Can Parents Touch Elf On The Shelf

16 Ways To Bring Back Your Elf On The Shelf’s Magic If They Get Touched

An Elf on the Shelf doll in front of a Christmas tree

You’re gonna need a lot of cinnamon for the super curious kids.

Updated: November 17, 2023
Originally Published: November 27, 2019
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Can you touch the Elf on the Shelf? If your shelf has ever hosted an elf, your children likely already know the cardinal rule: No touching. But, accidents happen. In the event that a human hand accidentally grazes your family’s beloved scout elf, you’ll need to know what to do if your Elf on the Shelf is touched.

Per official Elf on the Shelf lore, a touched Scout Elf loses their magic. Learning this fact could leave your kids spiraling down an endless rabbit hole of unwanted outcomes — ending up on the naughty list and Christmas being cancelled being their chief concerns, according to my own kids.

Basic Elf on the Shelf rules

The one major rule to remember about your Scout Elf is the one your kids are most likely to break: don’t touch it. Not by a finger, a toe, an elbow, or any other body part your curious kid decides is worth trying their luck.

Here’s a breakdown of the few basic Elf on the Shelf rules:

  • Don’t touch your elf or their magic will disappear.
  • Talk to your elf, but know that they can’t talk back.
  • Your elf reports to Santa nightly and can deliver letters to him.
  • On Christmas Eve, your elf will return to the North Pole and stay there until next season.
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If your little ones start down the path of no return after your elf is touched, have no fear. When the inevitable happens, there are several ways to handle the mishap. Some ideas are a bit more involved than others, but in the end, they all leave your family’s elf with his or her magic restored. Your family’s elf will be as good as new, able to report back to Santa, and your kids won’t have to worry about getting any coal in their stocking.


Put your elf by the fireplace

Since the fireplace is where Santa makes his dramatic arrival every year, set your elf by the hearth and write Kris Kringle a note asking him to drop a little magic down the chimney. Overnight, your elf will be magically restored to his former festive self.


Set your elf under the tree

What’s another super magical place in the house during the holidays? The Christmas tree has it all: Sparkles, that intoxicating scent, and the promise of presents. Let your elf spend the night under the tree and by the morning any lost magic will be returned.


Give your elf a mini marshmallow bath

You probably don’t want to soak your elf in any real suds, but submerging them in a bowl filled with miniature marshmallows is a sweet way to help them feel rejuvenated. Like a spa treatment for elves, this should result in maximum levels of magic.


Watch a Christmas classic together

Whether you choose A Charlie Brown Christmas or a modern-day holiday special, watch something as a family that celebrates the season and make sure your elf is seated front and center. A screening should bring that magic right back.

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Decorate your elf

Sure, your elf is already decked out in a holiday outfit, but some extra accessories can’t hurt. Add to your elf’s outfit with a little tinsel or dangle a small ornament from the end of their hat and they’ll recapture that holiday magic in the twinkling of an eye.


Write an apology

If your Elf on the Shelf is touched, pull out some fancy Christmas stationery and have your kids write a note to the big guy himself, apologizing for touching the elf. Santa would probably also be cool with a crayon-scribbled sticky note, as long as the sentiment is genuine. This tactic is listed as an official strategy on the Elf on the Shelf website, and likely works best for kids who touch the elf on purpose because it can also serve as a reminder of how to apologize to people for breaking rules. If your little one can’t write yet, you may find yourself jotting down a formal apology to Santa, and yes, this will feel completely ludicrous, but it’s worth it so your kid can get some peace.


Sprinkle some cinnamon

Cinnamon is like vitamins for your elf, according to the Elf on the Shelf website. So, sprinkle some of this life-giving substance around your elf to help it regain strength and restore its magic if your Elf on the Shelf is touched. You probably have cinnamon in the cupboard easily available, just make sure your child understands the concept of a “sprinkle” or things may get ugly quickly. The good news is if the spice winds up all over the floor, cinnamon is non-toxic to dogs and cats, per the ASPCA.

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Sing a Christmas carol

When your elf is accidentally touched, brushing up on your family’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” may be in order. Have your family sing a Christmas carol to help spread Christmas cheer and bring back elf’s magic if your Elf on the Shelf is touched. Maybe this could finally be your moment to belt out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for an actual reason other than the fact that the song is outrageously catchy.