24 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Alright ya’ll you know it’s that time of the year… ELF ON THE SHELF!!!

I started doing elf on the shelf about 5 years ago when Melia was 2 and Avery was just born. Now, this Christmas idea definitely isn’t for everyone, but let me just tell you, the kids really enjoy it!

Melia + Avery named their elf Twinkle. He arrives on December 1st every year, with an advent calendar, a note, and the Elf on the Shelf book, so we can read it at night.

Since, my kids absolutely love when Twinkle arrives, I really like to have fun with it and get creative, but since I’ve been doing it for years, I at times run out of ideas. So, I thought it would be helpful to give you some ideas that I’ve done in the past with them!

(pictures are not mine, they belong to others from Pinterest)

As you can see, you can get really creative with doing this or can simply just hide the elf anywhere you like. 

What is Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas tradition. You will give your little one it’s elf and have them name it. The elf helps “Santa” to let him know if the little ones have been naughty or nice. The elf “reports” back to “Santa” every night, while they are asleep to make his report, and by the next morning return, BUT in a different place. 

When your little one(s) awake, it’s an adventure for them to try and find their elf. This idea is great for your kids to really learn how to be nice + not naughty (otherwise the elf will report him/her). 

I also love incorporating little goodies or small little gifts that their ‘elf’ will give them if they remain on the nice list.

Another thing that I do is, when it’s their elf’s last day with us before he ‘returns home to North Pole’, I (or I should say the elf) will gift them with Christmas pjs for them to wear the next day, and a goodbye letter.

Here are some of my favorite Elf on the Shelf Ideas, that you can do with your little one(s). I hope you have fun with it as much as myself and my kids do!

  1. Present your elf with a welcome letter. Explain to them of what the ‘elf’ is most proud of with them throughout the year, and what the ‘elf’ is most excited about while it’s here for the next couple of weeks. Also, explain in the letter the rules and that the ‘elf’ must report to Santa every night on their behavior.
  2. Have the elf give an advent calendar. Such a fun way to countdown Christmas!
  3. Rudolph the red nose reindeer! Paint your kid(s) nose red! I did this when I first started elf on the shelf, and years later they still talk about our ‘elf’ painting their nose red (with lipstick).
  4. Messy room?? NO NO NO! One year the girls room was very messy. So, I found “caution” tape at the 99 cent store that I previously had before for Halloween (you can use streamers if you don’t have caution tape) and I taped the caution streamer all over their door so they could not go in. At that time they slept in our room, so they weren’t able to go into their room all day. Our ‘elf’ provided a note with how messy their room was, and how they needed to clean it.
  5. Christmas books. Ever since starting elf on the shelf, I always buy new Christmas books (you can get at the Target dollar spot or Dollar Tree/99 Cent Store) and have the ‘elf’ gift them with the books. We love reading the new Christmas books that night, right before bed.
  6. Elf gone fishing. Another fun idea is filling up the bathroom sink with water and using a straw or stick and tying a string with a goldfish cracker at the end of the string (as if the elf was fishing).
  7. Elf not feeling good. Sometimes ‘elf’ needs a break from all the fun activities and gets sick. Have the elf lay down and put some medicine (obviously make sure the caps are tight so the kids can’t open it), with some tissue, and a thermometer.
  8. If the kid(s) are acting up that day or the night before, have the elf go in a corner not able to face the kid(s) with a note explaining why they are sad from them not listening or mis behaving.
  9. Movie night is always a must. Our ‘elf’ will always pick a Christmas movie (I try to pick different ones every year or buy a new Christmas movie), and set it with popcorn! Always a hit!
  10. Christmas tree legos. If you have legos, make a Christmas tree out of it. The kid(s) will be shocked!
  11. Snowball fight!!! Have the elf and some other stuffed animals/toys have a snowball fight. Use either paper or marshmallows. The kids will love it!
  12. Elf kisses. Give chocolate Christmas Kisses as a nice sweet treat!
  13. HELP! Have the elf taped to the wall by the other ‘toys’. You can use barbies, stuffed animals, etc.
  14. TeePee the Christmas tree! Get a roll of toilet paper and put it all over the Christmas tree, hiding the elf in there for them to find him/her.
  15. Ribbon Rock Wall. Take Christmas ribbons and attach to wall/window and have the elf climb ‘the wall’.
  16. Art & Craft. I always purchase little arts & crafts that you can get at the Target dollar spot or the Dollar Tree and they either paint a Christmas ornament, or do a craft.
  17. Gingerbread house. Have the elf surprise them with a gingerbread house, so they can make it!
  18. Make a fort. Using your dining room chairs, throw a bed sheet over it and create a fun fort. Have the elf in there with some of it’s ‘friends’.
  19. Write on the bathroom mirror. Using erasable marker. Write Christmas sayings/songs on their bathroom mirror.
  20. The shoe shoe train. Lines up all their shoes (making a train) and have the elf and his/her friends ride the train.
  21. Balloons! If your brave, blow up Christmas color balloons and place it all over their floor. When they wake up there will be a floor filled with balloons!
  22. Wrap the elf. Take Christmas wrapping paper and wrap the elf up
  23. Baking time. A must for us if baking ‘Santa’ cookies!
  24. Goodbye with Christmas PJS. This is a must that I do every single year. The last day our ‘elf’ is here, he leaves with a note and Christmas PJS for the girls to wear on Christmas day. Write in the note how much fun the elf had, and to always be good because they watch all year long.

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