73 Cute and Creative "Elf on the Shelf" Ideas
Making Memories With Your Elf On The Shelf
When my daughter was about 4 (she's 8 now), my aunt bought us 'The Elf on The Shelf.' At the time, I was clueless about what it was or how it worked. We watched the video and read the book, I googled it, and I still wasn't really sure what to do with it. Anyway, I figure if you're going to do something, do it right. So after figuring the entire thing out, our elf, Snowflake, has done some pretty naughty and extravagant stuff. All kid-friendly, of course.
Hiding Snowflake Is One of Our Favorite Holiday Traditions
So, I wanted to share with you some ideas, some of which I've learned, some of which I came up with, but all of which I put my own little twist on. Gracie, my daughter, now looks forward to this every year, and it has become what will be a wonderful childhood memory of hers. I highly suggest you get one and start making memories of with your own family.
A Few Ways Snowflake Has Arrived From the North Pole...Click thumbnail to view full-size
Easy Places to Hide Your Elf on the Shelf
A lot of people search for new ideas on the internet, because let's face it, we just don't have time to be fabulously creative every single night. Here are few you may have already seen, but they are mine and I did them my way.
These ones required way less work, and are best used on nights you work late, or the kids have hockey, or you're just really exhausted from the week. Stay-tuned, the best ones are yet to come!
Next-Level Hiding Places
When you have lots of energy and really want to impress your kids, these are the way to go. I guarantee these hiding places will be the ones your kids remember and continue to talk about year after year.
They require supplies, energy, a secret location (you don't want your child to see you making it), and most importantly, time. My daughter still talks about these ones, and I'm not sure I can compete with myself. It's getting harder and harder to do each year!
A Decorated Dollhouse
This required quite a bit of work. I bought the little lights at the dollar store, and all the green garland was cut from bigger green garland. I used a glue gun, because the toy house was older, but it could still be removed in the end. My daughter really flipped her lid when she saw this, so it made it well worth the effort.
A Sugar-Cube Igloo
I used a heck of a lot of sugar cubes. It turned out great. I suggest doing this one earlier on in the month, as we used it as a display until Christmas was over.
A Romantic Scene
These three, I did separately and years apart. It was a definite hit on Facebook. From the mistletoe, to the engagement, to the wedding. The wedding was a little more difficult, because at this point I hadn't put wires in the elf to make it stand on its own. It could have been executed a little better, but you get the idea, and my child just loved it! Here's how to insert wire to make your elf bendable and easier to maneuver . . .
A Scene From a Movie . . .
This was the year the new Charlie Brown movie was released and McDonald's was putting characters in their happy meals. I painted a gingerbread house blue and went from there. This one was extremely fun to do and brought back some childhood memories. Of course, why not do a spin-off of Lucy's, "the doctor is in", too. Too cute.
. . . or a Favorite Cartoon!
I couldn't do Charlie Brown without bringing in Bugs Bunny. Yes, the Roadrunner. Not mint, because one, your child has to know who this is, and two, you have to pull it off. I kinda, sorta did. It worked. It wasn't outstanding, but it worked. Now that I think about it, the coyote smacking into the tunnel would have worked better. See below! Give me kudos for trying. It was still a win!
A Real Snowman
Get everything you need ready after your children go to bed and leave it outside the door. Wake up early or you'll be in trouble! This went off without a hitch, and I had to leave it there until after I put my child on the bus. The mess was actually quite minimal, and she still talks about it!
An Adorable Elf Garden
Put the candy canes in the oven at about 250˚F for 5 to 10 minutes to soften them, and shape them any way you like! The rest of the stuff I just had lying around the house. Be creative! A little watering can is ideal. My daughter thinks of this as fascinating elf magic!
A Ski Lift
This was super difficult and involved a whole lot of fishing line. I had a lot of struggles getting this to work. However, it did turn out to be a huge success. If they remember it, it's always worth it!
An Elf Parade
Fairly easy, and something your children will remember. I mean, why not have an Elf Parade!?!
A Run-In With Frozen's Ice Queen
When Frozen came out, my daughter, Gracie was at the perfect age. Yes, she even went as Elsa for Halloween, like the thousands of other girls that did that season.
I saw this on Facebook and had to do it. It was a hit or miss. I did a trial run with just ice in a container and I couldn't get the ice out of the jug. I was so afraid it was going to happen when it mattered, but again everything went off smoothly. Yay.
This will be big again when Frozen 2 comes out, so it's worth reposting. Use a plastic container and wrap the elf in plastic wrap or put it in a zip lock bag (that's what I did). Heat the outside of the container with warm water to help release the ice. It should go off without a hitch.
Candy cane as a snorkel and goldfish crackers as the fish. Pretty basic. Worked great and a step up from fishing elf. Throw in the crackers in the morning so they don't get too soggy. I used rocks and real fish paraphernalia from a fish bowl.
A Sporty Scene
This is one of my personal favourites. It took her forever to find it, and it was awesome when she finally did! I used candy canes as skates as well as the stick. Hockey action figures are a dime a dozen in Canada, but this one, 'Bobby Orr' is a collector's item. Luckily we had two! Go Bruins!!
Advent Calendar Thief
I stuffed the elf's belly to make it look full, covered her face in chocolate, and replaced the calendar with a better one from Santa. I ate all the chocolates. Total win!!!
Beauty Elf Gets a Makeover
Yep, most little girls like fashion and make up. It's not the generation, it's a fact. Barbie helped here! Snowflake tried on Barbie's clothes, and got into mommy's make up! To a little girl, it's super funny.
The make-up one was easy . . . the clothing one, not so much. Little elf, Snowflake there, is hanging by a string from the ceiling! My daughter just flipped for both of these.
A Trip With Travel-Agent Barbie
I used the fan, some sticks, some ribbon, travel-agent Barbie, and some fishing line, to keep things secure . . . woohoo, let's go for a ride!
Pretty straightforward. This is great for little girls and boys! My daughter hates spiders, so this went over well! :)
I only did this once, due to the fact that my daughter was just awful for a few days. I don't usually use the elf for behaviour conditioning, however, she just made me so mad, I had to do something. It worked!
More Elf-on-the-Shelf Ideas Kids Will LoveClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Last-Day Elf
I like to do something memorable on the last day before the elf goes back to the North Pole. It's not always the best, but it's usually something she remembers. I leave a picture of the elf saying goodbye with her Christmas presents, so as to not leave my daughter hanging with just an elf disappearance. Yes, I have used Photoshop just to spruce it up a notch. Pardon the pun!
Well there you have it! I have yet to figure out what I'm going to do this year, so wish me luck. I hope I can find some new ideas online and create some more of my own!
The Elf has been considered controversial, due to people using it for behavioural conditioning, but so is Santa Claus. I think these people are missing the point; it's an absolutely fantastic way to make memories with your children. I hope you were able to get some new ideas from this article. Enjoy! Merry Christmas!
Start Making Memories This Christmas!
I highly recommend you buy an Elf on the Shelf and start making memories this Christmas!
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Joanne Kristin