27 Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Busy Parents

If your children enjoy the annual elf on the shelf tradition and you’re currently trying to come up with fun and simple elf on the shelf ideas, you’ve come to the right place

Sometimes, between the holiday baking and the Santa letter writing, you don’t have the time to go full out on an elaborate idea for the elf on the shelf. Even if you do have the time, you may not want to have to do it every day.

Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas

If you want some simple but creative ideas, continue reading to discover 27 cute ideas that your kids will love. Make sure you also check out these easy stocking stuffer ideas for the whole family.

Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas:

27 simple elf ideas for busy parents
  1. Before your children get up in the morning, create a makeshift blanket fort. Place your elf inside it with a few pillows. This will give the illusion that your elf camped out in your living room.

  2. Place your elf on top of your children’s favorite cereal box one morning. Make it look as if your elf has eaten some of your children’s cereal. Make sure to place your chosen cereal box on top of your dining or kitchen table. This way your kids will easily spot your elf.

  3. Set up a tea party using your elf and your children’s favorite dolls and stuffed animals to delight your children. This is an excellent idea if you own a toy teacup set.

  4. Place your elf on a shelf inside your children’s dollhouse. If your elf is too big to fit in your dollhouse, simply sit it on top of your dollhouse’s roof.

  5. Position your elf as if it’s playing a board game such as Monopoly or Candyland against another toy such as a Barbie. If you choose Monopoly, give your elf lots of money and properties as if it’s winning.

  6. Hide your elf on one of your Christmas tree’s branches, to see which of your children spots it first. If it’s not spotted, move it to a more prominent, visible spot.

  7. Place your elf on top of a toy horse or a stuffed animal such as a cuddly elephant. Alternatively, you could place your elf on top of a decorative reindeer instead.

  8. Leave a simple hand-drawn treasure map out, which features an x to represent your hiding spot for your elf, such as a closet. Then place your elf in the space with a few chocolate coins or Christmas themed chocolates.

  9. Tuck your elf in your child’s bed. Make sure to place its head on your child’s pillow and cover its body with your child’s blanket. Alternatively, you could cover your elf’s head so that only it’s hat sticks out.

  10. Position your elf so that just its hat sticks out of one of your family members’ Christmas stocking.

  11. Sit your elf on one of the seats in the back of your family car. Make sure to place a seatbelt across your elf on a shelf as if it’s ready to go for a drive. You can even put your elf behind the steering wheel of your car.
    27 Easy Elf Ideas for Busy Parents

  12. Open up one of your children’s books to a random page and place your elf as if it is reading a bedtime story to some of your children’s stuffed toys.

  13. Position your elf so that your children will see its reflection in a large mirror, such as a bathroom mirror or a mirror in one of your children’s rooms.

  14. Place your elf in a large toy car so that it looks like your elf has been driving throughout your house when your kids aren’t watching. If there’s room for two, place another doll in your car with your elf.

  15. Build something simple such as a Christmas tree out of Legos, and position your elf as if it built it to amaze your children. Or you could create a Lego elf instead. You can get instructions for making one here.

  16. Hide your elf inside one of your children’s backpacks. When they go to place an item inside it, they will get a surprise when they find your elf on a shelf.

  17. Place your elf next to a handwritten letter to Santa as if your elf on a shelf was sending a list of gifts that he or she would like to receive from Santa for Christmas.

  18. Hide your elf behind the curtain in your living room. However, make sure that its legs stick out so that your kids will spot your elf’s hiding spot. Your children will love spotting your elf’s long legs sticking out.

  19. Sit your elf on your sofa and place your TV remote next to it as if it’s been binge-watching movies and TV shows all day. You may even want to put a couple of pieces of popcorn next to it.

  20. Hide your elf inside a long sock and place it in one of your children’s sock draw. They won’t expect your family elf on the shelf to be hiding inside their sock drawer.

  21. Place a small marshmallow on each end of a toothpick to make an elf on the shelf size weight for your elf to bench press.

  22. Tie your elf up with dental floss and place it next to your children’s toothbrushes. Your children will then find your elf when they brush their teeth in the morning.

  23. Fill your kitchen or bathroom sink and use a container that floats as a makeshift boat for your elf on a shelf. Just be sure to choose your container wisely so that your elf doesn’t get wet.

  24. Set up a scene that looks like your elf has been wrapping presents. As an example, you could have your elf sitting next to a roll of tape.

  25. Turn your newspaper to the puzzle section and fill out part of the crossword before placing your elf and a pen in front of your newspaper.

  26. Set up your children’s gaming console as if your elf has been playing video games all day.

  27. Carefully roll a roll of toilet paper down your staircase and place your elf inside your toilet roll. To insinuate that your elf has been up to a bit of mischief.

If your children love searching for your elf on a shelf, use the simple elf on the shelf ideas listed above. This will be sure to help get your family into the holiday spirit. Also, you won’t have to spend too much time on this fun family tradition.

Make sure you check out all of the free Christmas printables on this site here.

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27 Elf Ideas for Busy Parents

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