If your kids are under 10 most likely you sometimes struggle to find fun, but simple Elf on the Shelf ideas each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We did too, so I wondered what some of the best Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas were.
Some of the best Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas include making snow angels with powdered sugar, toilet papering the Christmas tree, and having them play board games with other toys and stuffed animals.
But there’s a ton of great ideas out there for your elf. The best ones are quick and easy for tired parents, involve things you already have around the house but will still delight your kids.
Let’s review all the best tips!
What are some Elf on the Shelf ideas?
Some of the best Elf on the Shelf ideas include:
- Making them do snow angels in powdered sugar
- Having them toilet paper the Christmas tree
- Showing them playing board games with other toys
- Spelling a message on the counter in M’nM’s or other candy
- Having them read your child’s favorite book
- Swinging from Christmas lights
- Writing a message on an Etch-a-Sketch
My wife and I struggle daily during the holiday season.
We struggle not only to remember to move our elf but we also struggle to come up with quick Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas for what to do with them.
After a long hard day at work for both of us, the last thing either of us wants is some complicated ideas for elf on the shelf mischief.
There are a million posts out there for amazingly cool things to do.
But they all are WAY too time-consuming for working parents like us. Some are funny, but a little too risque for my kids. And some just flat out are kind of boring.
So in this post, we’re diving deep into the world of Elf on the Shelf.
We’ll explore the biggest challenges parents have and take a look at some creative, yet simple ideas for what you can have them do.
Specifically, we’re looking at Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas that take just minutes to set up that your kids will love, night after night!
What makes Will Ferrell’s #Elf a #Christmas classic: https://t.co/CYvTAIj1HU pic.twitter.com/gFMIFZ5KfJ
— Nerdist (@nerdist) December 26, 2017
What is Elf on the Shelf?
Don’t know Elf on the Shelf (click to take a look on Amazon)?
If you don’t know Elf on the Shelf, then you’re either a new parent, your kids are grown or you’ve been living under a rock.
Elf on the Shelf is a scout elf sent from Santa to your house to kid an eye on your kids and report back to the North Pole nightly to keep Santa informed.
It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product with almost 1000 reviews and 4.5 stars and like much of Amazon, comes with free shipping. Register your elf online and get an official adoption certificate and a letter from Santa!
If you don’t know about Elf on the Shelf, here’s the 30-second synopsis.
- You aren’t supposed to touch your Elf (damages their magic)
- They fly back to the North Pole every night while you sleep
- When they return each morning before you wake up, they land in a new spot from where they were before
- Most of us poor saps do this starting the day after Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas morning
- We also have our Elf on the Shelf visit on special occasions throughout the year like birthdays
When Elf on the Shelf pranks go too far… https://t.co/457LaBvmFR pic.twitter.com/lNgHDobL5s
— Daily Mail Femail (@Femail) December 19, 2016
What does the Elf on the Shelf do?
Elf on the Shelf comes to your house usually the day after Thanksgiving, flies back home each night but returns before morning, landing in a new place. This continues until Christmas eve when the elf typically leaves a goodbye note.
The idea is that the elf spends the day in your house watching your kids.
Then they fly home every night to report back to Santa on how they are doing. Each morning, before anyone wakes up, the elf returns and usually gets into some mischief.
So when your kids wake up, they find your Elf on the Shelf doing something mischievous such as making snow angels on a kitchen counter in a pile of powdered sugar, maybe toilet papering the Christmas tree, playing board games with other toys, dolls, or stuffed animals, etc.
It’s important that your elf move nightly to maintain the belief in your kids that the Elf flies back to the North Pole.
It’s also important to not let your kids see you touch your elf since touching them with bae hands causes them to lose their magic.
The Elf on the Shelf has been playing pranks in homes across the country https://t.co/02yrGAqLiJ pic.twitter.com/kgaQIJgmDt
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) December 20, 2015
Does Elf on the Shelf have magic?
Yes! Elf on the Shelf is given magic when your child names your elf. This magic enables them to move when not being seen and gives them the power to fly home each night to the North Pole and then return again before morning.
While they don’t ever have as much magic as Santa, the love of a child fills the elf’s heart with magic.
The magic not only allows them to move when no one is watching, but also gives them the strength to open kitchen cabinet doors, pantries, and to get into all the rooms on your house.
Of course, it goes without saying that your elf’s magic is also what allows them to fly back home to the North Pole each night to report back to Santa.
But what is given can be taken away!
Elves automatically lose their magic if touched by a human hand. Being touched causes the magic to go away or diminish and as such, they usually can’t fly back home. When that happens, they often stay in the same place they were in the night before.
So, in all honesty, when we parents forget to move the elf on occasion (which WILL happen), saying we accidentally touched it is a great explanation.
No longer content to just spend his nights making mischief in your home, The Elf on the Shelf is going to start working his magic on Netflix!
Yes, that’s right — the precocious sprite will soon be the star of films and series as our gift to you. pic.twitter.com/Pu3NHvCRB9
— Netflix (@netflix) October 9, 2020
How do you get the Elf on the Shelf magic back?
You can get your Elf on the Shelf’s magic back by writing an apology note to the elf and Santa, Singing Christmas carols or sprinkling some cinnamon next to your elf. Then, the magic should return that next evening.
Inevitably someone (we’ve even had a cat do it) touches your scout elf.
They, of course, lose their magic and can’t fly home. So how does your Elf on the Shelf get it’s magic back?
There are a few “official” ways your Elf can regain its magic:
- Write an apology note to your elf and/or Santa – Have your kids write a quick note (or you depending on their age) just apologizing for touching them
- Sing Christmas carols – Elves LOVE Christmas songs and Christmas spirit, so a few Christmas songs being sung will have them feeling great in no time!
- Sprinkle a little cinnamon next to your elf – Less messy than maple syrup, but equally as loved by elves is cinnamon. Just sprinkle a little bit next to wherever your elf is, and watch the magic return!
So if you accidentally touch your elf, or use that as an excuse for forgetting to move it, don’t sweat it! One of those 3 things will have your elf back in action in no time!
No one told me you couldn’t pick up the Elf on the Shelf & now my niece is convinced I have ruined the magic in Pixie. Good grief- the guilt over this may cause me to drink. pic.twitter.com/JyKLbhUShr
— Tamara Welch (@rockstar1023) December 18, 2019
The easiest way to fully pose your Elf on the Shelf into fun positions
The ultimate accessory for Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas is ELF FLEX (click to see on Amazon)!
This quickly (and discretely) attaches to your elf to make them:
It’s a #1 Best-Seller & Amazon’s Choice Product on Amazon Prime for good reason and at under $15.00, it won’t break the bank either!
What happens if you forget to move your Elf on the Shelf?
If you forget to move your Elf on the Shelf one night and your child sees it in the same position the next morning, that means your elf was either touched or has gotten sick. Their magic will return, however, in 24 hours.
Our Elf on the Shelf is named “Cookie” and on more than one occasion, Cookie has gotten “sick” and was unable to fly back to the North Pole while we slept.
If you have an Elf on the Shelf, then I know you know what I’m talking about.
While I can help with ideas for elf on the shelf mischief, I can’t help you with remembering to move your Elf on the Shelf.
However, as with much of life these days, there is an app for that. I haven’t used it myself, so I can’t attest to how good it may be. This isn’t an affiliate link, but if you want to know more about the app, check it out here for Android or iPhone.
What I can help you with, however, are some quick Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas for each night.
More importantly, these are EASY to execute after a long hard day when you just want to relax when the kids finally go to sleep.
These are not necessarily my ideas for elf on the shelf mischief. Many have been scoured from the web, but they work great!
The best accessories for girl elves
This Snowflake Skirt & Scarf set (click to see on Amazon) is under $10.00 and makes a great addition for your elf! Great reviews and an Amazon’s Choice product lets you know this is loved by parents and kids across the globe too. Free Prime shipping too!
Do you clean up after Elf on the shelf?
Yes. You do clean up any messes made by your Elf on the Shelf. Just be careful not to touch your elf in the process or they will lose their magic temporarily.
Since you’re not supposed to touch your elf, with some cleanups, you’ll have to wait until the kids go to bed, or use kitchen tongs to move your elf while the kids are still up.
Often times my wife and I will stage our nightly Elf on the Shelf move with cleanup in mind so that we don’t actually have to touch our elf in the process.
Certainly, if you’re using things like powdered sugar, mini-marshmallows, or anything that might attract bugs or rodents, you don’t need that sitting untouched for 24 hours or longer.
So yes; by all means clean it up after the kids have seen it!
The Elf on the Shelf is ready for adoption all over SA! Adopt yours now and let the magic of Christmas begin!#elfontheshelf #elfontheshelfza #ideasforscoutelves@elfontheshelf @toykingdomshop @HamleysSA @ToyZoneZoink @ToysRUs_ZA @TAKEALOT pic.twitter.com/SgwcUF5hlx
— Kaboutjie (@Kaboutjie) November 6, 2019
What is the best age to start and stop Elf on the Shelf?
Officially, the company says Elf on the Shelf is good for anywhere from 36 months to age 15.
In truth, I think 15 is a bit old and you could also start a little younger than age 3. In a recent article, I review EVERYTHING you need to know about Appropriate Ages for Elf on the Shelf, how they first arrive, tips on introducing your kids, and how to phase it out too.
So take a moment and check out my article on that.
So without further ado, let’s review the . . .
31 Best Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas You Must Try!
1. SNOW ANGELS – A flat kitchen counter, some powdered sugar, and your Elf and wa-la! Snow Angels!
2. BOARD GAMES – Most of us have Monopoly or Life or even a deck of cards or dominoes. Set ’em out on a table with your Elf (and maybe another doll or 2) and you’re all set!
3. STUFFED IN A STOCKING – Stuff that Elf into one of your Christmas stockings for a fun and lightning-quick solution!
4. STUCK IN THE CHRISTMAS TREE – Another lightning quick solution! Got 10 seconds? Stick your Elf anywhere in your Christmas tree.
5. HAVING A QUICK SIP – Grab a plastic cup and a straw (if you have one) and stick your Elf on a kitchen counter (out of the way though; remember you’re not supposed to touch them when the kids are awake!)
Got a pet-lover in your house?
Get your elf a Plush St. Bernard! It’s sure to please your kids. Flawless reviews on Amazon Prime and an Amazon’s Choice product tell you this is a great product. The St. Bernard can easily add to your Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas too!
6. SPELLING WITH CANDY -Takes a minute or two longer but a very fun idea. Take any colorful candy (such as Christmas M&M’s) and spell out a word with your Elf on a table or counter
7. BAKING – If you have already baked cookies or some kind of sweet treat (or bought them and put on a plate), leave them out on a kitchen island or someplace with your Elf sitting is as a would-be baker!
8. PARTYING WITH OTHER TOYS – This one can be milked for several nights in different parts of the house depending on how many toys you have. We have motorized R2D2’s, stuffed animals galore and many more.
9. MARSHMALLOW BATH – Got a bathroom sink and a bag of mini marshmallows handy? Time for Elf to take a marshmallow bath!
10. WATCHING THE ELF ON THE SHELF MOVIE – Who says Elves aren’t a little self-indulgent! Get up 10 minutes before the kids and pop in your Elf on the Shelf DVD and set your Elf up in front of the TV!
11. NEXT TO A CHRISTMAS ITEM – You might happen to have a gingerbread kit or something similar hanging around. No need to build it; just put your Elf on the Shelf next to it with a sign inviting the kids to build it!
12. READING A BOOK – Grab one of your kid’s books and have your Elf on the Shelf appear to be reading it. Got 10 seconds? You can do this one!
13. GOT AN ETCH A SKETCH HANDY? – Have your Elf on the Shelf leave the kids a message or drawing
14. FAMILY BIG ON SPORTS AND YOUR TEAM LOST? – Lay your Elf on the Shelf on some sort of team logo article and have them appear to be devasted!
15. ELVES LOVE PUZZLES – Put your Elf on the Shelf on a table and get one of your puzzles out. Maybe put a couple pieces together and wa-la! You’re done!
16. A MIDNIGHT SNACK – We know from Will Ferrell that all elves love to eat junk food. Grab a bag of some sort of snack and set them up for a tasty late night treat!
Got a Rudolph lover in your house?
No self-respecting elf of Santa’s is complete without their very own Reindeer Pet!
Almost 5stars on Amazon Prime, an Amazon’s Choice product and hundreds of reviews can’t be wrong. Under $20 so it’s easy on your Christmas Savings Budget too!
It also comes with a book explaining the magic behind how Santa’s reindeer fly!
17. TEACHING – Your Elf on the Shelf is a natural leader to your kid’s other toys. With a minute or two, you can easily set them up for a quick classroom lesson
18. HIDING IN SHOES OR BOOTS – Your naturally pranky Elf on the Shelf can easily make a hiding spot out of a boot or shoe!
19. BRUSHING TEETH – All that sugar leads to a lot of elf tooth decay so it’s natural to set them up with a toothbrush to ward off dentures! Just remember to use your toothbrush since you’ll want the kids to brush for school and you’re not supposed to touch your Elf on the Shelf!
20. CANDY CANE TRAPEZE – Your elf is naturally an inclined circus performer. Just a little yarn, twine or string and a candy cane or 2 and wa-la!
21. CAPTURED! – Your other toys may get a little jealous from time to time, or night-time play time may get a little out of hand. I know you have some kind of tape on hand; duct tape, scotch tape or even painter’s tape.
22. A QUICK CALL TO SANTA – Let’s face it! Sometimes even the best elves don’t feel like flying all the way home to the North Poll every single night! So every now and then, your elf just might borrow your cell phone to give Santa a call!
23. FLIRTING WITH BARBIE – Elves are naturally big flirts. So it’s only natural your elf might invite Barbie (or any dolls your kids have) out for a night on the town.
24. NUTELLA PARTY – We know elves love sugar, so whether it’s a bottle of maple syrup or a jar of Nutella, add a spoon or straw and you’re done!
25. RIDING STUFFED ANIMALS – Your elf gets tired from all that flying, so every now and then, it’s nice to saddle up and ride around the house!
26. WRECKING BALL – Miley Cyrus isn’t the only one coming in like a wrecking ball this year!
Want the Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas Accessory?
Get the Elf on The Shelf Scout Elves at Play Kit from Amazon. Well over 100 near-perfect reviews.
15 different tools plus a 60-page book and over 100 pictures of tips, tricks, and tools to inspire your nightly ideas for elf on the shelf mischief.
27. ON SANTA’S NAUGHTY LIST? – Elves are naturally mischievous! Got a family pic behind glass (or one you have multiples of) and a sharpie or dry erase marker? That’s got all the makings for a mischievous elf!
28. DOUBLE AGENT FOR EMPEROR ZURG? – We all know Buzz Lightyear takes his work protecting the galaxy seriously. And there’s not much serious about most elves. So you can see how Buzz might get the wrong idea!
29. SELFIES! – Elves naturally have big egos and love to take selfies of themselves! Got a camera? You’re done!
30. FUN WITH COPIERS! – Speaking of selfies, if you have a printer, copier or scanner (or all of them in 1), it’s easy to set up a quick full size copy or scan!
31. LAST NIGHT IN TOWN – Giving your elf a grand send-off until next year doesn’t mean an elaborate setup or tons of time. A quick note (printing a Santa Claus logo at the top gives added street cred) from your Elf to your kids and you’re done ’till next season!
Elf on the Shelf goodbye letters
Every magical holiday season has to come to an end, and when that happens, your elf will often leave a note for the kids.
But the last season your elf visits is worthy of a final goodbye letter too.
Remember, this is a letter for your kids from your elves. Of course, elves are known for being funny and a little mischievous, so the letter should reflect that.
I have a collection of 7 fun Elf on the Shelf goodbye letters (5 seasonal and 2 final) which you can download for FREE!
They are done in Microsoft Word, so you can personalize it with your elf’s name and also address them to your kids by name if you wish.
In this post, I took an extensive look into the world of the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.
We talked about the problems and challenges parents of young kids face trying to remember to move your elf nightly and come up with cool ideas our kids will love.
Let’s face it. There are also nights where we forget or are too tired to be creative.
So here, I specifically listed out some creative, fun, and easy solutions.
Specifically, we looked at the best Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas you can crank out night after night in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
More importantly, your kids will LOVE these ideas! What are your best ideas for elf on the shelf mischief?