You can then keep the Elf in a safe place, ready for next year to begin the game of hide and seek once again.


MORE : Naughty and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas for Christmas 2021


MORE : Whamageddon: What is the game based around Wham!’s Last Christmas and what are the rules?

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