We had a lot of fun with Elf on the Shelf with the granddaughters last year. Whenever they came to stay in December, Elf would come too! It was up to us to come up with the ideas! Thank goodness for Pinterest!
Here is a piece I took from wikipedia.org on how Elf got started:
The Elf on the Shelf story was created in 2004 by Carol Aebersold and daughter Chanda Bell over a cup of tea. Bell suggested they write a book about their own family tradition of an elf sent from Santa who came to watch over them at Christmas time. Aebersold's other daughter, Christa Pitts, was recruited by the family to share her expertise in sales and marketing. Together, the trio devoted the next three years promoting their self-published book and attending book signings and trade shows.