9 Elf On The Shelf Ideas So Simple You Could Do Them In Your Sleep

They’re baaaaaaack!
Elf On the Shelf

Whether you love them or loathe them, a whole host of cheeky elves are reappearing in homes across the UK as parents gear up for the official countdown to Christmas.

For the uninitiated, Elf on the Shelf is an annual festive tradition which first originated in the US. It’s based on the story of an an elf sent by Santa to watch over kids at Christmas to make sure they’re behaving.

Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell came up with the storybook in 2004. “We grew up with this tradition in our home,” Bell previously told HuffPost UK. “When we were children, our Scout Elf, Fisbee, would come to our home and look over our family each year. I have such wonderful childhood memories with Fisbee.”

After it was rejected by publishers, the pair self-published their book in 2005 and packaged it up with an elf toy so parents could make their elves pop up at different places around the house each day in the run up to Christmas – a reminder to kids that the elves are watching.

From then on, a major tradition was born – as of last year, 17.5 million Scout Elves had been adopted around the world.

When does Elf on the Shelf start?

While some parents will wait until December 1, the Elf on the Shelf website says scout elves return to families’ homes during “Scout Elf Return Week” which runs from November 26 to December 1.

So technically, you could bring them out anytime from now. Most families then say goodbye to their Scout Elf on Christmas Eve, when Santa arrives – the story goes that the elves fly back to the North Pole with him to get ready for next year.

What are the rules?

Yes, there are some rules you should be aware of if it’s your first time:

  • Children can chat to the elf but can’t touch them.
  • Children have to be in bed before you can move the elf.
  • Elves only get their magic by being named. Families can name their elves anything after ‘adopting’ (aka buying) them.

Simple Elf on the Shelf ideas

If you’re already fretting about how you’re going to keep up with Elf on the Shelf while juggling the billions of other things parents have to do in the lead up to Christmas, fear not.

The folks at Party Delights have shared a handful of fun – and most importantly, easy – Elf on the Shelf ideas that are sure to put a smile on your kids’ faces.

1. Snow angel antics

Delight your little ones as your elf leaves a snowy surprise on the kitchen counter, creating adorable mini snow angels using icing sugar.

If you’re feeling particularly creative, you could even dust some sugar over a footprint template to show that your elf has fled the scene.

2. Christmas camping

Create a festive camping scene for your elf using mini bottle brush trees, a tealight for the campfire and a mini marshmallow on the end of a stick.

3. Zip-line adventure

Let your elf embark on a thrilling zip-lining escapade using a piece of string. Position the string so the landing zone has a stash of treats worth the journey.

4. Toilet roll tricks

A fail-safe each year. Grab a roll of toilet paper and wrap it around your Christmas tree, then have your elf sit perched on top, holding the end of the roll for evidence.

5. Ho-ho-hot chocolate

Hot chocolate is an elf’s favourite drink, so why not have your elf set up a hot chocolate station for everyone to enjoy a mug together while watching a festive film?

6. Ski slope spectacle

Craft a mini ski resort for your elf using a folded towel or paper for the slope, and sugar cubes or cotton balls as decorations. Position the elf at the top of the slope in their own little sleigh or fashion them some homemade skis.

7. Jolly Jenga tower

Have your elf precariously build a Jenga tower, challenging your family to a game. Or have your elf make something their own size, a Jenga tower made from chocolate finger biscuits...

8. Rock climbin’ around

Put your elf’s rock-climbing skills to the test by turning your fireplace into an indoor climbing wall with the help of some Christmas bows.

9. Petty pranks

Nothing in the house is safe when you give your elf a roll of clingfilm. This one is simple: every morning, wrap something new in clingfilm.

Who knows, it might just be the thing to encourage little ones to tidy items away out of Elf’s reach...