Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Sound familiar? It's 5 a.m., not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. You have another hour of sleep available, but you bolt upright in bed. You forgot to move the damn Elf on the Shelf!

Day 5 and I was already out of ideas for this Mother Elfer. So, I did a search on Pinterest, like you do, and I wanted to cry. I'm a fairly creative person, but apparently, I was on the naughty list, because our Elf never created a winter wonderland or had a spa day for my kids.

I decided to step up my Elf game but vowed that I wasn't going to jump through hoops either. So, here are some actual doable Elf on the Shelf ideas that can easily be done no matter how busy you are.

13 Easy Real Life Elf on the Shelf Ideas Any Parent Can Do

Easy Real-Life 'Elf on the Shelf' Ideas that Any Parent Can Do

Elf Arrives with an Elf on the Shelf book & note 

Great way to start off the tradition with a reminder about how "the magic" all works. You can simply reuse the book your Elf came with or one of these...

Elf on the Shelf Builds a LEGO Christmas Tree 

Okay I'm pretty proud of this one. Using green silicon sticky toy block tape, I cut out three strips to form a triangle and stuck it to the wall. Don't worry, the tape really doesn't ruin your surfaces and can be removed easily. I then collected loose LEGO blocks for ornaments and made it look like Buddy made a LEGO Christmas Tree for our kids.

Elf on the Shelf LEGO Christmas Tree using green Mayka toy block tape

Alternatively, you could also have your elf deliver holiday LEGO kits for your child to build on their own (I did this the second year). You could have the instructions out and some of it started even and for your child to complete! 

Delivers Elf on the Shelf Coloring Pages 

Arrange your elf with crayons and print out this free Elf on the Shelf Coloring Sheet for your kids to color in. I printed out a page for both boys and wrote their names on them. They thought this was really fun and colored in their elves before they left for school that morning.

Sitting with Other Stuffed Animals. 

Arrange your elf with other stuffed animals in the house for a magical play date. The balloon he's holding was another fun bonus.

Elf Brings Candy! 

Your kids have been so good, their elf left treats out for them. This was easily their favorite day, even if they had to brush their teeth after! They bragged to everyone who would listen that their elf gave them candy canes and colored marshmallows :)

The following year he had Chocolate Kisses for them.

Playing with Play-Doh

We put him up on top of our water cooler with a few jars of Play-Doh and molded a snowman and a candy cane, which we hooked into his hands.

Elf on the Shelf with Play-Doh

Netflix and Chill

My boys found this very funny that "Buddy" was up late watching holiday movies. Compile some Christmas DVDs and put the remote in between his sewn hands and sit him high up on the couch or on top of your TV stand or cable box. You could throw in a bag of popcorn or other props and watch one of the movies later that day too. We did!

Elf on the Shelf holiday movie night

Elf Delivers Letters To Santa

We drafted letters to Santa and put them in our stockings. The next day the letters were gone, Buddy had delivered them to the North Pole and was so tired he took a nap in our stockings. This really brought home the magic of our Elf.

Elf on the Shelf Doesn't Move! 

My son was having a bad day at school and the teacher even had to tell me that he wasn't being kind to a friend. So, when we got home, I told Buddy in front of my child and that night he stayed in the same spot. I explained in the morning that his magic only works when the children of the house are good.

Reading in Bed 

I tucked our elf under a blanket, propped him up on a pillow and put a book in front of him. Bonus, this reemphasizes that reading is fun!

In the Christmas Tree with a NEW ornament 

Every year our elf makes an appearance high up on our X-Mas tree, because let's face it, it's the ultimate if all else fails idea. 

You can spice it up though by having a new ornament next to him or have him holding tinsel.

For year 3 with Buddy, we purchased an elf hammock on Etsy (above) that hangs on to the tree for him to sleep in. There are different patterns you can choose from, but I'm all about the Buffallo Check so this made me happy too, lol. Super cute! 

Hanging in a Wreath

Another easy fail-safe idea, for a late-night Elf scramble, put the elf in a wreath.

Flying from the Chandelier, Fan or Ceiling light

For the latter, I used a strand of green Mardi Gras beads to tie him up there. I told the boys he must have been decorating, lol.

In the Fridge Getting a Late Night Snack

Stick him in the fridge. This spot will keep your kids busy looking everywhere for him, so you might want to save this for a weekend day. I got to sleep in an extra 15 minutes thanks to this idea. If you have Elf on the Shelf accessories like a coat or scarf, now is the time to put those on. 

Elf Twister

Grab some circle stickers from the dollar store and place them on the floor for a Twister board and then have fun arranging your elf. Or you can order this Elf Twister printable for just one buck too.  I also brought out our Twister game so my boys could play with their elf. 

Elf the Late-Night Gamer 

Now that my boys are 8, they are all about their devices and gaming, soooo of course so is their elf Buddy ;) Ordered a little mini controller for him (it's on his lap) and put all their big-boy gaming consoles near him.  He could also appear with a new game for the kids.

My boys woke up and saw that he had been gaming late at night and they thought this was the coolest thing ever, lol! It was a "good job mom" way to start my day :)  

Elf on the Shelf Accessories

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