Any self-respecting parent will have sussed this one out years ago: a cute and cuddly toy with which to bribe the kids. Hmmm, put like that it’s actually…a no-brainer! Am I right? In all seriousness, the concept is probably questionable – a spy to report back to Santa on whether your kids are behaving perfectly or, um, normally. But, love or loathe the little guy it’s that time again and today I’m sharing 24 ideas for elf on the shelf this Christmas – one for each day of December!
As I’m not personally on board with the idea behind this creepy character, I’ve reimagined him to be more palatable:
I’ve put a positive spin on Elf on the Shelf by removing the element of threat and replacing it with ideas for wholesome family fun.
Sound good? Read on for Christmas elf ideas and inspiration you and the children will love!
But firstly, if you’ve not already got yours, you can buy yours here (affiliate link).
24 Ideas For Elf on the Shelf This Christmas
I love connecting the pose to an activity to do that day, like a prompt. Here are some of the ones we’ll be doing this year:
1. Set your elf up with card, pens, and glitter.
The following day you can complete the craft with your child and spend time make Christmas cards.
2. Leave your elf surrounded by your child’s masterpieces and holding a pen.
Finish the activity you started yesterday by writing out your Christmas cards.
3. Find your elf in ribbon and sellotape.
Use this as a prompt to start wrapping gifts.
4. Uh-oh – your elf has ransacked your music collection!
Time to create a christmas-y playlist – and spend some quality family time having a festive dance-off!
5. Tie him up in decorations.
This can only mean one thing: it’s D Day – time to decorate the tree.
6. Catch your elf with crafts.
There are fewer things more fun for a toddler than free play with crafts. You could use this time to make paperchains or paper dolls.
7. Sit him among festive films.
What’s more fun than getting tucked up under a blanket with a hot chocolate to watch…Elf?
8. Found him playing a board game with other toys?
There are spare pieces for you to join the fun.
9. Your elf has been baking – and made a terrible mess!
This could mean a baking day…or it could mean your child has to clean your kitchen – you decide. (Maybe warn them it depends on their behaviour between now and lunch? Just a thought.)
10. Your elf is covered in writing icing.
Yummy! Must be time to finish decorating those cookies.
11. Leave your elf with a half-finished note to Santa.
Have your little one write their Christmas letter to the Big Man himself.
12. Set your elf up with Christmas-y books open in a circle around him.
A great way to entice toddlers to sit and read with you.
13. Oh no – he’s tangled in your outdoor lights.
It must be about time you got those hung up!
14. Leave your elf with all the bits you need to make a homemade wreath.
Help your child create something to hang on your front door.
15. Have your elf sitting beside a camera. Bonus points if you can put actual hard copy photos of him with it too!
Christmas photos to be taken of the family, to include in your cards.
16. Your elf has discovered tickets for a fun family day out/panto!
Take him along to your chosen activity.
17. Elf has made a mess of your suitcases…
Time to pack for going away!
18. Looks like your elf got hungry with all those empty mince pie cases!
Time to go shopping to ensure you have snacks in for Santa and Rudolph.
19. Your cheeky elf has been playing with decorations from your Christmas tree.
Use this as a prompt to shop for a new bauble.
20. Elf has found your toddler winter hat, gloves, and scarf.
Tonight is the night to go and visit your local Christmas lights!
Find out all about your Elf on the Shelf here, including games, names and more!
21. Have a drawing of a Christmas hat by your elf, with a pencil.
Go and buy festive clothes! Whether you’re planning to wear co-ordintating outfits or just accessories, this is a fun way to get your toddler involved in the process.
22. Leave your elf next to a mobile phone, with a good/naughty/undecided list.
Naturally your child’s name should be in the ‘undecided column. (This idea can be used multiple times! You’re welcome.)
23. Elf has found your Christmas Eve (eve) box!
Filled with fun crafts, films, props, and treats! We do ours at any point in the run-up when we need a way to occupy the littles.
24. Finally, leave your elf next to the fireplace and a patch of soot.
You can let your child know that tonight is the night, and hang stockings!
And if all else fails, just pay hide and seek with him. (We fall back on this one quite a lot.)
What are your favourite Christmas traditions and ideas for Elf on the Shelf? Do you have lots more novel ideas I’ve missed?