Guys, Christmas is almost here! I can hardly contain my excitement because Christmas is the most magical time of the year in my house. Having kids makes it so much more fun because the truly magical parts can be brought to life. Including, Elf on the shelf! We call our original one Elfie (not original but he was named by the 3-year-old bug and newborn Matthew) and the vintage version we found in our Christmas totes Snowflake. If you are looking for some inspiration, I have it for you!
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And if you are looking for some free printables you found them! Print these babies out and save your self the hassle of having to hand write the notes!
To Elf on the shelf, Or not?
The idea around Elf on the shelf is to bring magic into your home during the holidays. Some parents (yours truly) sometimes use it as a form of correcting poor behavior. Whichever your reason for bringing an Elf on the shelf into your home, he is sure to entertain you and your family for the duration of his stay.
(Do you not have an Elf yet? Amazon carries them and they are included in Prime shipping!)
Our Elfie has been naughty and nice, making him the perfect companion during the holidays. If you need some inspiration, I would love for you to follow me on Pinterest where I have an Elf on the Shelf Headquarters and am always updating that board. However, I have highlighted our favorites here for you to get a jump start on planning for your Elfies arrival!
Enter Stage Left: Elf On The Shelf
Year one of Elf on the shelf started the day after Thanksgiving. He mistakenly arrived at my best friends house, with a letter stating that he arrived there because that was where we spent most of our time. The kids got a great laugh out of it! Each year since our first, he makes a quiet entrance.
As the kids have grown, so have Elfie and Snowflake. When they first started coming around, he was a good little elf, doing good deeds. Now, he sometimes can be found causing mischief. I have found that he does more naughty acts the closer to Christmas we get.
30 days of Elf Ideas
Below I have 30 days of Elf ideas, with a few visual ideas. I have also included links to amazing parents who have mastered the entire Elf on the shelf ordeal.
1 Arrival. If this is your first year with an elf, you must have an arrival letter. This is something about his background and how he was selected from the top elves to be your house elf. And be sure to include that he must not be touched or he loses his magic and that he reports all month long to Santa. Lucky you I have a free printable for you!
2 Removal of tree decorations and replace with something else (like kids undies, shoes, water bottles, get creative)
3 Reading to stuffies. For this, give your Elf on the shelf a book and surround him with your children’s stuffed animals or dolls.
4 Snow! If you have no snow, let your Elf bring the kids snow by hanging snowflakes. Extra points if he brings the paper and tape for making the snowflakes and the kids make them and hang them up. Heres a great tutorial on making easy snowflakes with kids!
5 Wrapping the photos. Have your elf bring in some wrapping paper and bows and wrap the wall hangings and pictures while the kids sleep!
6 Elf assisted door wrapping. Leave the elf with a roll of paper and bag of bows and a note telling the kids to wrap the interior doors. (Score! Kids are helping decorate for you!)
7 Funny Faces: I have huge pictures of my kids on the wall, so last year I made Santa hats out of red sheet foam and cotton balls, and taped them to the outside of the glass. Then using white chalk markers, I drew beards and white bushy eyebrows. They stayed that way until the elves left.
8 Elf on the run. Sometimes, our elf gets into some real trouble. Elfie borrowed my car one time, claiming he needed to get marshmallows and syrup. We parked the car in the yard that night and placed Matthews carseat in the driver’s seat with a note that said sorry. For this, elfie and snowflake couldn’t come back for one night because Santa was very disappointed. The kids got a kick out of this and a lesson in not to steal cars. Win-win!
9 Redecorate: We have a mounted deer head hanging on the wall. During his first year, he took it back to the North Pole, claiming we had captured one of Santas magic reindeer. Christmas eve, Santa kindly returned him to his place on the wall.
10 Elf on the shelf the makeup artist? Last year, I got my neice into the fun and painted her nose red and a note on her forehead with the words Elf Was Here in black on her face. The kids thought it was so funny, Elfie and Snowflake got me the next night.
11 Flying elf: For this, you will need ribbon, child’s sized undies, and a balloon. Attach the ribbon to both sides of the underpants and attach to a balloon, creating a hot air balloon of sorts. Place your elf on the shelf inside undies and hang from the ceiling with a note asking for help.
12 Elfzilla! Turn your peaceful Christmas village into madness and mayhem by adding in dinosaurs! Bonus points if you can put your elf in the dinosaur’s mouth! Simply tip a few buildings over and lay the people on their sides.
13 Donation Time: Leave a basket (or large bag, whichever you fancy) and leave a note saying that in order keep the Christmas spirit alive, they need to pay it forward. Tell them to choose X amount of toys and/or clothing and place into a bag. Make a donation of the items to a local shelter. This is a great lesson in being humble for kids no matter what the age.
14 Craft day! Let your kids have an elf inspired craft day with these great craft ideas. All you have to do is leave your elf on the shelf in a chair at the kitchen table with all of the supplies. Bonus points if your elf has already started crafting!
15 Sick Day: Sometimes, elves catch colds too. Borrow a Barbie bed and put tissues balled up around him.
16 Movie Date with Elfie: Do you have a favorite holiday movie? Mine just happens to be Elf with Will Ferrell. Have your elf on the shelf bring your favorite Christmas movie and popcorn, and watch a movie as a family!
17 Make Cookies: Christmas cookies are always a good idea. I loved picking up new sprinkles and letting Elfie and Snowflake make little messes writing cookies in frosting on the kitchen table.
18 Hog Tie the Girls: One year, our elf on the shelf hog-tied a few of Bugs Barbie dolls from the ceiling, with a note stating that they talked way too much. They stayed there the entire season!
19 TP the Tree! Simply wrap the tree in toilet paper and leave your elf on the shelf sitting under the tree with the empty roll. Bonus points for the entire living room!
20 Write letters to Santa! Most local Post Office locations have a letter to Santa dropbox, and so does Walmart! A fun way to get some last min ideas!
21 Candy Cane Hunt: Hide a box of candy canes throughout the house with a note that tells the kids to find them all!
22 Magic Candy Cane Seeds: Similar to planting a jelly bean at Easter time and the next morning a sucker appears, leave white tic tacks with a note that says to plant them in a bowl of sugar. Replace with suckers.
23 Make “Breakfast”: Using the most sugary items from your kitchen, dump all of it into a large pot and put on the stove. Place your elf on the shelf next to it with a note that simply says breakfast! Let the giggles commence!
24 Build a fort: Turn your living room into a giant fort and leave your elf at the entrance. Bonus? At least 1 hour of entertained child (and possibly husband) time!
25 A friendly game of cards? If you have two elves like we do, this is perfect. Simply leave them looking like they are playing go fish. If you don’t have 2, use stuffies or Barbies. Heck, even dinosaurs will work!
26 Gingerbread House builds off: Elfie and Snowflake brought each kid a gingerbread kit one time. Then we as the parents teamed up with the kids to compete to see who could build a better gingerbread house. This was an evening of so much laughter and fun!
27 Gingerbread Smash! If your kiddos are older, let the elf on the shelf eat the gingerbread house. Write in frosting sorry with a frowny face.
28 If you have a front load washer, place your elf on the shelf in there with his face up against the window. Use chalk markers to write a note about how your elf got dirty on the way in this morning. (side note, if you need to wash, the gentle cycle will do)
29 Reindeer food: Make reindeer food to put out with your milk and cookies, by mixing oats and glitter or sprinkles.
30. Goodbye is not forever: The last day your elf on the shelf is in your home will be Christmas Eve. Make sure your kiddos know that the elf magic has been lifted and they may hug and love their elf on the shelf before he goes away. We always say goodnight and tell him we will miss him until next Christmas. I won’t lie, I do get emotional hearing the kid’s heartfelt goodbyes to our Elfie and Snowflake.
There you have it! A complete list of 30 ideas for your Elf on the shelf every night of the holiday season! Did I leave any out? If I did please let me know so I can add it to the list!
Are you into the holidays? Do you feel like a kid again each year when you start your traditions? Do you have a tradition that you think I would love to try? Let me know!
As always, until next time
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