Find it hard coming up with new ideas of what to do with your Elf on the Shelf each night? You’ll LOVE the ideas in this post! I’m sharing 24 QUICK and EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas – one for each night right up until Christmas Eve!
Post updated 11/11/2022
Do you do Elf on the Shelf?
Elf on the Shelf has visited our house for the last three or four years now and its SO much fun! My youngest, Harrison, absolutely LOVES coming down each morning to hunt out his Elf (who he’s called Buddy) and find out what mischief he’s been up to during the night. Every morning Buddy is somewhere new and it’s Harrison’s job to hunt him out.
Coming up with new Elf on the Shelf ideas can be tough though!
As much fun as it is, I’m not going to lie…trying to come up with 24 different ideas of what to do with your Elf between the 1st of December and Christmas Eve can be a little tricky. You definitely have to get a little creative at times! If you struggle with this too, I feel your pain!
And so, in this post, to make your life – and Elf on the Shelf – easier this year, I’m sharing our favourite quick and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas. Need some inspiration of what to do with your Elf this Christmas? Keep scrolling because I’ve got you covered!
(This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Read my full disclosure policy here.)
New to Elf on the Shelf?
Elf on the Shelf is a great way to have some fun in the run-up to Christmas Eve. Not only does it make the build-up even more exciting, but it’s also something the whole family can get involved in too. Plus, there’s an added bonus…it really helps with getting your kids to do what you’ve asked! It takes the “Santa’s watching you” to a whole new level because you now have a ‘spy’ in your house!
If you’ve never done it before, why not give it a go this year? The idea is pretty simple. ‘Sent’ by Santa, your Elf arrives at the beginning of December (or earlier if you want). Staying until Christmas Eve, each night he (or she!) ‘flies’ back to the North Pole to report on your child’s behaviour and then returns before they wake up. Each morning, your child finds their Elf in a new ‘hiding place’ and because elves are a little cheeky, he’ll most likely have gotten up to some kind of mischief during the night too! What kind of mischief? Well, that’s your job to decide!
Here are just some of the ‘antics’ Harrison’s Elf Buddy has been up to over the last couple of years. Definitely fun, they’re also VERY quick and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas to carry out. Taking no more than a few minutes to set up each night before the grown-ups go to bed, they’re perfect for even the busiest of families!
- Arriving from the North Pole by special courier. The doorbell rang and there was Elf, sitting on the doormat holding a welcome letter from Santa!
- Hiding in the Christmas tree. Sitting on one of the branches, Elf held a note that said: “let’s read together every night before bed”. Under the tree was a Christmas-themed chapter book waiting to be unwrapped – last year it was The Creakers, the year before it was The Christmasaurus. This year, The Ice Monster and The Wizards of Once are top of our list!
- Playing hide and seek in the cutlery drawer.
- Elf sitting with pens, envelopes and a stamp. The note next to him said, “it’s time to write your letter to Santa!”.
- Elf with paper chains and a note saying “let’s make some together”.
- Gym Elf. We put giant marshmallows on either end of a cocktail stick and had Elf ‘working out’!
- Elf captured! Buddy was tied up and surrounded by Harrison’s army men. Harrison needed to be good at school all day for him to be released!
- Spiderman Elf. We hung Buddy upside down from the curtain pole wearing a homemade Spiderman mask.
- Elf takes a road test! Harrison came home from school to find Buddy sitting in his RC Rover holding the remote control as if he’d taken if for a drive.
- Toasting marshmallows. Sitting by the fire with a marshmallow (which we toasted the night before) on a bamboo stick.
- Mechanic Elf. Buddy put Harrison’s RC Rover up on Lego blocks and lay underneath it and surrounded by Daddy’s mini tool kit.
- A mini Christmas tree. Harrison wanted his own Christmas tree for his bedroom. So we had Buddy bring him a miniature one all the way back from Lapland (aka our local Garden Centre)!
And there’s more…
- Elf spelt out “good morning” on the kitchen floor with chocolate Cheerios from the breakfast cupboard.
- Learning to fly. We sat Elf on the eldest’s desk, arms around the joystick to his flight simulator.
- Swinging on the baubles. We had baubles hanging from the bannister, so we sat Elf on one of them!
- Letter from Santa. Harrison came down to find Elf sitting on the doormat holding a reply from Santa.
- Don’t forget to pack me! We were going away for the weekend so we sat Elf on Harrison’s suitcase holding a toothbrush. The note next to him said “please take me with you!”.
- Elf spelt out “Santa says hi!” with Scrabble tiles.
- Attacked by T-Rex! We lay Elf on the floor, his foot in the mouth of one of Harrison’s dinosaurs.
- Lego Elf. Elf built a sleigh out of Lego and sat our miniature Christmas reindeer in it!
- Raiding the cookbooks. Elf got the cookbooks off the shelf, chose one and sat on the sofa to read it.
- Battleships. Harrison came down to find Elf playing his Battleships game on the floor of the lounge.
- Let’s make chocolates! We sat Elf on the worktop with some chocolate and our chocolate-making moulds.
- Time to say goodbye. A note saying goodbye with a Christmas Eve box to open as a parting gift.
There you go….24 quick AND easy Elf on the Shelf ideas! One for each day from December 1st right up until Christmas Eve. Plenty of inspiration for whenever you find yourself stuck for a few ideas!
How to make Elf on the Shelf easy…
Want to make Elf on the Shelf even easier? Want to never be stuck for ideas? Want to make remembering to do Elf on the Shelf each night easy? Here are a few things we’ve learned over the years:
- Have a list of ideas at the ready. Not every day has to be set in stone, but having a few ideas to choose from will really help – especially if you forget to do it and need to come up with something fast – trust me, we’ve been there at least once or twice!
- Prepare what you can in advance. A box of ‘props’ stashed away can literally save you HOURS.
- Keep things simple. Not all of my ideas last year turned out to be as easy or practical as I’d hoped. Try to pick things that are quick to set up and use items you already have around the home. It’s SO much easier!
- Set everything up before you go to bed. Put a reminder on your phone for the same time each evening so you don’t forget.
- If you do forget, just hide Elf and write a sick note! Something along the lines of; “I ate far too much candy last night! I’m not feeling very well so I’m staying at Santa’s today…I’ll be back tomorrow morning” will do the trick. Your kids will be none-the-wiser!
Quick and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas…
Elf on the Shelf really is a LOT of fun. Child or adult, it’s guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of everyone in your family. The younger ones will enjoy discovering what Elf has been up to each night and the adults get to come up with the ideas.
What if your child is too old for Elf on the Shelf?
Let them in on the secret too! Have them come up with some ways for Elf to get up to mischief and get them to help set things up. For us, very quickly it was mainly my husband and eldest doing all the setting up each night – they enjoyed it so much that I wondered who Elf on the Shelf was really for!
What will your Elf get up to this year?
Do you do Elf on the Shelf? What are your favourite ways for Elf to get into ‘mischief’? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…
And if you liked this post, you’ll LOVE these too!
- What to Put in Your Christmas Eve Box
- How to Create Christmas Family Traditions
- The BEST Christmas Family Traditions to Do with Your Kids this Year