Easy, Yet Magical Ideas for Elf on the Shelf This Year

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Magical and creative ideas for Elf on the Shelf antics seem to fly off your friends’ social media pages throughout the month of December. The question is how to get your family’s red-felt stuffed grinning Elf to appear magical at your house. The trick is making magic in your home that is simple, fun, and practical balanced with your children’s school and extra-curricular schedule, as well as your work schedule. Elf on the Shelf is not supposed to be stressful. It is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to be a bit of Christmas Magic. But, the tough truth for parents to understand is that magic does not happen on its own.  

Read More: Christmas Eve Elf Gift Tradition

Elf on the Shelf made its debut when the book published in 2005. Since then, the Elf on the Shelf has taken flight with shenanigans in homes everywhere. It now seems to be the norm that a magical elf flies into children’s homes to check on them during the month of December flying back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa whether the child belongs on the Naughty List or the Nice List. And, when the elf returns, he or she always lands in a new spot in the home.

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Set the Stage with Creative Ideas for Elf on the Shelf

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When putting up your Christmas decorations at the end of November, think about ideas for Elf on the Shelf. If you think about the Elf on the Shelf as an actor, then all the world (your home) is a stage. You just have to build the sets. So, when you put out your Christmas centerpieces, your stockings, and your Christmas tree be sure to think about your little friend from the North Pole. Set up the decorations and think about where your Elf can rest his weary head.

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One of the easiest ideas for Elf on the Shelf set locations is under the Christmas tree. Wrap a few packages at the beginning of December. Next, grab a few of your child’s favorite “Elf size” toys when your son or daughter is not looking. Magically, the Elf will be sitting in a Barbie car, on an airplane, or chilling with Woody, Buzz, and Jessie. Elf on the Shelf shenanigans with your children’s toys is sure to bring big smiles to their faces. And, let’s be honest, the cuteness overload that everyone can relate to makes it a great social media post for you, too.

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Of course, your nativity is a beautiful stage. Your Elf can respectfully visit Baby Jesus and the animals in the stable. Bring the magic of Christmas and the reason for the season together. Your little one will be delighted to take the time to really look at each piece of the nativity.

Ideas for Elf on the Shelf in Your Children’s Bedrooms

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If the Tooth Fairy can sneak in and out of your children’s rooms, the Elf on the Shelf can quietly fly in for a landing, too. Have a plan before dark – before your child goes to sleep. Scope out the room in advance. Perhaps, set the stage, or at least, know where the props you will be using are located. If you have more than one child, the Elf can land in one room one night and the other child’s room the next night.

Read More: 15 Christmas Crafts to Make & Gift This Year

If your child plays a sport, posing the Elf with some of their gear shows the Elf really knows him. Just be sure, your child does not need that gear or equipment the next day for practice. Because remember, the Elf loses his magic if you touch him.

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Collections or favorite display pieces in your child’s room make excellent spots for the Elf to watch your children for a day. The magic happens when the Elf really seems to know your child and rests on favorite toys, display pieces, or collectibles.  

Ideas for Elf on the Shelf Using a Suction Cup?

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That’s right. If you don’t have a suction cup with a hook, this is an Elf on the Shelf game changer. With a suction cup hook, your Elf can hang on the refrigerator, from a fish tank, from a bathroom mirror, inside your pet snake tank, or on a glass kitchen cabinet. He can dangle so many places. And, this magic is so easy!

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Suction Cup Hooks can be purchased on Amazon by themselves, or you can get the Elf on the Shelf Scout Elves at Play Kit, which includes three types of suction cups, 12 additional elf-sized tools, and a 60-page idea book to make the Christmas magic just a little bit easier for Mom and Dad.

Don’t Rule Out Bathroom Ideas for Elf on the Shelf 

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What child does not get a kick out of potty humor? Literally. The Elf can hang from the mirror, rest in a toilet paper pyramid or hang off a new bottle of bubble bath. Some families have their Elf on the Shelf bring daily gifts. Some families have their Elf bring a Christmas Eve “Goodbye Gift,” and other Elves bring a December 1 “Hello Gift.” Remember, everybody’s Elf on the Shelf journey is a bit different. You make the magic at your house. Do what works for you and your family.

Ideas for Elf on the Shelf – Embrace the Pinterst Fail

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Of course, you can search Pinterest and attempt to duplicate ideas for Elf on the Shelf or from your friends’ social media posts. But if it is late at night and the idea you had planned all day isn’t working, just go with it anyway. Embrace the Pinterest fail.

Read More: Holiday Pallet Projects: 7 Creative DIY Ideas

Hopefully, your children will find it funny that the Elf on the Shelf is sitting on a deflating piece of bubble game. The Pinterest post had a large, beautiful bubble and a note that said, “Beware of Bubble Gum.” But it’s late at night the bubble gum won’t stay inflated, you’re tired and you forget the note. Believe it or not. Your child will laugh. The two of you can make up a story about what crazy shenanigans the Elf was trying to do. It will be memorable and magical for your little one, and that’s really what it’s all about. It’s not about perfection.

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But do be careful. If you have a dog, remember to put your Elf on the Shelf up high so that you do not find yourself explaining why Santa’s elf was eaten by your furry friend. Cuddling with the dog or having the Elf perch in low spots are not necessarily good ideas for Elf on the Shelf.


Ideas for Elf on the Shelf truly can come from anywhere. Just make your Elf a part of your home decor for the month. Just remember to move him each night after the children go to bed. If you have older kids, it’s a great way for them to get into the Christmas spirit by being in charge of the Christmas magic needed to move the Elf from spot to spot each evening for younger siblings. Have fun!

Photo Credits: Brad Aboff and Carla Eskew

WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 10 Original and Entertaining Christmas Party Games.

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