25 Last Minute Simple Elf On The Shelf Ideas.

Here we have the complete elf on the shelf ideas list, just one of our amazing Christmas printables for you to download today! 

It’s that time of the year again when millions of parents everywhere dig out the Elf on the shelf and embark on a 25-day nightmare of thinking of elf ideas and hours of planning over these innocent little elf people. In this post, we are going to give you some amazingly simple elf on the shelf ideas designed as a quick and easy get out when you’ve forgotten to move the little blighter during the night!

We have all woken in a blind panic at about 6 am remembering that we’ve forgotten to prep the night before and scurry downstairs trying desperately not to wake the kids and be discovered! The elf on the shelf can be a source of anxiety for even the coolest of parents!

That is why I created this emergency cheat sheet checklist of super easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas, for when you’ve completely forgotten and only have seconds to spare! Full of super simple tips to get you out of the Elf on the shelf chaos! these ideas take no planning, some don’t even need any props and all are amazingly simple to execute without getting caught! 

We all know that most kids get up before their parents so I’m going to give you some excuses and cheats to help you cope with the nights you’ve forgotten and been discovered by your child!

It is a super simple, elf on the shelf for toddlers, easy ideas printable checklist so you can see right away which ideas you have already done,  print it off and stash it in your planner or wherever is convenient for you away from the prying eyes of the family!

There are 25 very simple no prep ideas so you can forget every single night in November and December right up until Christmas and we’ve got you covered!

It’s hard to stay on top of things when you work long hours and have Christmas looming, I believe in making things easy so here we go with the  25 simple  Elf on the shelf ideas Christmas countdown!

Simple elf on the shelf ideas checklist

simple elf on the shelf ideas checklist

Simple elf on the shelf ideas 

  1. Elf unravels the toilet paper, wrap the Elf in toilet paper, then throw him down the stairs unravelling as you go!
  2. Elf eats crisps, have the elf upside down in a packet of your kids favourite crisps, make sure to make a mess!
  3. Elf brushes teeth, use your child’s toothbrush and make a mess with the toothpaste!
  4.  Elf takes a selfie, hide the elf and leave a selfie on the iPad for the kids to find!
  5. Elf makes a snow angel in flour or takes a bath in flour if you need to be quicker!
  6. Elf wraps christmas tree in cling film, this is not such a quick one but good if you won’t wake the kids!
  7. Elf drives toy car, this is a great one for speed if you’ll pardon the pun and even better if you can get two elves racing!
  8. Elf taps on the window, lock him outside and have him tapping on the window to get in! My six year old loved this one!
  9. Elf sits in the car, have him driving or strapped in the car seat, this one is great when the kids have misbehaved because they think the elf has gone home until they discover him in the car!
  10. Elf has a bath sit him in the bath with a bar of soap and a shower cap on
  11. Elf drinks honey through a straw. put a straw in a bottle of honey or syrup and let him drink!
  12. Elf eats chocolate or candy cane,  if you dare get him to eat a window of the advent calendar, smear some around his mouth
  13. Turns the milk green to elf milk put a spot of food colouring into a glass of milk leave a note from the North Pole telling them to enjoy their elf milk!
  14. Draws on picture frames, get a whiteboard marker and draw silly faces, moustaches, spectacles etc on all the school photos (as long as they are covered by glass in a frame). this was a favourite in our house last year!
  15. Draw faces on fruit,  great for bananas and tangerines even better if you’ve got time to stick googly eyes on!
  16. Pack a horrid lunch box, fill with raw potatoes, cans of pet food a block of cheese etc zip it up then leave a note from the elf which says he’s packed their lunch, let them look inside! My kids love this one!
  17. Elf rides a stuffed toy, dinosaur, elephant, the bigger the better and better with two elves, have them race!
  18. Elf builds lego,  have him play lego with the other toys such as Batman, Barbie, Mr Potato Head, think Toy Story here!
  19. Elf colours in,  have him sitting colouring in with your child’s favourite pens, join in the other toys too.
  20. Elf drinks coke,  sit one or two elves on the edge of the coke can with a straw to drink from, you might need to shorten the straw.
  21. Elf makes breakfast, get the elves to make cereal and make a little mess, have the elf eat a  little bit of the breakfast and have them leave a note stating that they made it!
  22. Hides in the bookbag,  hide the elf in the book bag, have him poking out so the kids can find him, this is best done on a Friday or Saturday when they are not using their bookbag!
  23. Wears a sock as a hat, put one of your kid’s socks on the elf as a hat, Christmas socks are even better.
  24. Wears dolls clothes,  grab any clothes that fit  from a doll or action figure and put it on the elf
  25. Trap him in a glass jar and put him in the fridge!

Simple Elf on the shelf ideas for arrival

I usually like to make the elves arrive in style so I tend to write a letter from Santa explaining what the elves are here to do. I usually leave a delicious continental style breakfast and also set a place at the table for the elves. I also leave a little gift for the kids from the elves and explain in the letter from Santa that it is for their achievements throughout the year ( I usually write a list of things they’ve done well.)

Elf on the shelf  arrival letter from Santa

simple elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf arrival letter from Santa

Elf colouring pages

To go along with your child’s letter to Santa and simple elf on the shelf ideas, I’ve created these lovely Elf colouring pages for you to print off and leave with their letter as a reward for their achievements this year. There are ten free Elf colouring pages in total and 3 worksheets for them to fill in. These are also great for taking to a restaurant for your little ones to colour, or when you’re working from home and need to keep your little ones occupied. To download all these fabulous Christmas elf colouring pages watch out for my next post coming soon!

Frequently asked Q&A

What should you do if your kid catches you hiding the elf on the shelf?  I’d go for a big fat lie at this stage and pretend that the elf had fallen and hurt himself and that Santa called and asked you to help him out. Then I’d pretend to put the elf to bed and let him rest for a couple of days while you recover from the trauma!

Can you touch an elf on the shelf?   I tell my kids not to touch the elves as it makes them more magical, and keeps things slightly more mysterious, more importantly it makes it easier to find the little terror at 1 o’clock in the morning when you need to move your elf, no having to prize it out of a sleeping child’s grasp!

How can I remember to move the elf each night when I’m so busy? This one is a tough one, especially around Christmas time when there is so much else to do! It’s especially difficult if you’ve got kids that get up during the night! I set an alarm every night on my phone to remind me before I go to bed that I have to do it, I found that this is the only way to stay on top of this nightly pain in the neck!

what do I do if I forget and my child sees that their elf hasn’t moved?  I think it’s a good idea to have a few prop cards handy for when you forget, you could  “find a note” to say that the cat or dog touched the elf so that’s why he didn’t move or something similar to that!

Can I use the elf on the shelf to encourage good behaviour in my kids?  Many parents use report cards from the elf which are left each morning when the elf on the shelf moves. The child is advised by Santa Claus in the elf arrival letter that their behaviour will be monitored by their elves and any bad behaviour and good behaviour respectively will be marked down on a report card and sent straight to Santa each day. I think it’s important to encourage kindness and politeness to others and to focus on positive behaviour when using your elf report cards! My kids love seeing all the good reports from the elves and enjoy getting a full report from Santa when the elves say goodbye!  especially when they know they’re on the good list!

What are some good names for elves?  You can name your elf whatever you like, just like humans they suit any name. My daughter named her elf Nancy after a cat we used to have and my son named his Kevin after his dad! let your kids choose as that’s part of the fun of the elf on the shelf arrival. some examples of cute names for an elf are

  • Twinkle 
  • Dusty
  • Cinnamon
  • Smudge 
  • Pippa
  • Rex
  • Mungo
  • Bambam
  • Lucy 
  • Nancy
  • Sid
  • Billy

What should  I write in an elf arrival letter? I like to make my letter from Santa as the Elves live at his workshop. It’s also a great way to summarise all the things your kids have done well and to recognise all the hard work they’ve been doing throughout out the year.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you’d like to sign up to our weekly updates and get an exclusive code to our free printables library just click on the button below!

If you’ve enjoyed these simple elf on the shelf ideas, why not pin them, so it’s ready for you to print out later!

simple elf on the shelf ideas for when you've forgotten
Last minute elf on the shelf ideas for when you've forgotten!

For more ideas on Christmas organising, you might like to read Flyladys Holiday Missions.    

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