This Elf On The Shelf Hack Is Perfect For Lazy Parents Who Are Out Of Ideas

Parents, you're so close. The end is in sight! Christmas Eve is quickly approaching, and soon your family's lovable, draining, festive, creatively-exhausting Elf will be heading back to the North Pole for good (well, until next year). If you're not up for MacGyver-ing a bungee-jumping Elf tonight or writing up a clever, rhyming note, you're in luck. This Elf on the Shelf hack for lazy parents is absolutely genius, and you'll be able to set it up in a minute or less, guaranteed.

The only thing you'll need for this hack is a smart TV of some sort with the YouTube app on it. Alternatively, this will work if you're able to stream YouTube from your phone to your TV. I tested it out with my Apple TV, and it worked flawlessly. Simply head to the YouTube app on your TV or phone and search "Elf stuck in TV." A few different options will pop up, but you'll want to select the longest one. The longest version I found is almost a full hour, uploaded by YouTube user ItsYurGhurl.

The video is actually just one image still, an Elf with the message, "I hit the wrong button on the remote... How do I get out of here?" Clever, right? When your child is waking up, play the video on your screen and they'll be shocked to see their Elf friend trapped in the television.

Quick word to the wise: I thought I'd be extra resourceful and pause the video to keep the image on my TV for longer than an hour, just in case. After all, some kids are slow to get out of bed, will take awhile to wander into the living room, and so on. However, a few minutes after I paused it, our screensaver popped on. I'd recommend just playing the video normally.

Of course, the real fun comes once your child discovers the poor Elf in the TV and starts brainstorming different solutions for getting them out. If they need help thinking of ways to save their Elf, recommend options like enlisting the big man at the North Pole. I'm sure if your child writes a quick letter to Santa, he'll come retrieve your Elf friend overnight, and he'll be back in the house like normal the following day. And, if your kid has a destructive streak, I'd advise reminding them to keep their hands off the actual television set. Just in case....

With less than a week left in this year's Elf on the Shelf season, you're not the only parent running out of inventive ideas for your Elf on the Shelf. Genius hacks like this not only require very, very little creativity on your part, they're also pretty much guaranteed to impress and entertain your children. That's win-win, if you ask me. Now, here's to hoping that some generous, brilliant parents spend the next year coming up with a few more of these hacks to make next year even easier for the rest of us.

After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.