We all have our Christmas traditions. Some of them are nationwide, some of them have been passed down through your family, but they always bring just a little thrill of Christmas joy. A tradition that’s taken the world by storm in the last few years is Elf on the Shelf – a little elf toy that keeps an eye on your kids and moves magically around the house after they’ve gone to bed to cause a bit of harmless trouble. Although they don’t move around quite as magically as the kids might think, do they?
Coming up with fresh new ideas for where to move your little elf scout every day can get exhausting very quickly, so it’s time to bring in a bit of creative license. We have some easy Elf on the Shelf ideas that will take you all the way through December, keeping your little ones happy and your life easy for the whole season. From quarantining elves to exercising elves, these fun ideas will keep your children reminiscing long into next year.
Where Does Elf on The Shelf Come From?
Elf on the Shelf began as a tradition within Carol Aebersold’s family, where ‘Santa’ sent an elf each year to watch them and listen to their Christmas wishes. Their elf – called ‘Fisbee’ – would move around the house each night, and Carol Aebersold’s children delighted in rushing out of bed in the morning to find him[i].
When her children were grown, they helped her write a book based on the tradition, which they then worked to self-publish for three years. Written entirely in rhyme, the book explains how Santa knows who is naughty and nice by sending ‘scout elves to hide in people’s homes, who report their activities back to Santa throughout the season. Each purchase of the book comes with an elf toy – the Elf on the Shelf.
Every publishing company they approached rejected them, but the family believed in their project and pulled together to publish it themselves. Although initial response was steady, Elf on the Shelf became an internet sensation in the early 2010s, and sales soared. Since it launched in 2005, the Elf on the Shelf book has sold more than 11 million copies worldwide[ii], and the brand’s products can now be found in thirteen countries around the world[iii]. Children and adults alike love taking part in this tradition, so let’s get you set up with some great Elf on the Shelf ideas to keep you busy this Christmas.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Every Day Leading Up to Christmas
Let your kids know that Coronavirus won’t keep your little elf scout away with this printable quarantine letter, protect them with an elf size mask and get the family ready for a season of cheeky mischief!
2. Photo Booth
Get your kids favourite toys involved in the fun and set up a little photoshoot for your elf and their new friends! Set up a camera, a few DIY props, and a background for a fun set-up the family will love.
Even your elves need a break after this tough year – mischief is a tiring business! So, give them some time off by setting them up in front of a tablet playing your children’s favourite Christmas movie – your kids will be joining them in no time!
4. Candy Cane Sledding
Let your elves have some fun with sledging slopes made of fluffy white towels and simple candy cane sledges. Shape your sledge with candy canes and use masking tape (or water if your kids will be peckish!) to hold it all together, then sit your elf on top and watch them go!
Whether you set them up showing off their super strength or flying through the air, a superhero costume is amazingly versatile for your elf.
6. Wrapping Gifts
Fill little parcels with sweets or trinkets as a gift from your elf to your kids for being so good this year!
7. They’ll Never Find Me Here!
Decorate your elf with some dry erase markers and camouflage them among the branches of your Christmas tree, then just sit back and wait. Your kids will have to work for this one!
We have the perfect Christmas decorations not only to help hide your elf but to decorate your entire house in style this year. From pretty tree skirts to cuddle your elf under to beautiful angels your elf can befriend, we have everything you need to make this Christmas extra special!
8. Sick Day
Even elves have their off days! So if yours is feeling a bit under the weather, make them comfortable and get them a doctor’s note so they can take a much-needed day off.
9. Spa Day
Let your elf relax after a long day of working for Santa in a balloon or marshmallow spa set-up.
10. Peeking At Gifts
Presents are just too tempting! But remember – only elves get to sneak a peek at the gifts before Christmas!
11. Gone Fishing
Haribo’s Freaky Fish or a few Swedish Fish make great bait for an elven sink fishing hole.
12. Reading Books
Set up your elf behind your kids favourite Christmas book and get your kids and their toys settled in for story time.
13. Writing A To-Do List
Make sure your elf keeps on top of their jobs with a miniature to-do list. Then, tick tasks off throughout the day to add to the magic!
14. Hide and Seek
Hide a few candy canes around a room and set up a little notice with your elf that they’ve hidden them. Your kids might even love looking for them more than eating them!
15. Not The Train Tracks!
Oh no, your elf’s in trouble! Get your kids to save the elf before their train set runs over it!
16. Photocopier Fun
Photocopiers are comedy gold, as some of your kids’ cartoons have probably pointed out to them! So let your elf have their own fun with some of their own photocopying opportunities.
17. Grabbing A Snack
Working for Santa is hungry work – let your elf fuel themselves by sneaking some sugary snacks.
18. Sack Race
Bring in your kid’s favourite toys and some brown paper bags to create a sports day classic – will the elf come out victorious?
It looks like those Christmas cookies may have been a bad idea! Help your elf stay in shape with this easy elf-ercise printable.
20. Special Delivery
Your elf just can’t wait for the post today! Let your kids know they’ve got a package waiting for them, and make sure your elf’s waiting inside.
21. Stay Hydrated
Your elf’s particularly thirsty this morning, so sit them down with a nice glass of water and small straw at their very own refuelling station.
22. Mermaid Elf
Make bath time more fun with a slip-on tail for your elf scout, then set them up by the sink or bathtub.
23. Warm and Toasty
Give your kids a good laugh with a good old Dad joke. Download this great toasty and warm printable and pair your elf with some genuine toast to really bring it home.
24. Letter To Santa
Set your elf up with some paper and pens so they can help your kids write out their wish lists to Santa.
25. Going Back To The North Pole
Time for your elf to go back home! Pack up his little belongings in the back of his car and give him a wave off!
This lovely little tradition is excellent for all the family, so whether it’s your first elf experience or it’s been a Christmas staple in the family for years, any of these fun hiding ideas are guaranteed to raise a smile on the faces of all ages. Just remember to make sure your elf gets back to the North Pole before Christmas is over!