If you're a parent, chances are Elf on the Shelf is as unavoidable in December as Christmas music. The toy, meant to remind children that Santa's watching, is said to report to the North Pole each night and return to a new spot in the morning. While the elf could easily just relocate from the mantel to a bookshelf to a countertop, some people go all out—and one of those people is Busy Philipps.
Busy—mom of two and known for her roles on Dawson's Creek, Freaks & Geeks, and most recently, Vice Principals—shares her elaborate Elf on the Shelf scenes on her Instagram account. The elves have participated in five years of elf races, flown planes, set up a farmers market, and even done their own laundry. When the family was recently in New York City, the elves packed up (literally!) and came with, even having a bit of touristy fun themselves.
The rise of Instagram has upped the ante for Elf on the Shelf parents, with one nurse mom even taking an elf to a real hospital (during a slow period) after an unfortunate incident with the family dog.
While Elf on the Shelf has been around for 12 years now, selling over 11 million elves, it's not the first elf on the block. Dabney wrote about her family's knee-hugger elf tradition, which she recalls as a December version of an Easter egg hunt.
Enjoy a few more of Busy's creative elves, and maybe get some inspiration for your own.