100 Genius Elf on the Shelf Ideas to Win Christmas This Year

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The Elf On The Shelf is a great Christmas tradition that many families do year after year which means you can run out of clever or unique ideas quickly. Try some of these nifty and creative ideas to surprise your kids this holiday season. Many are inexpensive and easily implemented!

This is the holy grail for unique elf on the shelf ideas!

Tree Skirt Elf

Looking for a fun way to integrate your elf into the holiday decor without actually placing him in the tree? Well this might be for you! Just prop up part of the tree skirt with a paper towel tube and place him underneath with a snack for the kids!

Spider Man Elf

Have super hero fans in your household? Then this is the perfect Elf On the Shelf Idea for you! Dress your elf up in a Spider Man mask and hang him upside down! You can even make him a whole little outfit if you like.

Elf Has a Cold

Everyone gets colds even elves! So try this out for a fun Elf on the Shelf idea, especially if your little ones are suffering from a cold leading up to Christmas. It’s the perfect way to cheer up you kids when they are feeling under the weather!

Elf TPs The Tree

For a more mischievous elf try making him look like he is TP-ing the Christmas tree! The kids will get a laugh out of this idea and the best part is that it is easy for the adults both set up and clean up!

Elf In A Truck

This idea is perfect for toddlers and makes the holiday season so much more fun! Simply place your elf in your tike’s favorite toy truck. It makes the elf relatively easier to locate for your youngsters plus it is easy for the adults to set up! It literally takes a matter of seconds to do this one.

Elf Got A Boo-Boo

For a fun way to create the illusion of a mischievous elf try covering him in bandaids with wrappers strewn around. It will look like he got into the band aids while your kids and yourself weren’t looking! It’s an absolutely adorable set up that will have your little ones in a fit of laughter.

Creative Elf

Kids absolutely love the Minions from Despicable Me and so does the Elf On The Shelf! Try drawing a minion on a banana and then place a few pens in your elf’s lap. It will look like he was the artist all along!

Bendable Elf On The Shelf

If you have an Elf On The Shelf, but are looking for a way to make it bendable and poseable then this is the perfect craft for you! This will make it a lot easier for you when it comes time to pose him for his various “stunts.”


Whether you are looking to save some money or the stores are simply sold out try making this DIY elf! It’s super easy to make and comes together in a snap! Get creative and decorate him with any baubles or glitter you might have in your craft drawers at home!

Snowball Fight Elf

Set up your elf and one of your kids’ favorite toys to appear as if they are having a snowball fight with mini marshmallows. Use some building blocks, Legos, or larger marshmallows as the barricades for each team. It’s super cute, easy, and fun for the kiddos!

Snow Angel Elf

Snow angels are great during the snowy months so let your elf get in on some of the action. Place some flour on the floor or table and place the elf in it as if he is making a snow angel. It can be a bit messy, but it is well worth the looks of amazement on your kids’ faces!

Pillow Fort Elf

Pillow forts are great and this Elf on The Shelf idea is a perfect way to get your kids in a cozy mood! Simply stack pillows as high as they’ll go and place your elf at the top of the tower like a king atop his castle. It’s sure to surprise your kids!

Marshmallow Bath Elf

This super easy Elf On The Shelf idea is absolutely adorable and your kids will love it! Just put some small marshmallows in a bowl and nestle your elf in there as if he is enjoying a nice bath! You can even hide him somewhere in the bathroom for your kids to find.

Movie Night Elf

Have your elf cuddle up next to a favorite stuffy and place a computer or tablet in front of them with one of your kids’ favorite movies playing. It will look like they are enjoying a good film together. If the elf feels like watching one alone try making him cozy with a blanket and pillow.

Bath Time Elf

Everyone needs a bath including your elf. Try wrapping him in a washcloth and placing him near the kid’s shampoo for a fun way to integrate Elf On The Shelf into bath time! It’s especially useful for those kids that tend to be resistant to taking baths or showers.

Cereal Elf

For a more subtle and kitschy way to use your elf try this idea. Take a Rice Krispies cereal box and cut out the face of one of the elves and put your elf in there instead! His head will peak out like he is part of the box!

Book Worm Elf

Gather all of your favorite winter time stories and spread them around in small stacks around your elf as if he is in the process of reading all the books. It’s a great way to encourage your kids to read more and share their favorite stories with you!

Sack Race Elf

Have your elf compete in an intense but fun sack race by placing him and some of his stuffed friends in paper sacks. Make a simple finish line with some colored paper and then arrange the stuffed animals and elf to look like they are in the middle of a heated race!

Cookie Monster Elf

Elves love all thing sweet so naturally they would eventually find themselves stuck in a cookie jar. Just put the elf in a clear cookie jar with a few cookies and some crumbs. This super easy idea is a fun way to “hide” your elf and is sure to give your kids a good giggle!

Dress Up Elf

For a funny take on the elf try dressing him up in a doll dress and putting some costume jewelry and make up on him. It will appear as if he got into your kid’s dress up box and mom’s make up!

Sunbathing Elf

Try this super simple Elf On The Shelf idea for a last minute pose. Just lay your elf on a small piece of fabric under a lamp to appear as if he is sunbathing. You can even add a pair of sunglasses and tube of sunscreen for a more full effect.

Laundry Elf

Place your elf in some folded laundry to look like he helped with the laundry. All you need is some clean clothes in one of your laundry baskets. Its super easy and just might inspire your kids to help with the laundry or other chores!

Caught The Grinch

If you have a stuffed Grinch this is a perfect way to integrate both the elf and the mischievous green guy from Dr. Seuss! Just put the Grinch in a jar slightly too small for him and then put your elf atop the lid of the jar as if he put the Grinch on “time out.”

Elf Juice

An elf’s drink of choice is maple syrup of course! Just take a bottle of maple syrup, place a straw in it and then position your elf to look like he is drinking the sticky goodness. It’s simple and yet absolutely adorable!

Reindeer Poop Elf

This is a fun one that is great for those kids that are right in the middle of their potty humor phase. Just take some cocoa puff cereal and put it in a small bowl labeled “Free! Reindeer Poop!” Then position your elf with a sand shovel to appear as if he is scooping the cereal poop!

Worst Cookies Ever Elf

If you have a pet make your elf appear as if he tried some dog biscuits. Make sure to include a sign from your elf warning the kids that they are the worst cookies ever and shouldn’t be left out for Santa!

Elf Locked Out

This idea is by far one of the most simple since all you need is a glass door and the elf. Just put him up against the glass door as if he accidentally got locked out of the house! When the kids find him they’ll be able to “rescue” him from peril.

Elf pancakes

For a fun way to get the little ones to the breakfast table try this idea. Simply make some “elf size” pancakes so that when you kids make it to the table the elf can enjoy breakfast with them! It’s super cute and is sure to amaze your kids.

Toilet Roll Elf

This one is a simple idea that is great for last minute placement. Just put your elf in the center of a toilet roll and roll him down the stairs so there is a trail of toilet paper going up the stairs. If there’s one thing elves are good at it’s making messes!

Swing Elf

This is another easy idea and can be made last minute. Just thread some cord through the center of a Lego tire to create a swing and place your elf on it to hang from the fire place! It’s cute and simple, but will get you tons of laughs.

Super Straw Elf

For a quirky and fun Elf On The Shelf idea try this one out! Tape a bunch of disposable plastic straws together and put your elf on a high shelf with a mug of hot cocoa on a low counter to look like he is drinking the cocoa through the super straw!

Lego Elf

This easy to do Elf on the Shelf idea is perfect if you have tons of legos or other interlocking building blocks around. Just make a simple throne for the kiddos to find the elf sitting in when they get home from school! It is sure to provide a few laughs!

Robber Elf

Put a little black mask on your elf and place him atop your kid’s piggy bank as if he is robbing the coins! You can even add a little stuffed money bag to enhance the illusion. It’s super cute and hilarious for your kids!

Tree Elf

For your older kids hide the elf in more difficult to see places like the Christmas tree. Just hang him upside down like an ornament in the tree for more of a challenge! It’s simple and can still provide tons of fun for your kids.

Tissue Nap Elf

Make a simple bed for your elf out of a tissue box. Roll up some tissue to act as a pillow and place a tissue over the elf for a blanket. It’s perfect for nap time or bed time! It may even help get your tikes into bed for a nap.

Video Game Elf

If you are looking for a different way to use your elf try putting him in front of the tv with a video game controller. It will look like he has been enjoying some game play! It’s perfect for the video game fans in your household.

Toothpaste Elf

For another way to make your elf mischievous try this idea. Just write “Elf Was Here” on the mirror in the bathroom with toothpaste. Then put the tube in the elf’s hands to get caught red handed! It’s a funny and easy prank.

Pringles Elf

The Elf On The Shelf fits perfectly into a Pringles can and is the perfect set up for more mischief. Just put an open Pringles can on the table with the elf peeking out with a chip in his hands. It’s that easy!

Rudolph Elf

Find a family picture and put a red pom pom on the noses of each family member. Then put a pom pom on your elf. It will look like he is up to no good! It’s simple and a more subtle way to integrate the mischief of the elf.

Guitar Elf

If you have a guitar this is a fun way to show the elf’s musical side. Just place him between the body of the guitar and the strings and position him as if he is playing. You can even add a music book if you want to enhance the illusion!

Slinky Elf

Elves are notorious for their mischief and this is the perfect idea to get that across. Try placing your elf in the center of a slinky and then put it on the stairs as if it is linking its way down. It’s sure to make you kids laugh their socks off!

Wrapped Toilet

For a simple elf idea that can be achieved with items you already have in your home try this one. Just wrap the toilet in colorful holiday wrapping paper and place the elf atop it with a pair of safety scissors and tape!

Streamer Elf

Another easy to do elf idea is to criss cross the doorway of your kid’s room with crepe paper streamers that can be found at any party store. When you’re done simply place the elf atop the doorway. When your kids open their door in the morning they’ll have a hilarious surprise waiting for them!

Trapped Elf

This idea couldn’t be easier. All you need is a mason jar, your elf, and a little sign that says “Help Me!” Just place him in the jar with the sign and close it up. Then leave it in a location visible to your kids so they can “save” the elf.

Elf Report

Everyone knows that the Elf On The Shelf reports back to Santa. This is a clever way to show your kids that the elf “actually” keeps Santa updated on their nice or naughty status. Just place him in front of the family computer as if he is composing an email to Santa!

Wrapped Up Elf

Your elf might be able to help with the wrapping, but it is more likely that he will just make a mess. Take your wrapping scraps and get your elf tangled up in a big wrapping mess for some mischief! It will delight your children and make them giggle at the holiday antics.

Elf Donuts

These super adorable donuts are made with Cheerios and a little frosting to give the effect of “elf donuts.” It’s a great accessory to put with your elf in any mischievous situation! You can even make up a tiny elf donut box to enhance the illusion.

Pirate Elf

Bath time is perfect for your kids to find their elf. In this brilliant idea make a small paper hat for your elf and place him in a little bath toy pirate ship! You can even include a little note that reads “Arrrr you ready for Christmas?”

Silverware Elf

This is an easy one. Just put your elf in your silverware organizer so that when your kids go to get a fork they’ll find the elf there hanging out! It’s easy and yet will still surprise and shock your kids as much as any show stopping stunt!

Sleigh Elf

Put your elf in one of those decorative sleighs and attach an assortment of toy cars so that it looks like they are pulling the elf in sleigh. It’s a great way for the elf to say “I’m back!” Try adding some reindeer antlers to the cars for a more festive look.

Scavenger Hunt Elf

Hang your elf somewhere visible and attach a note that says he has hidden a gift and to read the 1st clue on the back. It’s a great way to create a fun scavenger hunt for the kiddos! It will keep them entertained while you think of other places to put the elf.

Fishing For Goldfish

Create this easy DIY Elf On The Shelf idea with a bit of string, goldfish crackers, and a paper clip. Set up a bowl of goldfish crackers and position your hand made pole with your elf so he can go “fishing.” It’s a cute way to set up your elf around snack time!

Minecraft Elf

If your kids love Minecraft this is a great way to incorporate it into your Elf On The Shelf! Just make a simple Minecraft mask for your elf so he looks like he fits into your kid’s favorite game. This is a great way to add a personal touch to your elf on the shelf ideas!

Zipline Elf

Create this easy zipline by stringing up a piece of twine and hanging your elf from it with his hands. Then slide him part way down the string. It’ll look like he’s having a ball! Just make sure to hang him somewhere visible for your kids to find!

Ballerina Elf

This outfit is absolutely adorable for your elf and will turn him into a ballerina for a day! You can even create a makeshift barre out of a small bowl and some suction cup hooks. It may take a little more planning and forethought, but is well worth the joyous looks on your kids’ faces!

Shaving Elf

Even elves have to shave every once in a while. All you need for this idea is a small can of shaving cream, a razor and your elf. Just smear some shaving cream on his face and on the counter next to him! It will look like he is trying to look his best.

Baker Elf

This is a super cute idea for kids that have play kitchens. Stack some of the pretend canned goods and dishes so that he can reach the stove and then set it up to look like the elf is in the process of baking. It’s mischief without all of the mess!

Swapping Elf

This is an easy one that you have to try. Sit the elf atop the fireplace where your stockings are and replace the stockings with underwear. The kids will think the elf hi jinx is hilarious! Then you can send your kids on a scavenger hunt for the stockings.

Elf Lunch

Elves love sweets and when they pack you a lunch that’s all they pack. Take your kid’s lunch box and fill it with things like a can of frosting, syrup, and sprinkles. Then put the elf in front of it with a sign that says he made the lunch!

Elf Rocket

This is a fun way to make your elf “arrive.” Simply make a paper rocket with Christmas colors and place him inside. When your kids find him for the first time this holiday season it will give the illusion he came in a rocket from the North Pole.

Golf Elf

Give this idea a try with some green paper, a mini marshmallow and candy cane for a golf club! Simply cut out your green and place a mini marshmallow on it as if the elf is about to put it into the hole. It’s super adorable and are sure to garner more than a few giggles.

Lights Elf

Sometimes elves want to be helpful, but they just end up making a mess. With this easy Elf On The Shelf idea all you have to do is sit the elf in the middle of some tangled tree lights. It’s that easy!

Ceiling Elf

Make your elf appear to defy gravity by taping him to the ceiling. It is a perfect challenge for slightly older kids and is sure to amaze them! You can even turn him into a ninja elf by dressing him all in black, except for his red hat of course.

Sticker Elf

If you are looking for a fun last minute Elf On The Shelf idea try this one! All you need are some stickers and you’re set! Just put a bunch of stickers all over the elf as if he was up to no good.

Candy Elf

This idea is so easy, but it will get tons of laughs! Take a bag of candy and open it up on one end. Place the elf’s head inside as if he is trying to get the candy! This idea will get you tons of giggles from your little ones and makes the elf look absolutely ridiculous.

Manicure Elf

This idea is perfect for older kids! All you need to do is gather a few colors of nail polish you already have and arrange them with the elf to appear as if he is going to give himself a manicure! You can even include some fresh bottles as a little gift for your kids!

Elf Milk

This wonderfully fun idea is perfect for the kiddos and is sure to garner more popularity than you bargain for. In fact your kids might even refuse to drink standard white milk! It’s a fun and funny way to bring Christmas cheer to your fridge.

Tied Up Elf

Another fun way to get your kids involved with Elf on the Shelf is to have him tied up by some of your kids’ other toys. All you need is some twine, toys, and a little creativity. It will look like the toys caught the elf doing something bad and put him on a time out!

Vacuum Elf

Do you have a clear vacuum? Then this is a great Elf on the Shelf idea for you! all you need to do is out him in the barrel as if he got sucked up in the middle of the night. It’s a perfect way to get some laughs out of your kids and totally shock and surprise them!

Stair Sledding Elf

If you want a fun and fast way to set up your Elf on the Shelf then try this idea out! All you need is a lid from a plastic container and some tape to keep the elf in the makeshift sled on the stair banister. It’s super easy and an amazingly cute way to arrange the elf!

Climbing Elf

Elves are notorious for getting into all kinds of mischief, including climbing up all sorts of things. In this simple set up just rig your elf up with some rope as if he is climbing up the blinds in your home. The kids will get a kick out of the hilarity of the scene!

Trapeze Elf

Sometimes elves are silly and this is a great way to show it. You can create a trapeze easily with some string and a stick. Then all you need to do is hand it from a doorway and put the elf on it hanging by his knees. It’s adorable and completely easy to do!

Bungee Jump Elf

For a fun and interesting idea for your Elf on the Shelf try this out. All you need is a slinky and a way to fasten it to something up high. It’s super easy to set up and it is sure to entertain the kiddos. The best part is that it is interactive for your kids!

Making Snowflakes Elf

Another fantastic way to get your kids into the holiday spirit is to have your Elf on the Shelf making snowflakes! All you need is some white paper, scissors, and your creativity! It’s that easy to have your elf make a little mess while making some decorations for the house.

Hide and Seek Elf

This fund idea is an interactive activity perfect for older kids. Just hide some of the tree ornaments around the house and then leave the elf in the tree with a note saying how many ornaments are hidden. It’s a great way to entertain your kids and really make it appear as if the elf has come to life!

Elf Riding a Cat

If you have a ca this is a fun way to include it in the holiday elf festivities. All you need to do is fasten the elf on the shelf to the back of your cat and when your kids get home they’ll see him riding around the house! Just make sure kitty is up to the challenge.

Feeding the Pet Elf

This is an adorable way to feed your pet and complete your Elf on the Shelf idea in one shot. Just fill one of your kid’s trucks with some dog or cat food and place the elf in the truck as if he is driving it. The kids will love that the elf is helping feed the family pet!

Puzzle Elf

This adorable set up just requires a puzzle and your elf. Simply put together part of the puzzle and then place the remaining pieces with the elf as if he is putting it together! It’s a perfect set up for kids, especially younger ones!

Knitting Elf

For a fun way to use your elf try setting him up as if he is knitting! It is super cute and if you already knit you probably have a half done project you can use. Simply place the elf seated with the knitting needles as if he is working on the project. The kiddos will love it.

Riding the Train Elf

If your kids have a train set then try having the elf ride the train around a track! It is a great way to make use of the train set that might be collecting dust at the back of the closet and also fantastic to spark your kids’ interest again. It’s super easy and surprisingly fun to set up.

Yoga Elf

If you have a possible elf or made your elf possible then this is the perfect idea for you! All you need is a small towel to act as the yoga mat and then put your elf in the downward dog yoga pose. It’s great for older kids and might even inspire them to get more active!

Camping Elf

If you have a miniature camping set or if you even feel up to making one for your elf this is an adorable idea. Just rig up the tent with a little campfire alongside and have the elf roast some marshmallows on a toothpick! It’s cute and the kids will love it.

Game Play Elf

Another simple way to arrange your elf is with a few of your kid’s other toys and a board game like Candy Land or even Monopoly! It’s easy and adorable. Who knows, it may even inspire your kids and the next family game night.

Pooping Elf

This is a great set up for your elf, especially if you have kids going through the potty training phase. All you need is a tiny plastic toilet and a hershey kiss or two to use as his “poop.” The kids will think it’s hilarious and might even get them more motivated to get potty trained!

Hot Air Balloon Elf

Another adorable way to set up your elf is in a makeshift hot air balloon. All you need is a small container to act as a basket and attach a helium balloon to it. Place yourself inside and let him take flight! It’s a great way for your elf to arrive as well.

Bow Elf

If you have tons of gift bows and your elf then you have a recipe for fun and mischief! All you need to do is place bows all over the kitchen and place your elf as if he was the one that stuck them there. You can even leave a message that wishes a Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread House Elf

This adorable idea is simple and great fun. Just have your elf putting together a gingerbread house and then when the kids get home they can join in the fun! It’s easy and a great way to get your kids excited about holiday crafting.

Do You Want to Build a Snowman Elf

Nothing quite says winter time than snowmen and with this adorable idea your elf can be making his very own snowman! All you need are some marshmallows, edible pens, and stick pretzels. It’s super cute and a great way to inspire creativity in your kids.

Elf Door

For a fantastic way for your elf to arrive create a small elf door! It’s adorable and the kids will love it. Get as creative as you want with the door and when it is complete just place it on a wall in a visible location with the elf next to it!

Elf Making Popcorn Garland

Popcorn garlands are beautiful on christmas trees and with this simple set up your elf can help get the kids started on this fun project. Just pop some popcorn. String some on to a thread, and set up the elf as if he is in the midst of making a garland!

Wrapped Door Elf

Elves are known for their pranks so try this idea out by wrapping the door in wrapping paper. Place the elf nearby with tape and a roll of wrapping paper so the kids can catch him red handed! It’s simple and will give the kids more than a few giggles.

Piano Elf

If you have a piano in your house then this is an easy to do set up. Simply put a pillow on the piano bench and set your elf atop it as if he is playing the piano. It’s a great way to motivate your kids to practice their music!

Candy Bowling Elf

For this unbelievably cute set up all you need are some cum drop candies, a round peppermint and some tape to outline the bowling alley. It will make it look like your elf has been practicing his bowling skills while the kids have been away!

Candy Cane Garden Elf

This adorable idea is super fun and a great way to get your kids to practice their reading skills and get them to follow directions. All you need are some small peppermint candies to act as the seeds and some red and white sprinkles for fertilizer! Leave the elf with some simple instructions for your kids.

North Pole Breakfast Elf

If you want to give your kids a special breakfast then try this one morning! Just get some sweet treats and other things elves like to eat and arrange the table as if the elf prepared breakfast! It’s simple and you can get as elaborate or as simple as you want.

Food Coloring Elf

For a little elf mischief try this idea out. All you need is some food coloring and a toilet in your house. Simply color the water in the toilet bowl an place the elf atop the tank with the dye in hand. The kids will think it’s hilarious!

Christmas Card Elf

With this adorable set up you can have the elf arrange the cards on the wall in a messy display. It’s a great way to get the kids excited about receiving holiday cheers and may even inspire them to make their own cards this year! It’s perfectly easy and a lovely way to share the cheer.

Copier Elf

For a funny set up that will entertain your older kids try this elf arrangement. All you need is a scanner and your elf. Simply make it look like he was photocopying himself by leaving some pictures scattered around the printer and the elf on the scanner. It’s absolutely hilarious!

Airplane Elf

This wonderful Elf arrangement is perfect for kids of all ages and makes a great holiday decoration for your home. All you need to do is make a couple of airplanes out of used toilet paper rolls, cardboard, and paint. Once it is dry and ready to be hung put your elf in one of the planes!

Ceiling Fan Elf

With this idea all you need is some fishing line and your elf. Simply attach him to the ceiling fan so that when it is turned on he swings around and around. The kids will get a kick out of his hilarious antics and laugh their socks off.

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