31 Best Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas You Must Try!

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad 2 Elf on the Shelf dolls stuck in a Christmas tree

If you’re a parent of young kids I know you struggle to find Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas!

If your kids are under 10 most likely you own at least 1 Elf on the Shelf doll.

Thus by definition, I know you sometimes struggle to find Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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!

Don’t know Elf on the Shelf? 

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.

It’s 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!

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf book & Elf set on Amazon

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

Does your Elf flop all over the place making them hard to position?

The ultimate accessory for Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas is ELF FLEX!

This quickly (and discretely) attaches to your elf to make them:

  • Bendable
  • Flexible
  • Gripable
  • Hangable

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!

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad ELF FLEX Elf on the Shelf Accessories Upgrade Kit by ELF DOCTOR: Perfect for your Elf on the Shelf Girl or Elf on the Shelf Boy - Make The Elf on the Shelf Doll Flexible and Bendable

The night we forgot to move our elf

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!

Does your girl elf need some accessories?

This Snowflake Skirt & Scarf set from Amazon Prime is under $10.00 and makes a great addition for your elf! 4.5 stars and an Amazon’s Choice product lets you know this is loved by parents and kids across the globe too.

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on The Shelf Snowflake Skirt & Scarf on Amazon Prime

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf making a snow angel in sugar

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf playing dominoes

3. STUFFED IN A STOCKING – Stuff that Elf into one of your Christmas stockings for a fun and lightning-quick solution!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf stuck in a stocking

4. STUCK IN THE CHRISTMAS TREE – Another lightning quick solution! Got 10 seconds?  Stick your Elf anywhere in your Christmas tree.
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf stuck in a 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!)
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf drinking through a straw

Got a pet-lover in your house?

Get your elf a Plush St. Bernard! It’s sure to please your kids. 5 stars 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!

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on The Shelf EPSB Pets: A St. Bernard Tradition Plush

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
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf spelling messages with MnM's

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf baking mini loaves

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.
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf playing with Woody and Jessie from Toy Story

9. MARSHMALLOW BATH – Got a bathroom sink and a bag of mini marshmallows handy? Time for Elf to take a marshmallow bath!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf having a bath in a sink filled with mini marshmallows

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf The Elf's Story DVD

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf dolls next to a gingerbread house

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf on a shelf reading a book

13. GOT AN ETCH A SKETCH HANDY? – Have your Elf on the Shelf leave the kids a message or drawing
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf spelling words on an Etch-a-Sketch

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf devastated sports fan

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf playing with puzzels

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf making a midnight snack

Got a Rudolph lover in your house?

No self-respecting elf of Santa’s is complete without their very own Reindeer Pet!

4.5 stars 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!

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf Pets Reindeer

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
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf teaching other smaller toys

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf hiding inside of a boot

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf brushing teeth in the bathroom

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf swinging upside down from a candy cane trapeze

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.
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf captured and taped to the wall by other toys

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf using a cell phone

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.
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf flirting with Barbie dolls

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf eating Nutella

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf riding on a stuffed animal with a nutcracker watching

26. WRECKING BALL – Miley Cyrus isn’t the only one coming in like a wrecking ball this year!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf riding a wrecking ball like Miley Cyrus

Want the Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas Accessory?

Get the Elf on The Shelf Scout Elves at Play Kit from Amazon.  4.5 stars and well over 100 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.

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on The Shelf Scout Elves at Play Kit

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf about to deface a family album with a sharpie

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf being attacked by Buzz Lightyear

29. SELFIES! – Elves naturally have big egos and love to take selfies of themselves! Got a camera?  You’re done!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf playing with a 35mm camera

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!
elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf making copies on a copier

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 mischievous ideas Middle Class Dad Elf on the Shelf leaving a note before flying home for the season

Did I cover all the best Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas?

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?

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elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Jeff Campbell Middle Class Dad bio

elf on the shelf mischievous ideas Photo credits (that aren’t mine):
Snow Angel & Candy Spelling & baking & Toy Story & Etch a Sketch & devastated sports Elf & teaching – https://www.flickr.com/photos/peapodsquadmom/
Shadows – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gagilas/
Stocking & Tree & drinking & Reading & Puzzle & snacks – https://www.flickr.com/photos/baylors/
Marshmallow Bath – https://graceplumbingservicesinc.wordpress.com/
Gingerbread House – https://twitter.com/BuyDotExpress/status/803449234565529600/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Hiding in Boot – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elf_on_the_Shelf_poses_03.JPG
Tooth Brush – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41334324
IMG_5604 – by aaron_anderer is licensed under CC 2.0
2012 Elf on the Shelf – Snowy – by Mark Baylor is licensed under CC 2.0
Ladies man 🙂 – by The Wu’s Photo Land is licensed under CC 2.0
sipping the fine nutella – by Anathea Utley is licensed under CC 2.0
AND TONIGHT WE RIDE!!! – by Anathea Utley is licensed under CC 2.0
He came in like a wrecking ball… – by Jon Skilling is licensed under CC 2.0
Cheeky Little Elf – by Palmer House Photography is licensed under CC 2.0
Shelf Elf’s last night – by cyclotourist is licensed under CC 2.0

Some of the images used in this post were acquired from the web and are considered “fair use” under US Copyright law given this post is for the purposes of reviewing these products. That being said if the original photographer prefers us to not use their photo, we will happily swap them out upon being contacted.

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