Why the Elf Didn’t Move: 20 Believable Elf on the Shelf Excuses

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Your head just hit the pillow after a full, busy, day. Then you remember you forgot to place your kid's Elf on the Shelf or forgot to move him or her from their previous day's spot. One of the reasons families who don't do Elf on the Shelf cite for not doing Elf on the Shelf is that they don't want to hassle with moving the Elf every night. Enter my 20 believable Elf on the Shelf excuses.

While we strive to move the elf every night, sometimes it doesn't happen. Here are some “reasons” your elf might have opted to stay put.

Why the Elf Didn't Move: 20 Believable Elf on the Shelf Excuses

elf on the shelf excuses
We all need elf on the shelf excuses up our sleeves, right?

If your elf on is uncreatively resting on the mantle yet again, here are some believable elf on the shelf excuses that might explain why.

Related: Why we love the Elf on the Shelf at our house

1. The elf didn’t move because you were making too much noise and wouldn’t go to sleep.

If you stay up too long having whispered arguments about “who farted,” well… your elf might just fall asleep and miss his transport to the North Pole.

2. He caught a cold

Santa is sending some emergency “elf-o-tussin.” In the meantime, he’s just gonna rest here. A quiet house will speed his recovery so everyone use your library voices.

3. He’s teleworking.

This is most effective when you score a Barbie-sized iPad and throw it in the general direction of the elf. This is extremely plausible. With all the technology at our fingertips, why does the elf have to fly back to the North Pole every night in person?

Santa has FaceTime and Skype, right?

 4. Of course he moved.

Maybe just a little bit but he’s definitely in a different spot.  

Channel your inner authoritative parent and bust out the “because I said so.” You might even convince yourself the elf moved. That said, this one is probably best for really young children.


5. He was really tired and fell asleep before you did.

Yes, Mommy knows his eyes are open. He’s really sleeping. It’s an elf thing.

6. Your dad accidentally touched the elf so he’s lost his magic for 24 hours.

You can also blame anyone else who lives in your household. The dads don't have to bear the brunt of this one if there's someone else you can point the finger at. Deflect, deflect, deflect. 

7. Storms made it unsafe to fly so the FAA grounded all elves.

This is one of the elf on the shelf excuses that's especially plausible if your location is experiencing rain or snow. If not, you can (hopefully!) show your child on a map where it is storming in the world.

8. He liked this spot so much he wanted to come back to it.

He’ll probably keep coming back to this spot again and again. 

If this isn't a blanket excuse for future slip-ups, I don't know what is. 

9. The elf must have picked this spot because it’s got such a great view of the TV.

The elf is a big fan of NFL, Hallmark Christmas movies, or whatever else is typically on at your house. Improvise.

 10. The elf stayed up had too much eggnog and decided not to make the journey

Because flying to the North Pole when you’re tipsy is irresponsible.

Related post: Four ways social media is ruining Christmas

11. It was too warm in our house last night.

The optimal temperature for elf travel is 67.5 degrees. I’ll make sure we adjust that thermostat ASAP. Wink, wink.

12. He forgot his keys to the North Pole and is waiting for Santa to FedEx them.

Reasonable, right? 

13. The elf has a bellyache because he ate too much candy

And let that be a lesson to you, young man.

14. You’re right, he didn’t move. The elf is messing with us to see if we’re paying attention.

We are! Yay us!

15. Freeze tag?

The “Looks like the elf was trying to play freeze tag with us” has about a 50/50 chance of working. May the odds be ever in your favor. 

16. Maybe he forgot he’s been to that spot three nights in a row.

Elves have a lot on their minds, you know.

17. Is that really our elf?

Look closely. Maybe this is a pretend decoy elf and the real elf is hiding? We better be on our extra good behavior!

18. Santa’s really busy this week so the elves are only flying to the North Pole every other night.

Surely your kids are familiar with the “Mom's busy” concept. Same principle here. It's not the greatest excuse why the elf didn't move but it's probably good for once a season. 

19. Maybe he’s resting and saving his magic to give you a really cool surprise tomorrow…

If you bust this one out, for the love of all that is merry and bright, follow through.

20. Do you think he could be stuck?

Yes, I realize some of these elf on the shelf excuses defy logic a little. Or, perhaps a lot. But if your kids are old enough to smell the lies then they're most likely clued in to the fact that you're the one pulling the strings. 


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *