Easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas to Surprise Your Kids This Christmas

Any parent who participates in the Elf on the Shelf tradition knows that feeling of getting to the end of an exhausting day and panicking while trying to come up for an idea of what to do with the doll for the following morning.

For those unfamiliar with the holiday tradition, an elf doll that is believed to have the ability to report children’s behavior back to Santa moves around a family’s home (with the help of parents) each night leading up to Christmas. The concept was first introduced by the 2005 book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.”

The practice can lead to extra stress for parents who are already spread thin during the holiday season and, now, need to come up with creative ideas for the elf. To help those struggling parents, here are 15 creative ways kids have been surprised by their Elf on the Shelf.

Elf With A ‘Butt Brush’

This one can be completed with minimal effort with items you already have sitting around the house. The key is making sure you leave a fun note with the elf.

Elf In A Marshmallow Bubble Bath

Using this marshmallow bubble bath idea gives you the flexibility to be as creative as you like. It works perfectly fine just putting the elf in a bowl of marshmallows or you could get creative and make it look like a scene from a spa day.

Elf On A Flying Reindeer

You’ll need some clear fishing line and a small reindeer doll to complete this idea. TIP: Make sure you use the ceiling fan’s lowest setting or your elf will likely fly across the room, and not in a good way.

Elf On The Sprinkle Sink

This one is a tad messy, but the visual is amazing. All it takes is some tape and cupcake sprinkles that you might already have around the house for holiday baking.

Elf On A (Toilet) Bowl Of Cereal


Clear food wrap is a handy tool for creating ice scenes for your elf. It also is great for adding depth to an object such as a toilet. This one has the wrap over the toilet bowl which is then covered in cereal.

Elf On A Broken TV Screen

YouTube has several videos that make it look like you are watching on a device with a cracked screen. Find one of those videos, stream it on your TV, hit pause to stay clear of commercials and watch your kids be surprised with this quick elf idea.

Elf In The ‘Snow’

You’re going to have to clean this one up, so maybe plan this one on a day when you are not rushing out to door for work. The footprints help show the elf was rather active at night.

Elf With A Marker

One of the more popular Elf on the Shelf ideas this year has been parents writing on their kids’ faces with markers and setting it up to look the elf was responsible. This one probably isn’t for everybody. Maybe consider how your kids will react before using the marker.

Elf In The Refrigerator

It doesn’t get much easier than this one. All you need is a small hand towel to wrap up your elf for a chilly night in the fridge.

Elf Making Candy

Grab a pack of Skittles and some crayons for this easy idea that has the elf making candy. The crayons are made to look like they are being shredded by the elf. Try sticking the tips of each color into the grater to help them stay standing throughout the night.

Elf In A Balloon

The belief is the elves will “lose their magic” when touched by children. You might want to try this idea if you have a kid who insists on holding the elf.

Elf With A Melted Snowman

If you use milk for this one, you should obviously set up the scene right before your kids walk into the room. Nobody wants to wake up to spoiled milk on the floor.

Elf In The Toilet Paper

You can spend a few minutes or hours setting this one up depending on your commitment. Grab a roll of toilet paper, put the elf in the middle and roll it across the floor. Some parents go as far as TP-ing the entire house. You might want to stick with just rolling it down the stairs if you’re pressed for time.

Elf With The Candy Cane Plants

The great thing about this idea is it can be used on two consecutive nights. First, you leave instructions for your kids to plant jelly beans. The next night, you surprise them with a pot full of candy canes.

Elf On The Ice Fishing Pond

This is the most complicated out of all the ideas on the list, but it’s also the most creative. You’ll need some battery-powered lights, plastic wrap and some flower to create what looks like an ice-covered pond for the elf.

LOOK: 25 over-the-top Christmas displays from across America

To help get everyone in the mood for the upcoming holiday season, Stacker compiled a list of some of the most over-the-top Christmas displays across America.

Gallery Credit: Annalise Mantz & Madison Troyer

LOOK: What Christmas was like the year you were born

To see how Christmas has changed over the last century, Stacker explored how popular traditions, like food and decorations, emerged and evolved from 1920 to 2021 in the U.S. and around the world. 

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Source link