20 Elf On The Shelf Ideas For The Holiday Season

   When it comes to Christmas traditions, Elf on the Shelf is a classic for the kids! As parents, We know how much pressure there is to come up with a new spot each day while making it a delightful surprise every time.

That's why we came up with both a strategy plus 20 tips and ideas to make Elf on The Shelf fun and memorable for everyone, including Mom and Dad! 

Planning Ahead

   This one is a no brainer. Make a day-by-day schedule of what you’re doing with Elf and stick to it. We also recommend coming up with 4-5 ‘last-minute’ hiding spots for those nights where life gets in the way and you forget to move them.

   Alternatively, come up with a bunch of ideas and sort them by your laziness level, then decide day-of what you have time for. Chances are you’re not going to have time to set up Elf scaling the Christmas tree like “a spy on a secret Christmas mission” after coming home from your neighbor’s holiday party, but you will on a night when the kids are sleeping over at grandma’s house.

   This is a bit of a no-brainer, but you’ll also want to save anything that involves getting Elf dirty for the end of the month. No one wants to be frantically scrubbing an Elf arm with a toothbrush at midnight!

Elf Activities

   Another fun idea is to set up an activity from Elf to do with the kids. Leave Elf somewhere pretty obvious (like the kitchen table) holding a candy cane with a note telling the kids to find 10 more candy canes. You can hide some candy canes in easy places for younger kids and harder places for older kids, so siblings can search together. Or, if you’re feeling creative, set up a full-blown scavenger hunt! This is a great way to start or end the month.

What to do with The Elf

The most important part! Here’s 20 creative ideas to position Elf. 

  1. Elf Redecorates Tree

Get a roll of toilet paper and wrap it around the Christmas tree, then place your elf at the top of the tree holding the end of the roll for evidence.

  1. Magic Trick

Create a fun at home science experiment for the kiddos by arranging skittles in a circle on a plate. Place the elf next to the plate with instructions to pour hot water in the middle. They will be amazed with what happens next…

  1. The Doctor Is In 

Place the Elf in your kids Reversible 4 in 1 Play Center and have them sit on the top with one of your kids favorite stuffed animals. Have the elf look like it's giving a check up by using a fake stethoscope, band-aids, etc. Have a line of stuffed animals on the floor waiting for their check up so it looks like the Elf wants your kids to play pretend with them!

  1. Baking Time!

Put Elf on the kitchen counter with a bag of cookie dough and holiday cookie cutters. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and place some dough on the tray so it looks like Elf was about to start baking. It will be an exciting way to get the kids excited to make some Christmas cookies.

  1. Elf Goes Sledding

Use white washcloths to make a stand-in snowy hill for Elf to sled down! You can add fun accessories like a tiny sled or tube, scarf, and earmuffs. Place it in the bathroom as a delightful surprise when the kids wake up in the morning.

  1. Elf Makes a Gingerbread House

Bring Elf into your family traditions by setting up their very own gingerbread house. The night before you plan to make your houses, set up everything you need on the kitchen table so it’s all ready to go. Right in the middle, place Elf with their little gingerbread house. 

  1. Mommy’s Little Helper

Put Elf to work by helping with the piles of laundry laying around the house. Position them on top of a couple folded pieces of clothing. This will encourage kids to help out with the chores!

  1. Elf Dresses Up as Santa

A fun and easy way to put Elf in this disguise for the day is by unraveling cotton balls to create a Santa beard and outfit. 

  1. Elf Becomes an Artist!

Let Elf show their creative side by placing them on one of Delta Children's Easels with a Christmas themed drawing on display. This is a fun way to get the kids in the spirit and encourage them  to create their own holiday themed drawings.

  1. Hide and Seek

This one is easy and fun! Simply color Elf’s face with a dry-erase marker for the perfect camouflage look and place them somewhere hidden inside the Christmas tree.

  1. Elf Serves Breakfast

Pose Elf inside a cereal bowl with a spoon and add some dry cereal. Tip the box over behind him, and have some of the cereal spill out. When the kids come down for breakfast, tell them that Elf helped get breakfast together. Bonus points for a holiday themed cereal!

  1. Elf has a Playdate

Set Elf up inside your kids Playhouse with a couple of stuffed animals, a Barbie, or driving a toy car. This can be spun into a playroom cleanup request!

  1. Does the Shoe Fit?

When your kid leaves their boots or sneakers at the front door, place Elf in the shoes so it looks like they’re trying them on. This is a great way to give the kids a little laugh.

  1. Elf Goes to The Movies

Set up your kids tablet to play their favorite holiday movie for an elf-sized drive-in experience. It’s the perfect way to include other toys from the house like toy cars, and their favorite dolls.

  1. All Smiles Elf

Got a kid who won’t brush their teeth? Set Elf up in the bathroom with their toothbrush, toothpaste, and a note reminding them to brush. Again, this one is super quick to set up, and enforces good behavior. Parent win!

  1. Quiet Time…Ssshhh!

One fun and easy way to set up Elf for the day is to place them in one of your kids favorite spots! Rest Elf onto your kids Cozee Chair with a book and wait to see your kids reaction. This could be a great way  to pick out a book, and read as a family.

  1. DIY With Elf

Stick a couple of fun stickers on Elf and leave them with a pile of card-making supplies. Add a note saying he wants to make Christmas cards! Have the kids make a bunch of cards and drop them off at a local nursing home or hospital. This is probably our favorite item on the list—it’s easy to set up, keeps the kids busy for a couple hours, and reinforces the true meaning of Christmas. Doesn’t get better!

  1. Elf Went Fishin’

Pose Elf sitting above a bowl of Goldfish crackers. Next, make him a little fishing pole with a straw and some string, and tie a Goldfish to the string so it looks like Elf caught the cracker. Bonus: leave out a couple plastic bags and have kids pack their lunch snack from the Goldfish bowl!

  1. Elf Plays Pretend 

Prop open your kids Toy Box and let Elf dangle from the side. Place some of the toys from inside the toy box on the ground so it looks like Elf wanted to play. This will get the kids curious and want to start playing themselves! 

  1. Part of the Family

Hang Elf from a framed family portrait. Cut out Elf hats for each family member and tape them on each person’s head. Leave a note from Elf saying something about matching outfits! Bonus points for making hats for every picture in the living room!


   Find any new ideas you haven’t tried before? We hope some of these tips and tricks will bring a stress free experience to your family’s holiday tradition this year. Even doing just a few of them is bound to create lots of Christmas cheer for everyone!

Load Full Post ↓
Load Full Post ↓