How to Win at Elf on the Shelf: A Four-Stage Approach (+Infographic!)

‘Tis the season, parents: It’s time for Elf on a Shelf!

If you have children or little ones in your care, you have no doubt faced this dilemma: to elf or not to elf?

If you participate in this fresh hell fun tradition every December, you know that once you start, you can never go back. Even if you don’t participate, the little guy will permeate your social media feed in a matter of days. Because I care about your well-being and want you to enjoy the holiday season, I’m sharing my approach to the Elf on the Shelf tradition.


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


  1. Sherri remember your mom did “elf on the shelf ” even before elfing wasn’t cool. That little Red Bugger has been out terrorizing my kids and grandkids for 50 years now. My sisters gave it to MaryAnne when she was only 2 years old.Came with a mini box of Russel Stover chocolates.
    so for a dollar, who could ask for more………Scaring your kids into behaving and chocolates for Mommy. Its a win win.


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