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These 26 Last Minute Elf On The Shelf Ideas Are Legit Life-Savers

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December can be a long month if you've got an Elf on the Shelf to worry about moving around your house every night. Parents know the dread of realizing right before you fall asleep (or even worse, just after you wake up) that you forgot to move it. Since the elf is supposed to fly off to the North Pole every night to report on your kid's behavior, your little one will definitely start asking questions if it doesn't budge. Luckily, there are tons of fun and creative last minute 'Elf on the Shelf' ideas to save you from disaster.

People get incredibly creative when it comes to thinking up silly elf scenes every night. There are tons of Elf on the Shelf printables to help, and even tutorials for making elf food. But of course, executing those amazing ideas can be super time consuming. For those nights you inevitably forget to move the elf until the last minute, you need some tricks up your sleeve that you can pull off super quickly and with things you can easily find around your house.

Here are 26 last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas that are super simple to set up, but still totally fun for your kids.


Spa Day

If your kid ever wonders what their elf does all day while they're at school, @rachelpaigeposh has got the answer: elf spa day, with a face mask borrowed from mom.



@vee_fox sent her family's elves joyriding around the house. If you've got toy cars, you can make it happen.


Elf Pranks

It seems @carlamartinezlandsberger's elf has been the victim of a prank. Just make sure the blender's unplugged before you stick your elf inside.


Nice And Toasty

Who can resist a good pun? Snap a pic of your elf all nice and "toasty" in a bread blanket.



Apparently @amanda_hansen's elf was getting a little stubbly and needed a quick shave.


Snow Angel

If you don't mind the clean up, it's super quick to throw down some flour so your elf can make a faux snow angel.


Sprinkle Angel

If you've got sprinkles on hand, your elf snow angel can be slightly less messy and a whole lot more colorful, like @circlevillenutrition's.


Cooking Breakfast

It's the main food group in any elf's diet: candy. @50shadesofmom's elf thoughtfully whipped up a super sweet breakfast for the family.


Working On Their Fitness

How do elves maintain their figures while eating all that candy? Yoga, of course. You can recreate this scene from @lorettasfitnesslife by using a washcloth as a yoga mat and pulling up a workout video on YouTube.


Thirsty Elf

@casietea's elf has worked up a thirst while flying back and forth to the North Pole. A shot glass is a great size for elf hands.



So simple, yet so funny. @momofwildthings's elf got stuck in the blinds with a note explaining their predicament.


Elf Relaxation

Sometimes an elf's just gotta kick back and relax. @realmomsweargrey's little guy is chilling out on a fluffy bed of cotton balls.


Sugar Binge

An elf can never have too much sugar — @angeldexter's has gone head first into a kitchen cannister to get his fix.


Making Fruity Friends

Pose your elf next to a bunch of bananas or in a bowl full of oranges with faces drawn on the peels. Doubles as motivation for a healthy snack, too.


Marker Surprise

@sarah_merritt's elf has left a little surprise for her kiddo. Just make sure to use a washable marker.


Elf Stilts

This elf is head and shoulders above the rest. @fitmamajeanna used wrapping papers rolls to make elf stilts.


Stuffed With Double Stuf

No cookie is safe when an elf is in the house. @edgar_the_elf stuffed himself inside a bag of Double Stuf Oreos.



Got any candy canes on your tree? If you tape or glue them together, you've got a perfect elf-sized sled like this one from @elfontheselfadventures.


Roasting Marshmallows

@thoughtfullyorganized's elves needed a little midnight snack, so they roasted some marshmallows over a votive candle. If you plan on stepping away from this setup, make sure you use use a faux candle.


Time For Bread

@autumn_rose_above's elf is a little confused about the sleeping arrangements, and tucked himself "into bread."


Gamer Elf

What do elves do in their down time? For @bridemcevoy's elf, the answer is video games.


Story Time

This elf is pictured reading to official Elf on the Shelf accessories, but a little book and a few plush pals are all it takes to recreate this scene.


Airborne Elf

Again, this basic concept can easily be recreated with pretty much any toy airplane of comparable size (you probably have one lying around somewhere). The globe and the corkboard are nice touches, but not totally necessary if you're really down to the wire.


Nativity Crasher

If you have a nativity scene set up, there's nothing more hilarious than waking up in the morning to find your sly elf hiding out behind the manger or next to a donkey.


Elf Quarantine

Tuck your elf into the top of a box of tissues with the following note: "Caught a cold on the way back from North Pole. Please take extra good care of me."


Marshmallow Mountain

Dump a bag of marshmallows out, plop your elf on top... done. (You could do the little cardboard chute thing, too, but it's cute even without.)


Artist Elf

Set up your elf with your kid's art supplies: A coloring book and a box of crayons, a paintbrush and a set of watercolors. Bonus if the "art" is Christmas-themed.

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