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20 Genius and Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas to Steal This Christmas!

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elf refueling station with coffee

Is your elf ready to cause some magical mischief this December?

Whether you’re new to the popular Elf on the Shelf Christmas tradition or have been participating for years, we could all use a little creative inspiration and ideas to keep things fresh and funny!

Though my kids are now older than they were when we first started this tradition, they still LOVE when their elf brings some holiday magic once in a while. At one point my son was helping me set up funny scenes for his younger sister, which was a really sweet moment to witness!

My favorite ideas take less than 10 minutes and not a lot of materials.

We have 20 creative yet EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas anyone can pull off… because we all need less stress this holiday season! 

1. Wrapping Paper Mischief


Elf wraps the toilet with Christmas wrapping paper for a silly prank!

2. Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?


Elf gets FROZEN with characters from the Disney movie.

3. Elf Takes a Nap


A box of facial tissues makes a perfect bed for nap time! He’s even folded one for a soft pillow to snooze on.

4. Dogs Rule, Elves Drool

dogs rule elves drool elf on the shelf idea

Don’t forget to get the dog involved in your elf tradition! If you have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or mirror this will work great!

5. Elf Refueling Station

elf on the shelf refueling station

Elves need plenty of energy to fly back and forth to the North Pole! This elf clearly doesn’t mess around and gets her caffeine fix straight from the K-cup!

Hip Tip: Did you know they make adorable outfits for Elf on the Shelf now? Last year I couldn’t resist and bought the snowflake skirt and scarf—so cute!

6. Shower Shenanigans

shower shenanigans elf on the shelf

Our elf is hanging from an umbrella that’s balancing on the shower curtain.

7. Toilet Paper Snowman

elf in a toilet paper snowman

This elf stacked three rolls of toilet paper and used marker and ribbon for snowman details! Such a cute idea!

8. Elf Takes a Bath


Miniature marshmallows make a perfect “bubble” bath, paired with a tissue paper hair towel!

9. Hot Cocoa Party Elf

hot cocoa elf

I love when our elf brings fun activities to do from our Christmas bucket list! These CUTE candy cane spoons and hot cocoa mix can be found at the Dollar Tree!

Hip Tip: Print off a Christmas bucket list and there’s even a blank one to create your own!

10. Elf Roasts Mini Marshmallows

elf on the shelf roasting marshmallows

This is a fun and easy scene to set up using a candle, BBQ skewer, and mini marshmallows!

11. Glow in the Dark Elf


Glow in the dark bracelets fit perfectly around Elf for a vibrant neon effect at nighttime.

12. Good Deed Elf

good deed elf on the shelf

Elf can help kids complete random acts of kindness with these FREE printable cards at Over the Big Moon.

Hip Tip: Check out more random acts of kindness ideas and grab a free printable list to create on your own with your family to complete throughout the year!

13. Hot Air Balloon Ride

hot air balloon ride elf

Helium balloons and containers from the Dollar Tree can make a fun and frugal hot air balloon ride for elves. Up, up, and away!

14. Elf Hides in Mom’s Jewelry


A closet jewelry collection can be a great disguise for Elf!

Hip Tip: I actually hung a couple of thread racks to organize my jewelry. It’s still there years later, and works perfectly!

15. Sick Day Elf

sick day elf on the shelf

Even elves get sick sometimes! Luckily there’s always plenty of cold and flu supplies around the house to help him! This lucky guy even has a magical reindeer friend and elf sidekick to help him get well!

16. Yoga Elf


Elf stays zen and fit with yoga, complete with mini felt mat and rolled towel.

17. A Christmas Story Elf

fragile lamp elf on the shelf

If your family needs some laughs, consider building this cute leg lamp award scene from the A Christmas Story movie! You can use a leg lamp ornament or mini leg lamp night light to get in on this fun!

18. Pooping Elf


Elves poop chocolate kisses! Don’t forget he may need some reading material too! 😂

19. Zip Lining Elves

ziplining elves on a christmas tree

These lively elves have tied a string from the Christmas tree to the fireplace and are ziplining like they’re on a jungle vacation!

20. Injured Elf


Does your Elf need to stay still? Use this genius cast idea to have him on strict NO FLY orders for a few days! It’s even signed by all Santa’s reindeer. 😊

Do you participate in Elf on the Shelf?

What are some of your favorite scenes and moments? Share with us in the comments! 

Personalize your Elf with plush dolls from Dollar Tree!

Join The Discussion

Comments 30

  1. Leavesbegintofall

    Great ideas!!! I think this year I’m going to plan ahead and put my elf idea for the day into my calendar and reminders so I don’t forget. Last year was full of me racing ahead of my kiddos quickly moving him in the morning 🤣 so I definitely didn’t get as creative as I wanted to!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Haha I can so relate to that too! Yes reminders on the phone are a great idea- thanks so much!

    • Kate

      I take a picture of the elf and put it as my phone background. The kids think I really love the elf but it’s a reminder every time I pull out my phone at nighttime. 🤣

      • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

        Oh my gosh that’s genius! Thanks for sharing Kate – ha they think you really love the elf 😂❤️

  2. Marie

    Our Elf, Leon, (Noel spelled backwards) will be with us for 7 years this year! Every year, he swaps out our stockings for underwear on the stocking holders, TP’s the tree, decorates the kids’ doorways and banisters with red and green streamers, uses dry erase markers and draws on the bathroom mirror, packs school lunches with pantry items and spices, and brings donuts. Last year, I used the “donuts” twice….the first night, Leon left a note saying “here are your donuts.”. I rolled up a Dollar Bill and stuck it inside of 2 metal nuts (looked like a barbell) and then the next night, he left the edible kind. 🙂 I also did a “hide and seek”, where Leon left a note saying he had hidden a candy cane somewhere in the house and each child had to find the one with their initial on it. A quick and easy one, Leon decorated the kitchen cabinets with Christmas Bows.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s so fun Marie!! I love Leon – so cute. Thanks for sharing those ideas too!

    • Lori

      So creative Marie! Have fun with Leon!

  3. Jack Smith

    Really amazing! I will definitely try this elf ideas for Christmas. Thank for sharing.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Perfect – thanks so much for stopping by today Jack!

  4. HBee

    I don’t even do Elf on a Shelf and I got some laughs!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Haha thanks I’m so glad!

  5. Suzanne

    Hilarious! Hershey kiss poop! Hahaha!

  6. Ruby C

    Lina you are the BEST. Always have the cutest ideas!!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ah thanks Ruby!

  7. Jocelyn Oconnor

    We did the pooping elf one a few years back and my kid STILL talks about it

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Haha! That’s a memorable elf moment 😆

  8. Tonia M

    Your ideas are hilarious! I’m at work laughing to myself. 😂 😂 I wish I had youngsters and your creativeness to pull this over! You guys rock in ALL that you do.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ah thanks so much Tonia! You could do this at work! HAHA

  9. Materof6

    Our elf “Bookie” (named by my now 13 year old when he was 3) brings a nutcracker to add to the kids’ collection every December 1. The nutcracker is usually purchased after Christmas the previous year and saved for the following year when I run into one of those post-Christmas sales. Thanks for posting! I love your ideas, Lina!

    • JES

      That’s a cute idea! Our elf, Billy, usually bring Christmas PJs and a gingerbread house. This year my mom bought the girls pjs, so he is bring a set of Christmas books.

  10. Melissa Rice

    Where can I buy good quality elves?

    • SherryCC

      Post Christmas sale at Barnes & Nobel. That’s where we got ours, for about $5!

  11. Cathy

    We bought an Elf on the Shelf in great condition at the goodwill for $7.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Great find Cathy!

  12. J.H.509

    I did the injured elf and reindeer. I added a note that said ” we tried to go into your room but it was messy, please clean it up” and it worked. My kids cleaned up the room

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s brilliant! Thanks for sharing ❤️

  13. barb

    Such great ideas I’m definitely going to steal a few! Last year I was always forgetting and then up til 1 a.m. making mini pancakes or wrapping tiny gifts or figuring out where my elf would be when my son woke up or or or or or……, it was endless last minute frustration, haha! I love the comments from the above readers too, especially putting Elf on my phone for a daily reminder, brilliant!! Everyone has great ideas I hope more will post, I’m going to try harder this year because my Elf is coming out tonight and here it is midnight, whaaaa – time to get busy!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ha mini pancakes 🥞- so cute! I’m glad you enjoyed these ideas – Happy Holidays Barb- enjoy!

  14. BwjPg

    Our elves George and Joy bring advent calendars December 1st. This year they didn’t arrive until after we left for church. They left a note saying they were sorry they were late but they were
    stuck in traffic. 🙂 Once last year Joy put George in a jar because he wouldn’t stop “tooting.” The kids thought that was hysterical!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh haha that’s cute!

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