Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas

101 of the BEST Elf on the Shelf ideas! 

It’s that time of year again!!! Christmas is just around the corner and before we know it Santa will be sneaking down the chimney! Is it just us, or does it seems like every year flies by a little quicker than the one before it? For this exact reason, we are trying to take advantage of every moment we can with our kiddos while they are still little. Christmas is such a magical time of year and I am more than happy to add any magic I can into my kids’ lives while they still believe!

Best Elf on the Shelf ideas.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. To learn more about ’em, click here.

{If you haven’t heard of The Elf on the Shelf you should probably go snatch this up asap. Then, report back and continue reading.}

We love this fun tradition so much that we have rounded up 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas! We have broken it down into categories so that you can quickly find the ideas that you think will work best for your family.

In this post you will find:

  • 20 Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Food
  • 20 Elf on the Shelf Printables
  • 20 Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Toys
  • 20 Quick & Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
  • 21 Mischievous Elf on the Sheld Ideas

So fun right!?! Let’s get started!!

20 Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Food

Even MORE Elf on the Shelf ideas.

We had a hard time picking just 20! These Elf on the Shelf ideas are all just too stinking cute!!

Family friendly Elf on the Shelf ideas.

1. Minion Bananas (Fancy Shanty) – Create this quick and easy minion idea with just bananas and a permanent marker.

2. Cupcake Stand (Living Locurto) – Even elves love cupcakes! I mean really, who doesn’t?

3. S’mores (Crystal and Company)  – Help your elf create their own mini s’mores!

4. Mini Elf Donuts (Learning as I Sew) – Your kiddos will get a kick out of these donuts!

5. Elf Cookies (Make the Best of Everything) – Why is everything cuter when it is miniature!?

6. Pancakes (Home Stories A to Z) – Breakfast is served!

Great Elf on the Shelf hiding places.

7. Hot Chocolate (505 Design)- A little cup of hot chocolate can cheer up any elf!

8. Donut Snowmen (The Sweatman Family) – These quick and easy snowmen will be crowd pleasers!

9. Popcorn (Frugal Coupon Living) – Yum! Pop a bag of popcorn for a fun and fast Elf of the Shelf surprise!

10. Sprinkle Angels (Skinny Mom) – Who doesn’t love sprinkles?

11. Orange Juice (Frugal Coupon Living)- Fresh squeezed orange juice coming up! {Doesn’t the crazy straw just make this idea perfect!?!}

12. Fishing (Rocking My 365 Project) – Let your elf kick back and enjoy a little fishing trip!

Elf on the Shelf ideas for everyone.

13. Packed Lunch (Natalme) – Your kids will love their lunch hand packed by their elf!

14. Baking Assistant (Skinny Mom) – Put your elf to work as your special baking assistant.

15. Holiday Milk (Pretty Providence) – Your milk has never looked this festive! {Scroll to #9}

16. Reindeer M&M’s (Living Locurto) – Every kid would adore finding these surprise reindeer with their elf! With just a few of these, pipe cleaner, mini pom-poms and some googly eyes, you are all set!

17. Mini Gingerbread Cookies (DIY Inspired) – Hopefully these gingerbread men don’t run off before your kiddies get a peek at them!

18. Cookie Jar (Pillsbury) – We’ve heard that elves LOVE stealing cookies from the cookie jar!

19. Coca-Cola (Odd Loves Company) – Who will be the first to find your elf in this hiding spot?

20. Syrup (The Wild Cactus) – Just an elf making sure he is sticking to his main food groups!

20 Elf on the Shelf Printables

Printables to use with Elf on the Shelf.

As if your elf isn’t already cute enough, these printables are sure to take him up another notch!!

Fun new places to hide your elf.

21. Candy Cane Jail (This Mama Loves) – You must have a naughty elf if they require being sent to Candy Cane Lock Up!

22. Photo Booth (Living Locurto) – A little photo booth fun for your elf and his closest buddies!

23. Elf Mail (The Party Artisan) – Mini mail just looks so much cuter!

24. Photo Cut-outs (Centerpiece Studio) – Let your elf show his silly side with this cute photo prop.

25. Elf Arrival Party (Paper Ramma) – Throw your elf a welcome back party!

26. Scavenger Hunt (Centerpiece Studio) – Will your kiddos be able to solve these riddles?

Elf on the Shelf hiding places.

27. The Crafty Elf (Centerpiece Studio) – Your elf doesn’t have to be mischievous. Instead, he could bring holiday crafts for your kids! 

28. Elf Report Card (Elf Guru) – Let your kids know that they have been caught being naughty or nice with this cute printable.

29. Kissing Booth (Living Locurto) – Pucker up!

30. Twister (Frugal Coupon Living) – Print off a mini game of twister for your elf and a few of his friends.

31. Elf Outhouse (A Little Moore Blog) – This silly printable is sure to get a laugh out of your kids.

32. Rocket Ship (Sweet Paper Trail) – 3…2…1… Blast off!!

Elf on the Shelf hiding places.

33. Goodbye Note (Eighteen25) – Don’t let your elf leave without dropping off a camera and this note!

34. Elfagram (Over the big Moon) – Even elves love a good selfie!

35. Dunk Tank (This Mama Loves) – Would your family love this dunk tank as much as we do? SO cute!!

36. Buzz Wings (Get Away Today)- Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

37. Captain America (Enzas Bargains) – Your mini superheroes will approve of this Elf on the Shelf idea.

38. Playing Cards (Learning as I Sew) – Challenge your elf to a card game with these adorable printable cards.

39. Olaf (Simple As That) – Do you want to build a snowman?

40. Mission Impossible (Over the Big Moon) – Send your kids on a secret mission!

20 Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Toys

Elf on the Shelf ideas that you will actually want to use.

Why wouldn’t your elf and all of your kiddos toys be BFFs? They are sure to remember each other from the North Pole, right?!

Realistic Elf on the Shelf ideas.

41. Lego Ambush (Living Locurto) – Make sure you warn your elf about the lego men!

42. Snowball Fight (The Sweatman Family) – Your kids will love this cute snowball fight!

43. Board Games (Snap Shots of a Sweet Life)- Even elves love a good board game!

44. Sack Race (Pickle Head Soup)- Who will win the race?

45. Sledding (My Mommy Style) – Line up all of the toys because they will ALL want a turn!

46. Uno (Snap Shots of a Sweet Life) – Let your kids’ toys battle it out in a game of Uno.

Funny Elf on the Shelf ideas.

47. Driving Dump Truck (A Thrifty Mom) – Will your elf be in trouble for taking your child’s toy tractor for a spin?

48. Storytime (Bsquared Photography) – This is a classic and simple Elf on the Shelf idea.

49. Walking the Dog (Pickled Head Soup) – Let your elf handle the task of walking the toy dogs!

50. Dinosaur Reindeer (Wine and Glue) – Who needs reindeer when you have a dinosaur?!

51. Mechanic (Frugal Coupon Living) – Luckily elves are great mechanics!

52. Grinch (The Sweatman Family) – Trapped! With the Grinch captured, there is no stopping holiday cheer this year!

Perfect Elf on the Shelf places to hide.

53. Car Reindeer (Wmc 75) – Pipe cleaner + your kids favorite toy cars and you will have this Elf on the Shelf idea prepped in no time.

54. Nativity Set (Mathew Gosselin) – Make sure that you help your elf remember the true reason for the season.

55. Dr. Elf (Frugal Coupon Living) – Dr. Elf will be more than happy to help with surgery.

56. Jenga (Snippets from Suburbia) – Peek-a-boo!

57. Scuba Diving (Carey Pace) – Your Elf on the Shelf would love a quick scuba diving adventure! {Scroll to Day 12}

58. Trapped (Jennifer Saintz) – He must have been misbehaving again.

59. Date Night (Jen McKen Photography) – Even elves need remember how important date night is for a relationship!

60. Lego (Carey Pace) – Build a lego fortress for your elf! Your kids will LOVE waking up to his creation! {Scroll to Day 22}

20 Quick & Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Christmas elf ideas.

Ok, we will be 100% honest. Some nights you just need a quick and easy idea for your elf! No worries, even with just a quick location change your kids will still be in awe!

New Elf on the Shelf ideas.

61. Chilling Out (Raining Hot Coupons) – Some ideas are so simple, yet the kids will love them just as much!

62. Dryer (Natalme) – Keeping warm after a cold trip to the North Pole.

63. Toilet Paper Hammock (The Sweatman Family) – Your kids will love finding their elf lounging around in the bathroom.

64. Kitchen Aide (Frugal Coupon Living) – Oops! I think he is stuck!

65. Coloring Book (Sweet C Designs) – No need to be naughty, let your elf encourage your kids to color!

66. Playing the Piano (One Step Away) – A little holiday music is always great!

Quick and easy Elf on the Shelf hiding places.

67. Christmas List (A Few Shortcuts) – What will your elf ask for this year?

68. In the Car (Pigskins & Pigtails – Running out of places for the elf to hide in the house? The car would be a fun morning surprise as well!

69. Zip Line (Rachel Swartley) – A simple piece of yarn becomes a zipline in no time!

70. Candy Jar (The Arthur Clan) – We all know that elves love their sweets.

71. Freezer (Lil Blue Boo) – Good thing your elf is used to the North Pole temperatures!

72. Yoga Elf (The Leggy Files) – Holiday season getting stressful? Relax and enjoy a little elf yoga to give yourself just the right energy boost.

Silly places to hide your elf.

73. Swing (A Small Snippet) – This Elf on the Shelf swing is a simple crowd-pleaser!

74. Utensil Drawer (Rachel Swartley) – Elf on the Shelf hiding places don’t have to be elaborate!

75. Sleepy Elf (Still Playing School) – A box of kleenex is the perfect elf resting spot.

76. Selfie (Pickled Head Soup) – Let your kids catch their elf in the act of snapping some selfies!

77. Time Out (The Martinson 5) – Oops! What did he do this time?

78. Reading (Erin Bettis) – Enjoying a good Christmas story! {Scroll to Day 22}

79. Hanging Around (Mom vs The Boys) – Yikes! Those aren’t supposed to be there!

80. Lifting Weights (Huffington Post) – Help your elf build some muscle this holiday season.

21 Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Christmas hiding places.

Some nights it is fun to add a little extra effort into the whole thing! If you are feeling adventurous, these are the Elf on the Shelf ideas for you!

Funny Elf on the Shelf hiding places.

81. Elf Tricks (Print Your Party) – Uh oh! What has that elf done now!?!

82. Family Picture Faces (Simple as That) – Your Elf on the Shelf is sure to get a laugh out of this one!

83. Elf Trap (Living Locurto) – Trap your kiddos in their bedroom with this silly elf trap!

84. Stocking Exchange (She Knows) – This stocking swap will have your kids rolling!

85. Wrapping the Toilet (Over the big Moon) – Hopefully, no one needs to go potty in the middle of the night!

86. Rolling Down the Stairs (ILS Learning Corner) – Your elf will enjoy this wild ride.

Silly Elf on the Shelf ideas.

87. Worst Cookie Ever (Richard Bronosky) – Make sure you don’t leave Santa these cookies on Christmas Eve!

88. Gift Bows All Over (Snippets from Suburbia) – With a bulk bag of Christmas bows, your elf can bow attack the kitchen!

89. Cereal Box Elf (Mommy Savers) – Your elf would fit right in with these guys!

90. Googly Eyes (Elf on the Shelf) – A googly-eyed fridge surprise!

91. Chocolate (Eclectically Vintage) – Oh, no! Someone got into the chocolate!

92. Toilet Trouble (Shannon Hilton) – You may want to try this one on a toilet your kids won’t try to use in the middle of the night!

93. Feeding the Dog (Carey Pace) – Sometimes you just have to have the right equipment to get the job done! {Scroll to Day 6}

Elf on the Shelf for the entire family.

94. Rockband Elf (My List of Lists) – Your Elf on the Shelf may want to play your family a few of his favorite songs.

95. Hot Air Balloon (Carey Pace) – Up, up and away! {Scroll to Day 16}

96. Photocopy (The Jenny Evolution) – Photocopy silly faces are always hilarious!

97. Robber (Mums Grapevine) – Watch out for your piggy bank!

98. Shower (She Knows) – A clean elf is a happy elf!

99. Cooking (Frugal Coupon Living) – If your elf had his say, this would be dinner!

100. Shaving (Rocking My 365 Project) – Clear up that 5 o’clock shadow!

101. Wrapped up (A Few Shortcuts) – Oops! I think that your elf got a little carried away with the wrapping!


You are now more than prepped for this holiday season! The hardest part will be deciding which ideas you want to pull off for your family this year!

Looking for more fabulous holiday ideas? Check out these amazing posts!!

Hubby on the Shelf!
You’ve Been Jingled!

About the Author: Niki

I am a crafting, baking, blogging wife and mother. I love nothing more than time with my family while playing games, watching movies, and just being together!

We Love Your Comments

We LOVE hearing from our readers! Thanks for leaving us some love!
P.S. If you want a picture to show up next to your comments, get set up with a gravatar!

Recent Comments

14 Responses to Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas

  1. Here are a few things our elf did last year
    1) decorated the barbie doll house with xmas lights
    2) moved the Christmas tree into the kitchen
    3) put make up on the baby doll
    4) painted the bathroom mirror (water cleanable)
    5) emptied the kitchen cabinet and moved in (doll bed, table and lamp)
    6) built snowmen and an igloo in the freezer out of marshmallows
    7) hooked all of barbies horses up to a giant sleigh

    That’s just a few. We had lots of fun!

    1. Tina, All of your ideas are so creative!! Thanks so much for sharing:) I am going to adding building a snowman and igloo in the freezer out of marshmallows for sure to ours here at home, my kids will love that!!

  2. You ladies rock! Thank you so much for sharing some of my Elf on the Shelf ideas. We have so much fun with our Elf.

    I am loving your site. I love the date night ideas and the special moments suggestions. I am so glad there is a site that is positive about marriage. Kuddos to you gals!

    1. Crysal, thanks so much for letting us share! You had some fantastic ideas and we are so glad you love our site too:) Hope you can use a few (or a bunch) of our creative date ideas.

  3. Our elves have been pretty busy.
    1. They decorated the tree with the kids underwear and used a pair to sit in as a hammock on the stocking holder
    2. Froze the kids underwear
    3. Cover the kitchen cabinets in old wrapping bows
    4. Played tic-tac-toe on bathroom mirror

    1. Frozen underwear?!? Oh, my Carla that is hilarious!! I hope you left a few pairs in their drawer so they didn’t get chilly going to school that day {wink!}

  4. Our Elf Marmaduke

    1. Set up a zip line across the dinning room,
    2. Turned all the liquids in the fridge green and red,
    3. Drew mustaches, glasses and funny hair on all the pictures in the house (dry erase markers),
    4. And toilet papered the Christmas tree.

    But mostly he hides in extremely hard to find places 🙂 .

    1. Tasha, I love the zip line idea!! Our elf has to hide in very high places because my kids would be all over him if he were too low so the zip line is perfect for us:)

      1. Julie,
        I planned the zip line over a week. One morning the girls woke up and he had a ball of yarn with him on our surround sound ceiling speaker. Each day for five days he was in a different spot …. with the yarn. Then he ended up back at the speaker and the next morning he made a zip line with the yarn of course and a bendy straw. They loved it!!!