Party Crafts and DIY

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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When I was a kid, I always wondered how Santa could see who was being naughty or nice. No one told me about his undercover agents. Now I know: Elf on the Shelf is a tattletale. He’s also a mom’s secret weapon. When the kids are going bonkers with holiday overload, all Mom has to do is remind them Elf will be talking to Santa and he’s certain to hear about the day’s events.

I’ve decided if I can’t have my own hoard of minions, at least I can have an elf. So can you! And to make the whole deal sweeter, I’m sharing helpful ideas to make the most of your pint-sized house guest: How to Welcome Your Elf on the Shelf; 20 Fun Things to Do with Your Elf on the Shelf; How to Say Goodbye to Your Elf on the Shelf.  There are also three free printable Santa letters to download that will make your job easier: Elf on the Shelf Introduction Letter; Returning Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter; Mid-Christmas Season Letter from Santa.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Let the season begin!

How to Welcome Your Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf craze has taken Christmas by storm!  Elves are infiltrating homes around the world to share a little Christmas fun and help encourage good behavior during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  If you are new to the Elf tradition and are wondering how to introduce your house elf, have no fear!  We’re sharing four ways to introduce your family to a new Christmas tradition!

  1. Doorstep Delivery. Children love finding surprises left on their doorstep.  Wrap up your elf and package him as if he were being mailed.  Add creative “North Pole” and “fragile” labels to the box.  Address your package to the children of the home.  Include Santa Claus and the North Pole as part of the return address.  If you’d like, include some candy canes or other simple Christmas treats with the elf, as well as an introductory letter and instructions. Whether you choose to go to the added effort and expense of mailing him to your home or not, you can still have him delivered.  You could have a friend or neighbor join in on the fun and drop off the box on your front porch at a time you will be home. Have the person ring the doorbell and quickly leave, for even more suspense!
  1. First Gift of Christmas. To start the Christmas season off with a bang, invite your children to open a family Christmas gift. If your Christmas tree is already up, place it carefully under the tree.  It won’t be long before your children notice the gift and speculate what is inside.  Add a gift tag with your family name typed on it, and signed Santa.  Include the story book that comes with the elf and read it together upon opening the package.
  1. Elf Prank. Everybody knows those little elves like pulling off silly pranks to surprise those living in the homes they visit.  Summon your stealth moves, and once your children have gone to sleep, have your new elf wreak a little havoc around your home!  Be sure the prank is pulled off at a central spot, where your children are sure to see it soon after waking.  The kitchen and bathroom are great places.  Whether your elf has left a lipstick message on the bathroom mirror or toilet papered the kitchen, your kids will know their Elf on the Shelf has arrived!
  1. Elf Breakfast. Special breakfasts are always an exciting way to share surprises.  Set up an elf themed breakfast and lead your children to their own elf via a thrilling treasure hunt, complete with clues!  Donuts, cranberry muffins and candy cane hot chocolate would be perfect for the occasion.

However you choose to introduce your elf, we can guarantee Christmas will never be quite the same.  Your kids will love the new Christmas tradition they can enjoy for years to come. You will love their improved behavior—it’s a Christmas miracle!

Elf on the Shelf Introduction Letter

Yeah! You’re welcoming a new elf into your family’s Christmas traditions this year! Here’s a great introductory letter from Santa Claus, complete with all of the rules your family will need to know to welcome this special new guest. Download this Elf on the Shelf letter of introduction here.


Returning Elf on the Shelf Welcome Letter

Is your Elf on the Shelf returning this Christmas season? He’ll encourage stellar holiday behavior via crazy antics and silly games of hide and seek! We’ve put together a fun “I’m back” letter you can send to your children.  It includes a reminder of all the rules your family will need to have a successful Elf on the Shelf experience for consecutive years running! Download this letter for Elf on the Shelf dolls returning to your family for another Christmas.

elf on the shelf welcome back returning elves letter

Fun Things to do with Your Elf on the Shelf

Have no idea what to do with your Elf on the Shelf every night? Check out these fun ideas for inspired activities, poses and mischief with your elf!

Elf On The Shelf Ideas

Mid-Christmas Season Letter from Santa

If your family is like most families, halfway through the month of December good behavior from little ones starts to wane and holiday stress starts to mount. If only Santa could save the day!  Breaking news: he can! What’s that? Yes, he can save the day! We’ve come up with an adaptable letter from Santa himself that can help reignite a spark of Christmas cheer and good behavior from young and old alike! Download your mid-Christmas season Elf on the Shelf letter from Santa.

elf on the shelf mid christmas check in letter from santa

A Letter from Santa Encouraging Toy Donation

Teaching children the beauty of giving is an important lesson, particularly at Christmas time. A letter from the Elf on the Shelf can encourage old toy donation and bring an extra measure of Christmas magic. If your children are like many children, they have a hard time parting with old toys, even when they no longer play with them.  Use this simple letter as a catalyst to bring Christmas cheer to a family in need. Download the Elf on the Shelf letter encouraging toy donation here.

elf on the shelf letter from santa encouraging kids to give back

How to Say Goodbye to Your Elf on the Shelf

For many children at Christmas, The Elf on the Shelf becomes a fun Christmas tradition that is hard to see end.  Here are some fun ways to bid farewell to your Elf on the Shelf.

Ideas To Say Goodbye To Elf On The Shelf

Goodbye Letter from Your Elf on the Shelf

Instead of having the elf head back to the North Pole without any final good-bye, here is an idea for a farewell letter he or she can leave behind, promising a return next Christmas season. Download a goodbye letter from your Elf on the Shelf here.


Get set for your Elf on the Shelf with these great sources gathered by the team at Spaceships and Laser Beams.

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Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.