If you have an Elf On The Shelf, then you’ll be looking for some funny, easy, and last-minute ideas on where to hide your elf.
The Elf On The Shelf usually arrives on the 1st of December and leaves on Christmas Eve. They’re Scout Elves sent to report back to Santa on who’s naughty or nice. Elves are known to be a little bit mischievous and enjoy playing games like hide-and-seek. Every morning you will find them in a different place or position and parents can be very creative in coming up with how to position their elf.
I’ve rounded up the funniest and easiest last-minute elf on the shelf ideas, as well as rules, printables, clothes, accessories, kits, and even elf pets for your kids to play with.
What Is Elf On The Shelf?
The picture book comes with an elf doll who reports back to Santa on whether children are naughty or nice.
Elf’s are known to be a little bit mischievous themselves and enjoy playing games like hide-and-seek.
Every morning you will find them in a different place or position and parents can be very creative in coming up with how to position their elf.
When Does The Elf On The Shelf Come?
The elf on the shelf can come anytime after Thanksgiving but usually starts from 1 December, just like an advent calendar.
However, if you missed a few days, don’t worry, you can just as easily start when you put up your Christmas tree, as it doesn’t really matter.
When Does Elf On The Shelf Leave?
The elf on the shelf leaves on Christmas Eve to report back to Santa on whether the kids have been naughty or nice.
Elf On The Shelf Rules
1. The elf arrives from the North Pole after Thanksgiving but usually on 1 December. The sooner he comes out the more interesting hiding places and ideas you will have to come up with.
2. The elf leaves and returns to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
3. The elf must be named and adopted by the family so that he can get his magic powers. Some popular name ideas include Buddy, Jingles, and Snowflake. Here’s a list of several funny elf names if you get stuck.
Want to find your own elf name? Have a look at our Christmas Party Games post to find yours.
4. The elf must be hidden in a new place every evening once the kids are in bed, to be found the next morning. Older teens enjoy getting a turn to hide the elf as well.
5. The purpose of an elf is to keep watch and report back to Santa on whether the kids have been naughty or nice.
6. Children are not allowed to touch the elf, as they will lose their magic if touched.
7. Children who touch them must write an apology letter to the North Pole, or sing a Christmas carol or sprinkle cinnamon or magic dust next to their elf to heal them.
We’ve never enforced this rule as our kids love playing with the elf and especially older teens actually enjoy hiding the elf themselves. We make it more about a fun family tradition and creativity, rather than rules and being spied on.
Elf On The Shelf Arrival Ideas For First Day
On the first day when your elf arrives, it’s a great idea to include a letter explaining who s/he is and why they’re hiding on the shelf.
You will need to name your elf to officially adopt them, and make sure that your child understands the elf on the shelf rules.
If your elf is returning, the letter can be about how excited the elf is to be back again.
Here are some Elf On The Shelf arrival letter ideas and free printables. I’ve left a space for you to fill in your kids’ names.
Returning Elf On The Shelf letter template. I’ve left a space for you to fill in your elf’s name:
Funny Elf On The Shelf Ideas
Some elves are a bit naughty and might choose to hide in some strange places or be caught doing some funny pranks. Here are some creative elf on the shelf ideas.
You’ll soon find out if your elf has a bit of a naughty streak himself if he’s pulling tricks like filling the Oreos with toothpaste!
Stow Away Snowman Elf
Grab a few rolls of toilet paper, add a few dots and hide your elf in the middle of the rolls.
You’ll need a few artistic skills to get the faces right, but it’s easier than they might think.
Fill a pot with either cotton balls or marshmallows. Add a rubber duck and let your elf steam away in the jacuzzi.
Homemade ‘Lemonade’ Elf
Some elves can be a bit mischievous, and it looks like this elf is trying to trick you into drinking his homemade ‘lemonade’.
These naughty elf has replaced the Christmas stockings with undies.
Snowball Fight Elf
Grabe some marshmallows and set up a snowball fight.
Looks like this elf has just come back from the North Pole in time and has even brought some snow in with him.
Paper Bag Race Elf
Grab a few paper bags and pop your elf on the shelf doll and some of your kids’ favorite toys in them to create a fun paper bag race.
Elf In A Slinky
Pop your elf doll in a slinky and place it somewhere funny like down the stairs on hanging off a chair.
Elf Roller Coaster
Grab a few friends and let’s go ride the roller coaster.
Rice Krispies Elf
Snap, Crackle & Pop! Elves love cereal for breakfast too! This elf has taken Crackle’s place on the cereal box. I wonder if Snap and Pop have noticed?
The Floor Is Lava Elf
You can do it the easy way by just writing the sign “The Floor Is Lava” and sticking your elf up on a chair, or you can go all out and use paper streamers and make the actual floor look like lava.
There are several ways that you can stage your elf to have ‘gone fishing’, but this one is definitely the funniest. Be sure that this isn’t the toilet your kids use at night or else they might get a nasty surprise.
Elf Snow Globe
Grab a glass or bowl and turn it upside down. Add a few tiny lights and some tinsel or other decorations and you’ve made an Elf Snow Globe.
I Pead Myself Elf
Oh dear, looks like this elf has been ‘frozen’ in place for too long, and had a bit of an accident.
Last Minute, Quick and Easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas
If you’re tired then these lazy, easy elf on the shelf ideas are simple to pull off and perfect if you’re looking for some last-minute elf on the shelf ideas.
If you have 2 rolls of wrapping paper and a couple of slippers, you can create this super quick and easy elf on the shelf.
Elf is hitching a ride on a dinosaur – or any other animal your kids have is a great last-minute elf on the shelf idea.
Elf Locked Out
Oh dear! It looks like your elf didn’t make it back from the North Pole in time and is locked out.
Simply hide your elf in between a stack of Jenga blocks.
Here’s another super easy elf on the shelf idea. Grab some mini marshmallows and a flameless candle and you’re ready to roast some marshmallows.
Orange Juice For Breakfast
This healthy elf knows how to get some freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast.
Quick and easy and super cute elf on the shelf idea.
Free Reindeer Poop Elf
You can use chocolate cereal or chocolate-covered peanuts or raisins for this silly elf on the shelf idea.
Joining The Family Photo
This elf really enjoys being part of your family and wants to be in the family photo.
Elf Yoga Class
Whether your elf is doing downward-facing dog or the child’s pose, you’ll find several yoga poses that your elf can do.
Snow Angel Elf
Very quick and easy snow angel elf. You can make it with flour or sprinkles for a special snow angel.
Can Reach Elf
Another naughty elf is trying to get into the sweets container.
Elf has been looking through the couch cushions and seems like he’s found some treasure.
Sliding Down The Banister
Elves love having fun, and what’s more fun than sliding down the banister?
Let’s Make A Rainbow
Place some Skittles on a plate and get the kids to add hot water to make a rainbow.
With all that traveling back and forth to the North Pole, your elf might have to quarantine for a few days. You can use this idea when things are really busy, or you’re going away for a few days and won’t have time to move your elf.
Christmas Eve Elf On The Shelf Ideas
Farewell Letter (Printable)
It’s a tradition that on Christmas Eve your elf hitches a ride on Santa’s sleigh back to the North pole.
To prepare young kids for their departure you can print out a letter like the one below to say farewell on their last night together.
I’ve left a space so that you can sign your elf’s name.
Apart from printing out the farewell letter, you might be wondering what do you do with Elf on the Shelf on Christmas Eve? Does the elf on the shelf move on Christmas Eve?
Here are some ideas on what your Elf on the shelf can do on the last night:
Goodbye In Snow
If you have a magical elf door, then you can write a farewell message with footprints leading to the door.
Elf On The Shelf Magical Entry Door
On the last night before Christmas Eve, your elf on the shelf could gift your children a small present to say goodbye.
A Sad Farwell
Cut up some tissues into tiny pieces and write a note explaining that your elf on the shelf is sad to leave, but will be back next year.
All Packed & Ready To Go
Another way for your elf on the shelf to say goodbye on Christmas Eve is to pack a small suitcase and write a letter explaining that Elf and his reindeer need to go back to the North Pole to help Santa and the other elves.
Elf On The Shelf Games
Apart from finding your elf every morning, there are also some fun elf on the shelf games that you can play.
The Elf on the Shelf Present Pile Up Game
In this game Santa needs your help loading the sleigh with presents. Throw the dice to see if you land on a space where you can try to launch your presents into the sleigh. It’s a fun fast-paced game for kids of all ages to play this festive season.
The Elf on the Shelf Game and Craft Collection
This game and craft collection includes the find the Scout Elf game, the dash away all card game, as well as a fun craft kit and four minis.
Dictionary.com has put together several word games that you can play with your younger tweens with your elf on the shelf.
Games include elf scrabble, word of the day, and movie bingo.
Elf On The Shelf Kits
These magical standing gear for scout elves allows elves to stand up like a ballerina or a hipster elf.
The Elf On The Shelf Magical Standing Set
Elf on the Shelf Insta Moment Pop-Ups
These cute and easy-to-use pop-ups are great for creating interesting new scenes for your elf. These pop-ups include Christmas Car Ride, Scout Elf Salon, Christmas Camp Out, and Scout Elf Gamer.
The Elf on the Shelf Insta Moment Pop-Ups
Christmas Elf On The Shelf Plane Ride
Elf On The Shelf Balloon Ride
Scout Elves At Play Kit
Elf On The Shelf Pets
Just like our kids, elves like to have pets too. Here are some adorable elf on the shelf pets to play with.
Elf Pets A Reindeer
Elf Pets A St. Bernard
Elf Pets An Arctic Fox
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Buy An Elf On The Shelf?
There are several different types of Elf On The Shelf. You can find options at Amazon and Target.
Where Can I Buy A Girl Elf On The Shelf?
Here are some girl elf options for you:
Blue-Eyed Girl Light Tone Scout Elf
This blue-eyed girl elf comes with the Elf on the Shelf Claus Couture collection ‘Yummy Cookie Nightgown’.
Brown Eyed Girl Dark Tone Scout Elf
This brown-eyed girl elf comes with the Elf on the Shelf Claus Couture collection ‘Yummy Cookie Nightgown’.
Where Can I Buy Elf On The Shelf Clothes & Accessories?
There are so many super cute scout elf clothes and accessories available.
Elf On The Shelf Snowflake Skirt & Scarf
The Elf on the Shelf Claus Couture Cookie PJs
The Elf on the Shelf Donut Be Naughty PJs
The Elf on the Shelf Itty Bitty Baker Outfit
Why Is Elf On The Shelf Bad?
There is some criticism on teaching kids to accept being spied on, and behave well only to get present.
If this bothers you, then you could make up a different story, for example, the elf could be keeping an eye on the kids to see what toys and games they love playing, to report back to Santa so that he knows what to get them.
The fun really lies in coming up with creative new ideas on where to hide the elf.