Category: Elf On The Shelf

the rest of Zippy’s December adventures

There’s no subtle way to sneak in a blog post about our Elf on the Shelf in January, is there? Now that the new year has arrived, nobody is blogging about Christmas any more, but I still wanted to share these photos of the rest of Zippy’s adventures in December.

Taking his cues from the Chicago Blackhawks, Zippy bottled some snow from the North Pole. The little bottles would be great for stocking stuffers, but the price was pretty steep.

Elf on the Shelf: bottled snow from the North Pole

Such a thoughtful elf! Zippy packaged up some Christmas gifts for his little elf friends — John, Simon, and Lucky. I hope they reached their destinations before Christmas!

Elf on the Shelf: shipping tiny Christmas gifts

Prior to Christmas Eve, we stacked up the gifts on the landing of our stairs so that 1-year-old Ethan wouldn’t be too tempted by them. I guess Zippy’s curiosity got the best of him!

Elf on the Shelf: headfirst into a gift bag

Zippy took advantage of the snowy weather and enjoyed some snow tubing.

Elf on the Shelf: snow tubing

How many hex nuts can you stack with a candy cane? I planned The Nutstacker game for the 5th grade party at school, but none of the teams stacked as many as Zippy did!

Elf on the Shelf: nutstacker game

Zippy must have gotten confused when the weather got warm for a few days. We finally found him in the toy closet, sitting on the Phillie Phanatic’s lap and telling him what he wanted for Christmas.

Elf on the Shelf: telling the Phillie Phanatic what he wants for Christmas

If an elf plays Christmas carols in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Elf on the Shelf: playing piano

On Christmas Eve morning, Zippy’s last day in Pennsylvania, we found him cramming for the big night by reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Elf on the Shelf: reading Twas the Night Before Christmas

See you next December, Zippy!


what our Elf on the Shelf has been up to

I’d love to have an elf who helps me blog when I’m up to my earlobes in Christmas projects, but Zippy doesn’t seem to be the blogging type. (Maybe it’s the lack of opposable thumbs?)

When Ethan celebrated his first birthday, Zippy spent the whole day in Ethan’s bedroom — wearing a shiny little party hat, of course.

Elf on the Shelf party hat

The flyer for the annual Men’s Breakfast at church didn’t say anything about inviting your elf, so Zippy whipped up his own little feast.

Elf on the Shelf makes pancakes

Even elves need a day of rest.

elf on the shelf resting

Snowballs for sale! Zippy is such an enterprising little elf.

Elf on the Shelf - snowballs for sale

Uh-oh, Zippy!

Elf on the Shelf - rolled down the stairs in a toilet paper roll

It looks like Zippy was hoping one of the kids would choose to take him to school for snack time!

Elf on the Shelf in our snack drawer

Zippy’s friends Simon and Buddy are such a good influence on him! Apparently he decided to follow their example and just sit on the shelf like a well-behaved elf for once.

Elf on the Shelf with the gingerbread house

No fair! Zippy is getting his Christmas cards sent out before ours!

Elf on the Shelf sends Christmas cards

Nice try, Zippy. We all know that huge box isn’t for you!

Elf on the Shelf thinks the large box is for him

Zippy must have thought the baby gate at the top of the stairs was an amusement park ride. He spent the whole day swinging back and forth, and didn’t even throw up.

Elf on the Shelf swinging on the baby gate

Over the weekend Hayden found his missing wallet. I guess Zippy got tired of hearing Hayden announce how much money he still needs to buy an iPod…

Elf on the Shelf wallet thief

For daily updates on Zippy’s antics, you can follow me on Instagram. I’m rachelswartley.

the story of Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf: paper chain countdown

There’s a story that unfolds at our house each December. It’s the story of Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf. This is Zippy’s third year with us, and he showed up right on time on December 1. The best thing about his arrival this year is that he brought along the tiniest little paper chain to count down the days until Christmas!

The next morning we found him hiding in the silverware drawer. Good thing there were a few serving spoons in the dishwasher! Even though I knew he was in there, he surprised me every time I opened the drawer.

Elf on the Shelf in the silverware drawer

On Tuesday morning,  Hayden found it a bit challenging to get out of his bedroom. Fortunately, Zippy had been kind to me and didn’t put the streamers TOO low…

Elf on the Shelf tapes streamers across the door

Elf on the Shelf hangs streamers

When the kids were getting their breakfast on Wednesday morning, they found Zippy in the pantry, poking his head out of a cereal box. He looks taller than the girl beside him, but it’s probably just the hat.

Elf on the Shelf measures his height on the cereal box

This one is my fault. I’ve been making chocolate covered pretzels, and last night I left the nonpareils on the counter where Zippy could reach them. That’ll teach me!

Elf on the Shelf makes snow angels in nonpareils

The kids have been wondering what kinds of things Zippy will help me with this year. They remember that one year he wrapped a gift, and one time he baked some tiny cookies. So Zippy, if you’re reading this, there’s a huge pile of laundry that needs to be folded…

our Elf on the Shelf wraps up another season

Our Elf on the Shelf, Zippy, is currently spending his last day on the shelf before he heads back to the North Pole ’til next December. This is what he’s been up to since the last update.

The kids made some gifts for Zippy, so I whipped up some custom letterhead so our elf could properly thank them for the hat and gloves he received.

Elf on the Shelf: thanks for the gifts

Good thing Zippy is always very careful not to knock things over. We found him in the china cabinet on Thursday.

Elf on the Shelf: china cabinet

On Friday, Zippy watched the characters in the nativity all day, but nobody moved a muscle.

Elf on the Shelf: nativity

Ethan’s bedroom isn’t quite finished yet, so Zippy checked out the construction zone over the weekend. He’s lucky he got out of there before the drywallers trapped him inside the wall.

Elf on the Shelf: construction zone

Arrr. Zippy the Bathtub Pirate!

Elf on the Shelf: bathtub pirate

Z is for Zippy! See you next year, little elf.

Elf on the Shelf: letter Z

a week of Elf on the Shelf antics

I can’t be sure what our Elf on the Shelf was up to while I was in the hospital for six days, but Zippy has been his usual mischievous self since I returned home with little Ethan last week.

Our elf must not be afraid of heights, because one morning we found him swinging on the Moravian star…

Elf on the Shelf: Moravian star

… and the next morning he was tangled up in a white pitcher above our kitchen cabinets.

Elf on the Shelf: white pitcher

On Thursday morning Zippy was on our mantel, convinced he was an angel. (We know better.)

Elf on the Shelf: wooden star

On Friday he spent the whole day with Ethan, our glow-in-the-dark baby (thanks to a bili light to improve his jaundice).

Elf on the Shelf: new baby

On Saturday morning we found him competing in an air hockey tournament. His opponent was a sweet girl from Idaho. I wanted Zippy to ask her whether she knew any famous foosball players from Idaho, but he was too shy.

Elf on the Shelf: air hockey

Fortunately, the officials didn’t notice that he was blocking his goal with his left hand.

Elf on the Shelf: air hockey

Zippy must have decided that the basement was a pretty great place to spend the weekend. On Sunday morning we found him playing Pac Man on Tim’s Atari. (Yes, we have an Atari; no, we do not have a Wii.)

Elf on the Shelf: Atari

Yesterday we found him in the bathroom again. This time he put a little photo of himself in a picture frame on the shelf. (This morning the kids checked to see whether it was still there, then wondered aloud where it went.)

Elf on the Shelf: Best Elf Ever

Last night Zippy did something he’s been wanting to do ever since he first arrived at our house last December. He strung up a zipline across our living room and is now dangling above our heads.

Elf on the Shelf: zipline

Elves have all the fun.

candy cane Hershey Kisses

Elf on the Shelf candy cane Hershey Kisses

Last week I discovered candy cane Hershey Kisses — and last night, Zippy did. Our Elf on the Shelf stuffed his little hands down into the candy jar to grab an armload of candy cane kisses, which may help us keep OUR fingers out of the candy jar today.

(Am I the last one to find out about candy cane Hershey Kisses? Why didn’t someone tell me about them sooner?!)

making himself at home

Our Elf on the Shelf returned to our house on Saturday morning, and after being gone for 11 months, Zippy seems to be feeling right at home again. On Saturday our family went to a local Christmas tree farm and picked out the perfect best tree. During the night, Zippy climbed up and sat near the top of the tree. I guess he was jealous of the other ornaments.

Elf on the Shelf sitting in the Christmas tree

Good thing we have more than one bathroom at our house. This morning Zippy had claimed one all for himself. Selfish little elf!

Elf on the Shelf bathroom sign - ELVES ONLY

By the way, if you have an Elf on the Shelf and haven’t yet added wire to his arms and legs, I highly recommend it. I followed this tutorial last year after the second day of trying to position our elf just right, and it’s the only way Zippy is able do fun things like hang from doorknobs and pretend to be a monkey.

our Elf on the Shelf returns

Elf on the Shelf returns

The kids came running into our bedroom at 7:12 this morning to tell us that Zippy is back! And he wrote a message with Scrabble tiles! I’m generally not a big fan of people waking me up to tell me about something I did last night, but they were so excited about the return of our Elf on the Shelf that I didn’t mind too much.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? If so, I’d love to hear about your elf’s return — or debut, if this is your first year with an elf. Last year our elf showed up late; turns out he made a wrong turn on the way from the North Pole.

To see more of Zippy’s antics from last year, check out all of my Elf on the Shelf pictures here. (My favorite was the night he baked peanut butter blossoms. Here’s hoping he does that again this year!)

Zippy says goodbye

Last night Zippy (our Elf on the Shelf) returned to the North Pole, but not before he got into our pantry, spilled some pasta, and wrote out a little message.

Farewell, little friend.

Zippy makes a friend

My mom emailed recently to say that Zippy seems quite busy, and wondered whether he had found any friends to talk with at night. Well, he’s an elf of few words, so I haven’t heard him mention anyone, but it looks like he’s made at least one new friend here in Pennsylvania. This morning we found him down in the basement playing foosball with a chubby guy from Idaho.

(Did you notice the score? That’s our Zippy!)

little paper snowflakes

I don’t know what I was thinking when I threw away all of the paper snowflakes I made last December. I must have assumed that I would be equally inspired this year, but unfortunately I haven’t found time to cut any paper snowflakes.

Fortunately, Zippy (our Elf on the Shelf) took pity on me and cut out a bunch of snowflakes last night while I was catching up on my sleep. Thanks, Zippy!

Zippy’s Photo Enhancement

Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf, must have thought that the photo we sent out with our Christmas letter was too boring. This morning we found that he had, uh, enhanced a framed copy of the photo. Good thing he didn’t use a Sharpie!

Zippy the artist

Last night Zippy got into a brand new packet of velvet art stickers that I had just given the kids last evening. Don’t you think he did a nice job coloring in the Christmas tree?

Hayden knew that the velvet art was in his room last night, and wondered how Zippy got into his room while he was sleeping! That Zippy sure is stealthy…

Zippy joins in the Reindeer Games

Over the weekend, I hosted the First Annual Reindeer Games at our family Christmas celebration. We divided into two teams and played nine games — one for each member of Santa’s reindeer team, of course. One of the games we played was Vixen’s Snowball Toss, in which the players tossed regular-sized marshmallows into one of three containers of different sizes to earn points. The smaller the container, the more points the team earned.

Unfortunately, Zippy wasn’t able to participate in any of our Reindeer Games, but this morning we found him playing his own game of Vixen’s Snowball Toss on our kitchen counter. And he was even wearing reindeer antlers like we did!

Let’s see a close-up shot of those antlers.

Zippy’s apparently pretty handy with a white pipe cleaner and a brown Crayola marker…

our sELFish photographer

Now that I have a digital SLR camera, Zippy apparently thinks my trusty old point-and-shoot camera belongs to him! What a sELFish little photographer.

Zippy takes the plunge

Hey, Zippy’s just keeping it real around here. December isn’t just for cookies and Christmas shopping and trips to Grandma’s house, y’know…

to Grandmother’s house we go

I thought the kids were pretty eager to celebrate Christmas at Nana’s house today, but it turns out Zippy was even more excited. In fact, our little Elf on the Shelf was so impatient that he was already waiting in the van with his seatbelt buckled when we got up this morning! Thank goodness he had a booster pillow to sit on. Safety first!

Wasn’t it so thoughtful of him to bring a gift?

zippy+paper: an elf’s Etsy shop

Zippy must have read my announcement last night about free shipping on all {rachel+paper} orders today. While we were sleeping, he set up a little paper goods shop of his own with free shipping to the North Pole.

So if your elf needs any gift tags or garlands for their holiday celebrations, be sure to tell them to stop by {zippy+paper} today!

more fun than a barrel of monkeys

After Zippy’s surgery last night, I thought maybe we’d find him relaxing on the couch with a movie this morning, but he seems to have recuperated just fine.

Zippy’s Peanut Butter Blossoms

While we were sleeping last night, Zippy (our Elf on the Shelf) baked some cookies. Unfortunately, he made a terrible mess, but we’ll forgive him since the mini peanut butter blossoms are so soft and delicious.

The kids and I baked peanut butter blossoms together after school on Monday, so Zippy used some of the dough that I had secretly tucked away in the fridge. When Hayden saw Zippy’s tiny cookies this morning, he said, “He shrunk them!”

If your family has an Elf on the Shelf, perhaps you could pass along this recipe to your little elf.


1 stick butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 T. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
granulated sugar
chocolate chips

Cream together butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and milk, beating well. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Shape dough into balls the size of a large marble. Roll in granulated sugar to coat. Bake on a greased baking sheet at 350° for 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Since the cookies are so small and oven temperatures can vary, watch your cookies carefully to be sure you don’t overbake them. Remove from oven and push a chocolate chip into the top of each cookie.


meet Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf

Hi, everyone. I’d like to introduce you to Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf.

The Elf on the Shelf is a fun Christmas tradition that I just discovered a few weeks ago when I started seeing Elf on the Shelf pictures pop up on Pinterest. The idea is that the elf spends the month of December in your home, making nightly trips to the North Pole to report to Santa on whether the children have been bad or good. But while your children are sleeping, the elf also tends to get into mischief, and each morning the kids get to look for the elf to see where he or she ended up.

Even though I’m a couple weeks late, I recently purchased an elf (and the explanatory book) at Hallmark, and he made his debut late last night. After watching An Elf’s Story last evening, Hayden wished that WE had an Elf on the Shelf. And this morning, magically, we do.

According to the book, as soon as he makes his arrival, the family that adopts him needs to name him. So over oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and toast, we decided on a name.

Meet Zippy.