101 Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas for 2021

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Funny and Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Christmas is just around the corner and before we know it, Santa will be sneaking down the chimney — and it’s up to the Elf on the Shelf to get us ready! Christmas is such a magical time of year and we are more than happy to add any magic we can into our kids’ lives while they still believe. We’ve rounded up creative and funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas to make it easier to bring a little magic to this season’s festivities!

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{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 created an entire printable kit to make it FUN and EASY! {We took out all the stress, and added in lots of fun!} Our Christmas Elf Kit is loaded with elf-sized printables and LOTS of ideas for making Christmas memories. Here’s just a little sneak peek…

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For ALL the deets {and to see even more pics!} go check it out! 

AND, on top of that, we have rounded up 101 MORE Elf on the Shelf ideas!

Click on the categories below to find the ideas that you think will work best for your family.

Table of Contents
  1. Funny and Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
  2. Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Food 
  3. Elf on the Shelf Printables
  4. Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Toys
  5. Quick & Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
  6. Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Food 

We had a hard time picking just 20! These elf ideas are all just too stinking cute!!

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

Elf on the Shelf draws minions on bananas | The Dating Divas

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 his own mini s’mores! 

Elf on the shelf roasts s'mores by candlelight | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf eats donuts | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf eating sugar cookies | The Dating Divas

6. Pancakes (Home Stories A to Z) – This elf on a shelf is eating a delicious (and tiny!) breakfast!

Elf on the shelf eats tiny pancakes | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf drinking hot cocoa | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf sits by snowmen made out of mini donuts | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf eating popcorn | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the creating "sprinkle" angel | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the pokes hole in orange with crazy straw to drink orange juice | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf fishing in the sink for goldfish crackers | The Dating Divas

13. Packed Lunch (Frugal Coupon Living) – Turns out, this elf’s not so great at packing a lunch — but he is great at making your kids giggle! (BTW: your little one will need a real, non-elf packed lunch! 😉)

Elf on the shelf packs a yucky lunch for school | The Dating Divas

14. Baking Assistant (Craft Create Cook) – Put your elf to work as your special baking assistant.

Elf on the shelf reaches for baking powder | The Dating Divas

15. Holiday Milk (Pretty Providence) – Your milk has never looked this festive!

Elf on the shelf sits by some green-dyed milk | The Dating Divas

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!

Elf on the shelf with m&m tube crafted into a reindeer | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf with some tiny miniature gingerbread men | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf stealing cookie from jar | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf hiding among Coke bottles | The Dating Divas

20. Syrup (Clumsy Crafter) – Just an elf making sure he is sticking to his main food group!

Elf on the shelf drinking syrup | The Dating Divas

Elf on the Shelf Printables

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

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

Elf on the shelf behind candy cane jail bars | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf using photo booth props with friends | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf small letters | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf behind photo cut-out | The Dating Divas

25. Cozy Little Elf Pets® Home (Elf on the Shelf) – This elf on a shelf loves to spend time with his pup — and has the cutest little dog house!

Elf on the shelf sitting with dog toy outside doghouse | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf scavenger hunt | The Dating Divas

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

Craft elf on the shelf making a paper lantern  | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf report card | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf inside kissing both | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf playing Twister with friends | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf outhouse | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf inside rocket ship | The Dating Divas

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

Elf on the shelf holding camera and goodbye note | The Dating Divas

34. Elfagram (Party in a Pinch) – 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!

Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Toys

Your kids will LOVE these funny elf on the shelf ideas! Plus, 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?!

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. Potato Sack Race (Jedi Craft Girl)- 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.

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 (She Knows) – This is a classic and simple Elf on the Shelf idea.

49. Walking the Dog (Frugal Coupon Living) – Let your elf handle the task of walking the toy dogs!

50. Dinosaur Reindeer (Homesthetics) – 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!

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!

Quick & Easy Elf on the Shelf 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!

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

62. Washing Machine (Frugal Coupon Living) – This elf needs to get clean after all the sticky situations he gets himself into!

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 (A Small Snippet) – No need to be naughty — let your elf encourage your kids to color!

66. Playing the Piano (Life in Random Bits) – A little holiday music is always great!

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.

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 (Learning Liftoff) – 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.

Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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!

81. Elf Prank (Dr. Carter Smiles) – Uh oh! What has that elf done now!? Don’t eat those cookies!

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.

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 (Lovebugs & Postcards) – Your elf would fit right in with these guys!

90. Googly Eyes (Dirty Diaper Laundry) – A googly-eyed fridge surprise!

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

92. Toilet Trouble (Rumbly In My Tumbly) – 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}

94. Rockband Elf (Elf On the Shelf) – 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 (Still Playing School) – 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 with these Elf on the Shelf ideas! 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!

Christmas Gift Planning Date

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There are three things I love most in life: my faith (it gets me through hard times), my two dogs (a dachshund and a dachshund/chihuahua mix), and food (like, literally all of it; I don't discriminate). I'm a firm believer in laughing, writing, and beating everyone at Bananagrams.

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Recent Comments

    1. We are SO glad to help give you some more ideas!! Have SO much fun with your Elf this year!! Thanks for your comment! XO

  1. 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!!!

  2. 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!}

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!