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The Elf on the Shelf craze has exploded every December, with many parents working hard to come up with creative Elf on the Shelf ideas each night, ready for the kids to come looking in the morning.
This is not always an easy task, and I’m the first to admit I have forgotten to move the Elf. These Elf ideas will help you come up with a fun new scenario for each day in December!
What Is Elf On The Shelf?
The concept behind Elf on the Shelf is to enhance the Christmas magic for kids, encouraging them to keep believing. It also helps with keeping them more nice than naughty through December.
After all, the elf does pop back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa all that has happened each day.
The idea is to create a fun festive experience for your children in the lead up to Christmas, with the naughty elf getting into mischief each night while they sleep.
We have had an annual elf visitor in our home for many Christmas seasons now. The first year, our then 3-year-old was quite uneasy. Now, the kids talk about him through the year and wonder when he will be back. Our elf is affectionately named Bo which was what my then 3-year-old named him when he first arrived. Easy to remember.
Staying Organised With Elf On The Shelf
I’m no super mum when it comes to coming up with totally awesome Elf ideas each night. I have a few favourites that I reserve for those busy days when I eagerly await the kids to go to sleep so I can move him and head to bed myself.
In fact, I won’t even tell you how many times I got into bed then remembered I hadn’t moved the elf. Usually just after I get comfortable!
Or there was once or twice when I completely forgot to move the elf. We had to make up a story about how he didn’t move because the kids had been ratbags and it was his way of telling them so! It was effective!
This is a big reason why I had to create my own Elf on the Shelf planner. Otherwise, that first year had many late-night Pinterest searches, looking for some quick inspiration!
My top tips for staying organised:
- Plan your Elf scenarios in advance
- Have your props ready
- Keep it simple
- Set a nightly reminder on your phone
- And be prepared in case you forget
CREATIVE ELF ON THE SHELF IDEAS
My friend Jess is a bit of an Elf on the Shelf guru. Some of these cool ideas Jess has allowed me to share with you all. Others are adventures of our own Elf Bo over the years.
I have put each idea as a new day in December so you can do the same, or pick your favourites and add them to your Elf planner!
Dec 1 – Welcome back Elf Arrival Letter
A letter from your Elf on 1 December is a fun way to get the kids excited right from the start and a good way to remind them that Santa knows if they are naughty or nice!
Dec 2 -Kissing Booth
Save a box, such as a tissue box to make your own Elf on the Shelf kissing booth.
Dec 3 – Wrapped Christmas Tree
This one is very impressive. That is a lot of effort. Well done Jess. If you do this early in the month, you can reuse the paper to do your gift wrapping.
Dec 4 – Say Cheese
Line up some of your children’s favourite toys for a bit of Elf photography.
Dec 5 – All Rolled Up
If you need a really easy option that takes almost no planning or prep, this toilet roll scenario is perfect.
Dec 6 – Taco Tuesday
This one was a bit of fun. We love tacos but our kids aren’t really fans. Still, a simple idea for a Tuesday!
Dec 7 – Balloon Time
This Elf in a balloon will amaze the little ones as they try and work out how the Elf got inside. Take care not to pop the balloon in the process though because you don’t want kids waking with a fright late at night and coming to investigate.
Dec 8 – Candy Cane Thief
Sometimes you need to give the little people a friendly Elf reminder to be nice instead of naughty.
Dec 9 – Sack Races
This super cute idea is great if you have more than one Elf or if you want to get some other toys involved.
Dec 10 – Bath Time
Bath time is important, even if you are an Elf. Use cotton balls to give the look of a bubble bath. Our Barbie bath was the perfect size.
Dec 11 – Hanging With The Angel
Just hanging about and making friends with the other festive character in the house. A quick and easy last-minute Elf on the Shelf idea.
Dec 12 – Balloon Ride
This Elf balloon ride may require a couple of extra props you may not already have lying around. Jess did a brilliant job with hers. See below for my much quicker, lazier version of the Elf balloon idea.
Dec 13 – Sleigh Ride
Dashing through the snow, with a bunch of My Little Pony friends…
Dec 14 – Nutcracker
A regal outfit for your Elf while he hangs out with some of the other decorations.
Dec 15 – Festive Baking
A messy but fun idea is to write your Elf’s name in flour on the bench. Make sure you time it on a day you don’t need the kitchen much.
Dec 16 – Stolen Underwear
This one was my kid’s favourite Elf day in 2018. Stolen a pair of everyone’s undies and hung them on the tree. They could not stop giggling every time they passed the tree. Especially my eldest daughter when she realised the Elf was wearing her Frozen undies.
Dec 16 – Riding The Reindeer
Make use of your festive decorations with simple scenarios like this one. These reindeer have featured in many an Elf encounter over the years.
Dec 17 – Bauble Bath
Similar to the cotton ball bubble bath from earlier, this bauble bath is a fun festive twist.
Dec 18 – Give To Get
This is my personal favourite. We always encourage our children to give away some of their existing toys and clothes before every Christmas or birthday. During December, we put out a washing basket for each of them and a note for them to fill the baskets. They are only young so even a few items added to the basket is a win for me.
This is also a great way to encourage them to be more giving during the Christmas season, by starting a new family tradition of donating items they no longer need each year.
Dec 19 – Toilet Paper Tree
When the little prankster decides to let loose with a roll of toilet paper, no tree is safe!
Dec 20 – Balloon Bubble Bath
This one was inspired by my daughter’s birthday with balloons adding a bit of celebration to the cheeky elf and his bubble bath!
Dec 21 – Jingle Bells…
At it again with the toilet roll and cheeky taunts. This one is a perfect option when you are tired and feeling uninspired because it takes less than a minute to set up!
Dec 22 – Find the Treat
Hide a treat under the cups for your child to wake up and find. This is a great one for the weekend if you are willing to allow a pre-breakfast treat and hopefully get to sleep in a little longer. It totally did not work for us. They still asked if they could have their treat first!
A big thank you to Jess for letting me share several of these fun Christmas elf ideas. No doubt I will be adding even more of my own Elf on the shelf inspiration each year too!
Time to get that Christmas preparation started!
Check out more Christmas inspiration:
- Family Christmas traditions to start
- How to have a simplified Christmas
- Non-toy gifts for kids
- Reasons why the Elf on the Shelf did not move
- Recipes for using up leftover candy canes
Grab my Santa Tag freebie for a cute gift tag for your children’s gifts this Christmas. And if you’re stuck on inspiration, or looking for a budget-friendly idea, these handmade gifts are easy and thoughtful ideas.
Do you have an Elf on the Shelf visiting your household?