Elf on the Shelf Ideas {For Busy Nights!}

elf on the shelf ideas for busy nights


I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with our little Elf, Charlie. It is fun to have a little holiday tradition, he keeps me on my toes trying to be fun and creative each night and I love seeing the children’s faces when Charlie does something especially fun.  On the other hand, it is one more thing to do at night or first thing in the morning and sometimes you are just so stretched… I can’t possibly set up a zipline across the living room for my elf to maneuver each and every night.

So this year I will try to share some of my ideas for Elf on the Shelf- many of these will be simple, quick and easy options for your elf for busy nights.

Hopefully many of these ideas you can easily duplicate since I didn’t use a lot of random toys and props. A few other things about our elf- my girls are still pretty small so I try to keep the Elf in the kitchen. That makes it easy for them to see him right away on busy mornings. I also like to keep things G Rated for the elf. That may seem like a no brainer but I have seen so many elf ideas featuring alcohol and I just recently saw the Elf in compromising situations with Barbie. (Um… Awkward.)

So Charlie is nicely behaved. And Charlie does not create big messes that require me to clean up after him.

Here are a few of my ideas for the Elf-

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ Elf Arrives

I usually buy my girl’s fun new Christmas jammies every year.  This year Elf brought them instead- he is such a good house guest!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ To Do List

Charlie the Elf made out a to do list- pretty full day making cookies, buying toys, playing, and of course visiting Santa.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ Elf Likes to Color

Charlie tends to like the same thing my children like- so he was hard at work coloring one morning.  (Coloring book of Santa photos of course).

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ Elf Likes the Toy Book

The kids LOVE the toy catalogs that come in the mail and guess what?  Elf loves them too.  He is busy circling his faves.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ Movie Night

Elf loves movie night as much as the girls do.  He was up late watching several of his favorites and munching away on popcorn.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ Sweet Tooth

Charlie has a bit of a sweet tooth… here he was caught sneaking cookies.

elf on the shelf ideas_ dinner suggestions

Sometimes the Elf likes to suggest dinner ideas.  He was thinking pizza and even found a coupon for us to use.  A take out menu, ingredients for a family favorite (like spaghetti noodles and sauce) or a gift card to a favorite spot would all work.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas_ Makeup

And my two little girls are always trying to get into my makeup- so naturally Charlie was very interested as well.

Elf on the Shelf Ideas- Elf visits the library

Charlie is especially helpful with little reminders- like when we need to return our library books.  He even got the library card out so we are all set to go.

Elf on the shelf ideas- balancing the checkbook

And one last idea- apparently he had a late night balancing the checkbook.  Good thing there is a fresh cup of coffee to keep him alert.

So just a few quick and easy ideas I had for the Elf for your super busy nights (or when you forget and the kids are brushing their teeth and you are scrambling to put the darn elf somewhere…. or is that just me?)

If you have silly/fun/cute ideas for your elf I’d love to hear about it or shoot me a picture and I will include it with another roundup!  (Myfrugaladventures at yahoo.com)

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I have a cute idea for how to bring the elf back into your family this season.

You can grab your own Elf on the Shelf here for $29 and if you have no idea what this is about- check out the Everything you need to know about Elf on the Shelf post here. 

Fun and Silly Elf on the Shelf Ideas

And if you have a bit more time- here are some more creative and fun ideas for your Elf on the Shelf. 

How to Make Elf on the Shelf Posable in just 2 minutes

And here is a super simple way to make Elf on the Shelf posable.  



  1. cathy says

    i’m looking for suggestion on how charlie could encourage kids to do their chores, or to get right to homework. my kids like to find our cat asleep on their bed right after school, and then they sit next to the cat and do a worksheet for homework. could i do something like this idea?

  2. Charlene says

    What if the elf left them a note? I’ll be watching after school today and if you get xyz done there will be a special treat tomorrow! I have a really cute little treat my elf is going to make today for me to post tomorrow.

  3. Tammy says

    Our Tracker left the kids a LONG list of chores a few days before we hosted Christmas. with each job worth a different number of M+Ms. Even parents had to participate. Not all achieved, but certainly an improvement on otherwise!

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