Looking back on your childhood, did you ever wonder why Santa never sent one of his “scout elves” to your home? 

There’s a good reason for that. The original Elf on the Shelf book wasn’t published until 2005. Three years later, the tradition created by Carol Aebersold and her daughters was a big hit. The book and toy picked up a handful of awards in 2008. Over the years, the character became so popular that it got its own animated Christmas special on CBS and balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Even if you don’t have kids, you’re vaguely familiar with this little guy and his counterparts because you’ve seen pictures of scout elves scattered throughout your newsfeed over the years. You know what he looks like, but what’s his deal?

As the story goes, these Scout Elves are sent by Santa after Thanksgiving to keep an eye on kids to make sure their behavior keeps them on his “Nice List.” Each night they fly back to the North Pole to check in with Santa and return to your home the next morning to continue their assignment. That’s why you’ll find it getting into mischief in a new spot every day. 

It’s very important that the kids don’t touch the elf, or it will lose its magical powers. He also doesn’t speak or move if your kids are awake. 

Of course, the elf needs a little help from parents to find its new hiding spot each day and we know that coming up with 30 ideas during “Elf on the Shelf” season is difficult. Luckily, there are some generous Boise area parents that shared photos of their elves after we introduced you to Officer Coal, the scout elf that spends the holidays at the Nampa Police Department. They let us pull our favorite pictures and share them with you for inspiration! 

If you have a brilliant idea that you’d like us to add to the gallery, send it our way using the station app (download it with the box below) or e-mail it to us by clicking HERE

Idaho’s Talk Station logo
Get our free mobile app

35 Brilliant Elf on the Shelf Ideas From Boise Area Parents

When we shared photos of the shenanigans that Officer Coal at the Nampa Police Department had gotten himself into, our listeners were quick to show us photos of what the scout elves at their homes or businesses had been up to! Here's some inspiration!

KEEP READING: All Aboard This Magical Christmas Train Less Than 6 Hours From Boise

Thunder Mountain Line may have closed years ago, but those looking for an experience similar to their "Santa Express" can find this magical train right in Heber City, Utah less than six hours from Boise!

Christmas in Color Returns to Boise

The interactive drive-thru light display is happening at Expo Idaho.

More From Idaho’s Talk Station