26 Awesome Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf ideas. Your whole year is planned out for you!

We have a family elf, his name is Milton, and he periodically brings us little treats and prizes throughout the Christmas season (think socks, a Christmas book, a treat, etc.) You never see Milton but he always leaves a note so you know it’s him. I love Milton and his magic and seeing a special gift out of nowhere. Also, he takes our wishlists to Santa and keeps an eye on things at our house.

So, for years I have been hearing about the trendy phenomenon known as Elf on the Shelf. I have gone back and forth on this. I love Milton, exactly how he is. But, I do think my little one would love to search for the elf each morning and be able to put a “face to a name.” However, it also seems like it could be a lot of work! In short, I go back and forth and back and forth on whether I want to give it a try or not.

If you don’t know what Elf on the Shelf is all about, I liked this Elf on the Shelf Overview. Anyway, I decided to round up an Elf on the Shelf schedule for myself in case I decide to go ahead with it this year, and I thought I would share with all of you, this way at least someone will get use out of it no matter what! Haha.

12.01.12-1-of-1  1. North Pole Breakfast and a Note from Santa: Breakfast is my kids favorite meal, and setting up this breakfast with a note from Santa to kick off the season

elf on the shelf on the lightbulb  2. Elf on the Shelf on a light fixture: I thought this would be a good first day since it will be fun and exciting to find him, but up out of the way so that I don’t have to distract Luke all day long! Haha.

snowflake_edited-1  3. Elf on the Shelf makes snowflakes: The one thing that I forsee being hard about the elf on the shelf is that the kids aren’t supposed to touch the elf, so, I love the idea of having the elf near things the kids can play with, like some pretty snowflakes.

tissue box  4. Napping in the tissue box: Umm.. How cute is this?

candy-canes-600x490  5. Elf on the Shelf brings candy canes: Who doesn’t love a little sweet surprise?

elf on the shelf showering  6. Elf on the Shelf takes a shower: Fun and easy!

elf goes fishing  7. Elf goes fishing: Made with whatever I have on hand, of course!

tv elf  8. Elf on the Shelf watches a movie: I know this would get Luke and Nor excited to cuddle up and watch a Christmas movie with  me. Popcorn too, of course.

milk  9. Elf on the Shelf dyes the milk red: I know it’s green in the picture, haha but I like red better!

zipline elf10. Elf on the Shelf goes ziplining: I love how this is up high and out of the way!

elf-on-the-shelf-toilet-paper_edited-111. Elf tangled in the toilet paper: I know Luke will think the toilet paper thing is funny, so I like this one because there is minimal time and mess involved!

12. Elf on the Shelf worships baby Jesus: I couldn’t find an image for this one, but I’d like to do a day where our elf kneels by baby Jesus in our Nativity.

elf on the shelf tangled in lights13. Elf on the Shelf gets tangled up: Ah.. I already can’t wait to be doing all these! I can just hear Luke saying, “Mom, he’s stuck!”

elf on the shelf snow angel14. Elf on the Shelf makes a Snow Angel: Simple and sweet, all you need is sugar!

reads15. Elf on the Shelf reads a Christmas book: We LOVE reading over here, so this one is a must.

swings from a doorway16. Elf on the Shelf swings from a doorway: Fun and too high to reach! Win, win.

naughty list warning17. Elf on the Shelf warns us to be good: We all know there will be a day when everybody needs a “be good” reminder.

marshmallow bath_edited-118. Elf on the Shelf Marshmallow Bath: I love how this is in a bowl. I don’t want to fill a whole sink or tub full or marshmallows, because call me crazy, I hate wasting stuff. This gets the same cute idea across and makes more sense!

04_partyhats-119. Elf on the Shelf makes party hats: Nora turns ONE on the 19th!! So crazy how time flies. Anyway, of course the elf has to bring something to help us celebrate her, so this free party hat printable is perfect!

elf sized christmas tree20. Elf on the Shelf has his own Christmas tree: I love trees of all shapes and sizes. even a pine bough would be cute, no?

elf planking21. Elf Planking: I have no words for this.

playing the piano22. Piano playing Elf on the shelf: My kiddos love banging on the piano together, so this would be a real hit. It totally looks like something they would do to get up there, haha.

5887fbaa4464fe256ee3be4ec1c05ce223. Elf eats treats: Of course we’d all share the treats. P.S. Why is there not a Trader Joes near me? I need to try these.

24. Elf makes a Paper Airplane: I couldn’t find a picture of this either, but we’re pretty airplane obsessed over here, so I thought it would be fun to have some airplanes we could play with all day.

elf on a shelf exercising25. Elf on a Shelf Exercises: One time when we were going on a walk Luke said, “why??” and I said, “cuz, mama needs exercise.” So now, when he wants to go for a walk he says, “Let’s go exercising!” Love him.

says goodbye26. Elf on the shelf says goodbye: I like the concept of having a letter prepping the kids for the excitement of Christmas and the departure of the elf. I’d also like the letter to include a paragraph about the real meaning of Christmas and some of my favorite things about my kids… I’ll add it all in somehow!

So, what is your vote? Do you love Elf on the Shelf or think it is ridiculous? Super fun or too commercial? If you decide you want to buy one, I haven’t found it any cheaper than here! Let me hear it in the comments!


If you liked this post you will love our friends Elf on a Shelf Holiday Recovery Kit or their Elf on the Shelf Jokes!
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  • Hilary Smith

    My son is 2 and we’re going to do Elf on the Shelf for the first time this year. I am really excited about it and I think it will be something really fun.

    • prettyprovidence

      Ah my son is two also! I know he would just love it, I just need to join the club I guess

  • http://littlemissblackbean.wordpress.com/ Rachel Kathryn

    I don’t know if I would do Elf on the Shelf for our (future) family, but I love the touches you’ve included to bring in your faith! Especially the kneeling by the manger. My favorite trinket at my mom’s house is a little ceramic Santa kneeling by the Nativity. :)

    • prettyprovidence

      Thank you Rachel! That made my day. I LOVE Christmas, and love getting into the craze of the season, but I try hard to never lose sight of what it’s really all about, so that means a lot :).

  • Debmom

    Love this post. Thx! I just bought this book for my grandkids and these ideas will add to the fun.

    • prettyprovidence

      Yay!! What a sweet gift you are giving them! I’m glad you like it :)

  • Sarah @DomesticFemme

    Love these :) You’re more than welcome to use my image, where the elf is cradling baby Jesus, if you need.

  • Linda Nortje

    What an adorable collection ! I love the one in the shower :-)

  • Carrie

    We have our elf read the Christmas Story at our Nativity Scene to other animals….we too have also had an elf for years but lady year was the first time he came for a visit and the kids loved it.

    • prettyprovidence

      Really?! Oh that is so great to know! Thanks for sharing your ideas too! I think I’m doing it

  • Elizabeth Matherne

    Our family has an Elf Magic elf. They are cuter (IMO), don’t have the stipulation of no touching, and the letter they come with mentions spreading the joy of the true meaning of Christmas. My six year old is eagerly awaiting the return of her elf Hazel, to see what sorts of fun she’ll bring to our home this year! She has decorated the tree with toilet paper, had cotton snowball fights with the other stuffed animals, flown on the ceiling fan, done gymnastics on the kitchen chandelier, read the bible, and played with the nativity, in addition to many things you listed.

    You can find them at elf-magic.com

    • prettyprovidence

      No way! That is so much fun! Thanks for sharing, ill for sure have to look those ones up!

  • Terri

    Wish there was some way to send you a picture. We have one of our elf, Dingle, kneeling next to baby Jesus and praying.

    • prettyprovidence

      Aww really! I love that so much! Do you have a pic of it on Instagram?

  • Steph

    I decided the Elf on the shelf was way to expensive. I found a cute stuffed Gingerbread man and we called him The Naughty Gingerbread. But I like the ideas you posted as well. The Naughty gingerbread toilet papered my sons whole room while he was sleeping. Sealed off his bedroom door with paper on Christmas eve, took the remote and taped it to the ceiling and the list goes on. My son was excited to get up each morning to see what the gingerbread man had done that night. Needless to say the rest of our house had fun pulling these little pranks as well.

    • prettyprovidence

      Such a fun idea! Haha. I also like that if he is going to be called naughty he’s not directly tied to Santa!! Such fun ideas!! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Erin

    We’ve had our elf Desi for around 3 or 4 yrs now….the kids love it, but it can be one more thing to remember in an already busy season…not to mention the preteen likes to torment the younger siblings that he’s going touch it and kill the magic power! We’ve dealt with some meltdowns over it!! Its funny that now that we’ve started this tradition, it won’t stop. My husband wants to drown him in the fishtank!! LOL

    • prettyprovidence

      Haha that is hillarious!! I have a feeling my husband will be the same way! Haha awesome!