75 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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Fun Places to Pose Your Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf riding a train
This Elf on the Shelf takes a fun train ride around the Christmas tree. Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

Does your preschooler have an Elf on the Shelf? Every year around Thanksgiving or December 1, millions of kids across the country wake up to find that a friend has returned (or arrived for the first time) in the form of an adorable elf. As the book that accompanies your friend goes, the elf is there to keep an eye on your little ones and report back to Santa Claus how they've been behaving. Each night, when everyone is asleep, the elf travels all the way to the North Pole to have a chat with the big guy in red. When he returns in the morning, he is in a different spot than when he was the day before!

There are two important rules your child must remember:

  1. To give their elf a festive name (ours is called Buddy)
  2. To never, ever touch their elf or he will lose his magic

Of course, parents have the job of moving the elf each night after the kids go to sleep. This can be a lot of fun as you get to think of lots of creative ways to position your magical friend. Not sure how to get started? We've got you covered with 75 Elf on the Shelf ideas! Keep reading!

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Fun Ways to Position Your Elf on the Shelf

This Elf on the Shelf decided to wrap up the TV
If your Elf on the Shelf is in a playful mood, he might wrap up some of your stuff! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

1. Let your elf ride the train that circles the Christmas tree 
2. Hang the elf from your ceiling fan or light fixture.
3. Put your elf in the refrigerator.
4. Pose your Elf with the Barbies that live in your house.
5. Have him toilet paper your Christmas tree.
6. Have him make a snowman using last night's leftover mashed potatoes.
7. Have the elf wrap up some of your furniture or appliances like the tv above.

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Where Should I Put My Elf on the Shelf?

Two Elves on the Shelf in a tree
You may decide to introduce a friend for your Elf on the Shelf. Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

8. If you have two Elves on the shelf, position them together on the tree (above). 
9. Have him climb up a wall by using tape or putty.
10. Position your elf so it is driving a toy car.
11. Hang your Elf on the Shelf so he is climbing up the cords for the blinds or shades on your window. 
12. Using marshmallows, set up a tic-tac-toe game that your Elf on the Shelf plays (don't eat the marshmallows after you write on them!).
13. Have your Elf on the Shelf make a "snowflake" using Q-Tips.
14. Make sure your Elf on the Shelf keeps his area clean by sweeping up with a paintbrush "broom."

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Creative Ideas for Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf
You probably don't want your Elf on the Shelf to go outside, but he can still make snow angels! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

15. Have your Elf on the Shelf make snow angels using salt or sugar (above). 
16. Set up a classroom with a chalkboard and stuffed animal students that your elf can teach.
17. Put your elf on a toy sleigh that you hook up to toy horses or dogs. 
18. Lay your elf on a small washcloth, make small sunglasses, and surround him with suntan lotion bottles. Cut out a paper sun. 
19. Put your elf on the toilet. Place peppermint candies in the water (do this right before your child finds the elf). 
20. Gather all your pillows in the house and make a pile. Put the elf at the top. 
21. Place your Elf on the Shelf on a pile of books, with one book open for her to read. 

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Where to Put Your Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf repelling down the Christmas tree
If your Elf on the Shelf is active, he might zip line down the Christmas tree! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

22. Put your Elf on the Shelf behind a picture frame, removing the picture so your Elf on the Shelf peers out. 
23. Let your Elf on the Shelf take a nap on some marshmallows. 
24. Let your Elf on the Shelf zip line down the Christmas tree (above). 
25. String up a hammock between two plants for your Elf on the Shelf to relax on. 
26. If your Elf on the Shelf has a naughty streak, let her write on a mirror with washable markers.
27. Attach your elf to the straight part of a candy cane. Hang him upside down from Christmas garland. 
28. Let your Elf on the Shelf have a (cotton ball) snowball fight with other toys.

Elf on the Shelf tip: When positioning your Elf on the Shelf, make sure he's in a place where your child won't be able to touch him.

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Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf playing Scrabble
If you leave out some board games, your Elf on the Shelf might invite some friends to play! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

29. Let your Elf on the Shelf play board games with the other stuffed animal friends (above). 
30. Put your elf in front of the computer and google something Christmasy that your elf might be looking at. 
31. Position your Elf on the Shelf in a coffee mug under the coffee machine. 
32. Let your Elf on the Shelf go fishing with a small pole and Goldfish cracker fish. 
33. Have your elf spell out your child's name in cereal. 
34. Place your elf in a Slinky and hang him upside down. 
35. While your kids are sleeping, paint their noses red like Rudolph. Make your elf hold a paint brush and a sign that directs your kids to look in the mirror. 

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Things for Your Elf on the Shelf to Do

Elf on the Shelf leaving treasure
If you are lucky, your Elf on the Shelf might leave a treasure! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

36. On days when kids have been especially good, let your Elf on the Shelf bring a treasure the next morning. (Above)
37. Have your elf plant a candy cane forest in a bowl of sugar. 
38. Let a naughty elf hang another stuffed toy to the wall with tape. 
39. If your child won't take it seriously, have your elf fill your child's lunchbox with candy and a sign that says "I packed your lunch! I hope you like it!"
40. Give your Elf on the Shelf skis made of Popsicle sticks with candy cane poles. 
41. Have your elf make a tower with Legos or blocks. 
42. Position your elf in front of paper snowflakes, scraps of paper, and scissors.

Elf on the Shelf tip: If your Elf on the Shelf should fall and you need to pick him up, explain that parents are given special magic where they are allowed to touch the Elf in an emergency.

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Keep Your Elf on the Shelf Busy

Elf on the Shelf watching tv and eating snacks
Careful! If you leave out snacks, your Elf on the Shelf might eat them! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

43. Surround your Elf on the Shelf with junk food from your pantry (above). 
44. Have your Elf on the Shelf hang other articles of clothing where your stockings are hung. 
45. Write a message in Legos to your child from your elf. 
46. Give your Elf on the Shelf a cape and hang him from the ceiling like a superhero. 
47. Dye your milk red. Put the elf in the refrigerator holding the bottle. (Works best with see-through milk containers.)
48. Have your naughty elf draw mustaches and beards on pictures in frames with washable markers. 
49. Set up an elf kissing booth. Surround your Elf on the Shelf with Hershey Kisses

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Fun Things for Your Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf eating gingerbread
It is a known fact that Elves on the Shelf LOVE gingerbread houses! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

50. If you've got a gingerbread house, let your Elf on the Shelf eat from it. 
51. Put a straw in a bottle of syrup and let your Elf on the Shelf take a drink. 
52. Set up a tightrope between the Christmas tree and the wall for your elf to walk on.
53. Position your Elf on the Shelf in front of the dollhouse door with a sheet of music in her hands, like a caroler. 
54. Place bows all over the house like your Elf on the Shelf did it. 
55. Have your Elf on the Shelf make a snowman out of powdered mini doughnuts. 
56. Put your Elf on the Shelf on top of a clock and change the time to North Pole Time. 

Elf on the Shelf tip: Sometimes, on occasion, the elf doesn't move (hey, you forgot, it happens to everyone!) Many parents are able to explain this away by either saying:

  1. The elf must have been too tired to make the long journey
  2. The elf may not have been happy with the child's behavior the night before
  3. The elf decided he liked watching the child from that spot and wanted to return to it once again

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Elf on the Shelf for Kids

Elf on the Shelf making cookies
Here, an Elf on the Shelf helps his children make Krumkakke, a traditional Norwegian Christmas cookie. Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

57. Let your Elf on the Shelf lead all the other stuffed animals in sack races (use brown paper bags).
58. Position your Elf on the Shelf to show that she made some cookies! (Above)
59. Put your Elf on the Shelf on the printer/copy machine and have her photocopy herself.
60. Hide your Elf on the Shelf in your child's shoes -- just make sure they are a pair she doesn't wear!
61. Put your Elf on the Shelf in the middle of a cabin made of Lincoln Logs or Legos.
62. Have your Elf on the Shelf wrap up your child's lunch in Christmas wrapping paper. 
63. Let your Elf on the Shelf drive a remote control car. 
64. Fill a bowl with mini-marshmallows. Let your Elf on the Shelf take a bath in them. 
65. Put your Elf on the Shelf in a box of tissues like she's taking a nap. 
66. Have your Elf on the Shelf make a crepe paper barrier "blocking" your child from leaving their room. 

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Setting Up an Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf writes a goodbye letter
This Elf on the Shelf is writing a goodbye letter to his children friends. See you next year! Image: Kari Mygland. Kari Mygland

67. Every once in a while, position your Elf on the Shelf with a sign that says how many more days until Christmas. 
68. Let your Elf on the Shelf play in the Christmas decorations. 
69. Make a swing for your elf using string and a toilet paper roll. 
70. Put your Elf on the Shelf on the bathroom sink. Write "Ho Ho Ho!" on the basin with toothpaste. 
71. Have your Elf on the Shelf toast marshmallows with an (unlit) candle and stick.
72. Put the Elf on the Shelf and other toys on a Twister board. 
73. Put your Elf on the Shelf inside the (cold) oven on a cookie sheet with Christmas cookies. 
74. Hide your Elf on the Shelf under a glass in your cabinet. 
75. When it is time for your elf to say goodbye, be sure to include a letter promising your child that the elf will be back next year! 

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