Elf on the Shelf under a little faux door with wreath
Kinsey Gidick

13 Fun Ways To Celebrate Elf On The Shelf’s Arrival This Holiday Season

Guess who’s back?

Ready to have Elf on the Shelf make an appearance in your house? You could just have him show up one morning leaning on a cup of orange juice. Or you could go all out and make the appearance a bit more of a show. That’s what many parents have done, taking the extra creative step to ring in the holiday season with Elfie’s arrival. From props to posters, tech assistance and even music, there are some great concepts online for Elf on the Shelf arrival ideas.

Whether you choose to steal an idea from one of these clever parents, or want to build on one of their concepts to make it your own, you can blow out Elf’s entrance to really set the scene for the holiday season. Break out the marshmallows. Pull out the sequins. Get crazy with the balloons. If you want your children to really buy into the idea that a Scout Elf is watching their every move in advance of Christmas, they have to believe it’s a big deal. And that means day one needs to be as convincing as possible. Now granted, keeping this level of energy throughout the entire lead up to Santa’s arrival might be exhausting. So consider the day you want to unleash the beast, er Elf, before you go wild with the big unveiling.


Red Carpet Arrival

If celebrities get to walk the red carpet, then Elf surely deserves to do the same. Find a little red felt or some other bright red fabric lying around and set the scene for your own celebrity Santa scout. You could even go all out and line it with twinkle lights or add a “step-and-repeat” Elf can pose in front of. Or, better yet, give some other figurines a faux camera to act as Elf’s paparazzi.


Scavenger Hunt

This Elf on the Shelf arrival idea comes courtesy of the official Elf on the Shelf Twitter account. It’s an Elf on the Shelf treasure map. But while this one is designed just to keep little ones busy, but you could take this same concept and make it a treasure hunt to find Elf! Create your own map or set up clues around the house for kids to follow.


Make Elf a Present

Here’s a parent who takes the Christmas present theme and extends it to Elf’s arrival. The little Elf is staged around a table decorated in holiday colors, sitting in a high chair. Kids get to open a gift as a tease of what’s to come under the tree, while Elfie stands sentry ready to remind little ones that he sees them when they’re sleeping or when they are awake.


Put Up a Yard Sign

Nothing makes a statement like an enormous sign across your yard spelling out “I’m Baaack” with Elfie staged atop one letter. You can get big yard letters are party stores or you could DIY the enterprise. Just remember, the neighbors will ask questions.


Send a Note

Kids love imagining that their Elf can talk to them, so why not write a note from him. This one is especially silly: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I got stuck in the blinds, coming back to you.” Imagine the giggles your kids will let out when they read this.


Blow Up A Balloon

Want to really blow your kids’ minds? Try this Elf on the Shelf arrival idea: Put Elf inside a balloon of an elf! Inflatable hijinks never looked so good. Children will be fascinated by how their little fella got inside the balloon while you’ll have an awesome display to surprise them with. Win/win.


Wrap Your Child’s Door

Elves are experts in wrapping. It’s like Elf 101. And to show their exceptional package prowess, you might as well greet your kids with their entire door wrapped in wrapping paper the morning Elf arrives. They’ll know in an instant that the season for fun has begun.


Create a Surprise Door

There’s no real way to explain how Elf travels through space and time to keep an eye on kids. That’s the stuff of magic. So build upon that mystical world by installing a tiny door in the wall of your house. You can get everything you need from a craft store or Amazon. Add twinkle lights around it to really amp up the magic.


Arrive By Mail

Want to give your children a thrill? Have Elfie ride a package into town. If you have a slot mailbox, you can station the Elf on top of a package. Or, if you have an independent mailbox at the end of your drive, Elf can be inside clutching a letter. You could even write a note about how it was faster to get to town by USPS.


Luggage in Tow

Elf on the Shelf is about to settle into your household for a few weeks, so naturally the little character will need to pack a few things. Have him show up carrying a tiny suitcase. You can easily fashion one out of sparkly silver pipe cleaners and a little box, say a matchbox covered in construction paper or an Altoid case covered in paint. Get creative. Remember, this is supposed to be fun!


I’m Back Sign

Have a big letter board sign in your house? This is now Elfie’s means of communication and the Elf can make its appearance by writing a message of hello on the board. You can make it short and simple for early readers to handle or more elaborate depending on how much space you have, but station Elf atop it to really surprise kiddos.


Candy Cane Rope Climb

How would Elf really break and enter a home? He’d probably use a candy cane colored rope, that’s how. Link a bunch of candy canes together, then have Elf descend the links. You can put a little wreath on his arm if you want to make the scene even more festive, as if he’s coming in for a landing, ready to decorate.


Crash Landing

Think paramilitary maneuvers to master this Elf arrival. You can fashion your own parachute and create a little hot air balloon bucket for Elf to sit in. Then string him up from a light, mirror, or even a potted plan to make a surprise arrival for your kids.

Cue the lights. It’s time for Elf on the Shelf to make its appearance. With these crazy and clever concepts, you’ll have plenty to work with to make an excellent Elf arrival.