"Oh, man! That was my fault, I came down for a drink and I saw a puff of magic dust" - 15 epic (and easy) reasons why our elf didn’t move last night

Your kids wake. The elf is in the same spot as yesterday. Curious kids will have lots of questions, quite rightly, as to why the elf didn’t move…

Reasons why our elf didn't move
(Image credit: Anna)

Oh no! Your Elf on the Shelf didn't move last night and now you're left with so many questions as to why they didn't - were they sleeping, too cold, too bored?

Christmas is full of so many memory-making traditions, like getting their top Christmas toys  - the ones they’ve wanted all year - to doing Elf on the Shelf. It can be a bit Marmite, as not every adult loves or does it because you have to find Elf on the Shelf naughty ideas for 25 days to keep it going. But kids love this curious little elf, who can sometimes be cheeky, naughty, and mischievous. Elf on the Shelf, so the legend goes, visits us from the North Pole on the 1st of December and stays throughout Advent, making his way around the house providing fun and giggles. 

Writer's note

I have a five-year-old and have got away with not doing this tradition. I made a deal with myself that 'if he asks then we will'. And, reader, he's not asked yet so... shhhh!

Mum-of-one, Kiran tells us the time her son Noah noticed that their Elf, Moon was still stuck in the lights, “he had so many questions as to why Moon hadn’t moved so we had a long old conversation on the way to school thinking of all the reasons WE might not want to move if WE were a magic elf." 

So, if you find yourself in this same predicament we've got you covered; we spoke to 13 mums and dads about the reasons their elf didn’t move last night….

Reasons why our elf didn't move

  1. Maybe they’re saving their energy for a big surprise tomorrow.
  2. Looks like they have a good view from where they are.
  3. Oh look, maybe he’s stuck and needs our help. How can we move them without touching them?
  4. Oh, man! I think that was my fault, I came down for a glass of water I thought I saw a puff of magic dust.
  5. I think they’re being a tricky trickster and made you look everywhere else for them when they never moved - what a cheeky trickster.
  6. Oh yeah, they haven’t moved have they… what game could they be playing where they don’t move?
  7. Maybe they fell asleep waiting for you to fall asleep last night.

Reasons our elf on the shelf didn't move illustrated by elves

(Image credit: Benson for beds)
  1. *check out the window* yep, bad weather last night it wasn’t safe for them to travel.
  2. I think maybe they worked from home and emailed Santa.
  3. Oh no maybe they’re poorly - let's leave them so medicinal mince pies before we leave.
  4. They look so comfy there, when I’m comfy I don’t like to move.
  5. You know what? Elves are used to living in the cold North Pole and our house is too warm, the elf magic disappears when they get warm. We need to recharge the magic with really cold air. (then use an oven glove and move the elf to the freezer).
  6. Maybe they know that we’re at school and work today, and fancy moving in the day when they can see a bit better?
  7. The elf can see the TV from there maybe they watched TV all night! What do you think they like to watch?
  8. Oh wow, I have no idea why they didn’t move (then embark on a weird and wonderful conversation of all the reasons your kids might think of).

We think number 15 is the best one as it gets kids excited, teaches them empathy by trying to imagine what the Elf might be feeling or thinking, and helps develop descriptive words and imaginative thoughts. We also consulted the Elf on the Shelf blog and their official reasons are helpful too.

And, if you're looking to buy time to move the elf, try saying; "Shh, did you hear that? What was that noise? I think they’re still moving. Stay there while I run and check. Wait until I call you to come down because if you see them moving, they lose their magic." Then work fast.

If you're looking for more Christmassy memory-making ideas then take a look at our best Christmas puddings taste test results and also be ready to get your decs down on the right date with our When to take your Christmas tree down article. 

Stephanie Lowe
Family Editor

Stephanie Lowe is Family Editor at GoodTo covering all things parenting, pregnancy and more. She has over 13 years' experience as a digital journalist with a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to all things family and lifestyle. Stephanie lives in Kent with her husband and son, Ted. With his love of choo-choos, Hey Duggee and finger painting he keeps her on her toes.