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Mediocre Elf on the Shelf Ideas for the rest of us.

elf on a shelf ideas

OK, so there are plenty of sites out there with really fancy Elf on the Shelf ideas.  This isn’t one of those posts!  I’m kinda all about minimal effort, but still enjoyable for the kiddies Elf on a Shelf ideas.  I’m gonna be honest, I am not a big fan of the whole Elf on the Shelf hullabaloo, but the kids are.  Want some Mediocre Elf on the Shelf Ideas?  Because I have tons of those.

I don’t really get the premise – Santa sends an elf to watch kids behave and then when the kids go to bed the elf does naughty stuff? *sigh*  I’m just not into it.  That being said, kids are only little for so long, and we know Christmas magic is on it’s way out.  This past year our big kids were seven and I was just happy that they still believed in Santa and the elf.  So we humored them, but I mean, we weren’t gonna make a mess.  Our house was already a bit of a construction zone and I just didn’t need another mess to clean up.  So anyway, I thought I would share how we do “Elf on the Shelf” – no, there are no elaborate set ups with zip lines or fishing in the toilet, but guess what – our kids laughed every morning.

OK – so let’s keep it easy peasy!

Step one – get the cheap plush elf – because – again, we aren’t that committed.

Step two – DON’T bring that elf out the day after Thanksgiving like the rest of the country.  Bring him out the first day of Winter break for the kids.  They still get a week or two with the elf, but you don”t have to come up with ideas for a whole month – just a week or two.  We made the mistake last year of bringing him out the day after Thanksgiving – HUGE mistake!  Less work for mom (or dad), still fun for the kiddies if you bring him out a bit later – win win.  Also, we noticed that the kids were still into Elf being silly, but were kinda over behaving for him after the first week.  Bringing him out a little later keeps him fresh.

Step three – when the kids don’t respect the Elf let them know he went on vacation, that they can write a note and another elf can pick it up on his way back to the North Pole, otherwise, Elf will just take the rest of the month off.  This happened twice for us.  Twice, in about 3 weeks time…..  but Elf being gone for a day really encourages kids to turn it around.

Step four – remember to move your Elf around – but only do something funny/special/etc if they had a REALLY good day – as a reward for awesome behavior.  Our kids enjoyed the following silliness…………..

Have him show his #DisneySide by wearing some Disney ears – see how basically he is just on a shelf…. but he is wearing a hat so the kids were cracking up!


Playing Dress Up in Sister’s necklace display


The following was after a couple really awesome days – Toilet Papering the tree.  This is about as messy as we got.  Our son told everyone we came in contact with the entire week how Elf toilet papered the tree.  They all thought it was awesome!


A couple other mediocre Elf On The Shelf Ideas….

  • sitting above the fridge
  • hanging from a chandelier
  • hanging from a ceiling fan
  • hiding in the Christmas Tree
  • hand in the cookie jar – make sure to put a half eaten cookie right next to him
  • riding a stuffed horse (or as pictured at the top – a reindeer)

We always have Elf spend Christmas Eve remembering the reason for the season…..


So it isn’t powdered sugar snow angels or zip lining with barbie………… but my kids still were excited every morning to find where Rudy the Elf had moved to, no matter how mediocre.  My only advice to you – start with the bar low, if you bust out something crazy in the beginning you are gonna need to keep it up!  Happy holidays friends!

Until Next Time ~ Kate
Categories:  Entertainment, Family, Kids
  1. audrey says:

    I love this blog post! I’ve used some of these easy ones.

  2. Kristene Hanson says:

    Love these ideas

  3. Andrea C says:

    Love this — I’m far too busy to get fancy with our elf!

  4. Lorry Curtis says:

    Love this. Need to try it next Christmas.

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