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?