Last night I committed the cardinal 'Elf on the Shelf' sin — I forgot to move the little guy. I woke up in a fit of terror when I heard my daughter's feet pattering down the stairs to see where our elf had settled for the day. I started Google-ing frantically to come up with a plausible answer as to why he was in the exact same spot as yesterday. Not only did I find some great material for that (thank you internet!), but I also found plenty of fun new elf on the shelf ideas for 2018, too.
I didn't even realize my 'Elf on the Shelf' game was so basic until I saw what some other creative parents — and teachers and businesses — are doing with their elves. I'm talking elaborate props, Post-It notes, and letter boards. I even saw some clever ways to use the Elf to get your kid to do things they dread, like taking a bath or brushing their teeth.
Basically, a whole new world of possibilities opened up to me after seeing all that awesome 'Elf on the Shelf' inspiration. That's why I rounded up some of my favorites to pay it forward to other busy parents in need of some thought-starters. Because, let's be honest, 20+ days of moving the Elf is a real commitment!
1. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
When it comes to your elf, props are always a good idea, especially if they're of the cute bath time variety. I love how @stylishmodernmotherhood used items every parent has around the house (kid's shoe, rubber ducky, etc) to create this playful scene.
2. An Elf Practicing Self-Care
You gotta appreciate an Elf with a message, especially this one from @aurabeautyparlor. See, everyone needs some self-care once and awhile.
3. Twist & Shout
Game Time! Check out this clever post from @trixieledoux that proves elves sure are flexible. And that little spinner board — oh, that's everything!
4. Elf-Sized Pancakes
What do elves eat? The answer, according to @lovliecakes, is Elf-sized pancakes! That takes some serious dedication to make all those mini bites of yum.
5. Just Hanging Around
I've seen plenty of Elf on the Shelf shots with the little red dude flying from a real chandelier, but I have to give @stylishmodernmotherhood mad props for hanging the elf from a dollhouse chandelier. Now that's attention to detail.
6. Mischievous Dogs
You can never go wrong getting your dogs in on the Elf action. I love how @albusandremus captioned this cheeky photo, "Alfie is toast."
7. Floss or Else
Looking for ways to get your kid to floss? Do what Mark A. Garlington DDS, or @drgarlington, did and hang your Elf up with some floss. Include a Post-It note message saying, "Or Else," and your kids will be practicing good dental hygiene in no time!
8. Hit Me With Another Shot
Okay, full disclosure, this one is from my house. We have a long-running joke that 'mommy can't function without her lattes,' so I decided to get our Elf on the Shelf in on the espresso action and let it play barista.
9. Get Naughty
Two elves torturing a Santa ornament over the stove? Sure, why not. If you have older kids with a sense of humor, then this idea from Twitter user @AsympU will definitely get some laughs.
10. Coffee Ground Angels
If you don't have flour in the house for the Elf snow angel featured above, fret not. Just pull out some coffee grounds like @thepropertycentre did, for a whimsical — and caffeinated — version.
11. Get Dark
If you have some Halloween fans in the house, this Michael Myers joke from @TrueHorror Fans will get some applause. If not, then this is just plain terrifying! Definitely not recommended for young kids or the faint of heart, obviously.
12. Kix are for Elves
There's nothing like repurposing some stale cereal for a good purpose. Dump out whatever old box of cereal you have around as @Ca1tca1t did, and your kids will delight in finding Elf buried in the spillage.
This first-time mom wants to have a home birth, but is she ready? Watch how a doula supports a military mom who's determined to have a home birth in Episode One of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for the next three episodes, launching Mondays in December.