10 Ideas For Last-Minute, Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Scenes


Dec. 6 2023, Published 4:51 p.m. ET

An elf in a Christmas tree.
Source: iStock

Elf on the Shelf is a popular holiday game born out of 2005 children’s picture book. Each day leading up to Christmas, parents set an elf doll up in a different pose somewhere in their home for their children to find. The elf supposedly works for Santa, and is spying on the kids to report their behavior back to Santa.

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Children must find the elf, but they can’t touch him. Once the elf’s hiding spot is exposed, parents have to find another place to hide him, and things can get creative here. Are you looking for some last-minute, mischievous Elf on the Shelf ideas to try with your kids? Here are 10 last-minute options that are perfect for busy parents!

1. Climbing a bow wall

In this scene, suggested by Frugal Coupon Living, gift bows are stuck on a wall resembling the notches on a climbing wall. Using tape, the elf is then positioned to look like he is climbing the wall.

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2. Toilet paper roll down the stairs

This playful scene will look like the elf was up to some mischief. Place the elf in the center of a roll of toilet paper, and then send the TP roll down the stairs, leaving a trail for your kids to find the elf.

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3. Held hostage by spoiled milk

A mother in Alabama created this scene in her refrigerator where the elf was taken hostage by milk that had “gone bad.” Your kids may not get the pun, but at least you’ll find it entertaining.

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4. Making snow angels

With just a little flour or powdered sugar, you can make it look like your Elf on the Shelf is making snow angels.

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5. Getting some golfing in

Candy canes make great golf clubs in his scene. A mini marshmallow can serve as the golf ball, and you can create a “green” with some green construction paper.

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6. Catching some rays

Limited daylight in winter gets to everyone, including the Elf on the Shelf. Set the elf up as if it’s lounging at the beach. A desk lamp can serve as the sun, and you can quickly make sunglasses out of paper. And don’t forget the sunscreen!

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7. Elf yourself

Surprise your child by making them an elf by painting an elf hat and outfit on a mirror. That way, when your child tools in the mirror, they’ll look like the elf. You can also have the elf doll nearby.

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8. Relaxing in a hot tub

A crock pot makes for a great hot tub for your Elf on a Shelf. Fill it with marshmallows to make it look like bubbles, and add a couple of the elf's friends.

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9. Having a sleepover with friends

Gather the elf and a few other toys and position them in socks made to look like sleeping bags.

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9. Making potato chips

For this hilarious scene, set up the elf with a grater and a few potatoes. Peel half of one of the potatoes, and put it on the grater. Then, use a marker and googly eyes to create terrified faces on the potatoes. For an added effect, lay a pile of potato chips to demonstrate the potato's impending fate.

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