elf on the shelf | indiana county, pa photography | personal

Elf on a Shelf…..what is it? A Christmas Tradition!

I personaly believe that family traditions are SOO IMPORTANT…so that’s why I fell in love with the Elf on the Shelf book set. I’ll be honest, I knew NOTHING about this book nor the elf until I went on a shoot for a local family and their kids were telling me ALLLL about it. They were so excited for the elf to come and immediatelyafter hearing the excitment in their voices- I was hooked. I went home Googled it and had it purchased by the end of the day. The day it arrived, I couldn’t wait to open it-I may have been more excited than Mallory….and we sat in the middle of the living room reading the story. She was so excited that she immediatly began plotting the spots she would set him for the upcoming days.

So you’re thinking…what’s the point? Well….Inside the book set you will find an antique-style Elf (which you get to name), formed to sit on a shelf or perch in your house, as well as a book that explains what the Elf is for. He has an important job. This Elf is assigned to watch over your family and report back to Santa each night about who has been naughty or nice that day. By morning he’s back but he’s in a different place in the house for a daily hide-and-seek ritual. I’m telling you, Greg and I have more fun with it than I think Mallory does and she gets up every morning with the burning question…”Where do you think the elf is today?” Our elf Fisbee is a little shenanigan! He’s always up to something!

So of course I’m documenting all the hiding spots our little elf-whose name is Frisbee (he goes and comes back in the morning-get it..hahah). I’m trying to convince Mallory to change his name to Elfis Presley…but she ain’t having it! If you follow me on facebook, you may have seen a few of these already posted. I would share them from night to night….BUT there are some behind the scene photos that I haven’t shared yet. Merry Christmas Everyone!!

PS: YES…I do think the elf is kinda creepy looking…but it’s an elf…cut him a break!

And if you have 7 minutes to burn, here is a little video I recorded of Mallory last night while she "read" the Elf on the Shelf to her elf Frisbee. And when I say "reading", it means she was looking at the pictures and describing them in her own words. Tee he he...ahh, to be 6 again! :-)

I hope at the very least they make you smile....and I hope Mallory remembers this into HER adult life and carries on the tradition with her kids. :-)

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  • Nicole SteetleDecember 21, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    I’m pretty sure I am going to purchase one to keep for when I finally have kids. It’s so cute!

  • LisaDecember 21, 2010 - 2:38 pm

    very very sweet. love the photos you’ve done – you should share them with the author!!

  • […] we still haven’t written a letter to Santa yet. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Frisbee will take it with him to the North Pole tonight to give to Santa….. SOOOO, I thought I would […]

  • […] Once she laid eyes on the doll house it was like she had tunnel vision. It was THERE that we found Frisbee the elf. He was there for his last trip back until next year. It’s been fun while it lasted! […]

  • Bethany JablunovskyJanuary 1, 2011 - 12:18 pm

    Jen…I would just like to say that you are very inspiring. I am a amateur photographer…and your shots are “my style”. I realte to them. I have had a few minutes this am that the kids have been occupied…and I have thoroughly enjoyed scanning your blog and your beautiful shots:)

  • KathrynOctober 16, 2011 - 12:29 am

    That is brilliant! We have Fred the Elf who came last year. Our daughter was actually in a pretty naughty phase and she didn’t want the elf to stay! The second day he was there she said she couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over! That made me so sad so I said we would leave a note with Fred to take back to Santa to not come back and that I would just send Santa emails to check in. She changed her mind and embraced Fred! He is so much fun and I am so excited to try some of your ideas out! How did you ever get him to stay on the potty? I am a photography want to be and I love your photos! I can’t wait to look through more of your blog. Your use of light is brilliant!

  • MeganNovember 5, 2011 - 10:27 pm

    Not only do you take beautiful pictures, your sense of humor knocks me out! I love these elf on a shelf pics! I’m dropping by via pinterest, but I’m going to share this link with a bunch of my friends! Elf on the Shelf rocks – and is kind of a ladies man if you ask Barbie… LOL!

  • DawnNovember 7, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    Hi I was just wondering what happens when you find your elf in a spot where he might be touched? Like in the picture of him sitting on the toilet? Does he stay there all day? Because in the story it says he can lose his magic if touched so I was just wondering. We have had our Elf Eli for three or four years now but he has just always done the same old stuff and I am wanting to try some different things with him..Thanks!

  • jen mckenNovember 7, 2011 - 5:00 pm

    Hi Dawn! In our house, we always find him in the morning and THEN place him where he’s going to be for the day. Then overnight when he goes to tell Santa, he always comes back in the morning to a different spot….with a little mischief!. (i guess we kind of make up our own rules…tee he he)

  • […] via jen mcken photo […]

  • […] A creative elf by beatrice.killam (he drew mustaches & glasses on the family photo)! 2. An elf making smores by Jen McKen 3. An elf snow angel by rubyandmyrtle 4. An elf with his new girlfriend by Jen McKen […]

  • TeenaNovember 9, 2011 - 10:29 am

    Jen….you rock!!!!!

  • […] Click on this link to see some more of his shenanigans from last year: https://jenmckenphoto.com/2010/12/elf-on-the-shelf-indiana-county-pa-photography-personal/ […]

  • AllisonDecember 2, 2011 - 9:22 pm

    These ideas are so great! Thanks for sharing them — my kids are speculating about all of the things our elf is going to do this year 🙂

  • […] on the “popular” category on Pintrest! haha! Even a few articles were linked back to my original post from 2010. Check them out […]

  • […] a scavenger hunt by taking yarn and threading it through the house to find the present at the end. JenMcKenPhotography is sure having fun with a mischievous Elf – check out some of her pics.   Oh, I […]

  • Sara StoneNovember 30, 2012 - 2:35 am

    I found this on pinterest. Please come share on my Everything Elf on the Shelf link up.


  • […] the “popular” category on Pintrest! haha! Even a few articles were linked back to my original post from 2010. Check them out […]

  • Alese Anderson StewartNovember 30, 2012 - 3:52 pm

    Today I am posting a round up of Elf of the Shelf ideas on my blog http://2crafty4myskirt.blogspot.com. I will be including some of your ideas and link to your blog. If that is not ok with you please me know. Thanks.

  • […] Jen McKen Photography did a fabulous series with the Elf on the Shelf. This is beyond awesome.  I’m just a little jealous at her creativity… […]

  • […] the floor, found a coca cola bottle and wa-la! I posted it online along with the others you can see here and it was like over night they were exploding across the […]

  • Julie Retsch SzaboJune 22, 2013 - 5:40 pm

    You should check out The Pajama Elves by Hayden Edwards. It is the story of elves at the North Pole who sew magical pajamas that help children sleep on Christmas Eve, so Santa can visit unnoticed. Another fun Christmas tradition for families!

  • 7 More Cute Elf On The Shelf IdeasNovember 27, 2016 - 6:20 am

    […] Credit: Jen McKen Photography […]

  • […] idea found via JenMcKen […]


Hey there! I'm Jen McKen, a down to earth, people loving, small town gal. I'm a leetle bit sarcastic, HUGELY sentimental, I have a killer sense of humor and I like to think I'm pretty damn good at my job!

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