Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas 15 Seconds Free

The 49 BEST Fast Ideas for Elf on the Shelf

Let’s Keep This Simple

It’s that time of year again. Love it or hate it “elf” season has arrived. There are many schools of thought on this issue. Some are of the ‘go ALL OUT’ mindset and enjoy creating elaborate dioramas for their elf on the daily. Some (the smart ones) never introduce the elf concept at all. For the rest of us, we hover somewhere between. We have introduced the elf, thus permanently damning us to continuing and thus, the endless quest for ideas begins. If you are at all like me, the elf is rather low on the priority list, but a task I still must deal with.

So, here we are. It is time to streamline and make this process more easy and manageable for all of us. I am going to give you 49 AMAZING ideas for your elf on the shelf that (mostly) take around 15 seconds. I have divided the list up by the room the idea would most typically work; however, feel free to move them around in a way that works best for you.


  • Elf is washing his hands
  • Elf is wrapped in a hand towel
  • Elf is in the shower/bath
  • Elf has used a dry erase marker to write on the mirror
  • Elf has unrolled all the toilet paper
  • Elf is on the potty (or potty-training potty)
  • Elf is wrapped up in a roll of toilet paper


  • Elf is taking a bath in a bowl of marshmallows
  • Elf is in or by a box of cookies (add crumbs to his mouth)
  • Elf has a fork in a plate of food
  • Elf is stirring cocoa with a candy cane.
  • Elf is in the fridge–You could even add a mini blanket for him
  • Elf makes a tower out of canned food
  • Elf hides in a clear container. BONUS (the kids can now carry him around as they aren’t “touching” him.
  • Elf makes snow angels (here you could use flour, powdered sugar, salt, cornstarch or even rice).


  • Elf is tucked in for the night in a doll bed
  • Elf is peeking from behind the curtains
  • Elf is hanging up clothing
  • Elf is in the laundry bin
  • Elf is hiding under the bed
  • Elf is in a box of tissues


  • Elf is hanging lights or ornaments on the tree
  • Elf has selected a DVD to be viewed that evening
  • Elf is cleaning up a mess. This could be broom, spray cleaner, cloth, whatever.
  • Elf is driving a toy car.
  • Elf is putting on (or wearing) hats or mittens
  • Elf is hiding in a stocking
  • Elf has wrapped himself in wrapping paper
  • Elf bring a new book or movie
  • Elf hides Nativity figurines for scavenger hunt
  • Elf is wearing a superhero mask or cape
  • Elf TP’s the tree

Dining Room

  • Elf is on a sideboard with a plate, knife, fork, etc
  • Elf is in the light fixture
  • Elf is playing a card or board game
  • Elf spells out “be good”, etc on the table in skittles or candy of choice


  • Elf is in the porch swing
  • Elf is in the car
  • Elf is in an empty box of candy canes to set up a candy cane hunt


  • Elf is coloring a picture
  • Elf is on a zipline (tie a length of yarn from a speaker, non-used fan, etc to a lower point and fasten the elf somewhere in the middle).
  • Elf is wearing a face mask
  • Elf is playing with a toy
  • Elf is reading a book
  • Elf has built a tower with blocks
  • Elf has built something with playdoh
  • Elf brings and early present. Christmas PJs or holiday books are a great choice for this option
  • Elf departs with a see you next year sign

Final Thoughts

So, hopefully all these ideas can help you get through the season with a bit less stress. TRUST ME, kids do not care about the elaborate options you may see on Pinterest and the like. Last year I simply did “hide and seek” for the Elf and my kids loved it. Please do not stress about having the perfect set-up as I can all but guarantee that your children will love any level of Elf-ing that you choose to do.

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