26 Fun and Cheeky Elf on the Shelf Ideas Kids Love

Despite being a crazy Christmas fanatic, I resisted the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon for years. Friends would post all their Elf on the Shelf ideas on Facebook or their blogs and I’d think, “that’s so cute” and move along.

The thing is: it really is so cute and I can’t resist any longer. I want in on the elf fun.


The original The Elf on the Shelf is a 2004 picture book by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell. In the book, Santa sends elves out to find out whether kids belong on the naughty or the nice list. The elves in the book visit the homes between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Your elf can simply sit on a shelf during his visit, but it’s much more fun to help him get up to mischief. The Elf on the Shelf ideas photographed around the interwebs range from silly to fun to cheeky to very risque (be warned, it’s a little disturbing!). Elves get up to all kinds of things!

I’ve rounded up my 26 favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas—one for every day of advent, plus Christmas Day and an extra for the day after. I hope you get into elf spirit too because I’m already having fun and I haven’t even started yet!