100 Mischievous ELF Ideas

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Kids young and old look forward to annual holiday visits from the special elves. You have probably heard of The Elf on the Shelfor other similar elves (elf magic). This is a fun tradition to start at the holidays and helps the magic of Christmas come alive. Place the elf around your home during the weeks before Christmas. Each night, the Elf will explore his environment and find something mischievous or fun to do. Usually when the kids  are sleeping the elf appears in a new place and the kids love trying to locate the new whereabouts each day.

Magic elf pudding and free elf printable

elf stationaryVisit this elf post for FREE elf stationary.

elf naughty list

Add your own elf ideas to our elf link up party

 If I started this tradition with my kids, I would certainly let them know that the Elf only wakes up a few times a week, not every night. Having to come up with something every evening seems a little much to me – this would certainly be a fun tradition (just not nightly). The Elf on a Shelf comes with a book so there are certain “guidelines” that might need to be followed because of how the story “reads”. You can always get your own Christmas Magic Elf  and make your own rules. When the elves are up to some mischief make sure to leave the elf next to his actions.


So very clever!! Dry erase marker will erase off of glass.

Making snow angels. Image from here.



Elves love green milk. Who knew?


Elves love taking photos especially of kids : )  Elf on the Shelf ideas

 So adorable. Image from here.


100 mischievous Elf antics…
1. read a favorite book
2. use masking tape to make a path or fun words
3.  play a favorite game
4. play in the nativity set
5. snowball fight with cotton balls
6. play in a bowl of spaghetti (no sauce)  : )
7. eat some Winter Oreo Cookies w/ Red Creme  and dip in milk
8. bake a cake for Jesus birthday
9. play checker or chess
10. spin the bottle with stuffed animals
11. make a mess in the bathroom with the toothpaste
12. getting into the shaving cream
13. hang from a balloon bouquet
14. paint the kids noses with lipstick or sharpie (to match Rudolph)
15 play the Wii or Nintendo
16. hang on the Christmas tree
17. Elf The Car or make the car a  Reindeer Vehicle
18. play the piano or guitar- holiday song sheet music is perfect
19. replace family photos with elf photo
20. elf photo appears as the screensaver on the family computer
21. write “ho ho ho” in toothpaste in the bathroom sink
22. hack into email or Facebook  leave a fun little message
23. use dry erase marker to write on glass covering a family picture
25. take pictures (of themselves) – find the digital camera full of elf pics
26. love to drive. Find the car is parked crazy or  car speakers blaring Christmas music.
27. put together a Christmas puzzle
28. unroll toilet paper – TP the Christmas tree or kids room
29. make snow angels in flour/sugar on the counter
30. empty out a drawer
31. use masking tape to tape something up
32. do a crossword puzzle
33. snack on candy – empty a candy bag
34. love Christmas music. Christmas music is on with the CD’s everywhere
35. be a trapeze artist on a chandelier, kitchen rack, etc…
36. try on all the coats in the closet – leave in a pile
37. knit or crochet
38. write on an Etch A Sketch
39. use a dry erase marker to write some fun words on a mirror on window
40. use sharpie and write on mom or dad (the forehead would get a good laugh)
41. go fishing with goldfish crackers
42. sit atop a chandelier (make sure there is no fire hazard)
43. go sledding
44. sit on top of folded laundry
45. tea party with stuffed animals/barbies
46. love to drive Barbie sized car or jeep
47. color in a coloring book
48. bake some cookies and leave the mess for the kids to clean ; )
49. hang Multi Color Mini Christmas Lights in the kids room
50. leave fast food wrappers (with leftovers) scattered around
51. get out the hair dryer and hair bows
52. hide in snow boots or coat pockets
53. make a cup tower with cups
54. display the kids underwear and socks all over the bedroom or family room
55. play with play dough and cookie cutters
56. make a mess with the cereal – spell out the kids names with cereal
57. make lego figurines or sculptures
58. gets out the exercise equipment – headband around the elf’s head is a must
59. marshmallow fight
60. snowball fight with cotton balls
61. turn milk green
62. hide something special and hide with it
63. paint on a piece of art paper a self-portrait
64. grab the remote for some TV viewing
65. hide in the freezer (they miss the north pole)
66. popcorn fight
67. play on the computer keyboard. elf the family (elfyourself.com)
68. do interesting things with candy canes – hang everywhere
69. wait at the bus stop for the kids to arrive
70. leave an elf Elf on the Shelf Ornament on the tree
71. play with blocks
72. get into stickers (round colored labels) and leave a mess
73. make paper snowflakes and hang around
74. bake some Christmas cookies
75. check out the fish bowl
76. ride a skateboard
77. ride a bike
78. hide in the mittens and place in an unusual spot
79. playground planking
80. hang from the rearview mirror in the car
81. graffiti with Can of Spray Snow
82. leaves a gingerbread house kit to decorate
83. to bring new socks or mittens to the kids
84. perch atop a headboard or picture frame
85. write out the dinner menu using wacky north pole terms for dinner
86. leave notes about doing well in school
87. love to make a mess with diapers and diaper wipes
88. green pee in the toilet
89. play with toys
90. play in bath bubbles
91. make an igloo with Sugar Cubes
92. hang out of the Christmas stocking
93. read the polar express book with lots of Jingle Bells scattered around
94. make a mess with Christmas lights
95. use scrabble tiles to leave a Christmas message
96. paint everyones toes red
97. sweep the kitchen
98. pile all the couch pillows into a pile
99. play tic-tac-toe on the bathroom mirror with lipstick or spray snow
100. write a letter to the kids using the world’s smallest letter kit



Happy Elfing!!!
Image from here.
Lots of ideas for Elf on the Shelf found here. Image from Rae of Light Photography


Image from here. Image by Chubby Cheek Photography
 Elf on the Shelf ideas.  Image by Chubby Cheek Photography
 Image from here.

Image from here.

How about capturing a photo of Santa in YOUR very own home with your elf? Your elf could be sitting on Santa’s shoulder or sitting next to a plate of cookies in YOUR home! Wouldn’t this be proof that Santa exists? Your family would LOVE this.
Catch Santa in your house

Wouldn’t this be cute in the hands of an elf. Just in case you’re wondering…the bow and “arrow” helps shoot strings of christmas lights up on the roof top

elf on the shelf
18-Inch Stuffed Sitting Elf Ornament, Set of 2


Santas Secret Elf Boy and Girl Set 11″

Elf on the Shelf 4-Inch Hanging Ornament

An Elf’s Story DVD with Elf on the Shelf Figurine in Velvet Pouch and Elf Ornament Gift Set

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Blue Eyed North Pole Pixie-Elf

Does your family have a special elf that loves to play antics? Leave a comment and share your ideas?



Posted on November 21, 2011
Categories: christmas, Christmas Wonderful, fun printables, holiday awesomeness, holiday ideas

  Leave A Comment


  1. Hillcrest Acres says:
    November 21, 2011

    Oh, how funny. Thanks for the Elf ideas. The dry erase marker on a family photo is on the top of the to do list!!!

  2. Science Worksheets says:
    November 21, 2011

    Wow, Excellent post!!!Lovely pictures and awesome photography.

  3. Kelly says:
    November 21, 2011

    Oh, it wears me out just thinking of planning all that. We just move ours every night and the rule is they are not allowed to touch him or he goes back to Santa's. Here's a story about our Elfie: http://laterbetty.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-magic-of-elfie.html

  4. A To Zebra Celebrations says:
    November 21, 2011

    wow!! these are hilarious!! love it!

  5. LDH says:
    November 22, 2011

    Fun post! It reminds me of a tradition in our family and now played along in our kids' families. I posted about it here: http://gratefulprayerthankfulheart.blogspot.com/2009/11/hes-back.html

  6. DesignDazzle.blogspot.com says:
    November 22, 2011

    Thanks for the kind comments! I love how creative everyone gets when it comes to helping the elves create some mischief : )

  7. Kristine says:
    November 26, 2011

    I'm doing this for the first time this year and I'm so excited. I decided to combine the Elf's antics with the activities I'm putting in the Advent Calendar (so yes I'm doing it every day – I even made a calendar and all planned it out in advance *nerd* :D)
    I wrote a post about it here: http://pixiephotography.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/a-christmas-elf-is-coming-to-visit/

  8. DesignDazzle.blogspot.com says:
    November 27, 2011

    Kristine – good idea to do your own elf story. I feel the same way. I like that you are combining ELF with the Advent calendar. Check out our 100 ideas for Advent calendar activities(free printables) http://designdazzle.blogspot.com/2011/11/advent-countdown-calendar-including-100.html

  9. freescia says:
    February 24, 2012

    I'm bursting in tears laughing. It's February and I'm thinking back to our elf this past Christmas. Here's our story about "goldibop": http://momandbabymags.blogspot.com/search/label/Holiday

  10. Anonymous says:
    July 19, 2012

    Such great ideas! We enjoyed our elf on the shelf but seemed to run out of ideas fast! This gives me alot of new ideas to make our elf more fun! This is probably my best pinterest post ever! I could not wait for my kids to wake up to see what Trix had done that night! Cant wait to see their faces this year! Thank you!

  11. Anonymous says:
    July 22, 2012

    we started this tradition last year and my daughter loved it. We did do a lot of these ideas but definatly in need for more this year. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Anonymous says:
    August 31, 2012

    We do this with our kids but they have to trap the elf. The best way to catch an elf is with chocolate chip cookies and a pillow case. In our house, the elves (the one they caught last year and the 2 they will trap this year) will leave on the 24th to go and help Santa. Each elf comes with his or her own story, what they do for Santa and also what they do for fun. Last year, we woke up to all our daughters Barbies naked on the Christmas tree and the Christmas tree moved. It was priceless! We also let our daughters fall asleep with the elves and in the morning they would have to find them because they would slip away during the night. This year, I decided that I was going to make my own elves and they turned out great. Have fun with the ideas and thanks again for some new Ideas.

  13. Anonymous says:
    August 31, 2012

    They would sometimes find them in the morning but if they didn't, they would set up a trap and catch them.

  14. ~Beth D. says:
    September 17, 2012

    I also made my own elf doll. A lot bigger than the store bought one, so limited to what he can do. But our elf made treats for my sons class. Cut little flat mice out of felt and used a candy cane for the tail. very cute! My son was so excited to share with his class because they had one in class as well!

    Here is is arrival to our house: http://bethstherapy.blogspot.com/2011/12/elf-on-shelf.html

    And then some of his adventures: http://bethstherapy.blogspot.com/2011/12/elf-adventures.html

    Love this list! Thanks for sharing!!

  15. Denise F. says:
    October 14, 2012

    I am trying to plan an ELF Christmas party for my 6 grandchildren, ages 7 to 16. A challenge every year to enclude interesting things for all to do at the same time. We plan to "Ask for help with a mischivous elf terrorizing Grandma and Grandpa's house!!" He will have left all the messes all over the house when the kids arrive. We will take pictures of the elf doing his damage and then play the pictures the next day for moms and dads along with the videos of the kids playing Minute To Win It games. Should be a good time. Thanks for so many wonderful ideas. And, congratulations to all you wonderful parents that care about taking the time and effort to make wonderful Christmas seasons for you children.

  16. Marlo RepurposeMyLife says:
    October 29, 2012

    Hysterical! I will have to get more creative. Maybe I will enjoy it more

  17. Anonymous says:
    October 30, 2012

    Oh My! This is a great idea! I'm laughing out loud at the idea and I'm alone at home. My Dad used to hide a little cork guy he made named CORKIE when he came over to visit. When I found him, then I had the pleasure of hiding Corkie at his house. My Dad passed away years ago and this is one of my best memories of him. Now I will start this tradition with my family. Thank you.

  18. Karen says:
    November 9, 2012

    Love all of the ideas but please don't use a sharpie to write on people. Sharpies are permanent markers. Use a washable marker instead-all of the fun with none of the embarassement later in the day. :0) Can't wait to use some of these fun ideas!

  19. Amber Thompson says:
    November 12, 2012

    Hey there! Thank you so much for this! I added a link to your page on mine for an Elf on the Shelf idea compilation that I made. Here is the link: http://kindacrunchymamalife.blogspot.com/2012/11/elf-on-shelf.html I hope that's ok?! Thanks again so much!

  20. Amy Lanhardt says:
    November 20, 2012

    Wow! So many ideas! Fantastic!
    We'd love it if you would come take a peek at our blog! More elf ideas and a free printable!


    Have a whimsical day!

  21. LloydSPCA says:
    November 21, 2012

    Great ideas, thanks so much! This will be our first year with the elf, and our daughter is almost 6. I have a question for everyone who has been "elfing" for a while. What do you do with the elf during the day? Does he stay in that same spot, with all his mischief? Or do you clean it up and put him somewhere until you move him that night?

  22. nurse nikk says:
    November 23, 2012

    Great new ideas! Our elf, Bernard, has done a lot of these. He has also dressed in cowboy clothes, boots & hat & rode Barbie's horse, brought coal (candy coal) if our son got into trouble at home or school, he caught a cold so we dressed him in hospital scrubs, had old medicine bottles w peppermint, chocolate, & marshmallows that cured him right up. He brought my son a cake & special present on his bday, Dec 21st, wrote out Happy Birthday in sprinkles. We are from the south & are a hunting family so this year he made his debut with his very own toy 8pt Buck deer, he had on his orange vest & hat but left a note to assure us it wasn't one of Santa's reindeer. My mind overflows w ideas lol.

  23. nurse nikk says:
    November 23, 2012

    We leave him in the same spot all day, kids aren't allowed to touch him or he'll lose his "magic". So if u have really little ones put him out of reach.

  24. kellyscrafttreasures says:
    November 24, 2012

    We do the same.. My kids are 3 and 7 so usually, he's somewhere they can't get to him.. This does give me some ideas of what to do for him this year :)

  25. Anonymous says:
    November 25, 2012

    My friend has a boy and a girl elf and the elves are getting married at her house this yr. Can't wait to see her pics!

  26. Anonymous says:
    November 25, 2012

    Our elf was caught in my son's toy boat fishing in the goldfish bowl. He used a fishing pole that consisted of a candy cane, strip of ribbon, & a partially opened paper clip. He also spray painted my son's hair and his stuffed dog while they were sleeping. My husband & I had a ton of fun with Sneaky Elf!

  27. Anonymous says:
    November 27, 2012

    ok when you do ideas such as make snow angels in flour/sugar on the counter do you leave the elf in that postion all day because you are not allowed to touch the elf. First time doing elf on the shelf. Thanks!

  28. Anonymous says:
    November 27, 2012

    Our first night with "jingle" he climbed the Christmas tree! Trying to think of what to do with him tonight!

  29. Anonymous says:
    November 27, 2012

    Our Elf has his own community Facebook where we all share pics & ideas! My girls wait anxiously for "Freslin" to arrive every year, and they talk to him on his FB page when they're missing him during the year :)


  30. Stephani W says:
    November 28, 2012

    Love it! I'm always looking for more ideas, so thanks!! (I don't like to duplicate). For the other idea seekers, here's a photo collage of what we did last year (I'll add one for this year after Christmas). My boys were only 18mo, 2, and 4 last year, so we had to do a lot of "up high" stuff. http://mycdoisoutofcontrol.blogspot.com/2011/12/elf-on-shelf-adventures-2011.html

  31. Mimi Becky says:
    November 28, 2012

    When our elf, "Chip", makes a mess, we move the elf to the side because when the kids touch him, it takes away some of his magic. We have the kids clean up the mess. This way, THEY are taking care of him. We love our elf. Tonight, he might tape crepe paper across Chloe's doorway.

  32. Megan says:
    November 30, 2012

    Oh Goodness! Our elves are so naughty!! We have 3 as we have 3 kids. Plus it's easier to make up scenes with more than one! Our elves arrive on 1Dec. At night, the kids put them to bed in their own special box. (a box like you'd wrap a shirt in). They leave them water (3 shotglasses) and crackers. (The dog loves that part) During the night the elves have duct taped the youngest to the wall, decorated ornaments (and the kids can make their own also), written on the bathroom mirror, undecorated the tree, decorated the tree with the kids underwear, taken down all the pictures on the walls, locked one in the bathroom cabinet, hid in cereal boxes, sat in a bowl of ice cubes in the freezer, set-up scenes with the kids' other stuffed animals (ski jump, spa time, making a mess with shaving cream on the kitchen table…) decorated a small tree for the hallway, bought small gifts for kids, made a fort with all out canned goods, Food colored the dog and cat…

  33. Kathy Gurley says:
    December 7, 2012

    How cute are these!

  34. […] Someone’s been causing a little mischief and turned the milk GREEN!! I’ve heard of other elves turning the milk blue and even pink! That’s a fun way to start off your morning breakfast – with crazy colored milk!  {Photo Credit: Design Dazzle} […]

  35. Rene* says:
    December 8, 2012

    Thank you! Just got our Elf today!

  36. Kay says:
    December 17, 2012

    I love the ideas! Can’t wait to print the Elf Stationery for my daughter’s elf, Chuckie. He’s a bit mischievous around our house, but she’ll enjoy his new hiding spots!

  37. Amy Bateman says:
    December 19, 2012

    What a great round-up of ideas! We have three elves that visit our family (I post some of their antics on my blog). Sometimes they’re well-behaved, but a lot of the time they really get into mischief. It has been fun to see some of the ideas my husband or oldest daughters come up with for elf adventures.

  38. Linda says:
    December 20, 2012

    We bought 3 canisters of white play-dough. Our elf will make an elf-sized snowman on the kitchen counter tonight!

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