Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Lazy Parents

If you are new to Elf on the Shelf or considering it for the first time, this list may or may not be for you. I was forced into the tradition of Elf on the Shelf. My mother-in-law gifted us the little creature when my daughter wasn't quite three years old. It was annoying to deal with as it was just another thing for us to deal with during the holidays aka our busiest time of year. Then my son was born and became mobile, so I realized I was gifted this wonderful incentive to help him behave because no child wants to send a bad report to Santa himself aka the big guy.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Lazy Parents

My husband and I tend to forget to move our elf so we tell our kids "Annie (or elf) must really like that spot". But unfortunately, we can't do this for 25 straight days. So, I have created the Elf on the Shelf ideas for Lazy Parents who are like me and don’t like messy are super involved mischiefs for their elves to get up to.

1. Roasting Marshmallows. My daughter still talks about this one. I loved it because I already had marshmallows on hand, so I took a candle and a wooden skewer. Boom.

2. Broken leg. Oops, looks like Buddy won’t be visiting Santa any time soon.

3. Gone Fishing. Why we had Swedish fish on hand, the world may never know, but it made for such an easy idea and the kids enjoyed "cleaning" it up.

4. Dry Eraser Market Mirror Notes. Did you know that you can write on a mirror with a dry erase marker, and it will come off super easy? Sometimes the kids leave little notes for our elf and in this case, we sit our elf in the bathroom and write the response on the mirror for them.

5. "Trapped" in a cage. We have these gold trees that look like little cages. We put the elf in there and boom, she’s trapped for a few days. You could do this with a cabinet or even drawer. Just make sure the kids didn’t leave a space for your elf to get out like my daughter ended up doing.

6. Playing with Tape. Our elf doesn’t like to get messy very often, but every once in a while, she will just so I can have a few days to come up with more ideas. This one was a good lesson in why you don’t play with the tape. You might just get tangled up and have to dangle around for a few days until you get yourself free.

7. You've got to GIVE to GET! This one is great because it purges the toys while teaching your children the importance of giving back. Here are some more ideas to help Teach Your Child the True Meaning of the Season.

8. Minion Bananas. Even if you can’t draw minions, you could very easily just draw little people on the bananas.

9. You got CLOWNED! Tiny little pom-pom balls and a family photo in a frame. How cute and easy is this!

10. Easy Creative Printables GALORE! Besides the welcome back note, there are so many printables on Pinterest. All you need is a printer and BOOM! Easy, peasy. I am loving this "You've been naughty" one.

11. I brought you snow! Buy this fake snow (just add water) and your kiddos can have some fun playing with it the next day. A little bit goes a long way so you could buy one packet and make a little bit at time to make it last.

There are also many kits you can buy to make finding ideas super easy as well. Get "The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition" Doll and Book. And get your Play Kit with 60-page idea book and 15 tools as well.

My NUMBER ONE ELF TIP! Make sure to set a timer each night at a reasonable time to remind you to move the elf. 

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? If so, for how long? What are some of your favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas?

And probably still one of my favorites. Thanos Meets the Elf


  1. I especially like the You've Got To Give To Get one! That has a good message.

  2. These are really neat ideas! The broken leg one is clever. I also love the roasting marshmallows one.

  3. I have no elf on the shelf! But, thanks to you, I'm getting a nice bunch of minion bananas today!! LOL!!


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