30 Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas

I feel like you either love or hate the elf. Personally, I love the dang thing. I wish it was around when I was a kid. We started the tradition when my daughter was three and she loves it! This will be our third year doing it, and I am already starting to think of ideas because she is now at the age where she remembers where the elf was last year. Obviously this means I’m having to brainstorm new and creative ideas…no pressure. I do love the elf, but I also love simple and easy. I know the elf isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it can bring so much stress. So I am here to give you 30 EASY and stress-free ideas for your elf!

  1. Elf welcome party. We do this on the first day. It can be super simple. Make breakfast and have the elf deliver a note from Santa! You can decorate the kitchen, but you don’t have to! Our elf always brings Christmas pajamas and an advent calendar. 
  2. Shoe shoe train. (make a train out of your kid’s shoes and put the elf in the front shoe)
  3. Put the elf in one of your kid’s stockings. 
  4. Have the elf make a snow angel out of flour. 
  5. Spell out a message using red and green M&Ms.
  6. Have your elf put red noses on your family photos. (you can use red construction paper or red pom pom balls)
  7. Your elf can bring a small gift from Santa. One time our elf brought Elf cereal (bought at Target), one time she brought a Christmas tree pop-it, and one time she brought a letters-for-Santa kit. 
  8. Have your elf bring a gingerbread house for your family to decorate!
  9. Play a game! Our elf set out red solo cups and hid a surprise under one of them and we had to find it. Another time she hid candy canes and we had to collect them all!
  10. Fill your sink with marshmallows so your elf can take a bath.
  11. Set out arts and crafts supplies and cover your elf with stickers or have your elf draw a picture. 
  12. Create a zipline. Tie a string from one end of the room to the other and attach the elf with a clothespin. 
  13. Have your elf read a story to the other stuffed animals. 
  14. Put your elf in the Christmas tree. Maybe put it on your child’s favorite ornament. 
  15. Put a toilet paper roll on the ground and stick the elf inside like she’s rolling away. 
  16. Attach some Christmas bows to the wall and have your elf go “rock climbing”.
  17. Put your elf in the refrigerator drinking a juice box.
  18. Have your elf read the Christmas story in the bible. 
  19. Set your elf in your kids’ doll house, play kitchen, or any other toy they love. 
  20. Put your elf in the car with a seatbelt on. 
  21. Have your elf watch the movie Elf on TV when the kids wake up.
  22. Have your elf “roast” marshmallows on an unlit candle.  
  23. Have your elf write a note on the bathroom mirror. 
  24. Put your elf in the pantry to eat a snack.
  25. Make a Christmas tree farm out of Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes. 
  26. Have your elf somewhere up high with a “floor is lava” note. 
  27. Have the elf fill the bathtub with balloons. 
  28. Have your elf put streamers on your child’s door so when they wake up and open the door it’s covered with streamers. 
  29. Have your elf put googly eyes on items in the refrigerator. 
  30. Have your elf bring fake snowballs for a snowball fight. 

Set a reminder on your phone to move your elf each night or early in the morning! If you forget, just tell your child that your elf may not have been feeling well enough to fly back to the North Pole. Then the next morning, have your elf leave a note explaining why she didn’t move. 

I hope this gives you some easy ideas for your elf this holiday season! Do you have some easy ideas you would like to share? 

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Alyssa Littlefield
Alyssa and her husband Ryan moved to OK from TX in August of 2021. They have two kids, Finley Claire (2017) and Harrison (2021). Alyssa was born and raised in Fort Worth, TX and met her husband in their church college group. They relocated to OK for Ryan's job and are enjoying the slower lifestyle (and less traffic)! Alyssa is a SAHM and a wardrobe stylist for Stitch Fix. She loves Jesus, hanging out with her family, and traveling. She can most likely be found with one of her kids on her hip and an iced coffee in hand.


  1. My daughter is older and I unfortunately didn’t start elf on the shelf till a few years ago. But these last 3 yrs have been so much fun every day she couldn’t wait to wake up to try to find elfy we call him. I have had to come up with something 1 year every day for almost 6 weeks! I have a tiny little Santa hat elfy loves to wear also this tiny reindeer house slipper that was for her baby dolls when she was younger elfy rides in it like a little slay. I’ve found that American girl, baby alive, & lol doll accessories like head phones or cars or pools ect have really added to the experience cause they are just his size. I’ve done cotton balls in brass antique with cucumber sticker over eyes and head phones on with bath robe draped off to the side. I’ve also had him have a tiny ready bear holding a small kinda Christmas filled party favor type toys on a floor gaming chair flipped on it’s back with a reindeer floor matt type door hanger laying out front with ribbon coming from it to them sitting in the back bottom of the chair like they were reins for their slay. Then sometimes I’ll just hide him out of site behind picture frame holding a candy cane & it barely over the top so as to be what makes him found. I’ve put him down in piles of presents or even in presents I side the bag hiding. I even put him with Santa decoration in the tree like they were both riding in the reindeer house slipper. He even finished decorating the tree 1 year as well as the surrounding room. During the pandemic when she was going to go to my sister’s for a weekend he had a huge chocolate poop in a round plastic container tht u see through and there was a mask we had her name put on so put some silver wire with the stars tasseling wrapped it around see through box then formed like an angel type figure hovering out from top with mash over the front with a light up neckless hanging y the door she left out of in front foya as to say Tali Angel stay safe with this mask cause getting sick is the ukw s..ts. then when she finally came home he was on the mantel sitting like he was leaning to see the door from there that she would be coming back in watching for her.


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