20 Elf On The Shelf Christmas Eve Ideas

It’s their grand finale.

by Romper Staff
Originally Published: 

December 24 aka Christmas Eve, signifies the last hurrah of the season for the Elf on the Shelf. Thank God, right? The one thing parents most want for Christmas as the holiday actually approaches is some Elf on the Shelf ideas for Christmas Eve.

Whether tucking away the elf for another year makes you feel sad — or breathe a sigh of relief — one thing is sure: Figuring out what to do with your Elf on Christmas Eve is huge, because it's supposed to be your Elf's final appearance for the year. And of course it has to go out with a bang — especially if you’ve been ramping up their antics all season long. This last day’s got to be out of the park, right?

The Elf on the Shelf returns home to the North Pole on December 24 in order to answer letters, train, and care for the reindeer. Although your family can certainly decide to keep the little elf around for longer, it's the recommended time to send them home for the year. And that means the elf's final appearance is often their most memorable and fantastic.

If the pressure for a super-awesome final elf pose is leaving you stressed, then this list may provide some inspiration. Just remember, the most important part of your elf's final night in your home on Christmas Eve is that your kid enjoys a final moment of holiday magic, it's worth all the effort. Then you can finally shutter them up in the back of your closet until next year.


A sci-fi twist

Turn any hanging pendant in your home into a skybeam in a couple easy steps. Step one, cover the outside of your light shade with aluminum foil, and two, swap out the light bulb for a colorful one (really, any shade will do). Using fishing wire to tie the elf to the light so that it looks like it’s suspended in the air, and tell the kids that Santa is beaming Elfie home.


A Christmas cruise

These elves are ready for a Christmas roadtrip riding off into the sunset. If you don’t already have a miniature motorcycle (Barbie has an iconic pink Vespa), you can purchase this affordable red stunner on Amazon. To really commit to the gimmick, send your Elf and the motorcycle down your driveway or a sidewalk on a hill and record the magic.


Christmas campfire

If your family loves the outdoors as much as Santa loves milk and cookies, definitely set up a campground under the tree for your kiddos to find. Create tiny tents and the bonfire out of colored paper, print out a photo of mountains to capture the serene background, and find some tiny sticks so your Elf can make some s’mores. Maybe even have your own campground experience and roast some s’mores of your own.


A festive rock wall

Isn’t this Christmas take on rock climbing just adorable? It’s an incredibly easy scene to achieve. Just use some of your left-over gift bows as the rocks and tape your elves on the window.


Elf On The Shelf pizza party

Everyone loves pizza, even Santa’s helpers. Take some of your children’s miniature food from their other toys, place a tiny napkin around your Elf’s neck, play some romantic Italian music, and this food will be better than anything they could find in the North Pole. Santa is sure to be jealous.


A selfie from Elfie

To pull a harmless prank on your kiddo, take a selfie with your Elf while your kid is sleeping and save it as your wallpaper. Then have your Elf write a note saying to check your phone for a special surprise. Trust, the laughter will be nonstop. They might even tell their friends at school about the prank their Elf pulled on them.


Technical elf difficulties

If you’re unsure of where to hide your Elf for the day, why not utilize some technology? Whether you project an image onto your TV, laptop, or save it as your kid’s wallpaper on their iPad, all you need is five minutes in photoshop to bring some giggles to your household.


Legos on the shelf

If you have a bit more time to create an elaborate set up for your kids, play around with some legos. You most likely have a ton in your house, they’re easy to use, and honestly, they’re unexpectedly relaxing. Plus, your kid will be ecstatic to know that their Elf broke into their lego stash.


Movie night with Elfie

Whether it’s The Polar Express, Elf, The Santa Clause, or The Nightmare Before Christmas, kid-friendly Christmas movies are always a reliable go-to for some after-dinner family time. This time, have your Elf decide pick which movie you’ll be watching. Along with having a great time, you’ll also avoid some family contention over what everyone wants to watch.


Candy cane seeds

Pose some Tic-Tacs or peppermints as candy cane seeds — a final parting gift from the elf — and have them "grow" a candy cane garden in the morning. It's a super creative option, plus your kid gets some sweets in exchange for the elf's departure. It isn't the worst deal and it'll keep them from feeling sad that their seasonal friend is gone.


Goodbye note

Whether it's with Cheerios, marshmallows, or gummy bears, leave your kid a fun holiday message from the elf. It's a sweet — pun intended — way to say goodbye. If you don't have the counter space for a lengthy message, a goodbye letter handwritten on some festive stationery will do the trick, too. Make sure you get a friend or relative to write the note though, lest the kids recognize your handwriting.


Elf On The Shelf goodbye poem

Are you hitting a creative block when it comes to coming up with Elf on the Shelf Christmas Eve ideas? How about this printable goodbye poem available on the Elf on the Shelf’s official website as an easy, straightforward idea to bid adieu to your family elf?


Secret messages

Whether you check out the Spot of Tea Designs website and use the links she shares to the free printables or you make your own with your elf saying “goodbye” at the end of the message, this hands-on activity will add even more fun and magic on Christmas Eve. Hopefully you can make one that’s better than “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine” like on A Christmas Story. This Elf on the Shelf Christmas Eve idea will be a hit for many years to come, especially for older children.


Goodbye kiss

Place your elf high atop a light fixture, ceiling fan, or even the Christmas tree — as close to the North Pole as you can get. Prop them there before your kid goes to bed, and tell them that you're helping the elf get a head start back home. Make sure your kid gets a chance to say goodbye to the elf from afar.


Backup posse

Have your elf decorate a bunch of things with googley eyes. The surprised-looking baked goods in this pic are hilarious. You could put the eyes on just about anything for hysterical results, and it sends the message that even though the elf is leaving soon, they’ve made plenty of friends who will keep an eye out while they’re gone.


Leave ingredients to make cookies for Santa

This Elf on the Shelf Christmas Eve idea is super cute, fun, and easy. Have your elf leave all the makings of Christmas cookies to leave for Santa Claus. You can even divide up the dry ingredients you’d need in containers to make holiday baking as stress-free as possible. You can also include reindeer snacks as well, like carrots, celery, tomatoes, and other produce.


Bedtime reads

How adorable is this little reader? Staging your elf with a book is a no-brainer — it’s easy, convenient, and sure to delight your child. Perhaps, since it’s their last night, your kid will let the scout elf pick the book for a change. For extra credit, use super tiny books.


Elf-sized treats

Have your elf cook up some elf-sized party favor bags for your kiddos. Tell them that their elf wanted to leave a thank you present for letting them stay at the house all season long. These tiny marshmallow bags are adorable, but mini muffins, donut holes, or even tiny pancakes would also make a great impression. Let your imagination go and whip up a whole meal of tiny foods.


A frosty farewell

For a bit of an elaborate Elf on the Shelf Christmas Eve idea, grab this printable from the official Elf on the Shelf website, grab some spray snow, and use a window in your home that’s easily visible to your child. Spray the spray snow over the printable and it’ll look like your elf made a stealthy escape back to the North Pole.


North Pole virtual meeting

This Elf on the Shelf Christmas Eve idea includes a North Pole virtual meeting with friends telling them they’re on his way home. Timely in the age of a pandemic, use this downloadable image from elfontheshelf.com of a zoom meeting with other elves. Somehow have your kid figure out that they’re discussing your elf’s travel arrangements for coming back to the North Pole.

Deciding how to send Elfie off for the year can be a daunting choice. Do you go big and create a scenario that your kids will be talking about for years to come? Or do you try to keep it low-key, to try to soften the goodbye for child who has become incredibly attached?

Some of you might just be counting down the hours until you can say goodbye to your Elf. However, to your kids, your elf’s grand finale is almost as big of a deal as Christmas Day. During the last 24 days, it’s likely that Elfie became another member of your family, so treat their departure as such. Make Christmas Eve all about Elfie and all the chaos and fun it caused. Ask your kid what their favorite Elf On The Shelf setup was, maybe even think back on your favorite too. Yes, they’ll be back next year, but you want a big finish, right? Throw a goodbye party for your Elf — you’ll love how much your kids love it.

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