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25 Elf on the Shelf ideas and accessories for a creative Christmas countdown

·7 min read
Elf on the Shelf is a phenomenon. Here are 24 ideas to make the countdown to Christmas extra creative this year.
Elf on the Shelf is a phenomenon. Here are 24 ideas to make the countdown to Christmas extra creative this year.

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If you’ve been anywhere on social media for the last decade, you’ve heard of the Elf on the Shelf. Santa’s little spy arrives around or a little after Thanksgiving and keeps watch of children up until Christmas morning.

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If you ask us, however, it should be called "Elf off the Shelf," because those scouting little elves seem to spend very little time sitting in one place. Instead, they bop around the house keeping kids honest and on their toes during the lead up to opening their Christmas presents.

While it’s a fun and Instagram-worthy holiday tradition to find a new nightly hiding spot, it tends to come at the expense of parents' precious time. If your family’s Elf on the Shelf tradition is adding tedium to your holiday to-do list, have no fear. Here are some fun and stress-free ways to kick off some holiday elfin magic in your home.

1. Get yourself an elf

To get the fun started, get yourself an elf!
To get the fun started, get yourself an elf!

If you don’t yet have an Elf on the Shelf, what are you waiting for? Be sure to get one that comes with the (now famous) accompanying storybook. The book outlines all the history, background, rules and details of the scouting elves, which will make your foray into this tradition a bit easier and will set your kids up for what to expect in the weeks to come.

Shop Elf on the Shelf doll and book packs at Bed Bath & Beyond for $32.99

2. A holiday-themed elf and fairy door

A tiny door to welcome your guest!
A tiny door to welcome your guest!

How about a little doorway for your elf to enter through? This adorable door, wreath and "footprints" set is all you need to give your elf a festive welcome into your home!

Get the Magical Door for Elf on the Shelf at Amazon for $27.99

3. A set of pre-written notes

This kit even comes with a report card!
This kit even comes with a report card!

A note of the day keeps the bad behavior at bay. If you’re looking to get a little behavior modification out of this tradition, look no further. This set of letters, reminders and a behavior report (to be sent back to Santa on Christmas Eve) will help keep your impish one on track.

Get the Christmas Elf Notes Santa Letter and Checklist at Amazon for $25.99

4. An Ugly Sweater set

Your elf will bring home the Ugly Sweater prize!
Your elf will bring home the Ugly Sweater prize!

Your elf will be the star of the ugly sweater party with this set. It includes one sweater with eight attachable decals for a fun and festive look for your little party animal.

Get the Elf 9-Piece Sweater Set at Amazon for $7.99

5. A costume set to help them get into character

For the fashion-forward elf.
For the fashion-forward elf.

Little known fact: Elves are all about fashion. This couture set will make sure your elf is on trend, whether they are ice skating or heading off to a holiday party. It also has some fun surprises like a mermaid’s tale and a shimmering flapper dress.

Get the Claus Couture 6-Outfit Mega Pack at Amazon for $79.95

6. For the hipster elf

For the hipster elf.
For the hipster elf.

He knew all about your favorite music and art before it was cool, and he was a Christmas elf before anyone else. Get him all set to visit his favorite brew pub with horn-rimmed glasses and a scarf that's subversively stylish.

Get the Hipster Elf Set at Amazon for $16.95

7. For the elf that has some hobbies

For the elf with hobbies.
For the elf with hobbies.

There's more to life than than just elfing around! Sometimes an elf needs to do some self care by indulging in their favorite hobbies. If your elf likes ice fishing and rock music, this two-for-one set is just what they need.

Get the Elf on The Shelf Jingle Jam Hoodie and Fishing Hut Set at Amazon for $24.95

8. For the elf that missed pilates class

For the elf that needs to work on core strength.
For the elf that needs to work on core strength.

If your elf is feeling a little bit floppy these days, this set is just what he needs. He'll be able stand, sit, bend and grip with this smart kit that's made just for getting your elf Instagram ready and positioned into any desired pose.

Get the Flex Elf Upgrade Kit at Amazon for $16.99

9. A simple set of behavior cards

Sweet and simple, this just checks off if there was a naughty or a nice day, for a daily Elf Report.
Sweet and simple, this just checks off if there was a naughty or a nice day, for a daily Elf Report.

If you want to keep it straightforward “naughty” or “nice,” these postcard-sized cards are bright, cheerful and colorful. They don’t get into the nitty gritty, but—depending on your kid—maybe that’s a good thing.

Get the 100-pack of Naughty or Nice Elf Notes at Amazon for $22.99

10. A comfy sleep set

This set is sure to be a sleeper hit with your elf.
This set is sure to be a sleeper hit with your elf.

If they’re going to be spending the next few weeks at your place, it’d be rude not to give them a comfy setup for their stay. This one comes with a flannel-lined plaid sleeping bag, a fluffy robe fit for a 5-star hotel, a scarf and some reader glasses—in case they brought along a book.

Get the Elf Doll Plaid Sleeping Bag Overnight Set at Amazon for $17.99

11. Some inflatables for relaxing

These are made for cups, but perfectly sized for an elf-style pool party.
These are made for cups, but perfectly sized for an elf-style pool party.

Turn your kitchen sink or bathtub into a pool party with these fun floaties. (True, these are made as floating cup holders, but they can also hold elves.) Invite Barbie and maybe a dinosaur or two to the fun.

Get the 12-pack of Inflatable Tropical Cup Holders at Amazon for $11.99

12. A book of cute ideas

So many fun elf ideas! So little time.
So many fun elf ideas! So little time.

If you're at a loss, this book will help you come up with all sorts of last-minute inspiration to keep your elf in top shape and your kids on your toes.

Get 101 Things to Do with Your Christmas Elf at Amazon for $12.99

13. A personalized prop kit

This elf kit can be completely customized!
This elf kit can be completely customized!

If you want to have your whole month laid out for you, this kit does all the work! Just add an elf. There are options to buy 12 or 24 days of personalized antics that include props as well as suggested setups for the perfect snaps of your little visitor. You can also personalize this kit with a child’s name and the name of your scouting elf.

Get the 2021 Personalized Elf Kit at Etsy for $58

14. A deluxe prop kit

This kit is filled with wit and hilarity, to make for a truly impressive month with your elf.
This kit is filled with wit and hilarity, to make for a truly impressive month with your elf.

If you love mini props, set dressings and costumes, these deluxe kits are exactly what you need for 24 days of fun. This one comes with a delivery letter from Santa, a felt envelope that the Elf arrived in, and all sorts of backdrops, costumes and tiny toys for authentic-looking setups. You can even add Santa’s lost button to this package.

Get the Luxury Elf Prop Kit at Etsy for $139

15. Some PJs

These holiday-themed PJs are just right for your house guest.
These holiday-themed PJs are just right for your house guest.

You’re not going to make them sleep in their work clothes, are you? These comfy, candy cane-themed pajamas and fuzzy slippers are just the way to get on the nice list.

Get the Candy Cane Elf Pajamas at Etsy for $24.99

16. A book of inspiration

This book is brimming with ideas for making the most of your Elf on the Shelf.
This book is brimming with ideas for making the most of your Elf on the Shelf.

It can be hard to come up with new and innovative ideas for your elf when they’re around for at least 24 days and nights. For the days when you’re all out of ideas, this 60-page book will help inspire quick and easy scenes, to keep the fun going. It comes with 15 elf props and tools, over 135 colorful photos, and pages and pages worth of inspiration.

Get Elves at Play: Tools and Tips at Amazon for $40.35

17. A mailbox for North Pole correspondence

Just what you and your elf need for daily correspondence with Santa.
Just what you and your elf need for daily correspondence with Santa.

This magical mailbox takes letters to and from the North Pole nightly. It’s just right for sending off Elf reports, or getting messages back from Santa to encourage good behavior—or when a Christmas list needs immediate updating.

Get the Elf on the Shelf Magic Mailbox at Amazon for $12.99

18. Some elf-sized footprint stencils

These tiny footprints are very convincing!
These tiny footprints are very convincing!

This stencil transforms baking flour, baking soda or confectioners sugar to make perfectly-sized elf footprints. Little ones will love the magical trails they make throughout your home.

Get the Elf Footprints Stencil at Etsy for $3.88

19. Some delicious doughnuts

Elves love sugary treats from Kringle Kreme
Elves love sugary treats from Kringle Kreme

A proper elf knows what it takes to be a good houseguest. Make sure yours arrives with some treats. May we suggest some holiday-themed doughnuts?

Get the Elf Holiday Donut kit at Etsy for $18

20. A cute cookie-making set

Elves love to bake cookies!
Elves love to bake cookies!

Everyone knows that elves love sugar and that cookie-making is one of their greatest talents. This set comes with everything they need to make Christmas confections, including cookie cutters, a tray and colorful holiday sprinkles.

Get the Elf Shenanigan Baking Set at Etsy for $13

21. For the moonlighting elf

Ever wonder where elves get all of their energy?
Ever wonder where elves get all of their energy?

As you may have noticed, elves don’t sleep much. Word is, they are coffee addicts. If you want to get in on that morning coffee, pick up one of these sets to have your own in-home barista.

Get the Elf Barista Set at Etsy for $18.99

22. For the couch potato elf

Some buttery popcorn and a cozy sweater for a night in.
Some buttery popcorn and a cozy sweater for a night in.

These elves have been working hard all year. To be honest, they never get a day off. Set your elf up for a night off, with this set of popcorn and a comfy sweatshirt to kick back in.

Get the Elf on the Shelf Movie Night set at Etsy for $11

23. A North Pole-style Twister game

A good game of Tinsel Twist for blowing off steam.
A good game of Tinsel Twist for blowing off steam.

If your elf is looking a little stressed, help them blow off steam with a good, old-fashioned game night. Tinsel Twist is really popular north of the Arctic Circle. Gifting this game to your elf will definitely score you some points with Santa.

Get the Tinsel Twist Elf Game at Etsy for $7.99

24. A tool belt for toy-building

The toys aren't going to make themselves! They need a tool belt.
The toys aren't going to make themselves! They need a tool belt.

While we do appreciate a good pool party with Barbie and friends, this Elf didn’t just come here to relax. They have some work to do! This tiny tool belt will help them get things done as Christmas Day approaches.

Get the Elfin-sized Tool Belt at Etsy for $18.99

25. A travel set and chart

For the weary elfin traveler.
For the weary elfin traveler.

They came a long way! This set comes with an elf-sized sleeping pad, a roller suitcase, a personalized arrival note and a chart to keep track of naughty and nice days while this elf is in town.

Get the Elf Arrival Package at Etsy for $33.75

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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Elf on the Shelf ideas and accessories

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