For years I’ve watched friends and family members plan their annual Elf on the Shelf Celebrations. It’s 24 days of fun and mayhem for the entire family. Some of my friends go all out on planning their Elf on the Shelf daily surprises. I’ve seen everything from elaborate, festive elf breakfasts to elves who zip line across the living room to elves who spill a 5 pound bag of flour on the floor and make elf prints in it. I wanted to do a lower key version of Elf on the Shelf. I decided to incorporate some of our Christmas traditions with the Elf on The Shelf, along with easy, fun ideas that won’t be too messy or time consuming. Here are 24 easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas that won’t take over five minutes a day to prepare.
25 Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas:
1. Arrive with an Advent Calendar. One of my kids’ favorite traditions has been moving the marker on the Advent Calendar. In celebration of baby Jenna (nicknamed “Critter”), here’s a cute Fox Advent Calendar. (Critter has her own Critter!)
2. Mini Christmas Tree decoration, part 1. The kids love to have their own mini tree in their rooms. I decided to do this in parts. On day two, our Elf, Wynter, delivered a mini tree.
3. Mini Christmas Tree decoration, part 2. Deliver the lights for the mini tree.
4. Mini Christmas Tree decoration, part 3: Deliver the ornaments for the mini tree.
5. New Christmas Tree Ornament. One of our family traditions is each child gets a new ornament each year. This year our Elf got stuck in the tree while trying to deliver the ornament.
6. Have the Elf pack a lunch for school. Include the silliest items you can find, like a can of hot sauce.
7. Make this cute recipe for Elf Milk . Store it in a brand new cup.
8. Christmas Stories- The Elf brings a favorite Christmas story to read.
9. Elf Bath- Surprise the kids by letting your Elf greet them in a marshmallow bath.
10. Family Movie Night. The Elf arrives with a favorite Christmas movie for the family to watch together.
11. Hide and Seek. The Elf hides (ours hid on the ceiling fan) and leaves a note with a clue on how to find him.
12. Elf Candy Attack. Find the Elf surrounded by pieces of candy from an open bag.
13. Elf Pajamas. If you have a family tradition of getting new pajamas for Christmas, have the Elf deliver the pajamas.
14. Elf Cocoa. The Elf leaves cocoa, marshmallows and peppermint candy canes to make a treat.
15. Make Cookies. The bring brings a package of cookie dough and sprinkles.
16. Decorate with Bows. Purchase pre-made bows and have the Elf “decorate” the fridge.
17. Count down. Have the Elf leave a note on the fridge with magnetic letters, Only (however many) more days. This will also work with blocks.
18. Watching TV. The Elf greets the kids in the morning sitting on the couch, surrounded by the remote and snacks.
19. Hiding in the Fridge. Wrapped in a kitchen towel, trying to stay warm.
20. Elf Swinging. Our Elf, Wynter, tried to swing from the chandelier.
21. Elf Kisses. The Elf delivers a small bag of candy kisses and a note on how much fun she is having at your house this December.
22. Rudolph Noses. Leave a picture of family members out and draw a nose on each one with red lipstick.
23. Make Reindeer Food. The Elf brings the two magic ingredients for reindeer food-oatmeal and colored sugar, plus a plastic bag to store the ingredients when they’re mixed. Allow your child to mix the ingredients.
24. Stocking Delivery- The Elf Brings a Christmas Stocking to leave out for Santa to fill tonight!
Bonus Idea! If you ever forget to plan an Elf idea, wrap a small bandage around the Elf’s foot and tape into place. Tell the kids your Elf accidentally hurt her ankle and needs a day of rest before returning with more fun.
Free Elf Paper Printable:
Your Elf can leave a note each day on our festive “Elf Paper.” Just right click to download a copy.
*I found several of my props, including the Fox Advent Calendar, mini Christmas tree, decorations, ornament ,cup and candy at our local At Home store Christmas Collection. If you haven’t been to At Home stores, you haven’t seen their massive selection of Christmas goodies to help make your Christmas decorating and Elf on the Shelf ideas easier and more affordable.
What are your favorite Christmas Traditions?