60+ Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas (2024)

’Tis the season for the Elf on the Shelf! But what on earth do you do with the little red toy every day until Christmas?

Check out these fun and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas! Many can be done with just items you already have, plus the elf of course, but some may need props.

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Hopefully these ideas will give you inspiration for creating your own Elf on the Shelf scenarios!

Need a little extra help? Grab my free Elf on the Shelf cheat sheet – a printable guide to what to do with the elf every day until Christmas Day.

This post contains affiliate links.

Easy Elf on the Shelf ideas

When figuring out what to do with your Elf every morning search what you have in the house. A lot of inspiration can be taken from everyday items, so you don’t need to buy a bunch of props.

If you need last-minute Elf on the Shelf inspiration then lots of these are very low maintenance.

1. Welcome back letter from the Elf!

On the first day you could write a cute poem from the elf to your kids.

Elf on the Shelf official packs come with a book, so you could just pop the elf somewhere visible with the book to keep it simple on day one.If this isn’t your elf’s first year then check out this post featuring a free downloadable welcome back letter from your elf.

2. Snow angels

Elf has made a snow angel in flour on the kitchen counter.This is a brilliantly easy last-minute and cheap Elf on the Shelf idea.

3. Elf does a magic trick

Elf has one or more eggs (depending on how many kids you have) on the kitchen counter plus a little dish with glitter or sprinkles inside.

Leave a note that says your children must sprinkle the magical confetti on the eggs and tomorrow there will be a big surprise.

The next day put out two Kinder Eggs, or similar egg-shaped treat, instead of the real eggs. This one gives you two days of ideas!

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4. Elf is riding on a sleigh

This works even better if you attach some of your child’s favourite action figures to the sleigh with wool or string as if they are pulling it! You could make it look like elf has crashed into the tree!

I got my sleigh for the elf from Amazon here.

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5. Elf is having a campout

Tuck him under a small blanket or in a doll’s sleeping bag if you have one. Add some tiny marshmallows, with one on a little twig, and make a little fire from sticks next to his sleeping bag.

6. Loo roll stunt

Elf has rolled down the stairs inside a toilet roll, leaving toilet paper trailing down the steps!

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7. Elf is stuck inside stacked toilet rolls

You can make this even more fun by using pen to drawer lumps of coal on the toilet rolls, plus add a little cloth to make it look like a scarf, to make them look like a snowman!

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8. Chocoholic Elf

Your elf has raided the chocolate stash! Elf is sat in the middle of a box of chocolates with empty wrappers surrounding him and chocolate smeared around his mouth!

9. Elf has made mini pancakes!

Mix up some pancake batter and drop tiny amounts into a hot pan with butter to make tiny pancakes. Stack them next to elf with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup! You can make this even more fun by making full-size pancakes for your kids on a plate next to it, with a note from elf saying “I’ve made us breakfast!”.

10. Climbing elf

The elf is climbing up the wall using Christmas gift ribbons stuck to the wall as climbing points to grip on to.

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11. Zip wire Elf

Elf has made an aerial slide using a piece of string or ribbon strung across your room! He’s got a candy cane and hooked it over the string and is hanging on for dear life!

12. Chocolate poop

Cheeky Elf has done chocolate poos! Your child follows the trail of poos to find elf.

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13. Banana fun

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Elf has drawn a smiley face on the bananas! This one is super low maintenance to do.

Alternatively if your child is a Minions fan, elf has drawn Minion faces on the bananas! I also wrote “Ba-na-na” on mine!

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14. Sticker covered Elf

Raid your kids’ sticker collection and use them to cover the Elf.

15. Artistic Elf

Elf has got creative and made a picture using your child’s craft supplies.

16. Cereal smiley face

Elf has made a smiley face using Cheerios, or whatever cereals you have to hand, on the breakfast table.

17. Elf takes the pups for a walk

If you have Paw Patrol toys, this is a great one! Elf has tied string around the necks of the Paw Patrol to put them all on a lead and is walking them!

18. The nice list

Elf brings Santa’s “nice” list to show your child, with their names on it! You can just do this on your computer and print it off in a nice font, or try handwriting it if you have good handwriting! Idea from Growing Clan

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19. Sharing drawings

Ask your child to do a drawing for the elf. The next day have the elf holding a drawing in return for your child’s drawing.

20. Elf is hiding in a houseplant

Try draping him over a branch, or have him hanging upside down! A really simple but effective last-minute Elf on the Shelf idea.

21. Sliding down the stairs

Naughty elf is sliding down the stair’s in one of the family’s slippers! Try adding some string so elf can hold on and make it look like a sleigh.

22. Elf is sewing

Do you have a sewing machine? Get elf making something on the machine with Christmassy fabric, and drape a tape measure over their shoulders too! You could do something similar with a knitting set.

23. Elf has a wash

Bath time! Elf is in the sink, which is filled with cotton wool balls to look like a bubble bath!

You could also – if you don’t mind the mess – squeeze some toothpaste around the sink to make it look like the Elf got carried away when cleaning their teeth.

24. Hanging out

Elf is hanging from the light fitting on the ceiling.

25. Raiding the cupboards

Elf is eating chocolate spread or Nutella straight from the jar with a spoon and has some smeared on his mouth!

26. Upside down on the Christmas tree

This is a really simple one. Elf is hiding in the Christmas tree! You could try tucking him away in the branches so that the kids have to really hunt to find him.

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27. Kitchen raid

Naughty elf has used tins and packets from the kitchen to create steps up to the kitchen counter, where he has opened a bag of crisps!

28. Kitchen mess

Elf has tipped over the fruit bowl and fruit is scattered all over the kitchen counter.Leave the Elf lounging in the empty fruit bowl as if he’s using it as a bed.

29. Elf goes online

Elf is on mummy or daddy’s computer or iPad surfing the internet for toys.

30. Flying with a parachute

Get a cheap plastic mini toy parachute and attach it to the elf, then make it look like the parachute is tangled in the tree or on one of your ceiling lights.

31. Taking Santa hostage

Elf has taken a stuffed Santa toy hostage at the top of the tree! Idea and photo from Life with Lianne.

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32.Elf takes a photo

Creative elf has lined up his friends and is taking a picture of them underneath the Christmas tree!

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33.Kissing Elf

Elf has created a kissing booth! You can make your own kissing booth using a shoebox, then just add a little sign like in this photo.

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34.Elf is stuck in a balloon

This one is a challenging one so good luck! Pop Elf into a balloon and blow it up. Kids will be amazed to see him trapped inside!

You’ll need to stuff the Elf into the balloon then blow it up. Push it in head first – its quite hard to do feet first!

Be sure to get a larger balloon as this makes it a little easier, and go for one that is see-through. Also a giant balloon with some confetti added in makes it extra fun!

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35.Elf steals the candy

Naughty elf has stolen all the candy canes and is holding them all hostage on the Christmas tree!

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36.Sack race Elf

Elf is having a sack race with some other toys! Get some little brown paper bags, like you put sweets into, and put the toys inside as if they are racing toward a finish line!

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37.Elf steals the undies

Elf has stolen your family’s underwear and used them to decorate the tree!

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38.Paper chains

Make some paper chains so that you have a few loops, then leave some extra so it looks like Elf has been caught in the middle of making paper chains!

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39.Cowboy Elf

Cowboy elf is riding on a toy horse.

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40.Muddy Elf

Elf has been outside in the mud! Make muddy footprints from the back door to the elf. Try to smear a bit of mud on his cheeks too!

41.Wrapping up warm

Elf is wearing your child’s hat, scarf and shoes.

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42.Photo time

Elf has used a polaroid camera to take selfies, or “elfies”! Have a couple of photos of the Elf next to him along with the camera.

43. Elf takes a nap

Make sleepy elf a bed out of a box of tissues, using some folded up tissues as a pillow and a tissue as a duvet.

44. Swinging from the ceiling

Use a toilet roll and some string to make a swing and hang from the ceiling ( a light fitting can do the trick) and pop the elf on it!

45. Time to hydrate

Thirsty Elf is getting a drink of water from your fridge/freezer’s water dispenser.

46. Writing with toothpaste

Elf has used toothpaste to write “2 days until Christmas”, or just a simple “Hi”, on tiles in the bathroom.

47.Making hot chocolate

Elf has all of the ingredients ready for a cup of hot chocolate including marshmallows! Kids can enjoy the treat!

48.Elf vandalises the family photos

Naughty elf has put a red nose on every family member in a family photograph, plus is wearing one himself! You can use mini red pom poms for this idea. You can get them from Amazon here.

49.Chess game

Elf is playing chess with your child’s favourite toy.

50.Marshmallow avalanche

Elf is in a marshmallow avalanche. Get a packet of marshmallows and stack them into an avalanche shape coming out of the pack with elf on the top!

51. Chocolate at the end of the rainbow

Get some chocolate coins and leave a note saying elf found them at the end of the rainbow!

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52. Hanging on to tinsel

Elf is hanging out on some tinsel! This tinsel is just draped over a small decorative shelf in our living room. It works great for a last-minute idea.

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53. Elf is sorting the laundry

You could use doll clothes so that Elf has clothes his own size to organise.

54. Elf goes to space!

Wrap the Elf in tin foil, including making him a little hat, then hang him from a ceiling light using string. Add some cut out stars (use foil for these too) to make it look like he’s in space.

55. Elf is raiding the piggy bank

Place the Elf near your child’s piggy bank with a pound coin in its arms.

56. Elf steals the biscuits

Pop Elf into the biscuit jar or tin and have him just peeking out of the top. Trail a few crumbs around the outside of the jar to show he’s been eating them in the night!

57. Face masks

Elf has decided to have a facial! Smear some cream or moisturiser on his face, thick enough that it looks like a face mask, and if you have some cucumber cut out tiny circles to add to his eyes.

58. Elf cooks breakfast

Have a big fry up ready for the kids when they come downstairs and place the Elf on the table holding the cutlery. He’s cooked everyone a tasty breakfast!

59. Elf plays drums

Get some tins (they don’t have to be empty) and place Elf in the centre of a semi-circle of them. If you have drumsticks place those in his hands, or use pencils, and make it look as if he is rocking out!

60. Elf decorates a mini tree

Get a tiny Christmas tree and cover it with little decorations and baubles and then it looks as if Elf has decorated his very own tree.

61. Elf is donating the toys

This is a fabulous way to declutter your kids’ toys and also help charity at this time of year!

Place the Elf on a empty cardboard box with a note saying he would like your kids to donate their unwanted toys to charity.

DIY With My Guy has created a printable letter from your Elf to help make this idea work.

62. Use these fun FREE printable notes

The great team at Mom Hacks 101 has created some fun free printable notes from your Elf.

They encourage your kids to be well behaved and they’ll love to collect them all, so hopefully this should be a win-win!

63. Elves are playing a game

Get out one of your board games and set it up so that your Elf looks like he’s playing.

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This is a great one if you have two elves, but if you don’t just set them up to play against one of your child’s favourite toys.

I love this idea from Crafting With Kids.

64. Elf is frying an egg

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This is a brilliant last-minute idea that you can put together as long as you have some gummy eggs, like from Haribo, in the house.

Put the egg in a frying pan – or add a few eggs – and then have Elf sit next to the pan holding a spatula as if he is frying the egg for breakfast!

65. Feeding dinosaurs

This is a quick one to put together but my kids loved it!

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Get out your child’s toy dinosaurs and make it look as if Elf is feeding them. I used mini marshmallows but you could use sweets or chocolate.

Add a sign saying “Do Not feed the dinosaurs” for extra cheeky fun.

66. Elf is cuddling a teddy bear

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This idea can be done at the last minute as long as you have some gummy bears in the house.

Place one in elf’s arms and he’s having a cuddle with his bear!

67. Elf on the Shelf’s last day

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Need ideas for the Elf’s last day? For a simple idea just write on the mirror with a little lipstick to day farewell.

You could also use my free printable Elf on the Shelf goodbye letter.

67. Hanging out on the tree

On Christmas Day have elf on top of the presents with a note saying merry Christmas!

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts


As an expert and enthusiast, I have access to a vast amount of information on various topics, including the Elf on the Shelf tradition. I can provide you with ideas and inspiration for creating scenarios with your Elf on the Shelf toy leading up to Christmas. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in this article.

Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf is a popular holiday tradition that involves a small elf figurine placed in different locations around the house. The elf is believed to be sent by Santa Claus to keep an eye on children and report back to him about their behavior. The elf moves to a new spot every night, creating a sense of magic and excitement for children during the holiday season.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

This article offers a variety of creative and fun ideas for positioning your Elf on the Shelf. Here are some of the ideas mentioned:

  1. Welcome back letter from the Elf: On the first day, you can write a cute poem or letter from the elf to your kids [[1]].
  2. Snow angels: Create a snow angel shape using flour on the kitchen counter [[2]].
  3. Magic trick: Place eggs on the kitchen counter with a dish of glitter or sprinkles. Leave a note instructing your children to sprinkle the magical confetti on the eggs, promising a surprise the next day. Replace the real eggs with treat-filled Kinder Eggs [[3]].
  4. Sleigh ride: Position the elf on a sleigh and attach your child's favorite action figures to make it look like they are pulling the sleigh [[4]].
  5. Campout: Tuck the elf under a small blanket or in a doll's sleeping bag, and create a mini campfire with sticks and tiny marshmallows [[5]].
  6. Toilet roll stunt: Roll the elf down the stairs inside a toilet roll, leaving a trail of toilet paper behind [[6]].
  7. Stacked toilet rolls: Place the elf inside stacked toilet rolls, drawing lumps of coal on them to resemble a snowman. Add a cloth scarf for extra effect [[7]].
  8. Chocoholic Elf: Position the elf in the middle of a box of chocolates with empty wrappers around him and chocolate smeared on his mouth [[8]].
  9. Mini pancakes: Make tiny pancakes for the elf and stack them next to him with a drizzle of maple syrup. You can also make full-size pancakes for your kids on a plate next to the elf [[9]].
  10. Climbing elf: Use Christmas gift ribbons stuck to the wall as climbing points for the elf to create the illusion of climbing up the wall [[10]].

These are just a few examples of the creative scenarios you can create with your Elf on the Shelf. This article offers many more ideas to inspire you throughout the holiday season.

Remember, the Elf on the Shelf tradition is meant to be fun and magical for children. Feel free to get creative and adapt the ideas to suit your household and the interests of your children. Enjoy the holiday season with your Elf on the Shelf!

60+ Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas (2024)


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