When Does The Elf on the Shelf® Leave?

After spending the holiday season with your family showcasing crafty surprises and reporting nightly to Santa, it's time for your Scout Elf to return to the North Pole! According to The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, the night before Christmas, an elf’s job comes to an end. On December 24, most Scout Elves say farewell to their families and fly back to the North Pole following Santa’s sleigh. This way, they can help him begin preparing for the year ahead. Read on to find a few reasons why some elves may be granted special permission to stay a bit longer.

Santa's sleigh and elves flying

  1. They need extra time to complete their important Christmas duty. If your family was away during the holidays, your elf might stay a while longer to continue scouting good behavior to report to Santa.
  2. They wanted to celebrate one more holiday together—Christmas day. Sometimes, kids write notes to Santa asking permission for their elves to stay and watch them open presents before flying back!
  3. Their arrival was delayed, so Santa extended their departure. If your Scout Elf got a late start arriving at the beginning of the season, Santa may extend their stay a bit, so they have ample time to visit your family.

Are your little ones sad their elf headed back? Find out why your elf had to return to the North Pole!