I know many parents are tired of ELF on the SHELF, are you? Now Food Network even has a baking competition that revolves around the ELF on the SHELF.

I have always loved the idea and would make a list each year of the antics they would get into that year so I was always prepared and hopefully didn’t repeat myself too much!

My munchkins have grown up fast! 2 of 3 of them “KNEW”, but the youngest still believed and we tried keeping the elf/nisse tradition alive another year! BUT, her teacher told the whole class that year! Who does that? I was soooooo mad! First off it wasn’t her place to tell the kids and what kind of person, especially a teacher, steals a child’s belief of anything? These days the munchkins all tower over me in their teens and our elf/Nisse has become a sentimental fixture in the Christmas decorations.

Last year I discovered Julenisser, a Nordic tradition, to replace our previous Elf on a Shelf. I can’t find that a Julenisser is actually given a name, but I’m winging it here. 😀 The nisse is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore. Again this year we’re bringing back Annabelle and her pet reindeer, Alvin.

In Solvang, a Danish community, they actually do a Nisse Adventure like a scavenger hunt and Danish style JuleFest celebration throughout the month of December.

In Denmark there is a serious subculture regarding the Christmas elves and gnomes known as Julenisser. They live in forests and eat fruits and berries throughout the year before they come spend the month of Christmas with your family. They have BIG hearts and ARE magical and they love to play tricks on you and your family!

Hallmark even did a Christmas movie this year that involves a Gnome/Troll calle MY NORWEIGIAN HOLIDAY.

I know some people begin the day after Thanksgiving, but for us December 1st was always the beginning, though now that the munchkins all know I’ve put them out already this year.

For several years we did an Elf on the Shelf for the munchkins. Each year since we’ve done a “cousin” elf so it wasn’t the same elf every year. I know many parents are dreading that darned elf every year and having to come up with at least 24 DIFFERENT scenarios that are different from the previous year!

So when do you begin? Do you have unique names for your elf? Or do you have a Julenisser? Also, do you have a favorite Christmas character? Angels, Snowmen, Nutcrackers, Bears, Gnomes, Reindeer, Peanuts (Charlie Brown, Snoopy…), Elves, Gingerbread Men, Penguins or the BIG man himself, Santa Clause.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the past several years:

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