Elf on the Shelf :: A Cautionary Tale {Plus a Free Printable}

Our Elf is usually boring each year (which I am totally fine with after having him for 8 years).
We just move him from spot to spot. 
Last year, I decided to step up my "elf game" one night.
 I had this idea for awhile & I finally executed it last year.
 I made a note for the elf to hold next to some magic elf seeds (starlight mints)
 The kids will plant them in the garden tomorrow and then the next morning our garden will be full of candy canes.
So cute, right?!?!?

Well.....let me tell you how it went down.
 Magic Elf Seeds "A Cautionary Tale"......
So, the Magic Elf Seeds were a huge hit in the morning. 
The kids were so excited when they saw them. 
It was raining when they woke up, so I told them they could plant them in the garden when the rain stopped. Fast forward a few hours (the rain has stopped) Luke was playing with his rescue bots downstairs & the girls were upstairs playing American Girl Dolls and I was putting away laundry. 
10 minutes later, Luke comes up stairs and says "I planted all the magic seeds in the garden" 
We go outside an sure enough, Luke has planted all the seeds by himself. He was so proud. The girls on the other hand, FREAK OUT and start crying & screaming. 
They were so mad he did that without him. The girls start digging in the dirt trying to find them so they can replant them. 
They are getting covered in mud. Luke starts crying because they are digging them up. 
I tell the girls to stop digging them up and that they can water the seeds. 
They are still hysterical, but agree to this. Claire gets the hose and waters half the garden bed. 
Then, she hands the hose to Kate. 
Kate takes the hose, aims it at Luke and sprays it in his face and screams "That's what you get for planting the magic seeds without us" 
Luke starts crying again and chases Kate through the muddy garden. 
All 3 kids were crying & covered in mud. EPIC FAIL. 
All I could do was laugh. It was HYSTERICAL.
The kids got over their fight later that day & all was well.

I call the next part of the story.....Magic Elf Seeds "A Cautionary Tale", Part 2

So, that night Kevin and I got home from a fun dinner out with friends. 
I decided that yes, I would go plant the candy canes because I knew how much joy it would bring my children. I was excited to "plant" the candy canes in the garden that night & hoped that the candy canes in the morning would redeem the epic fail of the Magic Elf Seeds.
My mother in law was at our house because she babysat our kids while we were at dinner. 
I said, "I am going to go plant the candy canes" 
Both her and Kevin said that I needed to unwrap the candy canes because how can candy canes grow with the plastic on them?
I wanted to be lazy and just plant them with the wrappers on and that way if they wanted a candy cane, they could unwrap in the morning & eat one. 
Kevin and my mother in law said they must be unwrapped now because it's more realistic. 
I said fine & they helped me unwrap them. Then I go out in the 30 degree temperature at almost 1am in the morning and plant the candy canes in the garden bed.

Fast forward to the morning. My kids don't even mention the magic elf seeds. Hours go by....it hasn't even crossed their mind that there might be a surprise in the garden. I am annoyed....ungrateful kids. LOL!
Finally at almost noon, Luke looks out his window and says "Our magic seeds grew!!!" 

At this point I was brushing one of the girls hair because her hair is full of knots and I wanted it to look nice for church tonight. 
 I say "No one is going outside to look at the garden until I finish brushing out this hair. We are all going outside together." A few minutes later the hair is shiny, brushed & doesn't look like a rat's nest anymore. We all go outside together & see the amazing Candy Cane Garden.
All 3 kids are excited about the candy canes and they each bend down to grab a few. 
Then, I hear a scream. My lovely daughter whose hair I just spent 20 minutes brushing has a CANDY CANE that is stuck in her hair.
 As she bent over to grab one of the candy canes, they were wet & sticky (since they weren't in their wrappers) and her hair is long that as she bent over to get a candy cane, one got stuck to the front of her hair. Are you kidding me?!?!? She starts crying because now her hair is sticky & she realizes I will have to brush it out again, which she hates. 
I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this point, but I am just glad Kevin & my sister Elyse were here to witness the entire thing. 
The other 2 kids are mad because they say that the candy canes are gross because they are sticky, wet, have dirt stuck on them & they can't eat them. 
I then take the crying child inside, who now has sticky hair &I have to wash her hair to get all the stickiness out. 

Good times!!!!!!

 Moral of the story? 
Just keep the Elf on the damn shelf and don't try and be creative....it will backfire. Haha!

But, if you do want to do this idea, I decided to make the printable available to you as well. 
I did 2 different sayings...Plant in your Garden or Plant in your Yard.
I also left 2 of them blank, so you could make up other notes from your elf if you wanted to.

{Click to download. Right click & then Save.}

Our elf will be bringing these Magic Elf Seeds again this year....we need to redeem ourselves from last year's fiasco! 
 Now there is an additional Moral of the story....If you decide to do these "awesome" Magic Elf Seeds, make sure you keep the candy cane wrappers on when you plant them so that your kids can actually eat the Candy Canes :)



  1. I'm sorry, but all I could do was laugh while reading this!!! It sounds like something that would happen to me :) We did this last week at the preschool I work at. Each class had 2 small pots w/ magic soil (flour) that we planted our candy cane seeds in, then we placed them on the windowsills. It was a fun activity for the kids!!!!!

  2. What a creative use of the Elf! Though it doesn't sound like it went too well...lol! I'm lazy too and just move it around.

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  3. Oh this was too funny!yeah, i’ma going to keep that elf indoors.

  4. I’m so LOL-ing big time! This is why I just stick to the super boring elf!! It’s dangerous. 😂🤣

  5. Oh my word!! What a funny story to read on a Monday morning! Those darn elves! :) I am so glad someone else's daughter hates her hair being brushed too!

  6. I admit, I laughed out loud when I read this! I can't believe I am saying this but I miss the Elf. We tried to do it this year even though they both "know" now, but no one is interested.

  7. I have been a reader of your blog forever and this is by far the best post you have ever written! The hose to the face was the best part, OMG, I am dying!! :)

  8. LOL! I AM DYING HERE! This is my life every day with 4 kids! Love that you're keeping it real!

  9. Bahahah!!! I am cracking up!! I’m usually super creative with our elf but this year he has been so stinkin’ boring because I literally wake up at 3am every morning & have forgotten to move him!! Hello pregnancy brain!

  10. Oh My Goodness! This is hysterical! I lol'd with tears in my eyes while reading this! So darn funny! This would have happened to me in some form, too. I want to be creative, but, due to middle of night movings, I basically keep it simple. Ha! The things that we do for our kids! Hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Oh my goodness ~ this is what we get for trying to be a fun mom or Nana =). This will be one of those fun family stories you tell and laugh about for years to come. I did something similar with 3 of my little GrandJOYS. I gave them some mints and told them we were going to plant them in our flower pot. I filled the flower pot with sugar and we planted the "seeds" in the sugar and set it by the window so they could grow. I explained that we did not need to water the seeds since the soil was magic soil. I also attached the legend of the Candy Cane to each candy cane so that they could connect the holiday to Jesus birth once the candy canes grew. They loved it!!

  12. Cute story that will surely be remembered for quite some time.
    Hey, it's the thought that counts!

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