GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Christmas is less than a week away and Santa Claus is starting to get reports on who's been naughty and who's been nice. Many of those reports may be coming from surprise guests in your homes.
All month magical friends have been dropping in on families all over West Michigan and all over the country.
This phenomenon known as "The Elf on the Shelf" started in 2005 when book, with the same title, first came out.
Even though it's called "The Elf on the Shelf", the little guys appear in a different location in people's homes each day.
Just this week Melody VanderWeide and her children found their elf, Jolly, playing with Legos on the dining room table. Earlier in the week he was in an umbrella and playing with the Wii remote in a bucket of cd's.
"Jolly is straight from the North Pole and visiting us from Santa Claus. Every now and then he flies back in the night," said VanderWeide. "Jolly goes to give reports of what goes on in our house."
VanderWeide, is owner and founder of grkids.com. On her Pinterest page you can see other families sharing where their elves are popping up.
The elves are very creative. They do everything from cutting out snowflakes, to helping out in the kitchen and even spelling out messages for the kids in M&M's. VanderWeide says, for their family, having an elf is just one more magical wonder of Christmas.
"It kind of spreads that out over the whole month of December. Every day they run down the stairs and the Christmas lights in our house are on and they are looking around saying 'where is Jolly? What is Jolly doing right now? Oh, look I found him can you find him?' It is discovery and really just exciting. "
VanderWeide says this is the second year the elf has appeared in their home. And, even though he is only around for roughly a month, the kids absolutely love him.
"His other elf brothers and sisters seem to be everywhere even in kids schools. I know my daughter's kindergarten class has an elf now," she said.
VanderWeide advised people to remind kids to be careful and not touch their elves or it may lose its magical powers.
Parents certainly don't want that. The elves are Santa's eyes and ears and have proven to be a great way to keep the kids on their best behavior.
"Of course they are kids but I have heard 'don't do that Jolly is looking," said VanderWeide.
Please share what your elf has been up to in your home on our WZZM13 photo gallery.
WZZM Traffic Reporter Dave Kaechele even got into the elfin spirit and dressed as an elf himself Wednesday morning. You can watch his appearance in the Elf on the Shelf video attached to this story. Thanks to the Kostume Room on 36th Street SW in Wyoming for loaning us the costume.