60 Super-Cute Elf on the Shelf Ideas

He’s baaaack! Where will he turn up next? We’ve rounded up the best Elf on the Shelf ideas to surprise your little one with more magic this season.
save article
profile picture of Suelain Moy
Updated December 8, 2023
elf sitting in christmas tree
Image: PhotosByMegann | Shutterstock

Elf on the Shelf, the best-selling children’s book character and bendy North Pole personality, has become a holiday classic, right up there with tinsel, holiday lights, eggnog and fruitcake. Keep the kids guessing with these easy Elf on the Shelf ideas, using stuff you have lying around the house. From cleverly cute Elf on the Shelf ideas to those that are downright hilarious, the creative (and mischievous) possibilities are endless!

A T. Swift Takeover

Taylor Swift has taken the world by storm this year, and even the elves are getting in on the fun. Friendship bracelets and a jersey for Taylor’s new boo, Travis Kelce, complete this easy setup.

Digging for Loose Change

If you are looking for a last-minute idea, it doesn’t get much better than this. This elf is taking a tour of the couch crack in pursuit of a little spare change.

Eye-Pad for Elves

Make way for plenty of fun and the puns. For little ones craving tech toys, the elves deliver quite the surprise—an iPad—just in a slightly different form.

Snowflake Fun

This elf has strayed a little far from the shelf and found its way to the snowflake factory—also known as the toilet paper roll.

Eggs for Breakfast

The elves show off their culinary chops in this cute scene. In a sweet twist, they ditch traditional eggs for Chocolate Kinder Eggs full of fun surprises.

A Double Elf Feature

The Elf on the Shelf teams up with everyone’s favorite movie elf, Buddy, for plenty of toy-tastic fun.

A Frozen Elf

Frozen lovers unite! Elsa is is keeping the elves mischief at bay with her powers.

A Special Sponge Cake

The recipe for this cake may have gone a little awry, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do their best.


These elves are making friends with some world-saving superheroes. Iron Man helps this duo fly high.

Related Video

Melted Friends

Snow friends are better kept outside, but this elf couldn’t help but try to bring the magic indoors!

Elves at Work

The holidays sure are busy for elves! This one is just finishing up the last of your gift-wrapping.

911 Elf

Put your kids’ heap of emergency vehicles to good holiday use! (Especially if they already come in Christmas colors.)

Deer Elf

… And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a cute little elf playing with a tiny reindeer.

Uninvited Guests

Those silly elves are always crashing the parties of other toys, aren’t they? This pair showed up at a Smurf fest, but, as far as easy Elf on the Shelf ideas go, you can create equally funny scenes on board the Millennium Falcon or at Paw Patrol Command Center.

Flour Power

Spilled baking ingredients form the backdrop in this Elf on a Shelf kitchen scene—not from making cookies, but snow angels! A baking sheet and some flour make the perfect (and easy-to-clean-up) setting.

Elf on Stilts

Silly Elf! He’s gotten a hold of your wrapping-paper tubes and is using them as stilts. Don’t forget to add large or oversized shoes at the bottom.

Sugar Buzz

This elf’s sweet tooth led him to the sweetest spot in the house. As with all funny Elf on the Shelf ideas, feel free to improvise. This idea works with candy jars too.

Cereal Offender

While elves don’t typically appear on cereal boxes, they sure look good popping out of one! We like the way jordynns_mommy23 was able to think out of the box with this idea.

Soft Landings

After a hard day of holiday prep, let your Elf on the Shelf plop into this pillowy soft bed of marshmallows. It’s one of the cutest of the cute Elf on the Shelf ideas we’ve seen (and extremely easy)!

Pool Party

The elves have gotten into baby’s bathtime toys and turned your tub into an elfin water park! Heighten the effect with blue dye, and don’t forget the flamingos!

Dashing Through the Snow

Take a cue from Santa with an elf-driven sled of My Little Ponies (or other toys animals up for the job) and some string. Those are some strange-looking reindeer!

Chandelier Elf

The mischievous elf has channeled Sia and is swinging from the chandelier! The more ornate, the better with this Elf on the Shelf idea. Just make sure there’s no fan!

Window Dressing

Keep a few easy Elf on the Shelf ideas in your back pocket for when you need one last minute. This cute pair, propped by the window sill, makes any view more picture-perfect. Tape up a few festive paper snowflakes to up the winter-wonderland effect.

Shopaholic Elf

Attention, holiday shoppers! Steal your kid’s toy grocery cart and doll clothes, and let the elves get their errands done already!

Step Right Up!

Your elf will be a shoe-in this holiday season with some trendy footwear. A multitude may have gathered in this family’s shoe closet, but even one mischief-maker placed strategically in your child’s little shoes will have her giggling all the way to school.

Star Wars Elves

They’re no Jedi knights, but they sure get pretty feisty with your kid’s light sabers. Blaring soundtrack optional.

Oops! Elf Did It Again

It’s hard to land off the shelf without a few boo-boos. Luckily, with a few bandages, your elf will be as good as new.

Bright Idea

As far as funny Elf on the Shelf ideas go, this is a classic. Leave the dude tangled in holiday lights at the foot of the tree for an unforgettable elf-in-the-lights moment.

Disney Elf

Tonight, the role of the Prince will be played by Elf on the Shelf—whether it’s Frozen or any other Disney universe your child likes to create.

Jewelry Heist

Those elves get into everything! Dangle a couple of necklaces from above and let your acrobatic elves swing on them.

Hungry Elf

Time to eat the donuts! This skinny guy is capable of inhaling twice his weight in sprinkles and frosting.

Up, Up and Away!

Balloons are a much breezier way to travel compared to that big ol’ sleigh and all those reindeer, say these elves.

Elf Cat Nap

This Elf on the Shelf idea probably won’t stay put long enough for your kids to see it in the morning, but it sure makes for a cute Instagram post.

Pokemon Go

Looking for awesome Elf on the Shelf ideas? Unleash your Pokemon stash, and have your elf catch them all.

Holiday Knits

Keep your Elf on the Shelf warm ’n snug in Barbie-doll-size Christmas sweaters. Armed with a choice tree ornament, these two are now ready to go sledding!

Elf Games

Here’s one of our favorite quick Elf on the Shelf ideas. Borrow your kid’s party-favor game and have a pair of elves match wits with each other. We spot four in a row, but when you’re an elf, apparently you just keep playing!

The Doctor Will See You Now

With a play stethoscope, your elf is a certified MD. Here, it’s Elmo’s turn for a checkup. Now, if only Dr. Elf could find his ears….

Superhero Elf

Turn your Elf on the Shelf into a comic book hero with your child’s collection of action figures. There’s nothing fairy dust can’t save!

Blend In

Your Elf fell off the shelf, and now he’s trapped in the blender! Will he escape the clutches of evil? Why, yes—because you astutely unplugged the appliance first.

Brexit Elf

The grown-ups at home will appreciate the intrepid wayfarer cast in current events. (Kids will just appreciate that he’s making mischief—again!).

Hamilton Elf

Here’s a clever tribute to the Broadway musical, Hamilton. As for the room where it happens, anywhere you can show it off to guests will work.

Cinematic Elf

Many funny Elf on the Shelf ideas find their inspiration from movie classics, old and new. Here, he’s home alone!

An Elf in A Pear Tree

Looking for creative Elf on the Shelf ideas that double as holiday decor? With a whole lot of felt, you too can craft a tribute to the 12 days of Christmas—with Elf stealing the spotlight, of course.

Squeaky Clean Elf

This will wake your child up when he brushes his teeth half-asleep in the morning. Even elves need to shower, albeit in their red suit.

Teepee Elf

Sometimes an elf just needs some “me” time. Set this up next to your kid’s teepee, if she has one—and watch her revel in the discovery.

Sack Race

Ready, set, go! Your superheroes may have special powers, but they’ve got nothing on elves when it comes to kids’ party games!

Trapeze Artists

Wheeeee! Turn your elves into aerial artists, Candyland style. Here, they’re happily suspended on candy canes and red twine.


Let us spell it out for you: There’s no need to purchase props, when you already have so much material available to use around the house—like Scrabble! Extra elf mischief: Form holiday words with the tiles.

Elf on Film

What does an Elf on the Shelf watch on movie night? Elf’ of course! Don’t forget the popcorn.

It’s a Small World

Your Elf on the Shelf looks like a giant when juxtaposed with small figurines, such as ornaments and Lego figures. This Elf is preaching the spirit of Christmas to a spellbound audience.

Party Elves

Cupcakes make for a substantial birthday cake when you’re an elf. Roll it in extra frosting and sprinkles, and poke in a candle or two.

Gingerbread Elves

Looks like these Tiny House Hunters may have gone too far! At least they can eat it for breakfast.

Busy Bakers

Who could possibly bake this many cookies at once (except for sleep-deprived parents)? Elves, that’s who!

Charting the Way

How did elves find their way to your house? By doing it the old-fashioned way: Using a map!

Picture This

What better activity than flipping through the family photo album on a wintry day? So much more fun than swiping on a smartphone.

Luggage Tag(-alongs)

Looks like these elves are following their family to Disneyland. Good news! Elves fly free.

Monkeying Around

When you’re an Elf on the Shelf, Christmas decorations are just a more festive variation of a jungle gym.

Beauty Queen Elf

Your little princess isn’t the only one sneaking into your makeup (though it looks like this lucky Elf on the Shelf has her very own mini makeup set).

Snow Elves

There’s nothing like a fun winter outing in the snow. Or on a white Christmas tree skirt.

Thirsty Elves

After a long day of mischief-making, a refreshing bottle of maple syrup really hits the spot.

save article

Next on Your Reading List

Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List