As December 1st approaches each year, there may be a little Elf making a daily appearance! And with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s likely you’re quite tired. Enter: the Elf on the Shelf Cheat Sheet, a calendar of ideas for your Elf to keep themselves busy all month long. Your kids will be thrilled!
The Elf on the Shelf can be a such a wonderful family Christmas tradition, if you make it easy on your self. That’s why I’m here to help! Scroll to the end of this post for a downloadable cheat sheet.
What is the Elf on the Shelf?
The Elf on the Shelf is a little elf that visits a child’s house from the North Pole every night, starting on December 1st, to check in with your family, cause a little mischief and let Santa know any Christmas wishes he overhears. They like to have fun, and kids love to find what fun they’ve gotten into each morning when they wake up.
And the Elf is not to be touched, or they will lose their magic!
Elf on the Shelf is a really fun way to add some excitement to every day of December, and even more anticipation of Santa Claus himself coming, when you Elf will hitch a ride back to the North Pole on his sleigh until next year!
Tips for a smooth Elf on the Shelf Experience
- Of course, keep your Elf on the Shelf cheat sheet nearby, printed out or saved on your phone. Keep scrolling to learn how to print or save it!
- Set an alarm every night for after the kids are in bed to ensure the Elf has moved on to his next activity or hiding spot before everyone awakes in the morning!
- If you work a standard work week, keep things simple on the weekdays and let your Elf have a little more fun on the weekends.
- If you like to write notes for your Elf, I heard they like to write upside down so that their handwriting looks a bit different than yours! Wink wink.
- If your Elf falls asleep and forgets to move one night, perhaps you’ll find a letter hidden somewhere that he was too tired from all his fun that day to fly back to the North Pole that night.
- If your child touches your Elf, it’s been said that making them do a silly trick, like spinning around 3 times and hopping on one foot, will help ensure the Elf keeps his magic.
Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Here are easy ideas to take you through every day of December this year with your Elf visitor! We’ve provided multiple ideas for each day so you can choose which one is best for your family or a different idea for each year! Keep scrolling for a downloadable versions with an idea for each day!
- Elf leaves a welcome note about how they’re excited to be there and cause some trouble!
- Elf enters through an elf door!
- Elf is tangled up in toilet paper in the bathroom.
- Elf is hanging from ribbon, from the ceiling, a mantle or a wreath!
- Elf is sitting in a mug under a bunch of marshmallows with a packet of hot chocolate and a mug for each kid next to him!
- Elf is roasting mini marshmallows over a candle.
- Elf leaves a holiday bucket list for the family to fill out. He fills in the first line with something silly.
- Elf is reading a Christmas book!
- Elf is swinging from the chandelier or any other light fixture in the house!
- Elf is having a sleepover! He has his own sock sleeping bag, along with other toys in their own sock sleeping bags, too.
Day 6 –
- Elf gets frozen in the freezer! He somehow has gotten frozen in a plastic bag submerged in a tupperware and frozen. If there’s an Elsa doll in your house, perhaps she is responsible!
- Elf is running a Snowman Nose Rejection Center and grating a carrot (with a scared face drawn on it!) through a cheese grater.
- Elf is building with blocks. He can build LEGO Christmas presents or a castle out of Magnatiles.
- Elf is digging through the couch to find all sorts of lost change, wrappers and toys. He’s created a lost and found!
- Elf is buckled in the car ready to go to school, daycare or on errands with you!
- Elf is stuck in the box, eating cereal and spelling out a message with the extras!
- Elf is playing with the Christmas decor, trying to fit inside the Christmas village or running through a forest of bottle brush trees, perhaps.
- Elf is taking a ride in the dryer. Maybe he’s taped to the side with a Barbie riding it like a ride, or stuck in the door with an SOS sign.
- Elf is acting out of a scene from a favorite show or movie. Playing with toys from a Disney movie or recreating a scene from the kids go-to show!
- Elf is shining your shoes by wrapping them in foil!
- Elf is playing cards or a game from the game closet!
- Elf leaves his own grocery list with ingredients for making hot chocolate (or Christmas cookies)… and maybe a little cash too!
- Elf is hiding in the Christmas tree, or maybe he’s replacing the tree topper!
- Elf is hiding in the utensil drawer in place of the spoons or forks!
- Elf is making a snow angel in flour on the counter, or maybe he wants a break from the snow and is sunning himself on a brown sugar beach!
- Elf has raided the pantry and is standing on snack boxes or soup cans trying to reach the most delicious treats!
- Elf is reading a Christmas book on the bookshelf.
- Elf is playing golf with a candy cane as his club and marbles or mini marshmallows as his golf balls.
- Elf is buried in the laundry hamper!
- Elf has wrapped up the items in your lunchbox with Christmas wrapping paper!
- Elf is dyeing something green. Maybe he’s dying the milk in the cereal bowl, or the water in the toilet!
- Elf has hidden ornaments around the house and left a note with how many there are to find.
- Elf is fishing for candy or cheerios off the counter, or for bath toys in the bath. He’s made a fishing bowl out of a stick and string!
- Elf has added googly eyes to all the produce in the house!
- Elf is coloring in a coloring book, a Christmas coloring page or even doing the kids homework. Uh oh!
- Elf is drawing a self portrait and wants to know if you can draw one too!
- Elf is hanging from a garland or strand of Christmas lights.
- Elf has replaced the tree topper… with himself!
- Elf is writing on the mirror, “5 days until Christmas”, with a dry erase marker or lipstick.
- Elf is swinging on a swing made of a toilet paper roll and ribbon!
- Elf is eating treats, like Christmas cookies upside down in the cookie jar or holiday candies with crumbs on his face!
- Elf is hiding amongst the stuffed animals. Can you see him?
- Elf is brushing his teeth, and he’s seem to gotten some toothpaste suds on his face, too. Washing off the crumbs, perhaps?
- Elf is rock climbing, but with Christmas bows (his arms slip perfectly through those bows) or candies!
- Elf is peeking out of a stocking, making sure it’s ready to be filled!
- Elf is cutting toilet paper into snowflakes!
- Elf says goodbye with a goodbye note, he’s hopping a ride with Santa to the North Pole!
How To Save or Print Your Elf on the Shelf Cheat Sheet
Every year we add a new cheat sheet so you always have new ideas to come back to! You can download each year’s cheat sheets below.
There’s two ways to make sure this Elf on the Shelf Cheat Sheet is nearby: You can print it and keep it somewhere safe, or you can download it to your phone and keep it in your camera roll.
To download the Elf on the Shelf Cheat Sheet, press and hold your finger on the image above until an option to “save” it comes up. Save it to your photos!
To print our Elf on the Shelf Cheat Sheet, Year One (above):
To print our Elf on the Shelf Cheat Sheet, Year Two (above):
Print on computer paper with your regular InkJet or Laser printer.
When does Elf on the Shelf leave?
Your Elf will hitch a ride with Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to head back to the North Pole until next December 1st!
Sometimes he leaves a note or small gift behind, but of course the big excitement is that Santa has come that Christmas morning after a month of Elf fun!
I hope this Elf on the Shelf cheat sheet makes your December Elf experience run smoothly and most importantly, makes for magical memories for your family!