Elf on the Shelf Ideas

If you're overwhelmed or lost for ideas of how to make this Christmas special for your kids, look no further. Here are 10 awesome ideas to work your Elf on the Shelf into your life without letting it rule you!


Brand Doesn't Matter

Don't get caught up in the "official" brand name toy. Any elf can be YOUR elf. Grab one from the dollar store, or make your own!

elf = happy

Function > style


Print off an "official" Adoption Certificate and let your kids formally adopt the elf to make him an official member of the family. The kids will take better care of him and want to behave better for their new friend.

Adopt the Elf


Welcome Letter

Have your elf arrive with a welcome letter that explains the "rules." The kids will be more likely to follow the rules if they come directly from Santa/the Elf than mom and dad.


Happy mail


Your elf can talk to Santa, so it's a great opportunity for your kids to send letters to the North Pole. Create a mailbox where the children can send and receive mail from Santa and their elf. Yummy treats, gifts, notes and other fun things can be placed inside.

Naughty or Nice?

Don't be afraid to give your kids feedback from the elf. Use an elf advent calendar to let them know if they've been naughty or nice each day. Keep them on their best behavior for the holiday season!



let your elf inspire your decor

Add some fun and whimzy to your holiday decor by using your elf as a theme. Create a whole tablescape based on it!


Leaving short notes from your elf is a super simple way to keep things exciting for the kids. They'll love finding them around the house, and it'll keep them excited throughout the holidays, even if you don't have time to do anything else.

some kids hate it

Not every child enjoys the Elf on the Shelf experience. Some children are totally creeped out by it, and that's fine. If your child doesn't like it, don't force it. Ask the Elf to go home, and try again next year, or just forget about it all together. There are plenty of other holiday experiences to be had. 



Christmas Countdown

A Christmas Countdown is a fun way to keep kids from getting too impatient for the big day. Have the Elf leave a card each day with the number of days left until Christmas so the kids can stay excited without having to ask every day.


say goodbye

When it's time for your elf to leave, be sure to let your kids say goodbye. And try to let your elf say goodbye, as well. Have him write a letter to the kids since they won't see him again until next year. Having closure is important for little ones, and a goodbye letter is a great way to end this fun holiday relationship.