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The Elf of the Shelf has taken the world by storm, and while it’s a super fun tradition, some of us are over it. We’re sick of moving the elf EVERY NIGHT over the holidays, and it’s become just another to-do on our list during an already busy time of year. If you’re ready to give up the elf, here’s an idea with a FREE printable from Santa explaining to your kids why their elf won’t be around this Christmas season.

An elf sitting on a decorative shelf

Who here does the Elf on the Shelf? It’s definitely caused quite the controversy online, but we’ve loved having our elf, Dash, for the past 6 years.

Dash wasn’t a naughty elf. He never got into mischief. He simply moved around the house from night to night. In fact, he often left notes for the kids encouraging them to perform acts of kindness (or clean their rooms 🤷🙌).

But this year? This year I’m tired. I’m dreading moving that stupid elf from place to place every night. And last year, our kids were less enthused by him than in years past. Sure, they were excited for the first three days or so, but then they rarely even looked for him. But I still had to move the stupid thing–just in case 🙄.

The Elf Breakfast

In our house, Dash arrives the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. He comes bearing a couple small gifts (like Christmas socks and a Christmas activity book–thanks Target Dollar Spot!) and provides a special breakfast of red and green Christmas eggs, hot cocoa, and “snow” covered (powdered) donuts. We read the elf book and the note Dash brings, eat our food, and play with the new prizes. It’s simple to prepare, gets us into the Christmas spirit, and the kids look forward to it every year.

And so do I. I love our elf breakfast! It’s one of my favorite traditions–except for one thing. I hate the stupid elf.

So my husband and I came up with a plan.

The Elf Version 2018

This year, we’ll still have our elf breakfast. Dash will still arrive with yummy food and gifts (maybe a couple extra this time 😂) and a welcome letter. But this time it’ll be a bit different.

This time it won’t say, “I’m so excited to be here to watch all the good things you do.” Because he won’t be here. Not most of the time anyway. Because Santa needs his help.

You see, due to a mishap at the workshop, the elves are very behind on making toys this year, and Santa needs all the help he can get making toys. He needs Dash’s help making legos. Maybe Dash will pop over to our house here and there (or maybe he won’t), but he’ll be thinking of Ryan and Roxy every day.

Yeah, I think he’ll definitely bring a couple extra gifts this year. But hey, a few extra dollars spent at Target in exchange for freedom from elf-moving-prison? Yeah, that’s definitely worth it.


We used to do three different advents–yes three! I just wanted to do all the things and make the season extra magical. It was fun, I guess. But it was also really stressful. And exhausting.

This year, I’m going for simplicity. It will still be magical. We’ll still do all our favorite things. We’ll still talk about Christ and His birth. We’ll still look at lights and sip on hot cocoa. But I want to leave room for the small moments–sitting around the Christmas tree talking and laughing. Dancing around the kitchen to Christmas music. Dropping by some cookies to a neighbor who needs a pick-me-up.

So I’m letting go of the things that brought stress and leaving only the things that bring joy. My kids will still have an amazing Christmas. And that’s enough.

Printable Letter

If you’re sick of the elf like we are, here’s a free printable letter from Santa for you to download and use this Christmas season. The elf was a brilliant idea and I had fun with it for a long time, but it’s so 2017 😝. You can download the letter by clicking on the image below.

A letter from Santa Claus explaining why the Elf on the Shelf can\'t come visit this year

You can download the printable HERE.

If you post about using the printable, use #freefromtheelf and tag me @colormyhappy. I’d love to see!

The Guy Versions

For a lesson on what NOT to tell your kids about the elf, check out these versions of the letter my husband came up with. Trust me, they’re worth the read.

Dear kids,

Dash is Dead. Sorry.


Mom & Dad Santa


To whom it may concern:

I am sad to inform you of the passing of Mr. Dash T. Elfinson. Dash was a good elf, though sometimes lazy. You may have noticed of late that some nights he wouldn’t even move. He was a napper, a most gifted napper. It was his strength, but also his undoing.

This last summer, while the elves were busy at work making toys, Dash dashed off to take a little nap in the reindeer pen. He found a comfortable spot amongst Rudolph’s carrots and fell asleep. Now you need to understand that while Rudolph does help Santa see on foggy nights, having a bright light shining in his face every day has made him legally blind. Unfortunately, that day he did not see little Dash.

You may be comforted to know that he went quickly, five bites tops. And according to Rudolph he was the sweetest elf he ever tasted. This Christmas, as you enjoy your hot chocolate, remember to pour a little out for Mr. Dash.

With my sincerest condolences,



To the friends of Dash T. Elfinson,

It is my unfortunate duty to inform you of the passing of Mr. Elfinson. As you may have noticed, Dash has been fighting a losing battle to North Polio. The dreaded disease caused him to become lethargic, some nights not even being able to move.

As you may know, Elves eat from four basic food groups: Candy, Candy Cane, Candy Corn, and Syrup. While this diet makes elves super sweet, it can also make them super dead. And that is what Dash is now: super dead. LOL.

Don’t be sad. It’s all part of the great Cycle of Life. The elves eat Candy Canes, the elves die, then the elves are used in Mrs. Claus’s Candy Cane recipe. So this Christmas, as you eat a delicious Candy Cane, think of Dash and all the good times you had.



P.S. Please enjoy the Candy Canes. Let me know if they taste magically familiar.

Yeah, definitely don’t use those, as entertaining as they may be for adults.

Do you do Elf on the Shelf in your house? If so, are you sick of the elf yet?

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