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317 Elf of the Shelf Ideas

Here is a collection of the 317 best Elf on the Shelf ideas.

If you want each Elf on the Shelf idea to come with all the printables you will need to set it up then see our FREE Elf on the Shelf kit it has 24 Elf on the Shelf ideas that can each be set up in under 5 minutes with things you already have at home and our free printables.

Elf on the shelf ideasPin

Elf on the Shelf Name Ideas

If you are looking for the perfect name for your Elf then see our Elf name generator or see our elf names for girls and elf names for boys.

Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Here are some lazy easy Elf on the Shelf ideas for those who want to keep things simple yet fun and exciting. Since they all take up to 5 minutes to set up they are perfect for last minute.

Here are some easy and straightforward Elf on the Shelf ideas that still capture the magic and can all be done at home with things you already have (no DIY projects 🙂 ):

1. Elf Reading a Book

  • Simply place the elf with an open book, as if it’s reading. We have a free printable miniture book cover that you can print together with a sign encouraging kids to read.

Elf on The Shelf Kit - Story TimePin

For free printables from the Elf kit

2. Elf in the Stocking

  • Tuck the elf inside a Christmas stocking hanging up.

Elf ideasPin

3. Elf with a Snack

  • Have the elf holding a small snack, like a cookie or a piece of fruit.

4. Elf on the Tree

  • Perch the elf on a branch of your Christmas tree.
Elf on a treePin

5. Elf with a Note

  • Write a quick note from the elf to your child, perhaps sharing a compliment or a reminder.

6. Elf in the Fridge

  • Place the elf inside the fridge, sitting on a shelf.

7. Elf’s Toilet Paper Roll Down

  • Drape toilet paper from the roll down to where the elf is sitting.

8. Elf’s Nap Time

  • Lay the elf down on a pillow or in a bed of tissues.

9. Elf Holding a Family Photo

  • Have the elf hold a small family photo, as if it’s admiring it.

10. Elf’s Hide and Seek

  • Simply hide the elf somewhere in the room for your child to find.

11. Elf’s Marshmallow Bath

  • Place the elf in a bowl and surround it with marshmallows.

Elf kit - bath timePin

For free printables from the Elf kit

12. Elf’s Shoe Adventure

  • Put the elf in one of the family’s shoes.
Elf on the shelf in a shoePin

13. Elf on the Shelf

  • Literally place the elf on a bookshelf among the books.

14. Elf’s Drawing Time

  • Give the elf a pen and place it near a piece of paper, as if it’s been drawing.

15. Elf’s Mirror Message

  • Write a simple message like “Hi!” on the mirror and place the elf nearby.

16. Elf’s Breakfast

  • Set the elf at the table with a small plate and a piece of cereal.

17. Elf’s Zip Line

  • Run a piece of string from one point to another and clip the elf on it, as if it’s sliding down.

18. Elf’s Workout

  • Place the elf in a funny workout pose, perhaps lifting a marshmallow as a weight.

19. Elf’s Laundry Day

  • Put the elf in a laundry basket with a few small clothing items.

Elf's Laundry DayPin

20. Elf’s Music Time

  • Set the elf near a radio or a small instrument, like it’s enjoying some music.

These ideas are simple yet effective in keeping the Elf on the Shelf tradition alive with minimal effort, ensuring that the focus remains on fun and magic during the busy holiday season.

Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas

“Elf on the Shelf” can be a source of endless fun and laughter, especially when you get creative with the scenarios you set up. Here are some funny and mischievous ideas for your elf that can all be done at home:

1. Toilet Paper Shenanigans

  • Have the elf roll down a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom down the hallway or around the Christmas tree.

2. Elf in the Fridge

  • Place the elf inside the fridge, sitting on a shelf, maybe holding a note saying, “Just chilling!”

3. Marshmallow Bath

  • Set up the elf in a bowl or sink surrounded by marshmallows, pretending it’s a bubble bath.

Elf kit - bath timePin

For free printables from the Elf kit

4. Superhero Elf

  • Dress the elf in a mini superhero cape and mask, and set it up as if it’s saving a favorite toy or action figure.

5. Elf’s Breakfast

  • Create a tiny breakfast setup for the elf with miniature pancakes or cereal.

6. Chocolate Syrup Mischief

  • Have the elf leave a message on a plate or counter with chocolate syrup or whipped cream.

7. Elf Caught Reading

  • Place the elf with an open book, surrounded by other toys as if it’s reading a story to them.

8. Elf in a Jar

  • Put the elf inside a clear jar and place a note outside saying, “Help, I’m stuck!”

9. Elf’s Laundry Day

  • Set up a small clothesline with the elf’s clothes (or doll clothes) hanging to dry.

10. Elf’s Workout Session

  • Create a mini gym setup with the elf lifting a marshmallow or a toothpick barbell.

11. Elf’s Artwork

  • Have the elf draw or paint a funny picture, and leave it out for the family to see.

12. Elf Fishing

  • Set up a scene where the elf is “fishing” in the sink, a bowl, or even the toilet with a small rod.

13. Elf’s Snow Angel

  • Sprinkle some flour or sugar on a table and have the elf make a “snow angel.”

14. Elf’s Zip Line Adventure

  • Create a zip line using string and have the elf slide down it.

15. Elf and the Candy Thief

  • Surround the elf with unwrapped candies or chocolates, with a guilty look on its face.

16. Elf’s Cookie Theft

  • Set up the elf with a half-eaten cookie, looking caught in the act.

17. Elf’s Selfie Time

  • Position the elf as if it’s taking a selfie with a smartphone or a small camera.

18. Elf’s Movie Night

  • Set up the elf with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, maybe with a favorite DVD nearby.

See free printables from the Elf kit for movie night

Remember, the key to these ideas is to spark joy and surprise. Feel free to adapt and combine these suggestions to create new and unique scenarios that will delight your family each morning!

Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas

These ideas all involve your kids participation which makes them more fun.

Involving your kids in the “Elf on the Shelf” activities can make the experience more interactive and enjoyable. Here are some fun ideas that encourage participation:

1. Elf’s Scavenger Hunt

  • Create a scavenger hunt with the elf leaving clues around the house. Each clue leads to the next, with a small prize or the elf itself at the end.

Elf on the Shelf kit - candy cane treasure huntPin

See free printables from the Elf kit for the treasure hunt

2. Elf’s Craft Day

  • Have the elf bring craft supplies and a note suggesting a holiday craft project for the kids to do that day.

3. Elf’s Baking Challenge

  • Set up the elf with some baking ingredients and a recipe card, inviting the kids to bake holiday cookies or treats.

Elf kit - cookie makingPin

See free printables from the Elf kit for the baking challenge

4. Elf’s Good Deed Jar

  • The elf can bring a jar and a stack of blank notes, encouraging kids to write down good deeds they do each day.

5. Elf’s Story Writing

  • The elf can leave a note asking the kids to write a short story about its adventures at the North Pole.

6. Elf’s Hide and Seek

  • Instead of the parents moving the elf, let the kids take turns hiding the elf each day for the family to find.

7. Elf’s Movie Night

  • The elf can bring a holiday movie and some popcorn, inviting the family to a movie night.

See free printables from the Elf kit for movie night

8. Elf’s Puzzle Time

  • Have the elf bring a holiday-themed puzzle and challenge the family to complete it together.

Elf on The Shelf Kit - Word SearchPin

See free printables from the Elf kit for puzzle time

9. Elf’s Coloring Contest

  • The elf can present some coloring pages and crayons, and propose a coloring contest with a small prize.

10. Elf’s Fitness Challenge

  • Set up the elf with a note suggesting a family fitness challenge, like a dance-off or a series of fun exercises.

11. Elf’s Photo Booth

  • Create a photo booth with holiday props and have the elf invite the kids to take festive family photos.

12. Elf’s Treasure Hunt

  • Similar to a scavenger hunt, but with a treasure map leading to a hidden ‘treasure’ the elf has left.

See free printables from the Elf kit for the treasure hunt

13. Elf’s Board Game Night

  • The elf can bring out a board game, suggesting a family game night.

Elf Kit - LudoPin

See free printables from the Elf kit for the Ludo game

14. Elf’s Letter to Santa

  • The elf can bring materials for the kids to write and decorate their letters to Santa.

letters to SantaPin

15. Elf’s Snowflake Making

  • Have the elf bring paper and scissors and invite the kids to make paper snowflakes.

elf on the shelf snowflake activityPin

See free printables from the Elf kit for the snowflake making

16. Elf’s Plant Care

  • The elf can encourage kids to help take care of a holiday plant, like a poinsettia, teaching them about plant care.

17. Elf’s Reading Challenge

  • The elf can suggest a holiday book for the kids to read, or propose a family reading hour.

Elf on The Shelf Kit - Story TimePin

See free printables from the Elf kit for the reading challenge

18. Elf’s Kindness Calendar

  • Create a calendar with daily acts of kindness for the kids to complete, guided by the elf.

19. Elf’s Holiday Song Session

  • The elf can encourage the family to sing holiday songs together, maybe even putting on a small performance.

20. Elf’s DIY Decoration

  • The elf can bring instructions and materials for the kids to make a simple holiday decoration.

These activities not only add fun to the holiday season but also create opportunities for family bonding and making lasting memories.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

Here are some quick Elf on the Shelf ideas that you can do at home to welcome your Elf.

The arrival of the “Elf on the Shelf” is a magical moment that kicks off the holiday festivities. Here are some creative and fun ideas to celebrate the elf’s first day back:

1. Special Delivery from the North Pole

  • Create a small package or envelope marked “Special Delivery from the North Pole” and place the elf inside. You can add some fake snow or glitter for extra effect. Print the stickers.

North Pole deliveryPin

2. Breakfast Banquet

  • Set up the Elf at the breakfast table with a note saying it’s back. Include some holiday-themed treats or decorations to make the breakfast extra special.

3. Elf Door Arrival

  • Install a small, magical elf door on a wall or a shelf. Place the elf near the door as if it just arrived. We offer 6 free printable Elf doors that you can print, cut out, and use to create this door. Print the Elf doors.

Printable elf doorsPin

4. Balloon Landing

  • Attach the elf to a bunch of helium balloons, making it look like it floated down from the North Pole.

Elf on the shelf idea - balloon arrivalPin

5. Elf in the Christmas Tree

  • Hide the elf in the branches of your Christmas tree, as if it’s been there watching the tree setup.

Elf on a treePin

6. Welcome Back Party

  • Arrange a welcome party scene with other toys gathered around the elf, complete with tiny party hats and a welcome banner.

7. Elf’s Map and Travel Diary

  • Have the elf arrive with a small map of the North Pole and a travel diary, detailing its journey to your home.

8. Caught in the Act

  • Create a scene where the elf is caught unpacking its belongings, like miniature clothes or a toothbrush.

9. Snowy Arrival

  • Sprinkle some fake snow around the elf, as if it just came in from a snowstorm at the North Pole.

10. Elf’s First Day Note

  • Have the elf holding a note for the children, outlining the rules of its stay and the fun to be expected.

11. Movie Night Setup

  • Set up the elf with a holiday movie and some popcorn, as if it decided to start its stay with a movie night.

12. Elf’s Sleepy Arrival

  • Place the elf in a small bed or makeshift hammock, pretending it’s still asleep after its long journey.

13. Countdown to Christmas

  • Have the elf arrive with a countdown calendar to Christmas, pointing to the current date.

Christmas countdown printablePin

14. Cookie Welcome

  • Place the elf near a plate of cookies, as if it brought them from the North Pole as a treat.

15. Letter Writing Station

  • Set up the elf with stationery, inviting the children to write their letters to Santa.

letters to SantaPin

16. Elf’s Luggage

  • Create a tiny suitcase or bag packed with elf-sized items, showing it’s just arrived.

17. Frozen Entrance

  • If you have freezer space, briefly place the elf inside as if it’s acclimatizing from the North Pole cold.

18. Storybook Scene

  • Have the elf arrive with a Christmas storybook, sitting as if it’s ready to read a story to the family.

Elf on The Shelf Kit - Story TimePin

See free printables from the Elf kit for story time

19. Crafting Time

  • Set up a small crafting scene where the elf is making holiday decorations.

20. Hot Cocoa Stand

  • Create a mini hot cocoa stand with the elf as the server, welcoming everyone to the festive season.

Elf Kit - Cocoa DayPin

See free printables from the Elf kit for hot cocoa

These arrival ideas are designed to spark excitement and joy, setting the tone for the fun-filled days leading up to Christmas.

Naughty Elf on the Shelf Ideas

“Naughty” Elf on the Shelf ideas can add a playful and mischievous twist to this holiday tradition. These ideas are all in good fun and should be harmless and easy to clean up. Here are some cheeky scenarios for your elf:

1. Toilet Paper Shenanigans

  • Have the elf unroll a roll of toilet paper across a room or down the stairs, creating a playful mess.

2. Elf’s Chocolate Syrup Graffiti

  • Use chocolate syrup to write a funny message on a plate or a counter (make sure it’s easily cleanable), with the elf holding the bottle.

3. Elf’s Midnight Feast

  • Set up the elf with an array of snacks, as if it raided the pantry for a midnight feast.

4. Elf’s Snow Angel in Flour

  • Sprinkle flour on a kitchen counter and have the elf make a “snow angel,” leaving a floury mess.

5. Elf’s Sticky Note Explosion

  • Cover a room or a particular object (like a TV or a mirror) in sticky notes, with the elf sitting proudly nearby.

6. Elf’s Mischievous Drawing

  • Have the elf draw funny faces on family photos with a dry-erase marker.

7. Elf’s Sock Pairing Mischief

  • Scatter socks around a room, with the elf sitting in a pile, looking like it’s been mixing up the laundry.

8. Elf’s Candy Cane Jail

  • Build a small ‘jail’ out of candy canes and have the elf locked inside, perhaps with a toy as the guard.

9. Elf’s Balloon Prank

  • Fill a room with balloons, and have the elf sitting in the middle of the balloon chaos.

10. Elf’s Silly Selfie

  • Take a selfie of the elf with a family member’s phone and set it as the wallpaper.

11. Elf’s Breakfast Cereal Mix-Up

  • Swap the contents of cereal boxes, with the elf sitting beside them, looking mischievous.

12. Elf’s Saran Wrap Trap

  • Saran wrap a doorway at shin level and place the elf nearby, as if it set up a little trap.

13. Elf’s Cookie Crumble

  • Have the elf crumble cookies in a visible area, as if it got into the cookie jar overnight.

14. Elf’s Veggie Swap

  • Replace a bowl of holiday candy with vegetables, and have the elf holding the candy, looking pleased with its swap.

15. Elf’s Miniature Graffiti

  • Using a washable marker, have the elf draw small doodles on bananas or oranges in the fruit bowl.

16. Elf’s Pillow Fort

  • Build a pillow fort in the living room and have the elf peeking out, as if it built a hideout overnight.

17. Elf’s Car Shenanigans

  • If the elf can venture outside, place it behind the wheel of the family car, with a note saying it took a joyride.

18. Elf’s Frozen Adventure

  • Freeze the elf in a block of ice (in a container) in the freezer, with a note saying it missed the North Pole.

19. Elf’s Shoe Shenanigans

  • Line up shoes from the front door, creating a path leading to where the elf is sitting with a shoe on its head.

20. Elf’s Zip Line Adventure

  • Create a zip line using string and have the elf slide down it, perhaps knocking over a few lightweight items along the way.

Remember, the goal of these naughty elf ideas is to create laughter and surprise without causing any real trouble or lasting mess. Always consider the age and temperament of your children to ensure the pranks are received in good fun.

Elf on the Shelf Pranks

“Elf on the Shelf” pranks can add a humorous and playful twist to this festive tradition. Here are some mischievous yet harmless prank ideas that the elf can ‘perform’ to delight and surprise your family:

1. Colorful Milk Surprise

  • Have the elf add a few drops of food coloring to the milk, turning it a funny color (like green or red).

2. Toilet Paper Tree

  • The elf can ‘decorate’ a small tree or even a houseplant with toilet paper, mimicking Christmas decorations.

3. Balloon Avalanche

  • Set up a balloon trap on a door so when it’s opened in the morning, balloons fall out, with the elf sitting atop.

4. Mini Marshmallow Mischief

  • Scatter mini marshmallows around the elf, as if it had a mini marshmallow fight during the night.

5. Upside-Down World

  • Turn various items in a room upside down and position the elf right side up, as if it flipped everything during the night.

6. Elf’s Sticky Note Party

  • Cover a room or a particular object (like a TV or mirror) in sticky notes, with the elf holding the last note.

7. Saran Wrap Trap

  • Saran wrap a doorway at shin level and place the elf nearby, as if it set up a little trap.

8. Elf’s Breakfast Cereal Switch

  • Swap the contents of cereal boxes and have the elf sitting with the switched boxes, looking mischievous.

9. Shoe Train

  • Line up all the family’s shoes from one room to another like a train, with the elf acting as the conductor.

10. Elf’s Silly Selfie

  • Take a selfie of the elf with a family member’s phone and set it as the wallpaper.

11. Elf’s Cookie Crumble

  • Have the elf crumble cookies in a visible area, as if it got into the cookie jar overnight.

12. Elf’s Bedtime Prank

  • Tuck the elf into a bed, replacing a doll or teddy bear, with a note saying it needed a bigger bed.

13. Elf’s Veggie Swap

  • Replace a bowl of holiday candy with vegetables, and have the elf holding the candy, looking pleased.

14. Elf’s Funny Face Drawings

  • Use a dry erase marker to draw funny faces on family photos, with the elf holding the marker.

15. Elf’s Clothing Swap

  • Swap out family members’ clothes from their drawers, with the elf sitting atop a pile of mixed-up clothes.

16. Elf’s Sugar Snow Angel

  • Make a snow angel shape in spilled sugar or flour on the kitchen counter, with the elf lying in the middle.

17. Elf’s Mirror Message

  • Write a funny message or draw a silly picture on a foggy bathroom mirror, so it appears the next time someone showers.

18. Elf’s Pillow Fort

  • Build a pillow fort in the living room and have the elf peeking out, as if it built a hideout overnight.

19. Elf’s Car Shenanigans

  • If the elf can venture outside, place it behind the wheel of the family car, with a note saying it took a joyride.

20. Elf’s Frozen Adventure

  • Freeze the elf in a block of ice (in a container) in the freezer, with a note saying it missed the North Pole.

Remember, the key to these pranks is to ensure they are safe, easy to clean up, and appropriate for all ages. The goal is to create laughter and joy, not inconvenience.

Cute Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Creating cute and endearing scenarios for your “Elf on the Shelf” can add a touch of magic and warmth to your holiday season. Here are some adorable ideas:

1. Elf Reading a Book

  • Set up the elf with a children’s book, as if it’s reading a bedtime story to other toys.

2. Elf’s Hot Cocoa Stand

  • Create a mini hot cocoa stand with the elf as the barista, using small cups and cotton balls for marshmallows.

3. Elf Making Snow Angels

  • Lay the elf on a surface and use flour or sugar to create a snow angel effect.

4. Elf’s Christmas Tree Drawing

  • Give the elf a marker and position it near a piece of paper with a half-drawn Christmas tree, as if it’s been drawing.

5. Elf’s Cookie Baking

  • Set up a scene where the elf is ‘baking’ with miniature cookie cutters and a small bowl.

6. Elf and the Advent Calendar

  • Have the elf sitting with an advent calendar, perhaps pointing to the current date.

Christmas countdown printablePin

7. Elf’s Knitting Time

  • Give the elf some yarn and small knitting needles, as if it’s knitting a tiny scarf.

8. Elf’s Christmas Caroling

  • Set up the elf with a miniature songbook, surrounded by other toys as if they’re caroling together.

9. Elf’s Winter Wonderland

  • Create a winter scene with the elf building a small snowman out of cotton balls or marshmallows.

10. Elf’s Tea Party

  • Arrange a tiny tea party for the elf with small cups and a teapot, inviting other toy guests.

11. Elf’s Gift Wrapping Station

  • Set up a mini gift-wrapping scene with the elf, complete with tiny rolls of wrapping paper and small gifts.
balloonsPin

12. Elf’s Nap Time

  • Tuck the elf into a small bed or makeshift hammock with a tiny blanket and pillow.

13. Elf’s Art Gallery

  • Display miniature artwork or drawings with the elf as the artist, holding a paintbrush.

14. Elf’s Stargazing

  • Lay the elf on its back with a small telescope, looking at star charts or glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling.

15. Elf’s Christmas Countdown

  • Have the elf update a small chalkboard or paper countdown to Christmas each day.

16. Elf’s Letter to Santa

  • Set up the elf writing a letter to Santa, complete with a tiny pen and paper.

17. Elf’s Snowball Fight

  • Create a playful scene with the elf having a mini snowball fight using cotton balls or paper balls.

18. Elf’s Candy Cane Garden

  • Plant small candy canes in a pot of sugar, with the elf holding a tiny watering can.

19. Elf’s Christmas Crafting

  • Have the elf making Christmas crafts, like paper snowflakes or a mini wreath.

20. Elf’s Sleigh Ride

  • Set up a small toy sleigh for the elf, perhaps pulled by toy reindeer or other small toys.

These ideas are designed to capture the whimsical and joyful spirit of the Elf on the Shelf tradition, bringing smiles and a sense of wonder to all who see them.

Elf on the Shelf Return Ideas

The return of the “Elf on the Shelf” is an exciting event that heralds the start of the holiday season. Here are some creative ideas to celebrate the elf’s return:

1. Special Delivery from the North Pole

  • Create a small package or envelope marked “Special Delivery from the North Pole” and place the elf inside, complete with a welcome back note.

2. Elf’s Breakfast Banquet

  • Set up the elf at the breakfast table with a note saying it’s back, and include some holiday-themed treats or decorations.

3. Elf Door Entrance

  • Install a small, magical elf door on a wall or a shelf. Place the elf near the door with its suitcase, as if it just arrived.

4. Balloon Ride Arrival

  • Attach the elf to a bunch of helium balloons, making it look like it floated down from the North Pole.

5. Hiding in the Christmas Tree

  • Place the elf in the branches of your Christmas tree, as if it’s been there watching the tree setup.

Elf on a treePin

6. Welcome Back Party

  • Arrange a welcome party scene with other toys gathered around the elf, complete with tiny party hats and a welcome banner.

7. Elf’s Travel Diary and Map

  • Have the elf arrive with a small map of the North Pole and a travel diary, detailing its journey to your home.

8. Caught Unpacking

  • Create a scene where the elf is caught unpacking its belongings, like miniature clothes or a toothbrush.

9. Snowy Arrival

  • Sprinkle some fake snow around the elf, as if it just came in from a snowstorm at the North Pole.

10. Elf’s First Day Note

  • Have the elf holding a note for the children, outlining the rules of its stay and the fun to be expected.

11. Movie Night Setup

  • Set up the elf with a holiday movie and some popcorn, as if it decided to start its stay with a movie night.

12. Sleepy Arrival

  • Place the elf in a small bed or makeshift hammock, pretending it’s still asleep after its long journey.

13. Countdown Calendar

  • Have the elf arrive with a countdown calendar to Christmas, pointing to the current date.

Christmas countdown printablePin

14. Cookie Welcome

  • Place the elf near a plate of cookies, as if it brought them from the North Pole as a treat.

15. Letter Writing Station

  • Set up the elf with stationery, inviting the children to write their letters to Santa.

16. Elf’s Luggage

  • Create a tiny suitcase or bag packed with elf-sized items, showing it’s just arrived.

17. Acclimatizing from the Cold

  • If you have freezer space, briefly place the elf inside as if it’s acclimatizing from the North Pole cold.

18. Storybook Scene

  • Have the elf arrive with a Christmas storybook, sitting as if it’s ready to read a story to the family.

19. Crafting Time

  • Set up a small crafting scene where the elf is making holiday decorations.

20. Hot Cocoa Stand

  • Create a mini hot cocoa stand with the elf as the server, welcoming everyone to the festive season.

Elf Kit - Cocoa DayPin

These ideas aim to create a sense of excitement and joy, setting the tone for the fun-filled days leading up to Christmas.

Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas

“Elf on the Shelf” has become a beloved holiday tradition in many households, sparking creativity and joy for both children and adults. Here are some creative and fun ideas for positioning your Elf on the Shelf:

  1. Superhero Elf: Dress your elf in a mini superhero cape and mask. Pose them as if they’re saving a favorite toy from “danger.”
  2. Elf’s Artistic Streak: Set up a mini art station where the elf appears to be painting or drawing. You can use tiny canvases, brushes, and paints.
  3. Elf’s Snow Angel: Sprinkle some flour or sugar on your table and have the elf make a “snow angel” in it.
  4. Elf’s Marshmallow Bath: Place the elf in a bowl or sink surrounded by mini marshmallows, simulating a bubble bath.
  5. Elf Fishing: Create a small fishing scene where the elf is “fishing” in a sink or bowl of water, using a stick and string as a fishing rod.
  6. Elf’s Workout Routine: Set up a mini workout area with the elf lifting a marshmallow or toothpick “barbell.”
  7. Elf’s Midnight Feast: Arrange the elf in the kitchen with some spilled cereal or cookies, as if caught having a midnight snack.
  8. Elf’s Zip Line Adventure: String a line across a room and attach the elf to it, as if they’re zip-lining.
  9. Elf’s Book Club: Have the elf reading a book to other toys, all set up as if they’re listening intently.
  10. Elf’s Chalkboard Message: Use a mini chalkboard for the elf to write funny or sweet messages to the family.
  11. Elf’s Laundry Day: Set up a tiny clothesline with the elf hanging up doll clothes.
  12. Elf’s Sticky Situation: Place the elf in a tangle of sticky tape or wrapped up in a toilet paper ‘mummy’ style.
  13. Elf’s Tea Party: Arrange a small tea party scene with the elf and some dolls or action figures.
  14. Elf’s Cookie Thief: Pose the elf with a cookie in hand, near a cookie jar, as if they’ve been caught sneaking a treat.
  15. Elf’s Puzzle Time: Have the elf assembling a small puzzle, with pieces scattered around.
  16. Elf’s Snowball Fight: Set up a mini snowball fight scene using cotton balls as snowballs, with the elf hiding behind a fort.
  17. Elf’s Movie Night: Set up the elf with some popcorn and a movie case or screen, as if they’re watching their favorite film.
  18. Elf’s Camping Trip: Create a small camping scene with the elf sitting near a paper campfire and some mini marshmallows on a toothpick.
  19. Elf’s Magic Trick: Pose the elf with a deck of cards or pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
  20. Elf’s Baking Disaster: Set up the elf in the kitchen with flour and baking ingredients scattered around, as if they’ve been baking up a storm.

Remember, the key to a great Elf on the Shelf experience is the element of surprise and the joy it brings each morning. Keep it fun and light-hearted, and enjoy the creativity it inspires!

Elf on the Shelf Birthday Ideas

Celebrating a birthday with an “Elf on the Shelf” theme can be a fun and magical experience, especially for children who love the Christmas tradition. Here are some creative ideas for Elf on the Shelf to make the birthday celebration special:

1. Elf-Themed Invitations

  • Design invitations that look like they’re from the North Pole, complete with elf imagery and festive colors.

2. Elf Arrival

  • Have the elf arrive in a special way on the morning of the birthday, perhaps with a birthday note or a small gift.

3. Elf Decorations

  • Decorate the party area with elf-themed decorations, such as red and green balloons, elf hats, and images of elves.
  • Create a mini North Pole setting with a small Christmas tree, snowflakes, and twinkling lights.

4. Dress Code

  • Encourage guests to dress in elf costumes or in red and green attire.

5. Elf-Themed Games and Activities

  • Elf Scavenger Hunt: Hide small elf-themed items around the party area for the children to find.
  • Pin the Hat on the Elf: A twist on the classic game of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”
  • Elf Craft Station: Set up a table where kids can make their own elf hats or elf-themed crafts.

6. Elf Story Time

  • Read an “Elf on the Shelf” book or tell a story about the birthday child’s elf and its adventures.

7. Elf-Inspired Food and Cake

  • Serve snacks and treats that are elf-sized or elf-themed, like mini cupcakes, cookies shaped like elves or elf hats, and green and red fruit skewers.
  • The birthday cake can be designed to look like the elf or incorporate elements of the elf’s costume.

8. Elf Goodie Bags

  • Send guests home with goodie bags filled with elf-themed treats, a small toy, and perhaps a thank you note from the elf.

9. Photo Booth with Elf Props

  • Set up a photo booth area with elf hats, ears, and other props for fun and memorable pictures.

10. Special Elf Gift

  • The birthday child could receive a special gift from the elf, like a new book, a toy, or a personalized note.

11. Elf Movie Time

  • If it’s a sleepover or a longer party, watching an elf-themed movie could be a great way to wind down.

12. Elf Dance Party

  • Have a dance party with elf-themed music or popular children’s songs.

Remember, the key to a successful “Elf on the Shelf” birthday party is to keep the magic and whimsy of the elf alive throughout the event. Tailor these ideas to suit the age and interests of the birthday child for a truly memorable celebration.

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

“Elf on the Shelf” can be a delightful addition to a classroom during the holiday season, fostering a sense of excitement and wonder among students. Here are some ideas for incorporating this festive tradition into a classroom setting:

1. Daily Elf Antics

  • Have the elf appear in different places around the classroom each day, engaging in various funny or educational activities.

2. Elf Reports

  • The elf can leave daily reports or notes praising good behavior, class achievements, or reminding students of classroom rules.

3. Elf-Themed Learning Activities

  • Incorporate elf-themed worksheets, writing prompts (e.g., “If I were an elf for a day…”), or math problems.

4. Elf Reading Corner

  • Create a cozy reading corner where the elf brings a new book to share each day or week.

5. Elf Art Projects

  • Have students create elf-themed art, such as drawing their version of the classroom elf or making elf crafts.

6. Elf Science Experiments

  • Conduct simple, fun science experiments that the elf ‘sets up,’ like making snow with baking soda and shaving cream.

7. Elf’s Kindness Mission

  • The elf can encourage acts of kindness. Have a kindness calendar where students can write down kind acts they’ve done.

8. Elf’s Word of the Day

  • Use the elf to introduce a new vocabulary word each day, perhaps related to the holiday season or winter.

9. Elf’s Geography Journey

  • Teach students about different countries and cultures by having the elf share facts about how holidays are celebrated around the world.

10. Elf Hide and Seek

  • Turn finding the elf into a fun game each morning, perhaps giving hints or riddles to where it might be.

11. Elf’s Writing Station

  • Set up a station where students can write letters to the elf or to Santa, practicing their writing skills.

12. Elf’s Goodbye Party

  • On the last day before the holiday break, throw a small party or have a special activity to bid farewell to the elf.

13. Elf’s Healthy Habits

  • Use the elf to promote healthy habits, like showing the elf washing its hands, exercising, or eating healthy snacks.

14. Elf’s Story Time

  • Have a daily or weekly story time where the elf ‘reads’ a book to the class.

15. Elf’s Puzzle Challenge

  • Each day, the elf can bring a new puzzle or brain teaser for the students to solve.

16. Elf’s Music Day

  • Have a day where the elf brings in holiday music, and the class learns a song or discusses different holiday traditions in music.

17. Elf’s Gratitude Activity

  • Encourage students to write or draw something they are grateful for, creating a classroom gratitude wall.

18. Elf’s Safety Tips

  • Use the elf to reinforce safety rules in a fun and engaging way, like showing the elf wearing a helmet while riding a toy bike.

Remember, the key is to keep the activities fun, inclusive, and educational, while maintaining the magical spirit of the holiday season.

Elf on the Shelf Bathroom Ideas

Incorporating “Elf on the Shelf” into bathroom settings can lead to some humorous and unexpected scenarios. Here are some creative ideas for elf antics in the bathroom:

1. Toothpaste Message

  • Have the elf write a funny or encouraging message on the bathroom mirror using toothpaste.

2. Toilet Paper Shenanigans

  • Create a scene where the elf has rolled out a lot of toilet paper, either making a mess or creating a fun pattern or message.

3. Bubble Bath Fun

  • Set the elf in the sink or in a small bowl filled with cotton balls or marshmallows to mimic a bubble bath.

Elf kit - bath timePin

For free printables from the Elf kit

4. Elf Brushing Teeth

  • Position the elf near a toothbrush and toothpaste, as if it’s been caught brushing its teeth.

5. Elf’s Toilet Fishing

  • Create a fishing scene with the elf sitting on the toilet lid, using a makeshift fishing rod (like a pencil with string) dangling into the toilet (make sure it’s clean!).

6. Elf in the Towel Rack

  • Have the elf hanging from the towel rack, either peeking out from a towel or wrapped up in one.

7. Elf’s Spa Day

  • Set up a mini spa for the elf with facial tissues as a ‘face mask,’ cucumber slices (paper cutouts), and a relaxing setup.

8. Elf’s Laundry Day

  • Create a scene where the elf is doing laundry, with a small bucket and tiny clothes (like doll clothes).

Elf's Laundry DayPin

9. Elf’s Shaving Time

  • Position the elf with a small amount of shaving cream on its face and a tiny makeshift razor (like a popsicle stick).

10. Elf’s Hair Salon

  • Set up the elf with combs, brushes, and hair accessories, as if it’s styling the hair of other toys.

11. Elf’s Mirror Selfie

  • Pose the elf as if it’s taking a selfie in the bathroom mirror, with a small camera or phone prop.

12. Elf’s Message in the Shower

  • Write a message from the elf on the steamy shower door.

13. Elf’s Towel Art

  • Fold a hand towel into an animal or interesting shape and have the elf present it.

14. Elf’s Dental Hygiene Lesson

  • Use the elf to promote good dental hygiene by setting up a scene with dental floss, mouthwash, and a timer for brushing teeth.

15. Elf’s Relaxing Bath

  • Place the elf in a small container or sink with ‘bath bombs’ (marbles, marshmallows, or small balls) for a relaxing bath scene.

16. Elf’s Workout Routine

  • Have the elf do ‘exercises’ in the bathroom, like lifting a small soap bar or doing ‘towel pull-ups.’

17. Elf’s Clean-Up Time

  • Show the elf helping to clean the bathroom, with a mini broom or sponge.

18. Elf’s Potty Training

  • For a bit of humor, especially in a household with young children, have the elf sitting on a toy potty with a book.

Remember, the goal is to create fun and whimsical scenes that bring joy and laughter to everyone who discovers the elf’s latest antics. Always ensure the setups are safe and appropriate for all ages.

Elf on the Shelf Office Ideas

Bringing “Elf on the Shelf” into the office can add a touch of holiday cheer and create a fun, engaging atmosphere among colleagues. Here are some ideas suitable for an office environment:

1. Elf’s Desk Arrival

  • Have the elf appear on someone’s desk with a note introducing itself and explaining its mission to spread holiday cheer in the office.

2. Coffee Machine Mischief

  • Place the elf near the coffee machine with a funny note, like it’s trying to figure out how to use it or offering to make coffee.

3. Elf’s Daily Task List

  • Each day, the elf can be found with a ‘to-do list’ featuring humorous and light-hearted tasks, like “Hold a team meeting with the office plants.”

4. Elf’s Photocopier Fun

  • Have the elf sitting on the photocopier with a pile of elf ‘selfies’ coming out of the machine.

5. Elf in the Break Room

  • Set up the elf in the break room doing something funny, like raiding the snack area or playing with the microwave.

6. Elf’s Office Memo

  • The elf can leave a playful memo or newsletter for the staff, possibly including some light-hearted office news or holiday jokes.

7. Elf’s Sticky Note Art

  • Create a simple piece of art or a funny message on a wall or window using sticky notes, with the elf sitting nearby.

8. Elf’s Meeting Attendance

  • Place the elf in the conference room, as if it’s attending or leading a meeting, complete with a mini agenda or presentation.

9. Elf’s Tech Support

  • Set up the elf at a computer or with some tech equipment, pretending to fix or operate it.

10. Elf’s Relaxation Corner

  • Create a small relaxation spot with the elf, perhaps meditating or doing yoga, encouraging colleagues to take a break.

11. Elf’s Office Scavenger Hunt

  • Organize a simple scavenger hunt with the elf leaving clues leading to a small prize or treat.

12. Elf’s Inspirational Quotes

  • Each day, the elf can present a new inspirational or humorous quote on a whiteboard or post-it note.

13. Elf’s Secret Santa Helper

  • Use the elf as a mascot for the office Secret Santa, holding the names or gifts.

14. Elf’s Safety Inspector

  • Have the elf ‘inspect’ different areas of the office for holiday safety, leaving humorous notes or tips.

15. Elf’s Holiday Countdown

  • The elf can update a countdown to the office holiday party or Christmas break.

Christmas countdown printablePin

16. Elf’s Office Decorator

  • Each day, the elf can be found adding small decorations around the office, like tinsel on monitors or mini ornaments on plants.

17. Elf’s Wellness Tips

  • The elf can leave daily wellness tips, encouraging healthy habits during the holiday season.

18. Elf’s Office Poll

  • Set up a fun poll or survey about holiday preferences or office activities, with the elf tallying the results.

19. Elf’s Cookie Delivery

  • Have the elf appear with a plate of cookies or treats for the staff to enjoy.

20. Elf’s Farewell on the Last Working Day

  • On the last working day before the holiday break, set up the elf to say goodbye, perhaps with a small card or gift for each colleague.

Remember, the key is to keep the activities light-hearted, inclusive, and respectful of the office environment. These elf antics can be a great way to build camaraderie and add a bit of festive fun to the workplace.

Christmas Eve Elf on the Shelf Ideas

On Christmas Eve, the Elf on the Shelf tradition often includes a special setup to mark the elf’s final night before returning to the North Pole. Here are some creative and heartwarming ideas to make this night memorable:

1. Goodbye Letter

  • Have the elf leave a goodbye letter for the children, expressing how much fun it had and reminding them to be good throughout the year. The letter can also mention looking forward to returning next year.

2. Elf Packing Its Bag

  • Create a small suitcase or bag for the elf, and set it up as if it’s packing to return to the North Pole. You can include miniature items like clothes, a passport, or a map.

3. Elf with Santa’s List

  • Set up the elf with a list (real or pretend) of Santa’s nice list, with the children’s names prominently displayed.

santa nice list and naughty listPin

4. Elf Watching Over Sleeping Children

  • Place the elf somewhere in the children’s bedroom, as if it’s watching over them one last time before it leaves.

5. Elf Making Breakfast

  • Set up the elf in the kitchen, as if it’s preparing a special Christmas Eve breakfast, with ingredients and utensils around.

6. Elf with a Christmas Eve Gift

  • Have the elf present a small gift for the children, like a new book to read before bed or a special ornament for the tree.

balloonsPin

7. Elf Captured in a Farewell Pose

  • Create a scene where the elf is in a funny or heartwarming pose, like waving goodbye or holding a heart.

8. Elf with a Countdown

  • Set up the elf with a countdown to Christmas Day, showing excitement for Santa’s arrival.

Christmas countdown printablePin

9. Elf’s Final Message

  • Use magnetic letters or write a message on a whiteboard from the elf, expressing its farewell and Christmas wishes.

10. Elf Hiding in the Christmas Tree

  • For its final trick, hide the elf in the Christmas tree with a note saying it wanted to see the tree one last time.

Elf on a treePin

11. Elf with a Photo Album

  • If you’ve been taking photos of the elf’s antics, have it ‘look’ at a small photo album, reminiscing about its adventures.

12. Elf Leaving a Treat for Santa

  • Set up the elf with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, as its final task to help out.

13. Elf’s Magic Key

  • If you don’t have a chimney, have the elf hold a ‘magic key’ for Santa, explaining that it’s how Santa will get in.

14. Elf with Reindeer Food

  • Have the elf prepare a small bag of ‘reindeer food’ (oats and glitter) for the children to sprinkle outside.

15. Elf in a Stocking

  • Tuck the elf into one of the family’s stockings, as if it’s snuggling in for a final nap before its journey.

Elf ideasPin

16. Elf’s North Pole Map

  • Set up the elf with a map showing its route back to the North Pole, adding to the magic of its journey.

Remember, the goal is to make this final appearance special and memorable, leaving the children with a sense of magic and anticipation for Christmas Day.

Elf on the Shelf Last Day Ideas

The last day of “Elf on the Shelf” is a significant moment, as it marks the end of the elf’s stay and the nearness of Christmas. Here are some memorable and heartwarming ideas for the elf’s final day:

1. Goodbye Letter

  • Have the elf leave a heartfelt goodbye letter, thanking the children for the fun times and reminding them to continue being good throughout the year.

Elf on the Shelf lettersPin

2. Elf’s Gift

  • The elf can leave a small parting gift for the children, such as a new book, a holiday ornament, or a special keepsake.

3. Elf’s Photo Album

  • Create a mini photo album or scrapbook with pictures of the elf’s adventures throughout its stay, leaving it as a keepsake for the children.

4. Elf’s Breakfast Surprise

  • Set up the elf at the breakfast table with a special goodbye note and maybe some holiday-themed treats.

5. Elf’s Map Back to the North Pole

  • Provide a map showing the elf’s journey back to the North Pole, adding to the magic of its departure.

6. Elf’s Christmas Eve Prep

  • Have the elf help with setting out cookies and milk for Santa, and maybe carrots for the reindeer, with a note saying it’s helping Santa prepare for his big night.

7. Elf’s Magic Dust Trail

  • Leave a trail of glitter leading from the elf to the window or door, showing its magical path back to the North Pole.

8. Elf’s Thank You Notes

  • The elf can write individual thank you notes to each family member, highlighting special moments or achievements.

9. Elf’s Final Craft

  • The elf can leave a simple holiday craft for the children to do as a way of remembering their time together.

10. Elf’s Bedtime Story

  • The elf can leave a new holiday-themed book with a note suggesting a final bedtime story together.

11. Elf’s Countdown to Christmas

  • If the elf leaves on Christmas Eve, it can leave a final note counting down the hours until Santa’s arrival.

12. Elf’s Return Ticket

  • Design a mock return ticket to the North Pole for the elf, complete with a departure date and time.

13. Elf’s Hug Coupon

  • The elf can leave a “free hug” coupon, encouraging family members to exchange hugs in its memory.

14. Elf’s Star Gazing

  • Set up the elf looking out a window with a note about returning to the stars and the magic of the North Pole.

15. Elf’s Goodbye Poem

  • Write a short and sweet goodbye poem from the elf, expressing its love and promising to return next year.

16. Elf’s Final Selfie

  • Take a ‘selfie’ of the elf with the family in the background, leaving it as a final picture memory.

17. Elf’s Magic Seeds

  • Leave some ‘magic seeds’ (could be candy or small treats) for the children to ‘plant’ and find a surprise the next morning.

18. Elf’s Video Message

  • Create a short video message from the elf (you can use a voice-changing app) saying goodbye and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

19. Elf’s Frozen Farewell

  • Briefly place the elf in the freezer, leaving a note saying it’s getting used to the cold again before heading back to the North Pole.

20. Elf’s Memory Game

  • Set up a game where the children have to remember and find all the places the elf has been during its stay.

These farewell ideas aim to provide a meaningful and touching conclusion to the Elf on the Shelf’s visit, leaving children with happy memories and something to look forward to next year.

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Ideas

Saying goodbye to the “Elf on the Shelf” can be a significant moment for children, marking the end of a fun-filled holiday tradition. Here are some heartfelt and memorable ideas for the elf’s farewell:

1. Goodbye Letter

  • Have the elf leave a personalized goodbye letter, expressing gratitude for the time spent with the family and reminding the children to be good throughout the year.

Elf on the Shelf lettersPin

2. Elf’s Memory Book

  • Create a small photo album or scrapbook with pictures of the elf’s adventures throughout its stay. The elf can leave this as a keepsake.

3. Elf’s Departure Breakfast

  • Set up a special breakfast with the elf seated at the table, complete with a note saying goodbye.

4. Elf’s Final Gift

  • The elf can leave a small parting gift for the children, such as a new book, a holiday ornament, or a special note.

balloonsPin

5. Elf’s Map Back to the North Pole

  • Provide a map showing the elf’s journey back to the North Pole, adding to the magic of its departure.

6. Elf’s Countdown to Christmas

  • If the elf leaves just before Christmas, it can leave a final countdown note, heightening the excitement for the big day.

7. Elf’s Magic Dust Trail

  • Leave a trail of glitter leading from the elf to the window or door, showing its magical path back to the North Pole.

8. Elf’s Thank You Notes

  • The elf can write individual thank you notes to each family member, highlighting special moments or achievements.

9. Elf’s Bedtime Story

  • The elf can leave a new holiday-themed book with a note suggesting a final bedtime story together.

10. Elf’s Photo with Santa

  • Leave a photo of the elf with Santa, as a way of showing where it’s returning to.

11. Elf’s Cookie Farewell

  • Have the elf set up with a plate of cookies for Santa, including a note explaining that it’s helping with Santa’s big night.

12. Elf’s Goodbye Party

  • Organize a small goodbye party with the elf as the guest of honor, complete with tiny party hats and decorations.

13. Elf’s Final Craft

  • The elf can leave a simple holiday craft for the children to do as a way of remembering their time together.

14. Elf’s Video Message

  • Create a short video message from the elf (you can use a voice-changing app) saying goodbye and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

15. Elf’s Return Ticket

  • Design a mock return ticket to the North Pole for the elf, complete with a departure date and time.

16. Elf’s Hug Coupon

  • The elf can leave a “free hug” coupon, encouraging family members to exchange hugs in its memory.

17. Elf’s Magic Seeds

  • Leave some ‘magic seeds’ (could be candy or small treats) for the children to ‘plant’ and find a surprise the next morning.

18. Elf’s Star Gazing

  • Set up the elf looking out a window with a note about returning to the stars and the magic of the North Pole.

19. Elf’s Final Selfie

  • Take a ‘selfie’ of the elf with the family in the background, leaving it as a final picture memory.

20. Elf’s Goodbye Poem

  • Write a short and sweet goodbye poem from the elf, expressing its love and promising to return next year.

These goodbye ideas aim to provide closure to the Elf on the Shelf’s visit in a way that’s touching and memorable, leaving children with happy memories and something to look forward to next year.

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Photo of NicoleMy name is Nicole and I created this website to share the tools that keep me organized and productive and help me reach my goals. I hope that you will find them helpful too.

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