101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas

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Has your family adopted the Elf on a Shelf tradition but find that you are running out of crazy fun ideas each year? To help keep the tradition alive, I’ve listed 101 things your Elf can do this season.

1. Marshmallow fight — marshmallows everywhere
2. Pillow fight — feathers everywhere
3. Nerf gun fight — darts everywhere
4. Laundry fight — clothes everywhere
5. Lipstick on mirror message
6. Crepe paper barricade on their bedroom door that they have to bust through
7. Rearrange story books in ABC order or in a pile of disarray
8. Clean closet or make mess of closet
9. Fill tub with bubbles till the point of explosion
10. Hang from shower nozzle with a towel on
11. Unroll toilet paper roll on the floor, around Christmas tree, etc.
12. Zip down a zip line through the house
13. Caught sneaking candy
14. Eat milk and cookies
15. Organize school clothes — mismatched haha
16. Write a message on the on the snow covered car window
17. Create a paper chain with a bit of a mess to show for it
18. Hang child’s unmentionables on the Christmas tree
19. Hang from chandelier or ceiling fan
20. Make faces on school pictures with a marker
21. Take a spin in toy car/remote control car
22. Play board game with stuffed animal friends or action figures
23. Tea party with stuffed animal friends
24. Read book, newspaper, e-reader, ipad, computer, etc
25. Listen to child’s ipod
26. Play child’s DS/itouch
27. Play video games
28. Draw picture
29. Color in coloring book
30. Dump toybox
31. Create a block tower
32. Switch as out closet clothes (i.e. take chunk of child’s clothes and switch with chunk of sibling or parents clothes) or switch out dresser drawer clothes
33. Hide rocks in shoes
34. Hide one shoe
35. Sit in shoe, holding shoe laces as if going on a sleigh ride
36. Turn everyone shoes into superhero shoes
37. Plant magic seeds with directions to water once a day. On 3rd day something will grow. Secretly plant lollipops on 3rd day. I love this Magic Elf Seeds idea from East Coast Mommy!
38. Make cookies — flour everywhere
39. Make Reindeer food
40. Turn toilet water blue
41. Turn milk blue
42. Take picture of child sleeping
43. Hang out on child’s bedpost
44. Knit a scarf or hat. Not literally, Jen. Come on.
45. Make paper airplanes and fly them around the house
46. Park the car backwards, down the street, crooked, etc.
47. Put toothbrushes in toilet or clean toilet with toothbrushes– yuck (make sure new standbys are waiting in the wings)
48. Type /write an amazing letter of all the wonderful qualities your Elf has witnessed of your child!!!!!!!!
49. Have a package arrive via UPS/US Postal Service — new clothes for your Elf ordered by yours truly.
50. Hide parents phone, keys, or mom’s blow dryer
51. Recreate your family tree that now includes your Elf
52. Nothing. If your elf didn’t move overnight then perhaps their behavior contributed to their elf not moving.
53. Fold clothes, empty dishwasher, vacuum
54. Dust, sweep kitchen
55. Rake leaves/shovel or play in the snow
56. Dance party — music playing & stuffed friends dancing
57. Game day — playing soccer, baseball, basketball, dance, gymnastics, karate, etc in the house
58. Complete child’s homework or add pictures on homework
59. Make phone call
60. Drink Pepsi & milk
61. Run on treadmill/ ride exercise bike
62. Sew on sewing machine
63. Play cards
64. Learn multiplication facts
65. Play dress up — wearing mini homemade reindeer ears, etc.
66. Cover a room with Post-it notes on EVERY wall
67. Watch movie with popcorn & remote control
68. Build something great with Legos
69. Change all clock times
70. Take all the kitchen cabinet knobs off
71. Unscrew all the light blubs
72. Lock car keys in the car (parents have to have good acting skills & time on their side)
73. Tear up child’s old homework
74. Have a friend or relative call child thanking them for your Elf’s white elephant gift (child’s missing toy, clothes, artwork, etc)
75. Skype a friend/family member as your child is waking up (get someone to play along)
76. Cut coupons
77. Wrap gifts or cut up wrapping paper
78. Cut out toy pictures from toy catalog
79. Try on mom’s jewelry
80. Elf packs school lunches but mixes up everyone lunches (each child receives siblings lunch — great conversation piece at dinner)
81. Short sheet child’s sheets – ha ha
82. Cool off a cup of HOT chocolate with a stationary fan, see ours here.
83. Elf writes his own X-mas list – Elf clothes, Mrs. Elf, candy, etc.
84. Create a scavenger hunt for the kids with clues leading to mischief
85. Leave paper trail (or dog food trail) through house
86. Hang wet clothes on clothesline outside– especially funny in colder climates because their clothes will be stiff
87. Build a family fort with a name on the front
88. Wrap a new gift for the kids to open — exciting and thoughtful
89. Turn all the kitchen chairs backwards
90. Turn all the breakfast plates upside down
91. Swing on outdoor swing set – chilly
92. Sit by warm fire – cozy
93. Punch stuffed animal in the throat
94. Cover lawn with Easter decorations such as plastic eggs
95. Fill room with lots of balloons or hang them from ceiling
96. Build snowman
97. Write a secret message to child with invisible ink
98. Create a mask & cape out of paper/cloth — Super Elf! Perhaps he can be hanging from the ceiling by fishing line.
99. Inspire reading, writing or imagination — leave a new book to be read or ask child to write a list things they are thankful for or ask child to finish Elf’s half written story making it as silly and creative as possible
100.Write a message in the snow (better for little ones who won’t notice the obvious footprints)
101.Pin fluffy tail on the back of child’s pjs while sleeping –great for hard sleepers. See our Buddy Tails.

Which ones will your Elf do this season? Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Software

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  1. I love your list. Thanks for making this year so easy for me!

    P.S. Your blog is adorable!

  2. Mary Kingsford says:

    Our “Jingle” is going to do #36, #70, #71, #81, #86, #94, & #101 for sure.

    Number 36, 81 & 86 are my favorites. Thanks for getting me excited for this season!!!!

  3. I found you on Pinterest – such a cute blog! You inspired me to get organized this year and be really creative with our Elfie!

  4. So cool – thanks! You have a new follower!

  5. Christy Monroe says:

    I love the out of the box ideas! New follower too!

  6. Tracy Clark says:

    OMG, ours is going to hang their wet clothes on the clothesline. The kids will get a kick out of their clothes being stiff! ha ha
    Great idea – thanks for sharing these!!!!

  7. Omg thank you so much!!!! My son is 3 and this will be our first elf on the shelf I was planning on making activities for each day thank you so much most of these are easy enough for him tk understand!! I can’t wait

  8. So glad everyone is enjoying this list. It was so fun to create. I will post all the reckless fun our “Buddy” performs for us this year! Thanks for following!!!

  9. Indianamomma says:

    Love all the ideas! One tip – if you put your elf on the chandelier, make sure that he or she is not near the light bulb. Our Carter got burnt trying that little stunt last year!

    • Oh no, that’s terrible. I’m glad your family was safe. Thanks for sharing!

      • Chrissy Triplett says:

        we just got our elf …but its not an elf on a shelf its a family dollar elf and his tummy is a candy jar ….we love him already and we are looking forward to the fun lol ….merry Christmas

  10. Thanks for this! This will be our elf’s first year in the house! I am so excited. I have a list with ideas, that I am going to type up and store with him. Ours is going to do good deeds, along with mischievous fun. I am really looking forward to it. I have another suggestion, that we are going to do this year. You can have your elf leave some money and ask that it be put in the bell ringer’s buckets, used to buy a toy for toys for tots (or whatever toy drive is near you), have him gather your old coats for a coat drive (again if there is one near you) and donate food to a food drive. I also plan on having him make baked goods (or something) for the firemen and police. It is a fun way to give back, and inspire that in the kids.

  11. Is it just me or are 97-99 missing?

  12. I LOVE your ideas. We are getting an elf on the shelf for the first time this year and I can’t wait to try some of your great ideas!!

  13. Kathryn Childs says:

    What an awesome list! My best one last year was creating a Mii on my son’s Wii and then going and playing some games with it. He was a total believer and after that, EVERYTHING inexplicable at first was easily explained away by the elf’s work. All this year, he’s explained things this way and it’s so cute! Cannot wait to get started after reading so many fun ideas in your list! New follower here, as well! Love it!

  14. Our family doesn’t go shopping on Black Friday, so instead, we spend a great day together putting up all the Christmas decorations. This year, we are going to have a North Pole breakfast (another great idea I saw on-line) to kick off the holiday season, and introduce our house elf. I have purchased little treat bags to put pens and pencils, and other elf themed items so they can start getting busy with those wish lists. My husband is going to read the story over a breakfast of powdered donut holes, hot cocoa, and other yummy treats. I LOVE these ideas, and will definitely use many. This is the first year for us to use this. I grew up with a pixie in the tree, so this will be a fun way to share something from my childhood with our boys. (BTW, I’m sure you can find it on-line, but a certain blank and blank bookseller had Elf on the Shelf gift bags for sale, that say Merry Christmas from your elf! I thought that would be a great way to tie our elf into the gift unwrapping frenzy that I’m sure will ensue on Christmas morning!) Thanks so much for all your creative ideas.

    • Jolynn,

      You are creating such a lovely tradition for your family. I love how the North Pole breakfast provides a proper introduction and grand entrance! I think the idea is going to catch on quick. Come back and let me know how your kids enjoyed it!

  15. We just got our Elf and read the story. I didn’t know that the elf was supposed to DO something every night. Ours went to the North Pole last night and our children had a wonderful morning searching for him…but did we miss that he was also supposed to be involved in some sort of mischief or good deed? We are excited about embracing this tradition and would like to make the most out of it while our children are young and still BELIEVE (my oldest is 9 so I fear that this time is fleeting). Thanks for tipping us off.

    • Congratulations on your new tradition! I think the mischief/good deed is something that many families are choosing to embrace during the holiday season. The book only references that he’ll be in a new spot and children will jump out of bed seeing who will find him first. I like that we can make the tradition fit our families’ needs and time constraints.

      Our family introduced the tradition when my children were 4, 8, and 11 years old. My oldest really enjoys the fun he brings to the house and we are really happy how he embraced our tradition for the rest of the family. I hope it encourages others who think their children are not young enough to consider introducing an Elf on the Shelf to their home.

    • I was kind of confused about that too. We got ours tonight, read the book and understood that it’s just supposed to be hid each night and found each morning after reporting to Santa the night before. I like the ideas of mischief and fun but confused as to where all of that came from!

  16. There are some really fun ideas on there! However, our Elf sits in different places spying on the kids making sure they are being good. How is it helpful to have him making a mess and doing mischievous things if we are trying to encourage the kids to act great before Christmas? Having him be a little stink seems a little counter-productive if you ask me.

    • It doesn’t have to be bad things. I’ve had ours propped and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to a few of our three-year-old’s babies. They were tucked in their cradle and Avery was sitting on a coffee tub holding the book. Another morning she (Avery) was playing Memory with Alisha (Cabbage Patch) and a few other stuffed critters. Another morning she was propped, watching a movie (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) on our daughter’s DVD player. It doesn’t ave to be mischievous, just cute. Sitting on the couch with the remote, sitting on the fridge shelf, maybe wearing a scarf. It can be fun for the kids to find the elf doing something. We don’t do it every night, but most nights she is up to something. I think tomorrow morning she will be in the bathroom brushing her teeth using our little girl’s toothbrush.

  17. Madison Provencher says:

    My husband and I are looking forward to watching our children’s delight in the return of our Elf. He brings so much joy to our family and I am planning to do quite a few of the things from your list. Thank you!

  18. Was shopping with my BFF yesterday, & she saw/purchased/told me about Elf. Of course, I had to have one, too! I have two sons who are grown & married, but still have a 15 year old boy at home, along with my husband. My son will probably think he is too old for this, but I’m doing it anyway. ALL ‘kids’ need to play & be kids for as long as possible. And grown-ups need fun in life, too. Thanks for the ideas! I can’t wait to begin.

  19. What a great list! Thanks so much for sharing! I found your blog via Pinterest & I featured this pin on my blog as one of my favorites from the week: http://www.pinfluence.com/2011/11/12/saturday-stumbles-11-12-11/

  20. Jacquelyn Wallace says:

    This is fun for ALL AGES. My PARENTS had the best time with theirs last year and it is just them, no grandkids yet! And my boyfriend and I (just us) got one for Christmas and I am planning all kinds of fun things for him, like writing a letter and picking his name out of a jar. I think that if you just embrace it no matter waht the age, you will have fun.

  21. My children have “grown out” of wanting Elf on the Shelf but I am lucky enough to have another use. I teach second grade and will be using his “spell binding” powers to keep my students behaving. I started this last year and when there were only 12 days of school remaining until Christmas break he did the 12 Days of Christmas with the children. He would visit the North Pole each night and return the next morning with a gift for the class (games for the room, pencils for everyone, a book for each student, candy, books for the classroom,…)the students loved it. I will have to incorporate some mischief this year, using some of your ideas. Thanks!

  22. This will be our first year using the Elf on the Shelf. Im kinda excited! Our son is 8 years old so i want to try to make it seem as real as possible. I understand you read the book to them to introduce the Elf but when would the Elf magically appear? Would I place the Elf once he is asleep then let him find it the next morning and name him then? I need suggestions on how others are doing it.

    • Our Elf and book appeared together for the first time as a shipment from the Northpole. Here’s a link to how he arrived http://blossombunkhouse.com/2010/12/04/look-who-was-delivered-to-our-home-today/. I view the book as well written “instructions” so it made sense to me that they magically appeared/arrived together. I think the book is a wonderful tool to explain the new arrival and the important next step of naming him. Ours Elf arrives a couple of days after Thanksgiving.

      On the jacket of the book, it encourages readers to make the tradition your own! That’s the beauty of the tradition is that you can form it to your child’s age and maturity level. Good luck and I look forward to hearing other readers’ suggestions.

  23. Thanks for posting these. I want to do this but gulp at the idea of spending $30 for a small toy and a book…my mom just told me there was an elf and he would leave a toy in my stocking if I was good. This seems really fun. But I think I agree with Karen–what’s the deal with making him mess things up and play annoying tricks if you’re trying to encourage the children to be good and kind?

    • Hi! My son is 9 years & this is only our 3rd year with our “Elf”. I depended on modern technology for the implementation of “Bernie” to our family: we found him at a Tuesday Morning Store (ALL Elves secretly have magical potential), went online to the North Pole & found the “Elf Activation” link & “registered” him ;-) Now every year on Dec 1st he shows up right on time! My son too, thinks “Bernie’s” hijinks are hilarious & has never thought of it as license to be naughty. The beauty of the “Elf game” is that you can truly customize him to your family’s “MO” – after all, ALL elf personalities are not created equally…;-)

  24. My children haven’t ever thought of their elf as being bad when he plays pranks. They love it and can’t wait to get up each morning to see what he did while they were sleeping. When our elf is here they are on their best behavior. We also try to mix it up. Some nights he simply moves, some nights he plays little pranks, and some nights he does something nice. They never know what to expect. I know the $30 price tag may seem like a lot but it’s really not much when you think of the memories you make and the tradition that will be carried on. We bought ours 3 years ago so it’s been well worth the money!

  25. I bought one at Familt Dollar for $4. It’s about the same size, maybe bigger.

  26. We have had “Jingles” for a few year now and my kids love seeing where he is every morning and if they were good enough the day before to get a small treat. He has however never gotten into any mischief and after seeing all these great idea I am hoping “jingles” made some new friends over the past year and is a bit more mischievous this December. What I want to know is how do you get around the whole “No Touching” rule? I have a 5 & 9 yr old and I know the young one will think it is Hilarious but am afraid the 9yr old may get specious, I want another year of him believing!

    • We had a small incident last year when Buddy accidently fell off of his spot onto the floor, so naturally my hubby picked him up to return him back to his spot. The kids were so upset! My quick thinking husband said, “Don’t you know, the no touching rule only applies to kids. Parents are allowed to touch him without him losing his magic!” Worked like a charm!

      Let me know how it goes this year?

    • Believing is receiving…. My mom. Always said,” If you don’t believe. You don’t receive.” Told my son, at a young age. If you don’t believe, don’t let me know!!! You can tell your friends, whatever??? If you believe, you recieve!!!! (20 yrs. Old now) Still, receiving. …& has a 7 yrs. Old little sis. That believes !!! He is doing a Great Job!!! Makes my job, mean something & fun!!!

  27. Our elf was pretty mischevious last year, two of our favorites were when he drew mustaches on our kids while they were sleeping using a makeup crayon, and another morning we woke up to him having obviously been roasting mini marshmallows on a toothpick over one of my candles the night before.

  28. I never realized these were popular again. I have a set of these elves from the 50′s and 60′s!

  29. I have another question. If you haven’t guessed I am really worried about his questions this year:)

    ok so when we got ours they weren’t very popular and you usually had to go to a specialty store or bookstore to get one so my kids never saw them for sale, but now they are SO popular they are everywhere they have a huge display as soon as you walk into Target! So how do I explain the elf for sale at Target?

    • I know, eek, they are everywhere! I told my son that Santa puts them there because they are one step closer to finding a good home. I know other families have to be experiencing the same questions and maybe they will share their suggestions.

  30. “Ralphie” will have some real fun this year! Thanks!

  31. My son asked the same question, “why are the elves in the store?” So I told him that Santa was extremely busy and he asked Target to help him find the elves good homes! It seemed to work— but he is only 4 and I don’t think he realized that you had to buy them….

  32. PS.. I loooove all the ideas on here! Thanks for sharing!! Excited for Our elf to make its appearance after turkey day!

  33. Question.. We have had our elf for 3 years and he has done nothing but hung or sat from someplace high watching over my daughter (now 7). I would love for him to cause mischief, but how would i explain his sudden activity? And how would I explain why he is mischievous? She’s not easy to fool! And do people put him low, where the kids can reach them?

    • Perhaps he can start off gradually and be mischievous every third day or so until she gets used to the idea. It may be a good idea to have him start off doing subtle things such as reading a book, playing with toys, doing something nice for her or just being placed somewhere out of the ordinary. As far as the explanation, sometimes no explanation is the best one; admit that you don’t know why he did that but it sure was a fun surprise to wake up to and leave it at that. Parents don’t have all the answers and turning the questions away from you and onto her may work as well. Yes, lots of people put their Elf low without fear that children will touch him because they know, according to the book, that he will lose his magic if they touch him. Good luck, Heather, and maybe others have suggestions that they can share.

    • We explained to our 3 1/2 year old that her elf Avery is like the toys in that certain movie where toys come to life when no humans are around. That she can hear and see everything but can only move around when no one can see her. That way, she IS allowed to touch her. Ours is not the Elf from the book, we bought an AnnaLee elf half off at Dillards years ago. She is completely pose-able so she can do all kinds of stuff.

  34. I love all these ideas! This will be the third year we’ve had our elf, but the previous two he just moved to a new spot. Thank you (and many others on the Internet) for making this tradition so much more fun & interesting!!!
    My question, though, is how in the world do you get the elf to stay in certain positions? I’ve had a difficult time just getting him to sit without falling over!!!
    Our elf made a surprise appearance this year when we got out the Christmas cookie jar and my 4 year old found him in the cookie jar. I had completely forgotten I put him there (lol), so we are already doing this. I tried having him creating a mess in the bathroom & had the hardest time getting him to stay on the shower rod. I’m worried he’s going to fall off before morning.
    What do you do to help keep him in his spot?
    Oh and barnes & noble are selling elf on the shelf plushies so the kids can have an elf they CAN touch and play with!!

    • Now that’s a memorable entrance for the both of you, lol! I actually have sewn a tiny stitch with thread through his hands to stay secure on items such as a shower rod. You can use clear thread if you are afraid that your smart cookies might see it. Thanks for the kind words. Have a wonderful holiday!

  35. We just got our elf yesterday and I’m excited about his appearance this weekend. We have a 7yo, almost 3yo, and infant. So I KNOW he will be touched. (Mischievous boys!) What do you know when he is touched?

    • The only rule that kids have to follow is not to touch him or his magic might go and Santa won’t hear everything that he has seen or knows. I suggest that when he arrives, read the book over to them a few times emphasizing how he can lose his magic. I think most kids are really scared for this to happen and don’t want to jeopardize him maybe not returning. With little ones sometimes you have to make up the rules as you go and adapt them to your family. Have fun!

  36. So I have thought up an answer to my own question that I hope will explain the sudden explosion of their popularity and them being at every store we go to.

    I have already hinted at it so when the question comes the next time we are in the store I have already sorted planted the idea :) I plan of saying something about the elves needing to find a good home and need to be adopted and Santa needing help to find them homes so he has put them where they are easy for mommies and daddies to find.

    I also have a cute idea for some of the questions about the sudden mischief maker who has before always been quiet. I plan on recruiting a friend from my hubby’s work to write the kids a letter that Jingles will have with him on his first morning. I am gonna say something about lots of new elves being adopted (to help with the other problem about stores selling them) and how he has made a lot of new super fun friends and they have had a fun time playing and he is excited to visit them again, something to the extent of he has missed them since he was gone and hopes that he will always have good reports for Santa. You can always blame the new “activities” on learning things from his new friends :)

  37. love your ideas!! Anyone got a suggestion on how to make the elves hold onto something with their hand? What do you do to make it look like its hands are holding something. Do you use something sticky? I’m new to this whole Elf on the shelf thing and could use some pointers.

  38. Love your ideas! Sadly, I purchased our elf on a shelf after my kids were already too old. They were in 1st and 4th grade and they were their St Nicholas day gifts! I had such sweet visions of them and their Elves! They unwrapped their packages read the enclosed directions, & said, “A SPY… Seriously?… Santa has sent a SPY?!!!!!” they’ve never had anything to do with them since. They are all packed away and stored in a moving box somewhere, & one is actually still in the unopened box! The kids are now 11 & 15, and they still dislike the elf when we
    see him in stores! I’m saving them for my grandchildren… I’ll start young with them!!!

    • I wanted to let everyone know that these elves can be fun for adults also! My husband and I have a great time with “Wonder” got his name from, “wonder what he will get into next!” We do have grandchildren but only see them a couple times a month, they love Wonder and are always asking what he has done while they were gone!
      My husband and I enjoy the game almost as much as children and done feel the pressure for him to move every day!

  39. HEHEHEHEHE… Tonight will be the 1st night of Elf Alice at our House & 1st year of us doing Elf on a Shelf So finding this is GOLD.. OH my gosh… Its gonna be fun.. Let’s see what Alice will do tonight Ha.. CAN NOT WAIT To see my little girls face in the AM! Thank you so much for posting this!

  40. Great ideas! I’ve never heard of this till this year so we will be starting it as a new tradition! How fun!!!

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  41. Out elk Kreckel has done it all in the last three years-my favorite was making snow angels in flour on the kitchen table. Sometimes our elf just moves to a new spot he doesn’t always do a trick. Last night he spelled my sons name with shells from his collection on the floor of his bedroom. Love the ideas

  42. This will be our first year doing Elf on the Shelf and I have been working on a ‘bucket list’ of things for the Elf to do:-) For those who are concerned over the mischief being counterproductive…he/she (the elf) can still move around and do things but in a helpful way if that’s what you prefer…i.e. sit next to a new toy to take to a Toys for Tots drop-off, reading a new Christmas book that he/she brought for the child, have a coloring book ready, watching a Christmas movie, fixing breakfast, taking a bath, etc. Things can be funny/silly without being counter-productive. I, for one, think the mischief is funny, but I do understand the concern. Be creative! Your Elf can be one who helps others and teaches your child(ren) the reason behind the season.

  43. So, I am a working mother and do not have time to relocate our elf before we get back home. So when the kids and I get home he is still in the same spot which they question sometimes. How do you suggest I handle this? If I can distract them I will run upstairs and move him. As far as ideas, he has made their bed, put away their laundry, made a mess in the living room and then stayed sitting with his knees up and crossed, pouting all day! Thanks for the ideas and your help!

    • There are times ours doesn’t move either which allows them to examine their behavior and I question who touched him that day; however, it is usually just me just forgetting to make his move. Ours Elf flys through the night, while the kids are sleeping, to the North Pole to report to Santa. He reappears in his new spot in the morning.

      This allows me to move him when the kids are asleep. When they wake up they have fun seeing who can find him first. Maybe this would work for you too. Sounds like your Elf is super sweet helping with some chores.

  44. Julie Montgomery says:


  45. Our kids have seen so many others carrying their elves around that it became a real issue. One day an “ELF BULLETIN” arrived with a box of magic snowflakes (fake snow). It stated that if an elf is touched or carried around he must go to bed sprinkled with magic snow, it will revive his magic so he can travel again.

  46. What a great list to keep the family going! Our girls are long grown up, but maybe if there are grandchildren one day, we’ll have an elf!

    A gentleman in my business group just released a free app: Christmas Elf at the iTunes store. Here is the link to the store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/christmas-elf-free/id481567998?ls=1&mt=8

    Here is his description of the app:
    If any of you are parents and do the “elf on the shelf” thing where an elf comes into your home around Thanksgiving, you may have run out of ideas a few days in, or given up. This app gives you a daily idea on what your elf can do, and has some other fun surprises – and it’s a free app! Check it out and tell me what you think, here and by leaving feedback (hopefully positive).

    Have fun!

  47. This is our second year with Keebler & the girls race to find him in the morning. I found a skirt for him at Target. So the morning following a night where they were really kinda rotten…Holly appeared. Keebler had so much to tell Santa about their behavior…he sent Holly that night in his place. I overheard the 7yr old tell the 4yr old that they had to be good or that elf was gonna rat on them. Love it!

  48. We had a “little man” that stood about 2 inches high (I think he came from a gumball machine) and he used to “hide” around the kitchen. The kids were always looking around for him … well, and the parents too, because anyone could move him. Thanks for the great memories … and a reminder! Now it’s time to do this with the grandsons!

  49. We just got our Elf on a shelf (Elfie). My daughter is 4 and son is a year old. I had no idea of all of the fun and unique things you can do with your elf. Thanks for posting!!!!!
    Cannot wait for the fun Elf games to begin. For sure this will be a tradition in our household

  50. I love the list and I love all the ideas in the comments section too! We have had a pair of elves visiting us for 4 years now and they returned again this morning! I’ve been really excited to see all the elf on a shelf ideas and increasing popularity this year and I love all the new ideas. Our elves are plush and have always been able to be touched and handled – it seems to add to the fun for the kids. And when they do “naughty” things the kids are quick to correct them, clean up after them, and give the elves a little “lesson” on good behavior. We watched the Elf on a Shelf show on TV the other night and I was interested to see how the kids interpreted the differences between what was explained in the show and how our own elves work. I’ve been happy to see my kids take it in stride and acknowledge that not every elf or every house is the same and that it’s all fun and magical anyway.

  51. I am so excited to try a few things out from the LIST. We’ve had “JINX” in our home for a few weeks now, and just moving him around was getting a little redundant. “Jinx” showed up on our doorstep with a special note from Santa. The kids LOVE him! After reading the list, I was inspired to make-up a few ideas of my own…I loved reading the posts, and I think my ten year old will wake up with a moustache in the morning ;) he he he

  52. Great ideas on here! We love our elf. THought I would share my favorite from last year. Our elf, EJ, left a note to our children that he had gotten bored during the night and wanted to paint, but he was unable to find paper. He said he hoped they wouldn’t mind…he had painted my husband’s toes!! Red and white with candy canes – so fun!!EJ left the two bottles of nail polish by the bed where my husband was still sleeping. THe kids woke him with their giggling- priceless!

  53. Do you leave the elf at the scene of the crime?! ..lol. I want to do these but my littlest doesn’t understand the no touch rule and I know he’ll touch him and upset my older ones. So does the elf stay around at the scene of his destruction or go to a spot as usual as if it wasn’t him?

    First year with our Moe! ;)

    • I do leave our Elf in the spot where he created mischief all day. However, since “our” Elf is allowed to be touched by parents (my husband slid that in one day when he accidently touched the Elf) sometimes he returns to the mantle but I try to avoid that as much as possible. If my children were really young I probably would return him to mantle just to avoid the issue. See Jessi’s comment below. She has a great suggestion!

  54. Mommy to Addy says:

    So…”Elf” made his appearance tonight. (Original name, I know! But that’s what you get from a toddler… who thought it was the best name EVER!) My 2 1/2 year old could barely listen to the book because she wanted to get to him so badly. After countless tries at helping her understand he couldn’t be touched, we got the grand idea to grab the princess wand. She cast a “magical spell” that would allow us to touch him one time & restore his magical powers. She examined him thoroughly, kissed him, gave him a hug, and cast another spell to “restore his magic.” Back on the mantel he went… crisis averted… for now. :)

    Thank goodness for magical princess wands!

  55. Love everyone’s suggestions! My daughter is 4, and I decided she was ready for her own Elf. My sister-in-law is an Elementary teacher and has had an Elf in her class for several years now. Her Elf is mischievous, brings letters from the Big Guy, and the kids love him! I found a 50% off coupon for bn.com, and scored our “kit” for $15. Which was great, because then she didn’t see us buying it. We know where the display is in Target, so we just avoid walking through there. lol
    Wasn’t quite sure how to she was going to like it, but our little Angelina Ballerina Elf has been loads of fun! We’ve eased our daughter into it by placing her up high for the first several days, and just moving her around. Wanted to make sure she understood that there was no touching before we started making Angelina more accessible to little hands. Our daughter likes to “test” rules…lol
    This morning, we found Angelina eating a bowl of my daughter’s special kettle corn, and the bowl was empty when we got home from preschool/work. Our kiddo was really excited about both tricks…”Angelina must have been so hungry from her trip to see Santa!” lol
    To the reader that was concerned about the Elf not moving during the day, I have my hubby get our daughter into the car in the morning, and I “run back in for something really quick.” Or tell them, I’ll be right out. Mommy forgets a lot of stuff! Then you can get the Elf into position for your return BEFORE you even leave home.

    Thanks again to all for the inspiration. Can’t wait until Angelina pulls some of the nice…and naughty deeds. Speaking of…better go see what she’s up to tonight! :)

  56. Our elf is cured with peppermint and chamomile tea if he is touched. Chamomile is hard to come by in the North Pole so we must be careful. Chip, our elf is funny but not as mischevious. I stole someones idea and tommorow Chip will be making snow angels on a cookie sheet covered in flour and I am going to get some of those little cocktail umbrellas and making him a hammock out of a face cloth on Sunday. Thanks for adding to my idea spot. I am taking pics to share with my friends on fb and they also enjoy seeing the elf.

  57. My wife and are JUST discovering Elf on a Shelf as of last night. It wasn’t until we saw your list here that we realized what we do with it and we LOVE IT. Thank you for this list of ideas. We are coming up with a way for him to make his grand entrance. . . parachute onto the Christmas tree with a note maybe???

  58. We got an Elf called Christopher Pop-in-kins.

    In the book that comes along with him, it says if he gets touched, he has to go back to the North Pole to be recharged. Because of course when he first arrived, we took him out of the packaging and touched him and held him and THEN read the directions…so that night he immediately had to go back for a recharge.

    We’re starting this fun tradition with our 2.5 year old and plan to get more creative as the years go by. What fun!

  59. Thanks for all the great ideas! Our elf, Markle, showed up on December 1st, as he has for the past two years. My 5-year old found him hanging on to a bunch of helium balloons left over from a birthday party, floating in mid-air. We also have an almost-2-year old who does NOT get that she can’t touch Markle. My oldest was really stressing about this… so worried what would happen if her little sister touched him. Fortunately, Markle showed up with a note tucked under his collar that explained that she didn’t need to worry if her little sister touched him – she is still “too little to take my magic.” She totally bought that explanation, and when little sister is old enough to understand not to touch, she’ll also then be big enough to take the magic! Now I need to figure out how to get the cat to leave Markle and his mischief alone over night…

  60. our “Twinkles” msde her appearance at our home last Christmas. My 6 and 8 year old girls totally believe in her!!! the other morning she made her appearance on top of a lamp. My 8 year old says to me, “how’s she supposed to see anything from up there”? I replied, “are you kidding, she was watching you sleep all night”. My daughter thought for half a second, turned on her heel, and quick as a whip said “I feel so violated” We laughed our heads off…she is such a finny girl and Twinkles keeps the girls on their toes…pun intended.

  61. We have a friend who collects vintage elves & every year she gives a few to children to carry on the elf tradition. Last year my kids were given Dandy & Freddy. It’s nice that they are different looking from the elves in the store but they are more fragile. Dandy’s head popped off this morning! A little super glue & he is fine though.:) There hands do not separate though like the newer ones do apparently. Makes it a little harder for some of the ideas. Last yr. my youngest daughter was very upset with the idea that her elf had to leave & I knew it would be rough on her when he did, so we found a plush version of it on Amazon for $12. Her elf left it for her as a gift & she loved it! It comes with a cute little poem attached about it being an elf you can hug & squeeze. My kids write letters to their elves & the elves always answer in their cute little curlicue writing!

  62. I am really confused and need help fast as our elf on the shelf is arriving tonight while the kids sleep. I thought these elves only moved spots each night. Do they get into mischief also? I know they cant be touched so say if they are in the bathroom hiding writing on the mirrors or something do you leave them there or do you move them back to their shelf? So what is the difference between the elf on the shelf and the elf magic besides that you can touch the elf magic? Please help LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • You can just have your Elf move to a different location each night as the books suggests. We did that at first and now our family has embraced the mischief that he plays. I do leave our Elf in the spot where he created mischief all day. However, since our Elf is allowed to be touched by parents (my husband slid that in one day when he accidently touched the Elf) sometimes he returns to the mantle but I try to avoid that as much as possible.

      I think the only difference between the the two Elves is that Elf Magic can be touched. I’m not aware of anything else either. Hope that helps. Have fun!

  63. sarah harding says:

    Our elf “Hartin” joined our family this year. I am really new to it, we got the movie and after the movie the kids asked if Santa could send them an elf. We told them they had to be really good and maybe santa would, they wrote notes to santa and placed them on the counter, the next day Hartin was sent by santa, wrapped and on the counter. Our elf just moves from spot to spot. We might start doing some mischief stuff but i agree if you want the kids to be good, so should your elf. We use it as a ” you better be good, Hartin is watching” To answer the what about the shopping elfs. If you watch the movie and the elfs are getting there special assignments-some elfs are sent to the stores to be adopted by familys. So now when the kids pass one of the displays they tell us, look mommy that elf is waiting to be adopted by a family. The movie also stress that you cant touch the elf or he goes to Elf ER and looses his magic. We haven’t had a problem yet. GOOD LUCK!! The Harding-Martin Family (guess how our elf got his Name Har-Tin)

  64. Love this list, Danielle. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this on http://www.juliecantrell.com I’ll credit you, link to you, and send folks your way. Cheers, julie

  65. I think it’s important to create your own elf traditions. So many people seem to have gotten caught up in seeing just how “out there” they can get with the elves. That’s fine, but it’s not for me at all, and I do question elves that are reporting on children’s behavior being quite naughty themselves. This is our fifth Christmas with elves. We have a boy and girl, and I created the girl’s skirt, hat bow and earrings myself. She’s adorable! They come Thanksgiving night and bring chocolate advent calendars. They move each night without making messes and my kids love searching for them every morning. Last year, when my youngest was so sad about seeing them leave with Santa, they left her a plush elf to keep. I just want people to know that the elf tradition can be enjoyable for children without parents getting overwhelmed about what to do with them next.

  66. We just addopted our first Elf this year!!! So excited!! Tonight is his first night in our home, and the kids are SO thrilled!!! He will be waiting for them in the morning in the refrigerator with a Sharpie in his lap…after he drew smiley faces on EVERYTHING in the fridge including some of our eggs! :)

  67. This list is great, thanks for sharing! We do not have an Elf on the Shelf, but instead an Elf Magic Elf (www.elf-magic.com).
    This is Bernards 3rd Chirstmas with us. Some of my kids favorites were:
    -He “cooked” breakfast. Kids woke to pots, pans, flour, cookies, candy ect all over the table.
    -Rearranged the living room furnature.
    -Decorated the tree with underware.
    -left gingerbread houses to decorate
    Merry Christmas, hope everyone has fun with their elves!!!

  68. Our intro breakfast went off without a hitch. The kids were thrilled. Our elf is named Kirby-Hermie (my boys just couldn’t agree on one name, so I let them each choose their favorite). They have enjoyed all the mischief he gets in to, and there are days that I move him more than once. They always look to see what he has done when they get up in the morning, but he does things when they are at school sometimes as well. Last week, Kirby-Hermie surprised them with an after school treat of Elf Milk (egg nog) and Reindeer Corn (red, green and white candy corn). They were just thrilled, and it was unexpected. So, if you happen to forget to move him during the night, you can always move him during the day while the kiddos are at school. The kids favorite was when the tree ended up decorated with their underpants. I wrote a note that said, “I see London, I see France, I decorated your tree with your underpants! Ha! Ha!” They just giggled, and giggled all through breakfast. Lots of fun. I’m taking your advice and snapping pictures (taking pics of the notes as well) and will combine all of them into a book they can enjoy until he comes back next year.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!

  69. so if you have him make a mess out of flour or what not..do you wait to clean up the messes until they go to bed again? like what if he makes a mess on the floor with toys..does he remain on the floor… or if he messes with the milk, is he in the fridge for the day? just curious! tonight is our first night with “chicken nugget” (my crazy 2.5 year old daughter named him, and wouldn tlet me change it hahaha) we love these ideas! he is starting off in the bathroom.. creating his own fabulous bubblebath in the sink with her bath toys!! :) ..(now would you leave him on the sink that day??) thankss!!!!

    • I do leave our Elf in the spot where he created mischief all day. However, since “our” Elf is allowed to be touched by parents (my husband slid that in one day when he accidently touched the Elf) sometimes he returns to the mantle but I try to avoid that as much as possible. Sometimes we just clean up the mess around him but leave him in his spot.

  70. danielle is hot

  71. LOVE your list. Thank you!
    I’ve linked back to this post from my blog, too.
    12 Ways to Save Your Butt When Your Elf on the Shelf Forgets to Move

  72. We don’t have an elf, but I am totally doing the magic seeds and lollipops!

  73. Visiting from A Nest for All Seasons. you have such cute ideas and I loved seeing the pictures of the fun you and your family are having with Buddy. I love it!

  74. I wanted to share a post with you I posted to my gf after that nasty post went out about how that one chick was ..well…I think envious of your ideas and energy…she said when she read it she thought of me being the “over achieving mom”..I joked in this post and proudly you have competition with ME I proudly over achieve as a mom!!!! ;-)

    Elizabeth Slocum You know. As I read the article again and then read some of the posts I thought WTF I don’t make fun of Moms that don’t want to move or do something creative with their elf…I don’t call her lazy and pathetic..equal to the emotional jab that the over achiving mom statement entails. Fuck to be honoest this Bitch ain’t got nothin on me! I had a bday party a week after I pushed out a kid for my 3 yr old!!! I decorated my house kick ass Halloween style 8 months pregnant. AND packed my house 7 1/2 months pregnant..I could go on…this lady ain’t nuttin…lmao
    Wednesday at 11:50pm · Like · 2

    Please excuse the potty mouth…:-/
    I <3 our energy and creativity. Keep on bloggin Momma!!!!!

  75. Did you seriously suggest drawing on photos with a marker? Yeah. Not really the extremely rude habit I’d want my children to pick up on. The vast majority of this list is horrible and written in bad taste. Sorry.

  76. Isn’t the elf misbehaving the antithesis of what you are trying to teach your children with this game?

  77. This is all great but a bit crazy. Our elf is fun but respectful of our house rules and daily activities. Our elf moves around the house freely but doesn’t create trouble. Seems a little out of whack to let the elf cause trouble that Santa (and me) would obviously be upset at the kids for causing.

  78. I read an earlier post about not touching the elf because they lose their magic……my boys have been asking why he looks so much like a toy and it gets hard to answer….until they asked my father-in-law….his wonderful analogy was that the elf is similar to the toys from Toy Story….they can only come to “life” when there’s isn’t anyone in the room to see them and when we come back into the room they have to be stiff just like a real toy….needless to say it worked and they have stopped asking me that question.

  79. Some ideas are cute, but seriously? You have time for these antics when? completing your child’s homework, now that is a great idea (NOT)

  80. Seems like someone is making a fortune off of parents who are foolish enough to do this rather than encouraging their kids to behave without the aid of some spy no one can touch. Wonder how the family of Carter the toasted elf explained that one???

  81. Working Mom says:

    really??? So you don’t have a job, right?
    I think you’re all insane.

  82. Are you people for real? Who does this? Lady, you seriously need a trip to the real world where people work, clean house and don’t have time to do stupid crap like this with a doll. Real memories are so much more meaningful than manufactured experiences with a commercialized phenomenon. No elf in my house, ever.

  83. I agree with the few others that have commented that it is not right for the elf to be naughty and do these mischievous things. It is supposed to be there to make sure the kids aren’t doing things like this. Talk about sending a mixed message. Whatever, to each their own. However, our elf will be sitting nicely on a HIGH spot (out of reach), and I won’t be cleaning up any superfluous messes.

  84. Hi! Love your list of ideas! Thanks so much for sharing…I’ve seen so many people pin this post!

  85. what message are you sending when your elf is being naughty and your trying to get your kids to be nice? I’m so confused by this and it sounds like too much work for the parents! The elf should be a good thing not a naughty thing, good luck with all that clean up duty!!!!!!

  86. Just curious but where did the tradition of the elf causing mischief come from? In the book it just talks of the elf being here to watch and report back Santa but will be in a different spot each night when it returns from the North Pole. Cute things are fun but I feel doing naughty things contradicts why the elf is there in the first place.

  87. I had never heard of the elf on a shelf before this Thanksgiving. Of course we went right down to find one. I have a 30 yr old, a 20 yr old and a 9 yr old. It would have been so much fun for the other 2, but my 9 yr old daughter is so excited when she wakes up to find out where he is and what he has been up to. A few days ago, he found a bowl of Cheerios and dived head first in the box, opened the advent calendar drawers to eat the candy, this evening he has TP’d the Xmas tree! Thanks for the ideas!

  88. Thanks so much for all of your ideas! Our elf “Newbie” is new to us this year, as with our home and a new school and everything… I’ve been trying to think of ideas and some of these are just great! He’s been kind of boring this year, but I attribute that to him being “new” and this is his first year so he has to feel more comfortable to do things!

    Thanks again and keep doing your thing!

  89. I sympathize with the desire to create family traditions and fun. But my understanding of how the “story” works, is the Elf watches the children for good/naughty behavior to help Santa make his list. As an educator, I’m puzzled as to how having your Elf create mischief, and leaving it for others to deal with, supports that overall lesson. I also would not want to use that tactic in my classroom, as we work very hard to create a community of self-awareness. We frequently discuss each individual’s responsibility to the group and how our own choices affect others. If one of my first graders were to choose such inconsiderate behavior as you have described and continued to do so, he or she would receive intervention from a small group of peers. Students in our entire school are taught how to discuss these issues to help each other grow. (Conscious Discipline strategies). I’m just bringing this up as food for thought, since I know you are a great mom.

  90. I love that you added “punch stuffed animal in the throat”! Her nasty post was how I discovered your list but I’m glad I did! Tons of fun ideas!

  91. I have a two year old girl (Kyrie) and our elf (Timber) rearranged the letter magnets on the fridge and left a message for her that said ” Timber loves Kyrie”. When my husband read her the message she lit up and blew Timber a kiss.

  92. Are you saying that the elf on the shelf doesn’t move itself? If you think that you are very wrong indeed. We aren’t even supposed to touch them!!

  93. My girlfriend’s son was doubting the Elf on the Shelf. The next morning “he” had toilet papered the Christmas Tree! I am going to share this list with her for next year!

  94. Now those elves have plenty of trouble to get into. Over at http://www.ShelfTheElf.com you can see pictures of what elves have done to wreak havoc. You may also post your own pictures!

  95. Our elf (Aloysius, but we call him ‘Al’ for short) took a picture of himself with each of the kids when they were sleeping, then printed the pictures and was sitting on the table with the camera when they woke up in the morning, just as pleased as punch.

    Naughty little elf.

  96. Okay I’m sooo very late in seeing this but very excited for Christmas now that you have posted this. We got our elf last christmas (only one for 2 kids but my youngest will hopefully understand by this year)and he did some naughty things like get the old halloween candy and throw it down from the fridge,or teepee our tree, or “ride” one the motorcycles…but we kept coming up empty with more pranks. Luckily we got him a little late so we tried to hide him or move him from one place to another. I cannot wait to use this list for this coming year. the kids will have a laugh over these. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  97. JanetRoberta says:

    We set up a FB page for my g-daughter’s elf so she can message him.

  98. Our elf paints my son’s nose red while he sleeps!

    My elf at school (I teach kindergarten) uses words on the word wall to make sentences for the kids to read. He also hides hershey kisses for the kids find on his first day in the class. As soon as we find all of them, the kids each get one to eat!

  99. Bwahahaha! I just LOVE that you actually posted a link to the snotty blogger who wants to “punch you in the throat.” Clearly, she has a massive insecurities. I wish women could all just accept that each family, each MOM, is different, and that it’s OKAY. Nonetheless, I wanted to punch HER in the throat when I read her snarky words.

    Personally, I love your Elf on the Shelf ideas, and I can’t wait to implement them in our own family. Glad I found your blog, and keep on sharing these AMAZING ideas!!

  100. Our elf is in our house to help my boys remember to have good behavior. He does the mischievous things to try to get my boys in trouble so the elves don’t have to make so many toys for Christmas – you know, because “naughty” kids don’t get gifts for Christmas. With that being said, if my boys have good behavior & the elf does something naughty, my boys know that I’ll be less likely to believe they were the naughty ones and assume the elf did it. Usually, our elf is somewhere, hiding, near the mess he made so he can see if my boys are getting into trouble or not.

  101. Our Buddy has been around since our only daughter was 10. She’s 13 now and still loves to see where Buddy will show up each morning. Buddy appears on December 6, St. Nicholas Day, along with a new hardcover Christmas children’s book. For the weeks leading up to Christmas we pull out all of these treasured books and read one each evening. It is a lovely way to share the spirit of the season as a family and I hope she will want to continue the tradition with her own children. She ‘gets’ what the season is all about and ‘believes’, just like Mom and Dad. She also understands and honors the unspoken rule that no one has the right to challenge a child’s belief in Christmas magic!

  102. Thank you for sharing. Maybe this year I can be a little more creative. Last year it got so repetitive that my 3YO (then 2YO) knew where to find him. :)

  103. we had one when i was a kid! thing hes at my sisters house now!

  104. i love this list and i cant wait to get our elf. we will start this next year…my son is only 21 months right now and he will be with his dad this year…but in reading the comments about kids seeing the elves in stores if you go to elfonashelf.com they call the stores adoption centers so if anyone runs into the problem of explaining why they are there you can just explain that the elves are adopted into your family (this should be a good explaination for any child that still believes but is old enough to know if its in a store it must be bought since a real adoption costs too)…i hope this helps anyone with that question.

  105. Excited about Thanksgiving Day When our Elf, Bernard will visit! Thanks for all these awesome ideas!!

  106. Michelle Sledge says:

    I use the Elf in my kindergarten classroom, and he gets into a lot of different kinds of mischief at school. He gets the kids’ crayons, scissors and glue sticks out, he goes on dates with our classroom Barbies, he leaves messages on our board. The kids get so excited to find him each morning!

  107. We have 1 preschool child. But, we have several cars and each has it’s own booster seat. We’ll be moving one of the extra booster seats into the main car and half the Elf buckled in for one day.

  108. I am definitely open to having fun, but I thought the purpose of the elf was to have the kids on their best behavior, if the elf is misbehaving, or making messes, how is that purposeful? Just something to think about. Cute ideas, but scared it would send the wrong signal.

  109. This is such an awesome list! Thanks for sharing! Just bought my Elf on the Shelf today! I can’t wait for him to make his first appearance the Saturday after Christmas! Woo!

  110. Absolutely love the passive aggressiveness with the other blogger, if you have the time to do all this stuff more power to you! I wish I had a kid so that I could make my elf do all this awesome stuff. I actually convinced all my friends with kids to get the elf on the shelf

  111. OMG. I have an Elf that is 40-some years old, and I did not know he was supposed to do stuff. We just usually put him up somewhere. I can’t wait to try this with my kids this year, 15, 13 & 11. Thanks!

  112. This is our first year with the Elf on the Shelf and I’m making my list for what I want him to do this year. I love the list of ideas!! It’s great to have because I don’t want to be doing the same things year after year-it could take 3 years before some of the things repeat on the list! I have a 2 year old who isn’t ready for us to do some of the ideas with, but in the future they’ll be there to use!

    I went over to the blog you linked to on #93 and got SO mad! I love you how handled it though!

    Thanks for the list of ideas to help get us started this year!

  113. We got our elf last year. We have 4yr old twins and a 13yr old. The boys love our elf even the older one. This year we well have two more elves come. This way each boy will have one. The only thing is 2 of the elves look the same and I want to make him a little different. I am not sure what to do. Also last year our elf got knocked of his spot and the twins almost came unclued. I told them he would have to go back to the North Pole to get his magic back. The next morning there was a girl elf with a note saying she was our elves sister and he would be back the next night. They loved her too. They have aready been asking when he will be here.

  114. These are all so great! Thank you for sharing!
    We’d love for you to take a peek at our blog, we have some ideas for Elf! (Ours is named BOB)


    Have a whimsical day!

  115. I love some of these ideas and we are going to start some mischief this year. My only question is if you put him somwhere like the counter in flour, what do you do about not moving him? I need my kitchen counters. I have heard of people who have had him “driving” the car propped up on books. So how did they drive to work that day?

    • We improvise. Hubs moved the elf once and the kids freaked thus the new rule in our house was made ~ parents can touch w/o losing magic.

  116. Love the ideas! So excited try some of them! We have 2 elfs (Hart & Mike) for each of my kids! alwsys looking fir new Ideas .Thnx:D

  117. Just a question…we are new to Elf on the Shelf. What is the real reason behind the kids not being able to touch the elf??

    thanks so much!!

  118. How do you start each year with the elf? Do you write a note or does he just appear? Ours is getting ready but I am trying to find ideas of Day 1, Thank You

  119. Totally confused…..I thought the whole idea behind Elf on the Shelf was to get your children to BEHAVE…if the Elf is a terror what would be the point?

    • I am confused by that too and I notice that no one responds to that question here. I think cute traditions are awesome and obviously lots of people like this. We were going to get one but my daughter freaked about the idea of a toy coming to life in *her* house (she’s fine with it in Toy Story, lol) and so we didn’t. But yeah I wonder why the elf would be allowed to get away with things my child would get into trouble for, or at least get a talking to for. I’m also curious about the implementation…do you do all this while the kids are asleep? Wouldn’t the elf get soggy if it was out in the snow all night, KWIM?

  120. fantastic ideas, thank you! our elf, new this year, has a star chart for the kids and a star chart for him, to make sure he is not too naughty! he also does fun things like arrive in the morning with paper chains to make and biscuit cutters to use :o )

  121. We had Zachary the elf get stuck in a hurricane lantern (battery-operated for decoration) and then put out a 9-1-1 email to Santa and the parents to send help! Then after the escape he was hanging upside down from the dining room chandelier!

  122. I just found out about the elf on the shelf. Because my twins teachers have them in the classroom. so I had to get one. I just ordered the plush one… I hope they like it as much as the other one. when it arrives I’m just going to have it appear in the house. I know he goes back to the north pole on christmas eve. but when do you guys usually make him appear? so I know for next year :) Thanks for the great ideas.. I’m so dang excited for it to come

  123. This will be our first year doing Elf of the Shelf. I could not spend the $30 on a real one, so I made our own. My kids are 5 and 2, and I have already talked about her arrival and why she’s coming (she arrives tomorrow). Glad I found this, as I had no idea about the “no touching” rule. Thanks!

  124. Melinda huckabay says:

    I have a 20 month old and an 8 month old. Is it to early for me to participate in Elf on a Shelf. Christmas is my favorite time of the year so I would get excited doing it but I’m worried my kids would not get it.

  125. it seems to me that bringing an elf in to your house to spy on your kids, and then, in a Tigger-like fashion, create disrespectful havoc for “fun” creates a bad, mixed message for kids. If you want kids to behave, teach them to behave. yeah, I get that all moms are “different” and “do their own thing”, but I find this manufactured “tradition” extremely disrespectful not only to your kids, who you are bullying into good behavior instead of doing your job as parents (yes, I’m a parent too), but to the actual meaning of Christmas- it’s not a free-for all orgy of presents and material BS. It’s not about threatening your children that their behavior determines how good their holiday is. It’s about celebrating family and the turn of the year.
    I find the amount of obsession over out-doing eachother over what they can make their “elf” do to be preposterous- why would you create more work for yourself, cleaning up a tp’d tree, making huge messes in the kitchen, defacing family photos? It seems wasteful of resources and time.

  126. Deanna Hendley says:

    My little girl loves to get into my makeup. Why not put makeup on Elf on the Shelf and then leave some in his lap so he’ll be caught red handed:)

  127. purplepandas says:

    i love these ideas as much as i love to feed my elf marshmallows and cheerios!!!! i love her so much!!!!!! her name is twikle

  128. Love theses!!!!!! i am deff goin to do some for the kids i think they will have a kick out of it…. the day i got him out i stuck him outside and when the kids finished gettin ready for bed i said what is not noise outside they looked and my daughter started crying and laughin it scared her but the same time she was happy he was here they named him Fred……later my daughter said fred must have been making the noise out there lol i love them at a such a young age!!!!

  129. This is our first year for the elf on the shelf. We are having a blast with him. I saw one of your ideas with the balloons well my youngest son recently had surgery so I had some balloons and filled them up with helium and taped our elf hands to the strings hanging off the balloons and told my oldest son that our elf was leaving his brother Get Well Soon balloons but he forgot to let go

  130. Love all your ideas. Our elf will now do more than hide!! I wanted to add something we did last year. My daughter was so upset that Hidey (her elf) was leaving on Christmas Eve. In her stocking was a specially wrapped gift with a note from Hide. He wrapped a plush elf for her and told her he wanted her to have the plush elf for the rest of the year, as someone she could hug and touch and to help her not be lonely until he returns. She loved it and slept with that elf almost every night!

  131. Our elf, Oreo, decided to use some hanging lights and Mom’s bra to make herself a hammock in the kitchen! Oh my! ;)

  132. If this THING is supposed to be reporting whether the child is good or bad, how does the elf behaving badly, reinforce good behavior? How is having any kind of fight, marshmallow, darts, etc and leaving a big mess do anything but undermine a year worth of “clean up after you play”?

    This is not cute at all, but stupid and irresponsible parenting.

  133. I was dont get it of the elf reports what your doing to santa why is he “mischievous”? What is behind having the elf like tyed up or the elf doing ad things?

  134. Lachman Bhatia says:

    Interesting tradition, probably innocent. And yet I worry that it’s something of a ‘starter drug’ for children. Children have very flexible developing brains. Encouraging them to believe that inanimate objects or unseen figments can and do have agency in the real world may increase their willingness to hold to similar beliefs in spirits, devils, angels and such later in life.

    The natural world is full of such wonder. I would rather my daughter ask why Jupiter has a Great Red Spot than ponder why an elf doll has spewn marshmallows on the floor.

  135. Cute Blog!!! Gives me lots of ideas for “Eddie”

  136. Or maybe you should consider the fact that you’re lying to your children and teaching them to be good and act right out of fear instead of knowing the right way to behave.

    I am so thankful that this gross ”tradition” wasn’t around when I was a kid and that my parents didn’t lie to me and tell me that Santa was actually real.

    I hope that you realize that most children think that their dolls are going to come alive and possibly kill them in the middle of the night (thanks horror flicks and childrens scary stories!) and that this SCARY LOOKING ELF probably isn’t goin gto help that.

    gross gross gross.

  137. Question… why would you want your elf who is supposed to be making sure your children are behaving doing naughty things? Doesn’t that defeate the purpose of the elf? I feel like children would then do some of those things and use the excuse “Well the elf did it”

  138. Why doesn’t anyone talk about the fact that the authors of Elf on the Shelf stole the idea from Flora Johnson? Those sisters and mother author are just money hungry. And that elf is creepy.

  139. Thank you SO much for the awesome ideas! Ours just moved around night to night and I was running out of different places to put him. This will be so much fun! I’m going to try a new “game” with him tonight!

  140. Our Elf is plush as most are here in Alabama so there are some things we cannot do but he does “something” every night. The catch is that ours came with a green bag and magic snow with which he must be sprinkled in order to “come alive”. For the Mom’s concerned with the Elf making a positive impact on the kids, we actually use our Elf to be sure our daughter does her chores, homework and is ready for bed on time. Only THEN can he be sprinkled. It works well for our family. He does mischievous things much like kids do naturally but as their ELF CARETAKER, they are responsible for cleaning up any messes he makes. All children make messes from time to time and parents usually are left to clean them up. But the kids are graded (by Santa) on how well they care for their elf which includes cleaning up after him. Sometimes, he also brings little gifts, writes notes and relays messages from Santa if they are naughty or nice. One really fun thing to do is have him “fish in the toilet”. He sits on the tank with a stick and some line and there are goldfish (edible) in the water. He has also hung all of my daughter’s undies on the Christmas tree which she though was hilarious!! He goes everywhere with us. I have never heard of the ” no touching” rule. According to my research, that is the original Elf on the Shelf. It doesn’t really matter where or what kind of Elf you have, YOU Are the one who is going to have a blast with it!

  141. I think you have some cute ideas, and I know this is a very fun tradition for many families. As a school teacher, the elf-on-the-shelf ideas that affect children at school can be very disruptive (like #58 and #80). Just a thought.

  142. This doesn’t make sense. He’s supposed to be keeping children behaving, why would a kid behave if the Elf watching him gets up to so much mischief?

  143. Mom of Three In Atlanta says:

    Thanks for all the ideas! Our Elf brings Xmas pajamas every year at the start of the season while wearing PJ’s himself. This year I put him in a glass vase surrounded by toy soldiers as if he had been captured. The kids loved it and it kept the two year old from touching him.

  144. These ideas are so cute!

  145. I want to add I follow a lady who has removed the stitch that holds his hands together and added wire inside the arms so the elf can do anything!! So neat. He was lying in his back lifting a toothpick with marshmallow weights last I saw him. A-dor-able. Steal this idea. Will make his activities much easier to do!

  146. I love the list of ideas you have here. There are some great ideas. Before I found your list I had already used several of them!!! I thought I might add a couple more if you don’t mind. My son had double ear infections and a very bad cough and when he got up the next morning his elf Snowflake had been sick as well so we spent the day taking their temperature s and making sure they had their medicine. He loved getting to nurse his elf and Iraq seemed to make him feel better as well. Also on the last day of school before Christmas break Snowflake helped pack the kids lunches and decided to wrap their food as well. They loved the surprise. We woke up one Sunday morning to find Snowflake reading his Bible and had a list he had written of reasons he was thankful this Christmas. He snuck into my oldest sons book bag and went to school with him to learn and play with the class elf at school. I know that there are some people who frown on the elf and this tradition because of the mischievous things the elf can do byte nit everyone celebrates with their elf that way. It can be positive as well. Thanks for your great ideas and keep up the hard work. Merry Christmas!!!!

  147. We watched the tv show before we got “Alvin”. My daughter (7) has never questioned not touching him. We take into consideration that NO ONE can touch our elf when we place him. If he falls, he’s left there( my daughter Is adamant he not be touched by anyone- just in case. He does interesting things, rides her ponies, drives dads collectible cars but we haven’t had him do anything mischievous because he’s an elf and my daughter believes they’re always on there best behavior. She’s entertaining, telling visitors about he elf. Pointing him out and making sure hey no he cannot be touched. I love him:)

  148. As a child, one of my favorite Christmas memories and traditions was ‘Nutmeg Jim’. A Santa’s elf that was specifically assigned to our family. He entered our home at Thanksgiving and stayed until Christmas.

  149. I stumbled across this page through a blog and quickly glanced at the list when I came across 93. Love it. We did a few good-natured pranks last year but now that my kids are older and we’re teaching consequences, haven’t decided if we’re going to do anything more or not. We have a few fun ideas for him though… Thanks for the fun reading list. :)

    • I saw #93 as well and laughed out loud. That blog is what brought me to THIS blog. ^_^ Someone has a great sense of humor. Look at #44 also.

      We love our elf, Cookie. And I love getting ideas for what to do with her. I’m not going to go all-out, but there’s only so many night she can “make friend” with my daughter’s other toys. It’s more fun for everyone when we get creative!

      But maybe I’m positive about all this because I’m medicated. LOL! ^_^

  150. Love the ideas- linking to your post in my blog (Simple Pleasures Of A Single Mom) since this is where I got a ton of great ideas for our elf! (My confession of the week was about my anticipation of the holidays!) Hope some of my readers give you a visit!

  151. It’s not always the gift, but the thought that matters
    most, so think about your gift idea carefully. For the most part,
    deliver something you know that the someone would love,
    perhaps something which has been brought up in talking or something similar that you’ve
    seen the individual eyein or exploring. You’ll find so many extra marks
    that will be achieved for entertainment and originality.

  152. Our elf played tic tac toe with Buzz Lightyear & surprised the family with a North Pole Breakfast….everything was white. Powdered donuts, frosted cinnamon rolls, peeled banana’s, yogurt & milk. He arrives only once we decorate the tree & we mix it up…he moves every night & does something every few nights.

  153. Allison Duval says:

    Love the list! It has definitely given me a bunch of great ideas…Just tonight our little “Elfie” was “flying” around the house on a paper airplane and crashed into the Christmas tree! Another great idea i found is putting the elf in a marshmallow bubble bath…it works well with the smaller ones…:)

  154. I’m also confused by the mischevious behavior. Isn’t the whole point of the Elf to encourage your kids to behave and report naughty behavior to Santa? If so, why would he do that if he himself misbehaves? I’m all for fun and games, but we save the mischevious behavior for the leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day….we don’t have our Elf “do” anything that we wouldn’t want our kids to do. Just something to consider.

  155. Love that you changed your post to reply to Jen over at “People I Want to Punch in the Face”. I have so much fun with our elf. She appeared when my husband had lost his job right around the holidays last year and our kids desperately needed some magic in their lives. Plus, I have so much fun with it. It’s not every day you can toilet paper your house and your kids happily clean it up. She’s also making up for the fact that we have a lazy Tooth Fairy who sometimes takes 3 days to get here. Doing something silly with the elf after the kids doors are shut… that I can handle. Waiting for them to go to bed and remembering to go back in to grab a tooth… I get too distracted and completely forget.

  156. I am having so much fun with our Elf, Buddy and Chippy, yes, we have two of them running around the house! My kids love it. One day they made a sandwich, and had Goldfish in the toilet, had gotten two sticks from outside, tied yarn on the end, and was fishing when the children came home.

    Their little deeds have been so much fun not just for the children, but I have enjoyed coming up with ideas for them! Today, December 17th, they came home to find them sitting on my laptop, writing a letter to Santa…it even states “Oooh, gotta go, I hear them coming home!” Too cute!

    Thanks for your wonderful ideas!


  157. When our first edition arrived at our home ten not so long years ago our elf was so new to us. I now have two elves that stay busy watching a five and ten year old . The sad part is the ten year old was bullied at school in to believing that everything about this holiday was unreal. He knows that this is Jesus Christ’s Birthday and that is what matters !!! However, I wanted to give you credit where it’s due! He now is soooo excited about this blog and wants to get ready and read it again tomorrow so we can plan the next week out for his sister. If you can bring a boy and girl who constantly bicker well you’ve done something great! We thank you.


    The Garrison Family

  158. Need ideas to play tricks on husband

  159. Christmas has always been a family celebration in our home, but as our children grew older we found that their interest in Christmas morning waned and the sparkle in their eyes was gone. The day after Thanksgiving, 1992, we introduced the Christmas Web in our home with the placement of Magic Wands into their socks that had for years been hung at the fireplace mantel. Attached to each Magic Wand was a piece of yarn (a 70 yard piece of yarn). When our two teen-aged children came down Christmas morning, they found that the yarn was wound through the house – around window latches, door knobs, chairs and doors. It ended in a closet or cabinet which held their special Christmas gift from one of Santa’s elves, an elf who had been looking out for them for the past year and knew of their desire for this special Christmas gift.

    Elf on the Shelf becomes part of our Christmas Tradition

    The Christmas Web continued as each of our children got married and as they had children. Each of our grandchildren have an Elf on the Shelf who now puts their Magic Wand in their stocking at the mantel and hides their special Christmas gift each year where no one else can find it. Their individual Magic Wand leads them to their special gift. We now have seven Magic Wands each with 70 yards of yarn winding through our house every Christmas morning, making getting a cup of coffee an acrobatic achievement before the Christmas Morning Game begins.

    The Christmas Web has become a highly anticipated family tradition for our children, grandchildren and us. http://www.christmasweb.com/


  1. [...]  You can have him do anything!  I came across a blog post on Pinterest which listed out 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas and I got even more excited about it.  If you have a “real” Elf on the Shelf Elf you [...]

  2. [...] friend of mine told me all about the Elf on the Shelf and all the fun they have at their home with Curtis.  Yes, Curtis is the name of their little [...]

  3. [...] blogues, dont celui-ci, compilent des idées de mauvais coups. « Elf on the Shelf » a son propre groupe Flickr où les [...]

  4. [...] For ideas on fun you can have with your elf, check out this post–>101 Elf on the Shelf ideas [...]

  5. [...] stress?  Internet moms all over have got you covered!  There are tons of ideas for elf tricks at Blossom Bunkhouse, Complicated Mama, and Home Stories A to [...]

  6. [...] to pinterest, I found a blog that lists 101 ideas for the elf! Some are kind of random, but there are plenty of great [...]

  7. [...] with really creative, cute, funny things for their Elf to “do” every night. There are TONS of ideas out there. Some are quite elaborate and [...]

  8. [...] to come. I have now kind of fallen in love with the idea because I found a blog with all kinds of fun things for the elf Some mornings will be simple because our life is crazy…and some days I really hope to have [...]

  9. [...] There are some great ideas here. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); [...]

  10. [...] need to think of any ideas for your Elf to do. Danielle at Blossom Bunkhouse has already thought of 101 things (mostly troublesome, some nice) for your little elf to do to keep the whimsy alive and the kids on [...]

  11. [...] and shake it up a little around here. If your elf needs some help, you can find some inspiration here, here and [...]

  12. [...] have an elf?  What are some of your elf’s best hiding places?  Here is a fantastic list of Elf on the Shelf ideas to supplement your creativity. Be Sociable, Share! Tagged with: christmas • [...]

  13. [...] my original post, 101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas, for more great [...]

  14. [...] all 101 ideas over at Blossom Bunkhouse! Now you’ll have no excuses, enjoy your fun Elf on the Shelf ideas! December 5th, 2011 | [...]

  15. [...] my original post, 101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas, for more great [...]

  16. [...] you are in need of ideas for your elf adventures go check out “blossom bunkhouse”, she has compliled a list of 101 [...]

  17. [...] are several blogs and websites where people show all of the different things they have come up with for their Elf to do at night [...]

  18. [...] my original post, 101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas, for more great [...]

  19. [...] back to Santa, they might have fun helping you plan the set-up for your younger children. Find 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas on Blossom Bunkhouse. You might wake to find your elf stuck upside down in the chocolate chip bag, [...]

  20. [...] my original post, 101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas, for more great [...]

  21. [...] Some awesome blogs have been set up to share ideas for hiding Elves.  Check out this blog that gives 101 ideas  here . [...]

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  23. [...] 101 Elf on The Shelf Ideas from Blossom Bunkhouse [...]

  24. [...] came across this article a while back and has been crazy busy coming up with stunts to pull on the kids. So far this year he [...]

  25. [...] found this website that gives more ideas as to what actions you can “pin” on your elf to make him that [...]

  26. [...] what I can do that will top all of this…  I’ll be using sites like this for ideas.  Bwahahahahaha….. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: [...]

  27. [...] suck). Now knowing the story behind the Elf itself, and seeing so many cute ideas already available here and here, I knew it would be the perfect way to kick off our holiday [...]

  28. [...] They also unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper and pulled it all through the house, drew silly faces on all of our family pictures, pulled down my lights in the sunroom (still not happy about that one), and they went repelling off of one of my husbands deer mounts on the wall.  (thank you Blossom Bunkhouse ). [...]

  29. [...] parents are totally over the top when it comes to their elf, though. There are entire websites dedicated to creative ways that you can entertain your kids with the [...]

  30. [...] I found this wonderful list of 101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas on Pinterest!(If you are not on Pinterest….first of all, what are you waiting for?  And second, here’s a direct link!) [...]

  31. [...] Spoof By Danielle, on March 16th, 2012 Since my 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas post is still going strong, I thought it would be hilarious to create a Leprechaun Spoof to [...]

  32. [...] Still looking for more ideas for The Elf on the Shelf? Check out the 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas. [...]

  33. [...] all about Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat who created a viral sensation out of my 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas post last year with her Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies [...]

  34. [...] Blossom Bunkhouse has a list of 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas [...]

  35. [...] goes to BlossomBunkHouse for some of the ideas and for keeping my brain [...]

  36. [...] 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas from Blossom Bunkhouse [...]

  37. [...] of course, don’t forget to check out 101 creative Elf on the Shelf ideas from Blossom Bunkhouse! Filed Under: Online [...]

  38. […] hide in more creative ways and places! How about a list of some great ideas for your elf?  Blossom Bunkhouse shares some wonderful ideas.  These are a few of hers and mine, but you’ll have to hop over […]

  39. […] Danielle has compiled a list of 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas – so there’s enough there for more than one Holiday Season! I like the sound of the Marshmallow fight and removing all the knobs from the kitchen cupboards – now that’s what you call Elf Mischief! Here’s the link so you can read them yourself. […]

  40. […] elf can be found all over the site. My favorite find so far (thanks to Pinterest) is this post by Blossom Bunkhouse: 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas. Search Pinterest and share your fave Elf hacks with […]

  41. […] Blossom Bunkhouse {101 Elf on the shelf ideas} […]

  42. […] Holly at Naptime – fun ideas and pictures! She’s Kinda Crafty – easy and fun! Blossom Bunkhouse - 101 ideas! The Party Dress - a full December calendar! Balancing Home - fun and manageable! […]

  43. […] my previous post 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas to keep the ideas […]

  44. […] for ideas? Blossom Bunkhouse has 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas to spark your […]

  45. […] have a secret santa or play a present game   73. watch a Christmas play   74. Check out 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas                             […]

  46. […] Also, I found some great sites for Elf on the Shelf ideas… Blossom Bunkhouse shares 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas here. You can find way more on Pinterest! Gosh! I love Christmas! This is such a great tradition. If you […]

  47. […] Your breakout post was a rant against someone else who’d posted about all the ways you could have “fun” with your Elf on the Shelf. Personally, I think the Elf is creepy. And, as you’ve said, these “overachieving” Elf […]

  48. […] 101 Fun Ideas to do with your Elf – Blossom Bunkhouse […]

  49. […] I found this wonderful list of 101 Elf On The Shelf Ideas on Pinterest! (If you are not on Pinterest….first of all, what are you waiting for?  And second, here’s a direct link!) […]

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