Easy Elf Ideas

The other morning, when I walked out into our kitchen, my 7-year-old exclaimed, “Mom! Elf is playing Xbox! I bet they’re playing NBA2K.” 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 and funny elf ideas don’t have to mean it’s complicated and time consuming. This is one of our household’s favorite Christmas traditions. Now that my boys are teens, yes, we are still doing Elf ideas.

Easy Elf Ideas

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. I just don’t have the time or the energy for that.

Easy Elf Ideas

The key to this is simple. Talk about it. Yep, that’s it. Engage your kids in a conversation every morning when they find their Elf. “Why do you think he decided to go there? What do you think he’s looking for in the fridge? Do you think he eats his Cheerios with bananas?”

I followed the lead that my second grader was putting out there…and now we have simple ideas, but they are fun and memorable. You can also find Elves with different skin tones to make it more personal for your child.

So here you go, dozens of super easy, creative and funny ideas for your Elf. These are all based on basic household items that you probably have around the house. No special purchases or set up necessary. I’ve done most of these with my kids.

Bonus: Add Disabilities or Special Needs to your Elf on the Shelf.

Elf for Teens

You know what? My sons no longer believe in Elf or Santa. After all, they are tweens and teens. I still get him out. They humor me. My boys still enjoy seeing what Elf will do next. And, this year, we are taking turns moving him.

Teens may enjoy exploring their creativity in a safe environment. Especially now that we’re stuck at home together, nostalgia may make them feel safe and comforted during uncertain times.

Elf on the Shelf 2020

Elf on the Shelf Babies

Yes! New for 2020, now your Elf can have babies. Because, why not?

Elf Ideas-Arrival

For this one, I’d either buy or make the door that is shown below. I’m planning on keeping our Elves once my kids outgrow them, and then they’ll have them for their kids. Elf arrives from the North Pole, so you can work that into your arrival.

You can buy Elf on the Shelf just about anywhere. At least, I have seen them at most of the major retailers, Hallmark stores and online. Since Elf comes with a story book about his arrival, you may want to look at book stores too. I know I have seen the Box Sets at Barnes and Noble, and at the small, local book retailers. Usually, it has a fixed price, so you won’t necessarily save money by shopping at a big box store instead of supporting a small business.

Some of the easiest Elf ideas were also the funniest to my family. Now that my kids are tweens, they just roll their eyes at me. They know he isn’t real. Still, we have a lot of fun. The kitchen and the bathroom Elf ideas can be some of the funniest.

Even though my kids know that he isn’t real, they won’t touch him. I guess superstitions die hard! When a child cannot touch Elf, it makes it more fun to put him in some funny and inconvenient places. It’s a great way to keep a kid off the Xbox for a day.

Easy Elf Ideas: Kitchen

elf on the shelf in a cheerios box
  • Does your child pour their own breakfast cereal in the morning? Put him inside the box.
elf on the shelf milk jug
  • Put him through the handle of a jug of juice or milk in the fridge.
elf on the shelf in refrigerator
  • In produce or dairy drawer if yours are clear; or if child will reach for fruit in morning.
  1. 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. (make sure you don’t have to use paper towels that day, or leave a roll on the counter)
  2. Sitting at the table eating something.
  3. Depending on what your kitchen cabinets are (not just knobs) put Elf through the door handles.
  4. Where do you keep glass flower vases or jars? Put him in one.
  5. Do you have wine/beer/bar glasses out on display? Put him in one.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. In your child’s favorite juice glass or cereal bowl that you know they’ll use in the morning.
  9. Use a sharpie and draw on bananas.
  10. Hanging on the oven door handle.

Easy Elf Ideas: Bathroom

elf on the shower curtain

Make sure it’s a non-bath day!

  1. Rolled up in toilet paper, like paper towel example above.
  2. In a tissue box, covered with tissue blankets.
  3. In your child’s drawer where they will go for comb, toothbrush, etc.
    Elf on the Shelf in the Bathroom
  4. Sitting on bathroom counter pretending to use a product.
  5. Hanging from light fixture if possible.

Easy Elf Ideas: Bedrooms

elf on the shelf good morning

Time to get up!

  1. Wearing your child’s underwear in their underwear drawer (open when they get ready for school).
  2. If your child plans out their outfits the night before, stick Elf in sleeve or pocket. Guess they’ll have to pick something else!
  3. Put in sleeve or pocket of a coat.
  4. In a backpack or on backpack (don’t recommend making the journey to school!).
  5. Reading your child’s books.
  6. Riding in a toy vehicle-the TMNT shellraiser vehicle works well.
  7. Building something with Legos.
  8. Hanging from light or ceiling fan.
  9. In your child’s shoe in their closet
  10. What hobby/toy/game/thing/trend is your child into right now? Have Elf do that.
  11. A Scout elf! If your child does scouting, have him working on a badge or reading the book.
elf on the shelf in lunchbox

Guess you’ll have to buy lunch today.

Easy Elf Ideas around the House.

elf on the shelf kitchen sink

Look out!

  1. Notebook paper or scratch paper and pen-making a to-do list.
  2. Making a naughty/nice list.
  3. Doing your child’s homework (if they have workbook/worksheets).
  4. Writing a check to Santa with your checkbook.
  5. Reading a magazine, preferably seasonal one.
  6. Making a list of cookies to bake, presents to buy, favorite Christmas songs.
  7. 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.
  8. Hogging the remote on the couch.
  9. Playing Xbox or PlayStation or other video game.
  10. Sitting with your child’s earbuds on his ears.
  11. 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.
  12. Bundled up on the couch with “sick” supplies like tissues and thermometer.
  13. In linen closet.
  14. If you have a glass breakfront or other piece of furniture that displays things (curio cabinet) put him in there.
  15. In a Christmas stocking, if they’re up.
  16. Have him wrap up something silly in Christmas wrapping paper. (like the remote)
  17. Put him on your Christmas tree someplace. Just sitting on a branch peeking out is fine.
  18. Sitting on a wreath.
  19. Does your child have a pet in a tank? Put the doll in there. Or outside looking in.
  20. Start your Christmas cards, but have him start putting the stamps on at night (you can finish next day)
  21. Reading the Bible or another religious book.
  22. Reading a Christmas book.
  23. Have your Elf read one of your child’s books or activities, such as working on a Scout badge; a Scout Elf!

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