Genius Elf on the Shelf Ideas That'll Keep the Whole Family Entertained
Some of the best holiday traditions kick off around the first week of December—including welcoming the wonderful Elf on the Shelf into your home. As you begin to decorate your home with a strong dose of Christmas spirit, you'll start imagining all the ways that the Elf can come to life in your home. Every December, the Elf finds its way onto your shelves after traveling from the North Pole to watch over little boys and girls, reporting back to Santa Claus himself on their behavior each night. The Elf on the Shelf is known to have fun while keeping a playful eye on kids, if anything.
A treasured tradition for everyone involved, coming up with new ways for the Elf to get into mischief while little ones are asleep isn't an easy feat. The original Elf on the Shelf tale, which was released as a book in 2005, sets the stage for the basics of welcoming an Elf into your home; it's since been published in three different languages (French, Spanish, and Japanese) and made into an animated movie that's enjoyed by hundreds of thousands across the globe (An Elf's Story). We know that the Elf is meant to spread a bit of seasonal cheer, especially for little ones who hunt for him every morning in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but a bit of inspiration is always helpful.
These lighthearted and silly Elf on the Shelf ideas make the best of your crafting skills and supplies. From inspired ideas for your mantle or bookshelf to blueprints that actually have your Elf hanging off the rafters (literally!), we're sharing our favorite ideas for having the Elf pop up in new, exciting places.
The History of the Elf on the Shelf
Before the Elf seemingly captured the hearts of every family at Christmas, he was simply a childhood tradition for a mother-and-daughter duo, Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, who co-authored the children's illustrated book, The Elf on the Shelf. But the Elf has gone onto star in an animated movie of his own that airs on CBS seasonally, in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as a massive float, and even in a line of couture known as The Claus Couture Collection. The Elf's journey to become a symbol of Christmas fun wasn't easy, though; the creative minds behind our jolly friend struggled to convince the world that this holiday tradition would be such a big hit with families everywhere. Read more on how The Elf on the Shelf inspired a cult-like following for Christmas lovers everywhere.
Keep Them in Stitches
Catch your scout elf getting crafting with a pair of small-scale knitting needles. Red-and-white striped baker's twine stands in for yarn to create a scarf with a peppermint-inspired color scheme.
Hit the Slopes
Let your fearless scout elf soar over snow-capped mountains (or at least take a ride down the railing!). Construct a zip line out of a length of red ribbon across a doorway or along a banister, and have him hang onto a candy-cane handle bar with the help of some white thread. A dusting of fake snow completes the scene.
Leave a Glitter Trail
It's no secret where your scout elf has been sneaking around during the night; the telltale traces of glitter linger days later. Use colorful glitter to make a trail of tiny elf footprints, perhaps leading to a craft station or a new coloring book.
Get Snowed In
Making paper snowflakes doesn't get any easier than using a craft punch. Even a little scout elf is capable of cutting out a few—or a few dozen—snowflakes in a matter of minutes. String them into a garland so it looks like your elf has been hard at work decking the halls.
Take the Wrap
The Elf on the Shelf may be Santa's friendly helper, but that doesn’t mean you can't enlist her as your gift-wrap assistant, too. Surround your elf in a tangle of ribbons, and wrap a ring box for an elf-size gift.
Countdown to Christmas
Help your elf drum up excitement for the big day with a classic Christmas countdown using modern crafts supplies. Use chalkboard paint and wood-grain paper to construct a mini chalkboard easel your elf can update each night.
Make Your Mark
Your elf may not have the dexterity to handwrite a holiday card, but attaching alphabet rubber stamps to the bottoms of his feet will help him spell things out. By stomping first on an inkpad, then on a folded piece of card stock, he can create cards with simple greetings.
Sculpt a Snowman
Afraid your elf is homesick for the North Pole? Help him feel at home by replicating one of his favorite cold-weather activities. Use white air-dry clay to build a snowman that will harden—rather than melt—as he sits out. Be sure to reserve extra clay in case your kids are inspired to roll a few snowballs of their own.