Elf on the Shelf is well and truly back (Picture: ITV/REX)

Elf on the Shelf has fast become a Christmas tradition for many families as excitement builds in the run up to Christmas.

The little elf is popping up more and more and in increasingly unusual places as parents try and surprise their children.

The idea is that each home has a little Elf doll who sits on the shelf and watches how the little children behave in the run-up to Christmas.

Every night the Elf will disappear as they report back to Santa in the North Pole, so he can make a fully informed decision about who should be on the naughty and nice list.

(Picture: Elf on the Shelf/ Metro.co.uk)

When you buy the Elf on the Shelf, they come with a book of a magical story about where they come from and how they help Santa with his naughty and nice lists.

It also comes with a guide for parents, about how the Elf leaves every night to report to Santa, and returns each morning and hides until the children find them.

You can buy the Elf on the Shelf anytime in the run-up to Christmas as Santa’s Scout can arrive anytime from the end of November to the second week in December.

Purchase your Elf on the Shelf on Amazon (£22.95),  or the Elf on the Shelf online store (£22.95) and Smyths Toys (£19.99).

You can choose from a variety of looks and genders for your Elf on the Shelf.

You can get the Scout Elf as a boy or girl with light skin or dark skin (Picture: Elf on the Shelf)

If you have already purchased your Elf on the Shelf you can root it out from last year and say that your little friend has returned.

There are some rules around the Elf on the Shelf, and one is that they cannot be touched, if they are touched they could lose their Christmas magic.

If the Elf is touched you need to apologise and write a letter to Santa to attempt to reverse the damage.

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