easy lazy elf on the shelf idea: stick them in the fridge
Jennifer Parris
16 Easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas For When You’re Feeling Lazy

Make things merry and bright, in minutes flat.

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There’s something so pretty and simultaneously petrifying about the holidays. In one moment, you’re waxing nostalgic about chestnuts roasting over an open fire, and in the next, you’re losing your breath wondering how the heck you’re going to get everything bought, baked, wrapped, and decked before it’s too late. And then, in comes the Elf on the Shelf. Yes, the elf is about to make its entrance, and you’re going to want some ‘lazy mom’ easy Elf on the Shelf ideas to get you through the holidays that require zero effort but offer maximum laughs from your littles — and here they are.

But can we back up for just a second? To be fair, the Elf on the Shelf is a commitment, of both time and creativity, two things you might be short on right about now. Because no matter when you welcome the doll into your digs, you’re going to have to do it every single day until Christmas without getting caught — heaven forbid your kid catches you touching the elf with your bare hands. And when you’re running around trying to keep things merry and bright, moving a doll around your house each morning before your child wakes up (and in a fun and festive scene, no less) you’re just going to end up with Grinch vibes. So maybe it’s not that you’re “lazy” per se, but just a busy parent trying to survive the holiday season and while you want to make everything magical, you’re simply on a time crunch.

For our slothful sisters out there, we see you. And these incredibly easy ‘lazy mom’ Elf on the Shelf ideas will make your kids happy and not make you feel panicked, which is a total holiday win/win.


“Camping” in the dresser

Stick your elf in a sock that’s long enough to look like a makeshift sleeping bag (no ankle socks here), open one of the drawers of your kid’s dresser and lay them on top the folded clothes. And don’t stress if you don’t have an elf or even Christmas-themed option to tuck them into — really anything option from your drawer or your kid’s will do.


Fishing for coins

Tuck your elf’s arms and head in between the couch cushions, lift their butt up, and sprinkle around coins and any other small knick knacks that might be found in someone’s pocket around them. Actually, if you have a bowl of trinkets next to the washing machine where you dump anything you’ve fished out of any pocket, now’s the perfect time to raid that stash of bits and bobbles.


Hide and seek in the tree

Jennifer Parris

OK, this is the easiest Elf on the Shelf idea ever, so save it for a night when you’re really maxed out. Step 1: Stick doll in tree. Step 2: There is no Step 2. You’re done. (And you’re welcome.)


Freezing in the fridge

Jennifer Parris

When you forgot to move the elf, you’ll need a super-fast setup. Wrap your elf in a holiday hand towel and then stick them in the fridge. Give your kid some cold case clues as to where their elf might be hiding. This one also ranks as one of the easiest Elf on the Shelf ideas, ever. Thank goodness.


Playing with their food

Jennifer Parris

Take two pieces of bread and make toast. Then place your elf in between the slices and tell your kids that their elf wanted to be all warm and (wait for it), “toasty”.


Making snow angels

Jennifer Parris

Your Elf on the Shelf wants to get in on the snow angel action, too in this super easy set-up. Let them have fun splashing around in sprinkles, then. Spill some sprinkles on your kitchen counter and form the image of a snow angel.


Hanging out in the manger

Jennifer Parris

There’s no reason why you should let that beautiful manger scene go to waste. In a totally respectful way, place your elf alongside one of the wise men, or even at the seat of honor next to Joseph and Mary, because your elf wants to adore Baby Jesus, too.


Taking a bath

Jennifer Parris

Elves sure can dirty as they fly back and forth from the North Pole to your home. That’s why it shouldn’t be shocking to see your elf taking a bath in the morning. Find a toy tub that your elf can fit into and place some candy inside, such as peppermints, or even mini marshmallows or sprinkles. Heck, it just might encourage your kid to take a bath.


Writing a note

Jennifer Parris

You’ve been telling your kids to stop leaving their grubby little handprints all over the mirror. But the elf is a total rule breaker. Have your Elf on the Shelf write a cute note to your kid, like on a bathroom mirror, for example. Keep it short and sweet, though, because you know who has to wipe it up afterwards.


Sipping on syrup

Jennifer Parris

If they’re anything like Buddy the Elf, your elf probably loves maple syrup. When you’re getting breakfast ready, set out a bottle of syrup, place a straw inside, and let your elf hang from the top of the bottle. They’ll look like they’re drinking the syrup, which will give your kids a laugh while they’re eating.


Swinging in on a candy cane

Jennifer Parris

You bought all these candy canes under the assumption that your kids like candy canes, and shocker, they don’t. So you can put them to good use by hanging your elf from a candy cane. For a more festive feel, you can hang the candy cane from one of the strands of light on your tree.


Using cereal to spell out a message

Jennifer Parris

Sure, you could just grab note paper and write a quick note to your kid. But why use a pen when you can spell it out with cereal? You can use any cereal to write something sweet, like, “Hi!” or “Be good.”


Eating cookies

Jennifer Parris

Ten seconds is all it takes to whip up this super easy Elf on the Shelf idea. Open some cookie packages and remove almost all the cookies, sans a couple for your elf to hold. When your kid cries and asks who ate all the cookies, simply point at the elf.


Baking with Santa

Jennifer Parris

This setup looks complicated, but it’s not. Sprinkle some flour on your kitchen counter and sit your elf with their back against the flour and sugar canisters. Add a mixing bowl with a whisk and any other décor that might match for a sweet scene.


Playing with a printable

Jennifer Parris

There are a bunch of free printables that you can find online for your child to fill out. But if you’re looking for something for your elf to do, too, your child can catch their elf trying to write a secret message, or color in a holiday scene.


Playing with TP

Jennifer Parris

Ack, your kids are already awake, and you didn’t move the elf yet. Stack two rolls of toilet paper together and place your elf inside. Stick the rolls on top of the toilet and you’ve got an easy breezy Elf on the Shelf scene that’ll take 15 seconds flat.

If you’re looking for ‘lazy mom’ easy Elf on the Shelf ideas, look no further. You can pull off these easy ideas in mere minutes in the morning and then go back to sleep until your kid comes looking for you…and their elf, too.

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