We love the general idea of Elf on the Shelf, but didn't have the original elf from the book. So we searched around for a suitable alternative. We wanted something about the same size, appproximately 10 - 12 inches tall, bendy, if possible, and friendly.
A cute, small, bendy elf was surprisingly hard to find. Finally, we found one meant as an ornament. He's 11 inches tall and has bendy arms and legs. If you find a similar elf and he isn't bendy, you could make a small slit in his arms and legs, insert a pipe cleaner or jewelry wire, and stitch him back up.
We love our elf and will miss him when he leaves. Wishing you the happiest of holidays!