Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
The other morning, when I walked out into our kitchen, my 8-year-old exclaimed, “Mom! Elf is playing Xbox! I bet they’re playing NBA.” It was one of the simplest yet most creative Elf ideas I have ever done. Took me all of 10 seconds to grab the Xbox controllers and put them with the Elves. And he loved it. Creative elf ideas don’t have to mean it’s hard. It doesn’t have to mean time-consuming or buying extra props. Elf on the Shelf ideas can be quick, easy, and creative.
And let’s be honest, most of the complex vignettes that you see on social media are NOT for kids. That’s adults having fun and trying to outdo other adults. Frankly, ain’t nobody got time for that! Last night after I did our elves (yes, now we have two) and went back to bed, I was laying there thinking of all the darned simple ideas I could be doing! I mean really simple and still silly! Kids don’t care, they really don’t. Mine are just excited to see him move.
I think most parents have a love/hate relationship with Elf on the Shelf. You either love it or hate it. Or, you love him and hate him. I love that my kids love it, I hate when I forget to do it. I would love it more if I had some really simple elf ideas, that were still silly. And elf ideas that only took maybe 20 seconds to set up. Cool, right?
So here you go, dozens of super simple, creative and silly ideas for your Elf. These are all based on basic household items that you already have around the house. No special purchases or set up necessary.
Kitchen-creative and simple Elf on the Shelf ideas
- Does your child pour their own breakfast cereal in the morning? Put Elf inside the box.
- Unroll your paper towels about 3-4 feet. Put Elf in, head sticking out, and roll back up. Put back on the paper towel holder.
- Put him through the handle of a jug of juice or milk in the fridge.
- In produce or dairy drawer if yours are clear; or if child will reach for fruit in morning.
- Sitting at the table eating something.
- Depending on what your kitchen cabinets are (not just knobs) put Elf through the door handles.
- Where do you keep glass flower vases or jars? Put him in one.
- Do you have wine/beer/bar glasses out on display? Put him in one.
- Put him on edge of the sink, hugging the sink hose nozzle. But not tight enough to squeeze it and get someone wet–just like he’s threatening to.
- Does your child help pack his/her lunch? Put Elf in the lunch box for a surprise when they pull it out to get ready for school.
- In your child’s favorite juice glass or cereal bowl that you know they’ll use in the morning.
- Use a sharpie and draw on bananas
- hanging on the oven door handle
Bathroom-Elf on the Shelf ideas
- hanging from the shower curtain ring
- rolled up in toilet paper, like paper towel example above
- in a tissue box, covered with tissue blankets
- in your child’s drawer where they will go for comb, toothbrush, etc.
- sitting on bathroom counter pretending to use a product
- hanging from light fixture if possible
Bedrooms Elf Ideas
- wearing your child’s underwear in their underwear drawer (open when they get ready for school)
- if your child plans out their outfits the night before, stick Elf in sleeve or pocket
- put in sleeve or pocket of a coat
- in a backpack or on backpack (don’t recommend making the journey to school!)
- reading your child’s books
- riding in a toy vehicle
- building something with Legos
- hanging from light or ceiling fan
- in your child’s shoe in their closet
- what hobby/toy/game/thing/trend is your child into right now? Have Elf do that.
General Around the House-Simple Elf on the Shelf ideas
- notebook paper or scratch paper and pen-making a to-do list
- making a naughty/nice list
- doing your child’s homework (if they have workbook/worksheets)
- writing a check to Santa with your checkbook
- reading a magazine, preferably seasonal one
- making a list of cookies to bake, presents to buy, favorite Christmas songs
- find a bungee cord, belt or scarf, even tie 2 socks together–can hang him from just about anywhere-ceiling fan, curtain rods, light fixtures, etc.
- hogging the remote on the couch
- playing Xbox or PlayStation or other video game
- sitting with your child’s earbuds on his ears
- put Elf in the mailbox after mail comes but before the child gets home from school, ask them to go out and get the mail
- bundled up on the couch with “sick” supplies like tissues and thermometer
- in linen closet
- if you have a glass breakfront or other piece of furniture that displays things (curio cabinet) put him in there
- in your stockings, if they’re up
- on your tree someplace
- sitting on a wreath
- Does your child have a pet in a tank? Put Elf in there. Or outside looking in.
- start your Christmas cards, but have Elf start putting the stamps on at night (you can finish next day)
- reading the Bible or another religious book
- reading a Christmas book