Many of you probably have one of these little guys hanging around your house right about now:
Allow me to introduce you to our Elf on the Shelf, “Pepperoni,” so named by my daughter, Harper, when she was two.
I confess, my relationship with Pepperoni is of the love/hate variety. I love the idea: that one of Santa’s elves has taken up residence in our home for the month of December, that he is always watching, that he loses his magic if tiny hands touch him, and that he reports to Santa each night my daughter’s good or bad deeds. He is my biggest threat when my child starts acting up around Christmastime: “Pepperoni is watching, Harper! You’d better straighten up so he doesn’t tell Santa about this tonight!” I revere him for the almost instant improvement in behavior.
I adore that my daughter’s first question every December morning when she wakes is, “Where is that sneaky Pepperoni hiding today?” I love her excitement as she embarks on her daily game of hide & seek with our elf, and I especially love the look on her face when her quest culminates with his discovery.
What I hate, however, is the panic that ensues when my husband & I are lying in bed, moments away from drifting off to sleep, and I suddenly remember that—DANG IT!—we forgot to move Pepperoni to a new hiding place for the following day. This has happened on more than one occasion: myself and my exhausted husband, standing in the kitchen in our pajamas, elf in hand, daring each other to conjure a creative solution at 11:30 at night.
I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you have found yourself in the same boat.
Which is why I hereby present my list of 24 creative Elf on the Shelf ideas—one for every day in December until Christmas. Use this as a cheat sheet for those times when your intentions are good but your creative bank is overdrawn. (I won’t tell Santa, I promise!)
With a little pre-planning and five minutes of your time, your child(ren) can find your Elf…
- Hosting a “North Pole Breakfast” in honor of his arrival (with donuts, hot cocoa, and a couple of stocking stuffer-style surprises)
- “Fishing” for Goldfish (e.g., using a paint brush with string & a paperclip tied on the end)
- Having a “Date Night” with Barbie or a Disney Princess
- Reading a mini-book to stuffed animals or action figures
- Using food coloring to dye the milk green
- Streaming a piece of toilet paper to count down the days to Christmas
- Feeding the family pet—and writing a message or smiley face with the kibble
- Building a miniature gingerbread house out of toothpicks & mini-marshmallows
- Enjoying a “Spa Day” with mini-marshmallows & a rubber ducky
- Creating a handwritten card for your child
- Playing Candyland with other stuffed animals
- Writing a message to your child in flour or pancake mix
- Replacing framed pictures along the wall with print-outs of his own photo
- Having a marshmallow fight with princesses or action figures
- Writing a message in the sink with toothpaste
- Being taken hostage by “bad guys” (e.g., tied up with string next to a bunch of action figures)
- Taking a nap in a Kleenex box
- Zip-lining from chandeliers or ceiling fans
- Placing crepe paper across the door of your child’s room
- Building a candy cane or Christmas tree out of blocks
- Covering the wall with messages on Post-It notes
- Making snowflakes out of Q-tips
- Hosting a fashion show and modeling princess or doll clothes
- Making funny faces on a framed photo of your child with a dry erase marker
Happy holidays and Elf on the Shelf-hunting to all!
What did your children name your family’s Elf on the Shelf? What are some of your most memorable Elf hiding spots?