Creative Elf on the Shelf ideas for moms who’ve run out of places to hide him

by Megan Zander
Nov 10, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. ET

The Elf on the Shelf is a fun December tradition many families look forward to all year long. But after a couple of years — or even a couple of weeks— it's easy to run out of new places for the Elf to be found in the morning. Never fear: Here is a slew of unique Elf on the Shelf ideas you may not have seen before to help keep your kids on their toes. 

1 /23: Stocking swap

1/23 :Stocking swap

Give your kids a good giggle by helping your Elf swap out the stockings for a pair of everyone's clean undies or a sock.

2 /23: Copy machine

2/23 :Copy machine

Let's be honest: Who doesn't love playing with a copy machine? This super unique idea from Crystal & Co. of putting your Elf in the copier will delight everyone's inner child.

3 /23: Tumble dry

3/23 :Tumble dry

From Clearly Candace comes this simple and fun idea of tossing your Elf in the dryer so he's discovered mid-tumble. 

4 /23: Thirsty?

4/23 :Thirsty?

From Raining Hot Coupons comes this cool and refreshing Elf hiding place that doubles as a gentle reminder to your children to drink more water.


5 /23: A swinging good time

5/23 :A swinging good time

Some string and an empty cardboard tube are all you need to recreate this playful Elf swing from Building Our Story.

6 /23: Let it snow!

6/23 :Let it snow!

Let your Elf inspire your kids to help make it a white Christmas, no matter what the weather is like outside.

7 /23: Bungee jumping

7/23 :Bungee jumping

This bungee-jumping Elf from Spotted Pink Potatoes is a great way to appeal to your kid's daredevil side. It's also a great reminder of how fun a Slinky can be!

8 /23: Meet me under the mistletoe

8/23 :Meet me under the mistletoe

Waiting under the mistletoe is a sweet spot for your children to find your Elf in the morning.

9 /23: In the vacuum

9/23 :In the vacuum

If your vacuum is impeccably clean, this trapped-in-the-dust-cylinder Elf from Clearly Candace is a pretty nifty hiding spot.

10 /23: The fairy Elf

10/23 :The fairy Elf

If your child loves all things fairy, then they'll love this whimsical Elf-with-wings idea. Make up a tale about an overnight run-in with some pixies and you're officially the cool mom. 

11 /23: Super star

11/23 :Super star

Most young kids are thrilled at the idea of touching the star at the top of the Christmas tree. Let them live vicariously through their Elf with this top of the tree Elf hiding spot idea from Clearly Candace.

12 /23: Fans of the fan

12/23 :Fans of the fan

Try hanging your Elf from a ceiling fan, like this example from Building Our Story, and watch your child's eyes light up as they watch their Elf spin around and around.

13 /23: Cocoa spa

13/23 :Cocoa spa

Raining Hot Coupons has a great idea if your Elf is a smarty pants. Have your Elf set up for a warm soak in a mug of cocoa, but get caught in the act!

14 /23: Let me in!

14/23 :Let me in!

It's never too early to start teaching kids the importance of sticking to their curfew. This playful idea from Lil Blue Boo of placing your Elf outside shows what can happen when your Elf wanders out in the middle of the night.

15 /23: Snow angel

15/23 :Snow angel

If your kid is wondering whether your Elf misses the snowy North Pole, brace yourself for a little clean up and let your Elf make a snow angel.

16 /23: Hanging with friends

16/23 :Hanging with friends

You can't expect your Elf to hang around for a month without making friends with the locals! This simple Elf set up with stuffed animals from Building Our Story will have your child's imagination in overdrive.

17 /23: Doodle Elf

17/23 :Doodle Elf

The fun thing about the Elf on the Shelf is that he can get away with mischief your kids can't. Use a dry erase marker to doodle on a glass frame and give everyone a funny face.

18 /23: Hiding in plain view

18/23 :Hiding in plain view

Sometimes the most obvious place for the Elf to be is the last place your child would think to look. Pink Spotted Potatoes shows us how to keep things simple but interesting by tucking your Elf in with the Christmas tree ornaments.

19 /23: Reindeer food

19/23 :Reindeer food

A good Elf never lets his friends go hungry. Let your Elf help the kids spread a snack in the yard for Santa's reindeer.

20 /23: Making mini-Rudolphs

20/23 :Making mini-Rudolphs

Delight your kids by transforming them into their favorite red-nosed reindeer. Have your Elf paint a red dot on the bathroom mirror and leave a note explaining his trick. The reaction when your children see their reflections will be priceless!

21 /23: Peek-a-boo

21/23 :Peek-a-boo

For a mess-free but tricky-to-spot hiding place, try putting your Elf behind a frame, like this version from Raining Hot Coupons.

22/23 :Brrrrr...

The chilly freezer is the perfect temperature for your Elf, since he's used to the cold of the North Pole, but it's likely to be the last place your child thinks to search. 

23 /23: Clever spots to prop Elf on the Shelf

23/23 :Clever spots to prop Elf on the Shelf

Can't wait to give these a try this holiday season? Pin it!