24 Super Simple Elf on The Shelf Ideas

Posted by Gemma Kidd on

With December fast approaching (how the hell did that happen?!), with it comes the return of that little elf who does everything but sit on the shelf.  Seriously, it needs a new name!

As has been tradition in many households in recent years, the naughty elf gets up to mischief at night time while the children sleep.  Providing, that is that the parents remember to move him.  And we've all been there, haven't we? Climbing into bed after a long day, your head hits the pillow and you're about to nod off in darkness when suddenly...SHIT! I forgot to move the elf!! 

This year I thought I'd help you all be prepared, because although it might be a pain in the arse, and you are sorry you ever got the elf in the first place, and you are cursing the bugger who made the trend go viral, the joy of seeing your children's faces each morning as they wake up and discover what their tiny friend has been up to while they slept has become a key part of many of our family Christmases, just like decorating the tree, writing letters to Santa and opening a window of the advent calendar each morning!

Here are 24 of the best ideas I have found, on Pinterest and throughout the web, to help give you some daily inspiration this year!

1.  Make the most of Quarantine!! 

It's been a strange old year for all of us.  If last Christmas I mentioned that a good chunk of 2020 would be spent in lockdown/isolation/quarantine, you would think that I had finally lost the plot (I mean, that's still up for debate...but we'll save that for another day!) Yet most of us this year have spent some time in some sort of quarantine.  This is particularly true when it comes to travel.  If you've travelled abroad, chances are you've had to quarantine upon return.  

Alas, that pesky elf will be visiting your house from the North Pole, where I have had varying reports on the Covid-19 outbreak there.  Some elf's may have decided not to risk travelling at all (Oh the disappointment!) while others, not wanting to let your little people down, have decided to travel but do the right thing and quarantine once they reach your home! 

This could mean that Elf may have to be in isolation and not move from their quarantine spot for up to 14 days, depending on how much you can be arsed!

Place the elf in a container, a jar or a clear tupperware box, with a note informing your child of the quarantine and the importance that they don't try and take them out of confinement.  Pinterest even has some brilliant free printables, like this one from mamacheaps.com 

Mama Cheaps Elf on The Shelf Isolation Quarantine


2.  Toilet Roll

I don't know about you guys, but a lot of my last minute previous elf attempts, have involved a giant mess with an unrolled toilet roll, much to the kids amusement.  2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, one of the more bizarre ones being the great toilet roll shortage and panic buying.  Tie this into your elf escapades this year, with a funny note talking about not wasting toilet roll, like this picture by Living Locurto, which also includes free printables!

Elf on The Shelf Toilet Paper Image from Living Locurto

3.  Snowball fight!

Who doesn't love a good snowball fight? Battle Elf against a figure or favourite toy.  Use mallows or cotton buds!

Elf on Shelf and Wooden Having Snowball Fight.  Image from Pinterest, via Netmums

4. Saucy Elf!

Make an elf portrait with some tomato ketchup and mayo. The messier the better!

Elf on The Shelf Ketchup and Mayo Potrait

5.  Sweetie Snatcher

Using Tins from your cupboard, stack them up from the floor, so that Elf can reach the counter and get stuck into your favourite sweet treats! Naughty elf! (A few empty wrappers add to the fun and allow you some of your favourite chocolate too - Win Win!!)

Elf on The Shelf Pinching Sweeties from the kitchen counter

6. Elf or Astronaut...? 

Some tinfoil and string makes this super quick and easy display.  Hang him from the light shade or pin him to the ceiling! Credit: brightercraft

Elf on The Shelf Astronaut in Tinfoil

7. Encourage Good Behaviour

Want your child to do something and feel like banging your head off the wall every time they ignore you? You know who the will listen to much more than you? Yip, that bloody elf! Struggling to get them to brush their teeth? Use some old toothpaste to write them a message from the elf and watch them clean like never before! Credit: latteslilacsandlullabies.com

Brush Your Teeth Elf on The Shelf

8.  Toastie! 

You could go out and buy all the jumpers and accessories to keep your elf warm, or you could just stick them between 2 slices of toast and make a hilarious dad joke pun at the same time! The kids will be rolling around the floor laughing for weeks!

Toastie Elf on The Shelf idea from brightercraft

9.  Game Night

What do the toys do at night when the little people are sleeping? Well, they have a few games of Texas Hold'em, of course!  Get the Elf in on the hustle with some of their favourite toys and a pack of playing cards!

credit: elfontheshelfideas.com

10.  Hide & Seek

Get your children interacting and playing games with the elf, such as a game of hide and seek.  Like this one below, using a pack of candy canes, have your children search high and low for some treats!

credit: kainspired via pinterest

11.  Snow Angels 

The oldies are the best for nights when you forget.  Some flour on the kitchen counter makes for perfect snow angels!

Elf on The Shelf Snow Angels

12. Countdown with sweets

 Remind them how many sleeps it is until Santa comes, and spell it out using their favourite treats, like Skittles or Smarties! I love this one from Red Carpets to Runny Noses.

Elf on The Shelf Christmas Countdown with Sweeties


 13. Some gentle encouragement

 Want your little one to clean their room? This one is sure to do the trick. No one wants to be responsible for a bandaged elf!

Clean Your Room Elf on The Shelf

 14. Decorate the kitchen!

 Elf's are at their best when they are at their naughtiest! If you have some spare wrapping paper, then go to town on the kitchen.  It doesn't have to be perfect!

 Elf on The Shelf Decorates Kitchen with Wrapping Paper

15. Peek-a-boo!

Cut out the face on a Pringles jar or cereal box for a surprise at breakfast!

Elf on The Shelf Cereal Box

16. Captured

 If your child has any superheros laying around, or better still dinosaurs, then have them take the mischievous elf hostage. You're not the only one who has had enough of the little buggers antics!

 Elf on The Shelf Captured by Dinos

 17. Go Bananas 

 Everyone knows bananas look better with faces on them!

Elf on The Shelf Goes Bananas


18. Dancing on the ceiling

 Stick Elf upside down on the ceiling, using either Blu Tack or Sellotape, and leave him there for the kids to find

Elf on Shelf on the ceiling

 19. Getting Taller

Using a pair of shoes or boots, stick a roll of wrapping paper in each, and each of the elf's legs in a roll. Stilts. Basically.

 Elf on The Shelf on makeshift stilts


20. Pants on Fire!

What's funnier than elf's in underpants? Nothing! That's what! Using a pair of your child's (clean!) undies, stick him to a wall by the seat of his pants.  Better still, if you have alphabet magnets, stick him to the fridge and leave a message!

Elf stuck in undies on fridge


21. Teenage Mutant Ninja Apples

 This one goes down particularly well in our house filled with boys.  Green apples can easily be transformed into Leo, Donnie, Raph and Mikey, using either coloured balloons or normal paper coloured in.  These look great!

Elf on Shelf with TMNT apples


 22. Acts of Kindness!

 The official Elf on The Shelf Pinterest page has lots of free printable cards to accompany your Elf.  I particularly like the act of kindness printable, encouraging your child to complete a random act of kindness each day. That's the Christmas spirit! Leave a prompt next to your elf each day & feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Ahhh.

 Elf on The Shelf Acts of Kindness Free Printable

 23. Movie Night

Promote some family time, with Elf leaving a family festive movie plus some treats like popcorn, out for your child to enjoy that day.  Check out our Favourite Festive Films blog post for some movie recommendations! 

Elf on The Shelf Movie Night



24. Until next time, you little red pain in the arse!

Leave a note, from Elf, to your child, explaining how they must go now but Santa will be there very soon.  Then hide the Elf in a cupboard your children can't reach and promise yourself you won't be doing this crap next year! Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax for half an hour before you have to play Santa. Parenting is tough! 

Mum Drinking Gif


*all images and links can be found here

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