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Elf on the Shelf — Caught on Home Security Camera

Anne Dennon

Anne Dennon

Home Technology Writer

2 min. read

Use your home security camera to add extra magic to holiday tradition

Home security cameras are a vital part of any home security system, allowing you to monitor visitors, field security alerts, and identify would-be burglars. Whether you have a smart surveillance camera or a video doorbell, capturing unexpected footage of household antics is a fun bonus. This holiday season, make spirits bright by capturing another kind of unexpected footage — your Elf on the Shelf scooting through the frame, unassisted by human hands (per Santa-mandated rule).

The Elf on the Shelf has been a beloved holiday tradition since a mother-and-daughter duo penned the children’s book in 2005. Like an advent calendar, the Elf offers a daily festive surprise for kids in the lead-up to Christmas. Here’s how it works: The Elf appears in a new spot in your home every day. By night, the Elf returns to the North Pole and reports on who’s naughty and nice. Touch the Elf, and the magic that fuels the Elf’s nightly missions might be lost.  

Kids get a kick out of discovering the Elf at a new post (hiding in an igloo of sugar cubes, cutting snowflakes from the toilet paper roll) come morning. Parents have dreamed up ingenious staging ideas, but it’s time to raise the game. Recreate our footage of the Elf sneaking to his next scene, then show your kids the Elf off his shelf — and caught on camera. 

#1 — Mush! Hitching a sled dog ride

Enlist your favorite four-legged assistant, attaching the Elf to their collar or pet coat. Dogs may best cooperate as you get the Elf properly situated, but just about any domestic creature will obliging come running through your security camera’s vision field when you offer a treat. 

#2 — The holiday hamper scamper

The Elf may need to find sneakier means of transportation while his human charges are awake. Lodge the Elf in a full basket of laundry, then transport him through the frame. Make sure you get a close-up of Santa’s little helper, though helping around the house may not be his forte. 

#3 — Carabiner, crampons, candy cane

So how does a 12-inch-tall elf make it up and down the stairs? With a trusty candy cane grappling hook, of course. Stage this adventurous scene with fishing line, then channel puppet master skills to slowly tug the Elf up and out of view.

#4 — Visions of paratroopers danced in their heads

Like the egg drop science experiment, but without the collateral damage. Tie the Elf to an inverted shopping bag (extra points if it’s holiday-themed) then parachute drop him from the top of the stairs or a tall ladder outside of camera range. Bombs away!

#5 — Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down

A little inter-toy cooperation goes a long way. Lodge the Elf into an action figure tank or Barbie car, then get out the old fishing line again to help the Elf zoom to his next destination. (We can also imagine a roller skating situation with Hot Wheels for skates and chopsticks for hidden support — but let’s take a lesson from the Elf and not get carried away.)