If you have kids and have somehow escaped the Elf on the Shelf, I have a few words … “they’re coming for you.” When your child hears about other kids’ elves, you can bet they’ll ask you why an elf doesn’t come to your house. And the next thing you’ll know, you’ll join the ranks of tired holiday parents thinking up new places to hide your elf as Christmas approaches. We know it can be tiring – trying to think up funny elf on the shelf ideas.
We’re here to the rescue you, the frazzled elf parent, with 35 ideas for what your rascally elf can get up to. We’ll help you keep your kids interested and help you survive your elf relocation services side-gig for December.
What is the Elf on the Shelf
The Elf on the Shelf first debuted in 2005, with a book by Carol Aebersold. Since then, it has become a Christmas tradition for families the world over. An emissary of Santa who helps him know whether children have been naughty or nice, the elf usually arrives on December 1st, but sometimes arrives the day after Thanksgiving, ushering in the Christmas season.
Each night the elf returns to the North Pole to report how the children are behaving. Of course, when the elf returns the next morning, it is in a new spot, waiting for the children to find it in a grand month-long game of hide-and-seek.
Children may name their elf, or write a letter to Santa asking for your elf’s name. They may swap stories with other children about their elf’s antics. It can be a lot of pressure on parents to continue the tradition and keep children interested.
Some parents use it as a behavioral management tool, creating a “Naughty to Nice” Meter that is updated daily by the elf. Others downplay the “you better watch out” sentiment and instead make the elf a mischievous friend that helps make Santa more present.
Elf on the Shelf sounds fun (and there are some funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas)—until you have to remember to move the elf every night for a month. You must wait for the kids to go to bed, quietly get the elf, then find a new place to put them.
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It’s like a straight month of tooth-fairying, with the added worry about finding a place that makes sense for the elf to be, is in the sweet spot of your child’s scavenger hunt skills, and is unique each time. There are only so many places for an elf to hide, right?
Funny Elf on the Shelf ideas for Bathroom:
- Holding the toothbrush or toothpaste—even elves need dental hygiene
- Sitting atop the faucet or showerhead
- Playing with the toilet paper like a cat (pull some down from the roll)
- Peeking out from under a towel on the rack
- Sitting on the robe hooks, shower rod, or in the towel baskets In the Kitchen
- Inside the blender—help! Get them out
- Atop the refrigerator or stove hood
- Hanging from the cabinet handle or a pendulum light
- Making a bowl of cereal (cereal in a bowl, with the elf, no milk)
- Peeking ‘round the pot rack
- Making messes … a handful of mini marshmallows, one with nibbles on it
- Bubble bath … fill your Crockpot or Instapot with marshmallows or cotton balls and submerge your elf up to its neck
- The trail of poo … leave a small trail of chocolate chips on the counter leading to the elf hiding behind something on the counter
- The snow angel … place a thin layer of confectioner’s sugar on the counter, scrape out as if the elf has waved arms and legs back and forth
In the Dining Room
- In the centerpiece with the candles and greenery
- Masquerading as a napkin roll
- Partying from the chandelier
- Making a glass of chocolate milk (put out the mostly empty glass and the chocolate)
- Peeking over the table edge from one of the dining chairs
Funny Elf on the Shelf ideas – Living Room, Play Room,
- Atop a picture frame or a … shelf (the original!)
- Hanging from the stairs bannister
- Peeking out of the couch cushions or pillows
- Atop the television
- Part of the fireplace utensils or on the mantle
- Peeking from behind a lamp
- Popping out of a toy bin
- On the train table, Lego table, sand table, castle, or another large toy
- Riding on a riding toy, push toy, hobby horse, etc.
- Reading a book on the bookshelf
- Mishap in the pet food—involve your puppers and cats!
- Coloring! Color/scribble on a coloring book page; lay out some crayons and the elf
- In the Christmas tree or another large decoration
- Bad elf with the scissors. Cut up some paper into small pieces, and leave the kiddie scissors indiscriminately in the elf’s hand.
- Elf and friends pillow fort. Stack up some sofa pillows with the elf and some other stuffies for late-night pajama party that gets discovered in the morning.
What to Do If You Forget to Move the Elf
It’s inevitable. One night you will fall asleep on the couch and stumble into bed without moving the elf. Your kids, however, will not forget. They will wake up the next morning and be very judgy about the elf’s failure to find a new spot. You’ll want to be prepared to explain away your elf’s laziness or mischief.
We’ve got some excuses for you too, for when your elf misbehaves. The elf can only fly back to the North Pole if you’re asleep! Are you sure you were sleeping?
- Tricky elf! She was seeing if you’d notice! Well done!
- Must have been a really good spot to watch to see if you’ve been naughty or nice! He must be seeing if you can do it two days in a row!
- Oh no! Maybe elf is sick! Quick, let’s make him a bed and make sure he rests today so he can make the trip back tonight!
- Oh! Sometimes Rudolph dares her to sit still. She must be trying to break her record!
Don’t stress over your Elf on the Shelf! It’s all fun, and even if you “mess up,” your kids will still remember the shenanigans fondly when they are older. At least you can know that other parents are up late, Googling “places to put your elf” when they run out of ideas. Join the club!