Kids are clever, and as much as they marvel at their Elf on the Shelf's silly antics, they're also probably wondering about the little guy's whereabouts — namely, how it magically appears in a new spot every morning. And if you've got home security cameras or baby monitors, well, it's only a matter of time before they start demanding some proof.
Around this time last year, Maggie Linsk knew her son, Connor, was determined to spot his elf, Ollie, after hours. So, she and her husband set to work.
"When our son was trying to catch our elf on the camera, we knew we had to find a way to keep the magic alive but not really have to worry about him trying to catch him again," Maggie told POPSUGAR.
The result? Some "found footage" of Ollie scooting along the family's living room, past their Christmas tree, and up the wall toward the camera. In an instant, the sneaky elf covered the lens with a tissue, so he wouldn't be caught in the act again.
They showed Connor the results and — as can be seen in the third video — he was mesmerised. "Ollie!" he said. "That's Ollie!"
So, uh, how did they do it?
As Maggie said in an Instagram post documenting their handiwork, "can we take a moment to appreciate how much may husband makes our Elf on the Shelf special?"
She told POPSUGAR that they essentially used the magic of postproduction to layer two videos on top of one another. "By just using a broom stick and fishing line, we were able to puppet the elf across the room and using double-sided tape on his hand to make it possible to grab the tissue paper," she said. "After we got that recorded, we used a free Adobe 'after effects' app to frame a 'mask' around my husband to remove him from the video!"
Ya know, basic stuff. Connor is one lucky kiddo to have such resourceful Elf on the Shelf coconspirators as parents.