Elf on the Shelf Tips and Advice

elf on the shelf cover

I’m going to write this post assuming that you already know how elf on the shelf works. I’m guessing by now you have some idea since that silly elf is all over facebook and pinterest, but if you don’t know you can read about the tradition here.  I want to show you a round-up of my favorite things our elf did last year, but I thought it would be nice to offer a little advice first.

Elf on the Shelf advice:

1. Don’t over do it!

If you do a big thing every single day you are going to get burned out fast. I think Pinterest makes it look like you have to do a huge production every day, but limit those to once a week, twice a week, or every other day. Whatever you think you can handle. Our elf has done some pretty big things, but the thing my kids loved the most is when he was on the curtain rod in their toy room, which happens to be the easiest thing I have done with him. Simple things are still magical and fun.

2. Have a plan

You don’t have to necessarily write down what you are going to do everyday, but maybe have a plan in your head for the next three or four days. Believe me, when all of a sudden it is 11:30 at night and you are tired you won’t know what to do with the little elf. If you have a plan you’ll already know where to stick him. There are a few great elf on the shelf calendars out there. This one is my favorite.

3. Use your kids’ toys

Incorporate your kids’ toys somehow, they are perfect props. I’ve seen elves riding in Barbie cars, reading stories to toys, sharing a soda with Barbie, turning cars into reindeer for a sleigh. My boys think it is so funny when their toys are “interacting” with our elf and it only adds to the magic.

4. Put him up high

Your kids will be less likely to touch him if he’s up high. Once your kids know the rules about not touching him you can get a little more adventurous where you put him.

5. Get ideas from Pinterest

Pinterest is FULL of great ideas for Elf on the Shelf. If you need some ideas on where to start check out these posts:

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easy elf on the shelf ideas


6. Have fun!

The Elf on the Shelf is one of my favorite traditions I’ve ever started. I love watching the excitement and wonder on my kids’ faces. I love that their world is still magical and simple things still delight them. Keeping those things in mind makes elf on the shelf so much fun for me. I know the holidays are a hectic time and adding one more thing to list seems crazy, but the elf doesn’t have to take up that much of your time (check out advice #1). My kids still talk about our elf, Streamer, to this day. We write him letters and my kids are counting down the days until he shows up. Believe me, the elf on the shelf tradition is worth it!

Okay, now on to my pictures!


When our elf first showed up at our house I knew my kids didn’t know the rules of not touching him, so I covered our front room door with streamer to block them when they first woke up. It is also how our elf on the shelf got the name Streamer. (By the way, our elf shows up the day after Thanksgiving, but your elf can show up when you want. You can start December 1st or wait until the week before Christmas, it’s up to you!)

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Streamer drew silly faces on our pictures with a dry erase marker (make sure it’s dry erase for easy clean up!).

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Streamer brought gifts a few times, but they were things I already planned on giving my kids, I just let Streamer get the credit! 🙂

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Oh no! Streamer was captured by Curious George and his friend. At least they’re friendly monkeys.

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Streamer brought a countdown chain one day with a bag of candy, he also had a letter in his hands that explained that they got to pick out one piece of candy each day after tearing off a link of the chain.

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On December 1st Streamer showed up with a “North Pole breakfast” to celebrate the month of December.

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We ate Christmas lights cereal (Fruity Pebbles), Elf oranges (Clementines), snowballs (powder donuts) and Santa’s favorite hot chocolate.

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Streamer is hanging on for dear life to this parachute guy.

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Streamer has a little mischievous side to him. He painted their noses red while they were asleep.

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My kids LOVED this (even though my daughter looks a little peaved.)

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This is on Christmas Eve my kids waving goodbye to Streamer.

Don’t forget you can find more elf on the shelf ideas HERE or buy our FROZEN Elf on the Shelf e-book that includes 25 days of Frozen Elf on the Shelf ideas for only $2.99! We have used items you can find around the house and it is such a fun way to bring the two together!

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  • Melissa, I love these! Such fun ideas!ReplyCancel

  • Paula

    Cute Ideas!!

    Be careful of the one where he is in the light fixture where the light bulbs are, we did this last year and the elf slipped down without me knowing. My son turned on the light and it ended up burning the elfs hand. Thankfully I was near and smelled the burning. Our elf now only has one arm due to this. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      Great advice!! I had never thought about him burning before. So far we have lucked out with him being in light fixtures, but thanks for the warning.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Sutton

    What did you use to paith their noses red?ReplyCancel

    • Melissa Hadfield

      Beth, I just used face paint. I bought it at Walmart.ReplyCancel


MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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