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Elf on the Shelf

We offer a selection of free Elf on the Shelf printables below. They are all editable and customizable to suit your elf and your family. We also offer a free Elf on the Shelf kit for 24 days with free printables for each day.

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What is Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the Shelf refers to a Christmas tradition that originated from the North Pole and involves a special scout sent to people’s homes. Its purpose is to encourage children to behave well. According to the story, Santa has an assistant known as Scout Elves, who flies to the North Pole every night during December and reports to Santa how the children have behaved.

The elf is a little guy or girl who comes to your house any time you want it to. Most parents get one after Thanksgiving, but they can also start as soon as the Christmas tree is up, around December 1st.

The tradition was started by Carol Aebersold’s with Fisbee, who was her family elf. In 2005, Carol and her two girls Christa Pitts and Chanda Bell, decided to share their tradition with other people. They wrote a book titled Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. However, real magic started in 2007; the rest is history as Elf has become popular worldwide.

Scout Elves like hiding and are sneaky in your house, and can even stir mischief.

When your Elf on the Shelf arrives, the first thing you will want to do is give him or her a name.

When Does Elf on the Shelf Start?

Your Elf should arrive between November 24 through December 1 (according to the official Elf on the Shelf website). This is also known as Scout Elf Return week (i.e. the time when Santa’s little helpers leave the North Pole and head out to the houses where they will be staying until Christmas).

Elf on the Shelf Rules

We offer a free Elf on the Shelf rules printable that you can edit if you want to change the rules. You can also select any border.

Elf on the Shelf RulesPin

The tradition follows simple elf rules.

Give Your Elf a Name

You must give your Elf a name, and usually, it should be a silly one. For example, Bubble Sparkle Toe. You can use our free online elf name generator or look through 135 suggested Elf on the Shelf names to help you find the perfect name for your Elf. See 640 boy elf names and 640 girl elf names.

Adopt Your Elf

Once you have given your elf a name, you will want to officially adopt him or her. You can create a free printable custom elf adoption certificate.

Elf Adoption Certificate

We offer 15 different free Elf adoption certificate templates you can customize online before you print. Add the name of your elf, the name of the child or family, and the date. You can also add a picture of an elf. There are many images to choose from. When you are satisfied with your certificate, you can download it and print it. There are many more Elf on the Shelf printables below.

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Never Touch Your Elf

You cannot touch the Elf because he can lose his magic ability. However, if it happens, you should just put some cinnamon next to him or her and let it stay there overnight. This will help restore the elves’ magical powers.

Rule 4: Kids Must be on their Best Behavior at all Times

Elf watches what the children are doing during the day and takes the report back to Santa so kids must be on their best behavior at all times.

Rule 5: Elf must leave your house before Christmas day.

Elf must go back to the North Pole before Christmas day.

When Does the Elf on the Shelf Come?

The Elf comes to your home as early as December 1st, but may wait until you set up your Christmas tree. You shouldn’t worry if your friend’s or neighbor’s Elf on Shelf comes and yours has not yet arrived. Be patient.

Some Elves appear quite early and come to your house on Thanksgiving night, but others will not come until December. The Scout Elf Return Week is from the 24th up to December 1st. You can check with Santa to see why he is late.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

The first day your Elf is in your home, you can use these ideas to welcome him or her.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Letter

When your Elf arrives in your home he should send your kids a letter telling them why he came to your home, the things he intends to do daily, and what he will report to Santa.

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Welcome Breakfast

Set up a fancy breakfast and put Elf in the middle. Your children will be happy to welcome him home and know that he’s already there to monitor their behavior.

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.

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Advent Calendar

If you choose to welcome Elf into your home and introduce him on December 1st, place him according to your child’s Advent calendar. You can also accompany him with open sweets and some popped tinsel around him to create a festive look.

Hot-Air Balloon

A hot air balloon makes children believe that Elf arrived directly from the North Pole. You simply blow up a colored balloon and make a basket using cardboard which the Elf will sit on. Hang from your home’s ceiling or door, and it will look like he has just flown in a hot air balloon. If you can get the balloon filled with helium it will be even better.

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Movie Night

This is ideal if you want to introduce your Elf later in the day. Create or even buy sets of hot chocolate and choose a great festive movie.

Set this up with the elf arrival letter and once the movie is over, give your Elf a name together with your children.

Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Kids

There are many Elf on the Shelf ideas for kids to have fun with Elf. Some of them include:

Elf on the Shelf Notes

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  • Create printable Elf on the Shelf notes on this site. Use them to send messages to your kids, motivate them to behave well, or to praise them for achievements.
  • Adopt the Elf officially by giving a name related to your family. See the Elf Adoption Certificate above.
  • Put your Elf on self-quarantine with a mask. This will also remind your children to stay safe.
  • Take Elf on sledding using white washcloths to create snowy slopes.
  • Create a drive-movie for your Elf.
  • Create some leisure settings for your Elf, such as golfing.
  • These are just a few ways to have fun with Elf and your kids. Buy the right accessories to make this possible.
  • The Christmas season is incomplete without some traditions such as Elf and Santa. Include them and let your children create memorable memories.

Free Elf on the Shelf Kit

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Elf on the Shelf Games

See the top 7 best Elf on the Shelf Games!

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When Does the Elf on the Shelf Leave?

Elf should leave as Christmas nears; if you have one in your home, start getting ready to let it go and even prepare your children. If your Elf was messy, clean up or ask others to help you. Remember, the main work of the Elf is to check children’s behavior and report to Santa daily from December 1st up to 25th. Elf is believed to hitch a ride on his way to the North Pole to meet Santa, who is ready with Christmas gifts.

Let your children know he will be back in the following year and should not be sad to find him gone.

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Ideas

You can give your kids an elf goodbye letter. If you like the wording of either of the sample letters then download a free printable Elf on the Shelf goodbye letter in PDF format below. If you want to edit your letter then select the free printable Elf on the Shelf goodbye letter in Word format and make any changes you want.

How to say goodbye to your Elf on the shelf

After Elf has been part of your household for some time, he becomes a part of your family. He will be gone by Christmas Day morning. He deserves a good send-off. The first thing you should do is write a goodbye letter. You can create printable custom Elf on the Shelf notes below.

Elf on the Shelf Goodbye Letter

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A Selfie with Elfie

Snap a selfie with Elfie, and let it be a memory that Elf was at your home. Show your children the selfie on Christmas, and together be surprised to discover that Elf has left.

Throw a Farewell Party

Ask your child to invite Elf to a party. Choose a spot in your house, decorate it on Christmas Eve, have some fun games and snacks, and then bring Elf to the party. You can add some creativity, such as having to dance under a small disco ball. Create a scene that will make children bid Elf goodbye and feel at peace.

Goodbye Gift

Help your kids wrap some gifts such as a marshmallow, tiny doughnuts, or a scarf, and put them under a Christmas tree. If it’s something to eat, leave some crumbs as evidence that Elf ate.

Elf Report Card

You can create a free custom and personalized elf report card on this site. The elf report printable is totally customizable. You can change all the text, add clipart, change the border, etc.

Elf report cardPin

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Elf on the Shelf Coloring Pages

You can customize each Elf on the Shelf coloring page. You can edit the text, add more coloring images, move the images around and make them bigger or smaller. If you prefer a female elf, then replace the elf image with a girl elf with a click of your mouse. If you want more children, then add kids with a click of your mouse. You can also add your kids’ names or your elf’s name. Instead of “10 days until Christmas” add the number of days or write something else such as “Merry Christmas”.

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Elf on the Shelf Ideas

We also offer another 317 easy Elf on the Shelf ideas.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

Here are some fun and creative arrival ideas for your Elf on the Shelf:

  1. North Pole Delivery: Have the elf arrive in a tiny North Pole-themed delivery box with a note from Santa thanking the family for hosting the elf again this year.
  2. Elf Parachute: Attach the elf to a mini parachute and have them “parachute” into the house from a banister or the top of a doorway.
  3. Elf’s First Day of School: Set up a small desk with a mini chalkboard, pencils, and a backpack. Your elf can be seated as if they are ready to start their “Elf School.”
  4. Zip Line Adventure: Create a zip line using string or yarn and have the elf “zip” into the room from a high point.
  5. Elf in a Balloon: Place the elf inside a clear balloon and inflate it. This creates a fun visual as the elf seems to magically appear inside the balloon.
  6. Cookie Caper: If your elf arrives in early December, they can be found surrounded by cookie crumbs with a note saying they couldn’t resist a midnight snack.
  7. Elf’s Workshop: Set up a small workbench with tiny tools, wrapping paper, and a note explaining that the elf has been busy making toys in preparation for Christmas.
  8. Elf Movie Night: Arrange a cozy movie night setup with popcorn and a small TV or tablet showing a classic Christmas movie. The elf can be the “director” for the evening.
  9. Elf’s Photo Shoot: Position the elf with a small camera and a backdrop. Leave a note saying the elf wants to take pictures of all the fun holiday moments.
  10. Elf’s Arrival Countdown: Start a countdown to Christmas with your elf holding a sign or a calendar, indicating how many days are left until the big day. See Christmas countdown.
  11. Elf’s Magic Portal: Create a small “magic portal” using a mirror or a picture frame. Have the elf appear to be stepping out of the portal.
  12. Elf’s Snow Angels: If you have fake snow, create a scene where the elf has made tiny snow angels on the kitchen table or countertop. You can use desiccated coconut if you don’t have fake snow.
  13. Elf’s Candy Sleigh: Use mini candy canes to create a sleigh, and have the elf ride in it with small wrapped candies as “gifts.”
  14. Elf’s Arrival by Reindeer: Arrange some miniature reindeer figurines and have the elf arrive on a reindeer’s back, as if they just flew in from the North Pole.
  15. Elf’s Letter from Santa: Have the elf bring a letter from Santa Claus himself, introducing the elf and explaining their mission. See the editable customizable letters above.

Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Creating funny and whimsical Elf on the Shelf scenes can add extra laughter and joy to the holiday season. Here are some humorous Elf on the Shelf ideas to get you started:

  1. Elf Playing Cards with Toys: Set up a scene where the elf is playing cards with some of your child’s toys. You can even have the elf cheating or wearing sunglasses for added humor.
  2. Elf Toilet Papering the Christmas Tree: Have the elf create a mess by wrapping the Christmas tree with toilet paper, as if they were trying to decorate it themselves.
  3. Elf in the Fridge: Place the elf inside the refrigerator next to some ice cream or a favorite treat, as if they were trying to sneak a midnight snack.
  4. Elf’s Bubble Bath: Fill the sink with bubbles and have the elf relaxing in a mini bathtub made from a plastic container. Add a rubber ducky for extra cuteness.
  5. Elf as a Chef: Have the elf don an apron and chef’s hat, surrounded by toy kitchen utensils, as if they were attempting to cook a funny meal.
  6. Elf’s Zip Line Adventure with Underwear: Attach a string or yarn zip line from a high point to a low point, and have the elf hold on to a pair of underwear as they “zip” across the room.
  7. Elf’s Selfie Station: Create a tiny selfie station with a smartphone or camera and have the elf taking funny selfies with a few toys as the background.
  8. Elf Makes Snow Angels with Flour: Sprinkle some flour on a countertop or table and have the elf make tiny snow angels in it.
  9. Elf’s Mischief with Silly String: Set up a scene where the elf is spraying silly string all over a room or the Christmas tree.
  10. Elf’s Yoga Session: Pose the elf in a yoga position with a tiny yoga mat and blocks, creating a humorous “zen” scene.
  11. Elf’s Hot Air Balloon Ride: Create a hot air balloon using a small basket and a helium balloon. Place the elf inside the basket and have them “floating” around the room.
  12. Elf’s Movie Night with Gummy Bears: Set up a mini movie theater scene with popcorn and gummy bears as the audience, and the elf as the film projector operator.
  13. Elf Caught in a Web: Use white string to create a “spiderweb” in a corner, and have the elf trapped in it, as if they were caught by a toy spider.
  14. Elf Writes a Silly Note: Have the elf write a funny note or draw a silly picture with crayons, leaving a mess of crayon wrappers behind.
  15. Elf on a Roll: Roll the elf up in toilet paper, leaving only their face exposed. Place them somewhere unexpected, like on a shelf or hanging from a doorknob.

Remember to keep the humor age-appropriate and in line with your family’s sense of fun. These funny Elf on the Shelf ideas can bring laughter and entertainment to your holiday traditions.

Last Minute Elf on the Shelf Ideas

If you find yourself needing last-minute Elf on the Shelf ideas, don’t worry; there are still plenty of creative and easy options to make the holiday season special for your family. Here are some quick Elf on the Shelf ideas:

  1. Elf’s Zip Line Arrival: Use string or yarn to create a zip line for your elf to “slide” into the room from a high point.
  2. Elf in a Tissue Box: Place your elf inside an empty tissue box, with just their head and hands sticking out, as if they were hiding.
  3. Elf’s Snow Angel: Sprinkle some flour, desiccated coconut, or powdered sugar on a tabletop and have the elf make tiny snow angels.
  4. Elf’s Mini Marshmallow Hot Tub: Fill a small container with mini marshmallows and place your elf inside, enjoying a marshmallow “hot tub.”
  5. Elf’s Toilet Paper Roll Swing: Hang a toilet paper roll from a string, and place your elf inside, as if they were having a swing ride.
  6. Elf’s Candy Cane Message: Arrange candy canes into the shape of a message or a smiley face, with your elf holding a small sign next to it.
  7. Elf’s Cookie Decorating: Set up a tiny cookie decorating station with miniature cookies and icing, and have your elf “decorating” cookies.
  8. Elf’s Movie Night: Arrange a small movie night setup with popcorn and a tablet or mini TV. Your elf can be the “movie director” or sitting in a cozy chair.
  9. Elf’s Magic Portal: Use a mirror or picture frame to create a “magic portal” where your elf appears to be stepping out into your world.
  10. Elf’s Christmas Countdown: Place your elf next to a calendar or countdown timer, indicating how many days are left until Christmas. See Christmas countdown.
  11. Elf’s Wrapping Paper Mess: Create a scene where your elf is surrounded by wrapping paper, scissors, and tape, as if they were wrapping presents.
  12. Elf’s Fishing Adventure: Fill a small container with water, and place your elf next to it with a tiny fishing rod and a note saying they’re going fishing.
  13. Elf’s Costume Party: Dress your elf in a funny costume and have them invite a few toy friends for a mini costume party.
  14. Elf’s Art Gallery: Set up a small “art gallery” with your elf showcasing drawings, paintings, or crafts made by your child’s toys.
  15. Elf’s North Pole Mailbox: Create a tiny mailbox with a note encouraging your child to write a letter to Santa and place it in the mailbox for your elf to deliver.

These last-minute Elf on the Shelf ideas are quick to set up and can still bring excitement and holiday magic to your home. Remember that the most important thing is the joy and imagination you bring to the tradition, regardless of the complexity of the scenes you create.

Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas

If you want to add a mischievous twist to your Elf on the Shelf’s adventures, here are some playful and funny ideas that can surprise and delight your children:

  1. Elf’s Toilet Paper Prank: Have the elf unroll a roll of toilet paper all over the bathroom, creating a comical mess.
  2. Elf’s Candy Caper: Stage a scene where your elf has raided the candy stash and is surrounded by empty wrappers and candy evidence.
  3. Elf’s Snowball Fight: Use mini marshmallows or cotton balls as “snowballs” and place your elf with a few toys, staging a fun indoor snowball fight.
  4. Elf’s Pancake Breakfast: Have your elf “cook” tiny pancakes in the kitchen with flour and a small skillet. Leave a messy kitchen behind.
  5. Elf’s Tissue Box Maze: Create a maze using empty tissue boxes and have your elf navigate through it, leaving a trail of tissue behind.
  6. Elf’s Toothpaste Art: Your elf can get creative with toothpaste by drawing funny faces on the bathroom mirror.
  7. Elf’s Stuffed Animal Parade: Line up your child’s stuffed animals or action figures and have the elf lead a parade through them.
  8. Elf’s Gift Wrap Mishap: Wrap up a common household item like a remote control or a fruit in gift wrap and have your elf present it as a “gift.”
  9. Elf’s Coloring Extravaganza: Leave crayons, markers, or colored pencils out with a note saying your elf wanted to add some color to your child’s drawings.
  10. Elf’s Silly String Surprise: Arm your elf with silly string and have them create a colorful mess on a window or a mirror.
  11. Elf’s Balloon Invasion: Fill a room with balloons while your child sleeps, and have the elf appear amidst the sea of balloons in the morning.
  12. Elf’s Shaving Cream Shenanigans: Your elf can use shaving cream to draw funny faces on family photos or mirror messages.
  13. Elf’s Mini Marshmallow Snowball Fight: Arrange marshmallows on a counter or table to look like a snowball fight took place during the night.
  14. Elf’s Sticky Situation: Your elf can get into a sticky situation by taping toys, furniture, or objects together with painter’s tape.
  15. Elf’s Cereal Spill: Stage a scene where your elf has knocked over a box of cereal and is enjoying a “cereal bath.”

The mischievous antics of the Elf on the Shelf are all in good fun, and the goal is to create laughter and excitement during the holiday season. Be sure to clean up any messes or easily accessible materials to ensure the safety of young children and pets.

Elf on the Shelf Office Ideas

Bringing the Elf on the Shelf tradition into the workplace can be a fun and festive way to spread holiday cheer among colleagues. Here are some Elf on the Shelf office ideas to get you started:

  • Desk Decorator Elf: Have your elf decorate a coworker’s desk with holiday-themed decorations, such as tinsel, mini stockings, or small ornaments. Leave a note wishing them a cheerful day ahead.
  • Coffee Maker Elf: Position the elf next to the office coffee maker with a note saying, “Brew-tiful morning ahead!” You can even have the elf set up a tiny coffee cup and saucer for added cuteness.
  • Computer Helper Elf: Place your elf on a coworker’s keyboard or computer mouse with a note encouraging them to have a productive day. Add a pair of tiny glasses to make it look like the elf is hard at work.
  • Santa’s Mailroom Elf: Have the elf sit near the office mail or packages with a tiny mailbox and a note encouraging everyone to spread some holiday cheer by sending a kind message or a small treat to a colleague.
  • Elf Meeting Organizer: Position your elf at the conference room table with a miniature agenda and a note inviting everyone to an “Elf Meeting” to discuss their favorite holiday traditions or share their wishes for the season.
  • Supply Closet Elf: Set up your elf near the office supplies with a note suggesting a fun office-wide holiday craft or decoration project. Provide materials nearby for colleagues to join in.
  • Sticky Note Elf: Arrange your elf in a playful situation using sticky notes. They can write fun messages or create a holiday scene on a coworker’s desk using colorful sticky notes.
  • Miniature Office Supplies: Miniaturize common office supplies like a chair, desk, or computer using dollhouse furniture or miniatures. Place your elf in this tiny office space to show they’ve been working hard.
  • Snack Stash Elf: Leave your elf near a hidden stash of holiday treats with a note inviting coworkers to indulge in some festive snacks. Include a lighthearted message about “elf-approved” snacks.
  • Charity Elf: Encourage a spirit of giving by having your elf set up a collection box for a charitable cause. Add a note explaining the charity and inviting coworkers to contribute.

We have many more Christmas template printables on this site.

If you were looking for any Elf on the Shelf printables that you didn’t find here then please leave a comment below.

You might also like our Elf on the Shelf memes!

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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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