21 Elf on the Shelf Ideas to Help Your Elf Stir Up Mischief

Elf on the Shelf means merry mischief all month long!

We’re already well into the month of December! And along with the Christmas season comes the return of everyone’s favorite troublemaker: Elf on the Shelf. Year after year, Elf stops by with a long list of activities as he keeps watch over your house until December 25.

Need some inspo? Here are some of our favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas and shenanigans to keep Elf busy until Christmas morning.

1. A Day on the Slopes

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Elf doesn’t need snow to have fun. As long as he’s equipped with a candy cane sled, any surface in your home can be his playground.

2. Toilet Paper Snowman

A helping hand is always needed around the holidays, so let Elf pick up a household chore or two. Replacing the toilet paper in your bathrooms has never looked this festive!

3. TP Decorations

But sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. In this case, it looks like Elf is having a little too much fun with the roll of toilet paper.

4. Feeding the Dog

Fishing for praise and dog biscuits, Elf makes sure the pets are well-fed every day. But he didn’t feel so well when he tried to eat the treats himself.

5. Snow Angel

Elf is pure goodness and light in the kitchen, helping out wherever he can. He especially likes cooking and baking and never leaves behind a mess…except when he uses the ingredients to make himself into a flour angel.

6. Breakfast Is Served

Ah, now that’s a better use for the flour…delicious pancakes, freshly cooked using Elf’s secret North Pole recipe. Pass the maple syrup, please.

7. Sugar Rush

Speaking of baking, it looks like Elf has been busy whipping up a batch of mini cookies, too. He even has his own recipe to share with the rest of the household!

8. Burrito Blanket


All this time in the kitchen has made Elf hungry for a real mea. Or maybe he just needs a nap. Either way, this burrito blanket he’s wrapped up in does both.

9. Car Wash

While he’s out causing mischief, he might as well make himself useful! With some pieces of sponge, cotton balls and a little elbow grease, Elf can help Barbie and her friends keep their cars squeaky clean.

10. Elf and Friends

Elf loves to chill out with his friends whenever he gets a chance for a break. They’re a pretty cool bunch.

11. Working the Muscles

Got to keep fit and strong for the busy holiday season ahead. There are presents to wrap, Christmas pudding to stir, cookies to bake and eggnog to make. Grow your little muscles, Elf. Lift those marshmallows.

12. Family Photos

It’s only fair that after all this time in your house, Elf gets to set up some of his own photo decorations, right? It seems that he got a little carried away, though. At least it’s the thought that counts.

13. Banana Ballet

Elf’s practicing for the big Christmas ballet. It’s The Nutcracker again this year. He leaps into the air with ease, riding high on his swinging banana. And the crowd goes wild.

14. Dinnertime

After all that exercise, a big bowl of Buddy the Elf’s Christmas spaghetti with candy will hit the spot.

15. Printing Project

Unsupervised access to the printer? It’s easy for Elf to get carried away on that one, especially if your ink cartridges are full and the scanner works.

16. Date Night

Sometimes, even Elf needs to spend quality time with his loved ones. That’s what the holidays are all about.

17. Cooling Down

It gets pretty warm away from the North Pole, especially with the hot oven baking all kinds of sweet Christmas desserts. Elf takes a moment to cool his little toes in the ice maker.

18. Security Duty

Elf and friends take their security job seriously, keeping watch in the chilly refrigerator and making sure no one sips the homemade eggnog before the big day.

19. Magic Little Elf

The magic of Christmas is almost here. Elf, in Harry Potter style, is off on his pasty brush broom, with his teeny-tiny wand, to spread Christmas magic and cheer.

20. Laundry Room Helper

Looks like laundry wound up being a bigger task than Elf thought. Hopefully he remembered to separate the lights and darks!

21. Elf Rock Climbing Wall

This climbing wall is made out of Christmas bows. Look at the Elf go!

Want to skip Elf on the Shelf ideas this year? Try Journey to Bethlehem instead.

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.