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24 Fun and Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas Tailored for Your Kids 2023

Elf on the Shelf Welcome, sitting on the counter top with an advent calendar and the Elf Rules of "Don't touch me or I'll lose my magic" and "Be Kind"

Hey there! It’s that wonderful time of year once again! The time when kiddos get to experience the magic of Elf on the Shelf, and parents (like me!) get to have fun creating 24 days of exciting, whimsical, and magical adventures with our trusty elf friend. If you’re a big fan of this beloved Christmas tradition, then you’re in luck! I’ve got 24 fantastic ideas for you to try out this year for maximum fun and mischief. We try to tailor the Elf on the Shelf ideas to our kid’s interest for that year to make it feel even more personalized. So let’s get started and make this holiday season one to remember!

Table of Contents

What Is Elf On The Shelf?

If you’re new to the Elf on the Shelf tradition, you’re in for a treat! This relatively new Christmas tradition has been gaining popularity in recent years and it’s such a fun way to celebrate the holidays with your family. The story behind it is that Santa sends a Scout Elf to homes to spend the month of December with the family, reporting back to him at the North Pole each night to let him know if the children have been good. The next day, the elf can be found in a new spot, or even getting up to some mischief! Some parents like to get super creative with their elf’s antics, while others keep it simple. Whatever approach you take, there’s no right or wrong way to do it – just have fun with it!

What Are The Rules For Elf On The Shelf?

There are just a few things to keep in mind to make sure your elf stays magical.

Keep in mind that our scout elf will head back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, so cherish every moment we have with it.

What if I Accidentally Break a Rule?

So, if you accidentally touch the elf, not to worry — there are some easy solutions we’ve seen. One time, we held it in the cold for a minute and it did the trick! But, if you prefer to follow the official Elf on the Shelf website, they suggest picking one of the following remedies:

Getting Started

Order your Elf on the Shelf kit – it includes an elf and a copy of the Elf on the Shelf book.

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Looking to add a fun little Elf on the Shelf to your home this holiday season, there are some great options out there! You can find them on the Elf on the Shelf website, Amazon, Target, and more. They come in all sorts of varieties too – different genders, skin shades, and more. It’s super easy to pick out the one that would be the perfect addition to your household. Have fun shopping and happy holidays!

Did you know that you can easily customize your elf doll by giving it bending arms and legs? By doing so, you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to creating different scenes and settings. The best part is that it’s super easy to do – I personally took a simple approach that didn’t involve cutting into the elf seams or sewing them back together. Give it a try!

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02/21/2024 03:49 pm GMT

- 24 Elf on the Shelf Ideas -

I’m thrilled to share with you these 24 incredible ideas for the Elf on the Shelf season of 2023. Are you ready to bring some joy and create unforgettable memories this holiday season with your kids? Let’s do this together and make it extra magical!

1 - "I'm Back" - Advent Calendar

To kick off the festivities! How about starting off with an “I’m Back” with some colorful balloons and or setting up a festive Advent calendar to get all in the Christmas spirit?

2 - Introduce the Elf Pets

How about introducing your little ones to some of the Elf pets! They have several adorable options, like the Saint Bernard, Arctic Fox, and Reindeer, each with unique traits. It’s a great way to add some extra holiday cheer to your home and keep the kids entertained.

  1. Elf Pets: A Saint Bernard Tradition - Includes Beautifully Illustrated Hardbound Storybook, Huggable Elf Pet St. Bernard Stuffed Animal
    $29.99

    The Elf Pets Saint Bernard isn't your average stuffed animal - it helps Santa by gathering the strength of children's goodwill throughout the year, keeping the magic of Christmas alive.

    Buy Now

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    02/22/2024 01:57 am GMT
  2. Elf Pets: A Reindeer Tradition - Includes Beautifully Illustrated Hardbound Storybook and Huggable Elf Pet Reindeer Stuffed Animal
    $29.85

    And when Santa needs an extra boost of Christmas spirit to fly his sleigh, the Elf Pets Reindeer and children from all over the world team up to save the day! 

    Buy Now

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    02/21/2024 08:15 pm GMT
  3. Elf Pets: Arctic Fox Stuffed Animal with Storybook and Snow Globe
    $26.61

    Lastly, there is Santa's Legendary Elf Pets Arctic Fox named Noorah. She was just like any other cub in the polar circle, but with her magical ability to spark the northern lights, she discovers that true magic comes from sharing our gifts with others. Let's stretch our days and get to know these special friends one by one!

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    02/22/2024 02:08 am GMT

3 - Cookies for Breakfast

How about having your Elf on the Shelf make some delicious cookies for breakfast? Simply place Cookie Crisps on a baking sheet and in a bowl and watch your child’s face light up with joy. For an added touch, you can even sprinkle a little flour on a small cup for a fun “baking mess” effect. It’s a simple and fun way to bring some extra magic to your holiday season!

4 - Marshmallow Snow Angels

Have you tried making snow angels and snowballs with your Elf on the Shelf yet? It’s super fun! Simply lay your Elf on the Shelf on a table or on the ground and grab some Marshmallows. Let’s get creative and have some fun with your Elf!

5 - Go Football!

It’s time to get into the festive spirit with your Elf on the Shelf! You can add to the excitement by cheering on your favorite team with some Elf-sized team gear! Whether you prefer to root for your team from the sidelines or the comfort of your couch, your Elf can be right there with you as your special cheerleader. So let’s get excited and cheer your teams on! For us, go Seahawks! You can find more cute outfits on Etsy.

6 - Minecraft Elf

Hey there! If you have little ones who love video games, check this out! You can make your Elf on the Shelf super special by personalizing it to one of their favorite characters, like Minecraft or Harry Potter! It’s such a cute surprise to have your Elf dress up as their favorite character. Your kids will absolutely adore it! Etsy has a lot of custom outfits, or Amazon has a few too.

7 - Show and Tell

Bring the Elf with you and show them around town! Strap them onto your backpack or carrying case and let’s explore together. It’s always great to have some extra company, right? Let’s make some new memories with our tiny festive friend.

8 - Elf-vengers Assemble

Elf-vengers Assemble! Get a fun superhero costume on Etsy and set up a setting fit for a super hero.

9 - Star Wars Darth Vader

Are there any Star Wars enthusiasts around? It would be pretty fun to dress up your Elf on the Shelf as Darth Vader. Our little guy was into Star Wars for a while, and this was a great hit. May the force be with you!

10 - Do you want to Build a Snowman?

Use three rolls of toilet paper and some markers to create an indoor snowman and get creative! And maybe even hide in the bathroom.

11 - Climbing Trees

For a quick and fun idea, have your Elf on the Shelf climb up the Christmas tree! It’s easy and perfect for those busy days when you almost forget to set up the elf. Just imagine the surprise on your children’s faces when they see their beloved elf scaling up the tree. Add to the fun, and have the kids send shrinking Christmas lists to Santa through your Elf!

12 - Tubing Fun

How about giving your Elf on the Shelf a little extra fun by trying out some snow toys like tubing or skiing? You can also make a mini snow mountain by using a white blanket or towel for your Elf to slide down on.

13 - Coloring House (Existing props)

Or simply use props you already have, like a holiday coloring house, a pillow fort or tent and make it into a hiding spot for your Elf on the Shelf. It’s another quick and fun set up that will bring smiles to your kids’ faces.

14 - Hot Chocolate Night

How about making your Elf on the Shelf cozied up with a nice hot chocolate? Grab your favorite mugs and indulge in some hot cocoa mix with a festive nightcap. We got our Starbucks one off of Etsy.

15 - Decorate Cookies

How about having your Elf on the Shelf make some yummy miniature cookies and gingerbread while wearing a cute gingerbread themed apron! All outfitted with a baker’s set, including a mixing bowl, cutting board, and spoons?

16 - Christmas Movie Night

How about making your Elf on the Shelf cozied up by the fire and have a nice movie or video game night.

17 - Bathroom Mischief

How about adding a little mischief to your bathroom routine? Why not try changing the toilet water to green or red? Or maybe your Elf can set sail in an inflatable duck on the sink? Another idea could be to hide under a pile of toilet paper, while peeking out for some extra giggles!

18 - The Science Elf

Get sceincey! Consider setting up a sweet science experiment with your Elf on the Shelf. They can arrange colorful skittles around the outer edge of a plate and in the morning, your kids can add water to watch a beautiful rainbow form! It’s an engaging way to teach your kids about science and colors.

19 - The Spelling Elf (Play Scrabble)

How about a fun little message for the kids to read when they wake up? Have your Elf on the Shelf play Scrabble and create a special message. It’s a great way to encourage creativity while spreading some holiday cheer.

20 - Elf Fitness Holiday Elf-ercise

Keep your Elf on the Shelf fit and firing during the holidays! Check out these awesome printables by Elf on the Shelf – they’re totally free and your athletic elf is gonna love ’em! Build a tiny gym or perform some jolly yoga poses next to a comfy sofa and fire place.

21 - Hide and Seek

How about a fun game of hide and seek with a little messiness? Have your Elf on the Shelf hiding in some candy canes or under a big pile of red cups for a sweet surprise.

22 - On the Go Official Elf Containers

Santa has given his most-trusted Scout Elves permission to join your family on trips and adventures. However, it can be tough to keep the magic alive if anyone touches a Scout Elf. That’s why the North Pole has come up with an “official” solution to keep your elf safe and sound throughout all your adventures. On our family trip to Leavenworth, the first night we had the Elf remain in the containers. Now, you can take your Scout Elf everywhere without worrying about losing any of the magic.

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23 - The Sports Elf

How about a fun game of basketball, soccer, or bowling! Set up your Elf on the Shelf for your kid’s favorite sport.

24 - The Gingerbread House

Did you have a great time making gingerbread houses with your kids? I have a fun suggestion for you! How about setting up a mini gingerbread house with your Elf on the Shelf after the kids go to bed? Or even have the elf wearing a gingerbread man costume! This would be a great way to make the most of all the effort they put into making the gingerbread house.

Bonus Elf Ideas

Grab a fun mini fishing game or just a stick and bowl of goldfish and have your Elf on the Shelf go fishing!

Find a few free printable from the Official Elf on the Shelf site.

Keep it simple with little props like a pop corn night, or book night under the covers.

If they are into action figures or dolls, have your Elf on the Shelf hang out with them for a day in the doll house.

The Amazon deliver Elf on the Shelf!

Hang tight from a zip line across the kitchen!

Or have your Elf practice riding their bike for just like your kids! 

And More Elf on the Shelf Resources

And for more go-to resources for Elf on the Shelf planning, check out Pinterest, Elf on the Shelf Official Site, and Etsy!

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02/22/2024 08:17 am GMT
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