90 Last Minute Elf on the Shelf Ideas That You Won’t Hate!

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Last minute elf on the shelf ideas because mama is BUSY but knows her kids love that silly little Christmas elf.

The holiday season is almost here and the fun times with our friend, the Elf. If you are like me and a last minute mama, well intentioned but need something lazy and easy – we got you. Enjoy these simple elf hacks!

Easy Last Minute Elf on the Shelf Ideas

We are keeping it easy. Whether this is your first time or 20th attempt, we are showing you easy last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas to make it happen.

75+ easy and fun last minute elf on the shelf ideas
last minute elf on the shelf ideas

This year we have added in help 2 elves ideas, just incase you are like so many of us and have more than one of these things around your house.

Choose Your Elf

First, do you have your elf? Now there are all kinds of elf on the shelf dolls for you to choose from. Choose your favorite.

elf on the shelf ideas
elf on the shelf ideas

Thankfully, elf on the shelf now represents more than the white boy elf. There are still some ways to go on diversifying the elf but it’s a start.

The Elf on the Shelf also comes with the Elf on the Shelf book.

Okay, got it? Great! Don’t forget to name it.

Annual Elf Tradition

As much as we all love the Christmas family traditions and memories we are creating for our kids, we have to keep our ideas fresh each year.

elf on the shelf christmas tradition
elf on the shelf Christmas tradition

Whether your elf comes to visit right after Thanksgiving or a few days before Christmas, these easy ideas for moving your elf will make the holiday even more memorable.

Having The Elf on the Shelf is fun, but seeing your child’s smile each morning as they find out what their Elf was up to overnight is classic and heart warming. Now let’s get at it with easy last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas.

Lazy Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

We are taking the pain out of planning, giving you a TON of last minute, easy and lazy Elf on the Shelf ideas for the holiday season.

elf on the shelf easy ideas funny

These Elf on the Shelf activities will have your kids smiling and a mom less stressed.Here are our lazy easy last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas.

The Elf Has Arrived

On the day of the Elf’s arrival, wrap him up in a bouquet of bows. This is an easy Elf on the Shelf idea and is a good way to kick off the season of elfing.

Family Christmas Movie Night

This Elf on the Shelf idea is easy and cute. Have him watch a Christmas movie, like one of our family’s favorites – ELF. Another fave is Christmas Vacation – but unless your kids are older maybe keep the movie watching to something kid-friendly.

last minute elf on the shelf idea christmas movie night
last minute elf on the shelf idea christmas movie night

Anyways, pop some popcorn and leave a note that tonight is family Christmas movie night (idea from Pinterest.) Enjoy some family time and knock out another day of elf duty all-in-one.

Elf on Shelf Reading a Book

Have your elf bring your kids a new Christmas book. Pose him reading a book maybe under a lamp with his feet propped up.

Funny Pun

This is a funny pun that works well, especially if your kid is asking for a new Apple iPad.

last minute elf idea pun
last minute elf idea pun

Instead of an actual Apple iPad, get an eye patch – which is essentially an eye pad. The elf pun maybe funny to us parents, but kids get annoyed which is even more reason to do this elf activity!

Play an Elf Game

Download our Free Elf on the Shelf Candy Cane Hunt printable and leave out for your child and elf to play. It’s like a game of candy cane hide and seek!

elf on the shelf candy cane hunt free printable
elf on the shelf candy cane hunt free printable

Play with printable or REAL candy canes. If you have older kids, we have added clues to add some more complexity to the Christmas game.

Knits a Scarf

The winter months are cold, even for an Elf who lives 11 months of the year at the North Pole. Get to crochet needles and a scarf to make it appear that your elf has knitted a scarf overnight.

Feed the Dinosaurs

We told you we were keeping it easy, right? Make a don’t feed the dinosaurs sign.

Put the elf on a shelf with what appears to be dinosaur food. Then gather several dinosaurs underneath him. Place a “don’t feed the dinosaurs” sign and there you have it. Creative and fun!

Shoe Mountain

Take all of your kids’ shoes and make a mountain of them. A shoe mountain, that is. Stick a sign in the middle that says Mt. Shoey and have the Elf on the Shelf climb it.

Feeding Ducks

Here is another easy Elf on the Shelf idea if you have a few rubber ducks around. Fill your sink with water and let the rubber ducks float in the sink. Set your elf on the edge of the sink with bread.

The elf feeding ducks is a great example of a minimal, low cost elf idea that’s clever and your kids will love.

Emailing Santa Claus

We love a good Santa meme, and also the old guy. You know, technically the elf belongs to him, so what if you set your elf next to the computer and have gmail open. Have the elf email Santa about your child’s behavior.

Elf Eats Cookies

Have your elf in the kitchen with cookie crumbs everywhere! Then leave a note stating that we are out of cookies and to please add them to the grocery list.

Story Time with Stuffed Animals

Gather a bunch of stuffed animals and have the Elf read a Christmas book to them for story time. This is another way to gift your child a Christmas book, make sure to include the elf when you read it together.

Elf Jokes

Here is another simple last minute Elf on the Shelf idea to do. Have him leave daily elf jokes! Kids love jokes, especially when they are really silly.

2 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

The more elves the merrier! If you have a 2 elf household, we got you. I get it, each kid wants a doll of their own. That’s why we are sharing elf on the shelf ideas for 2 elves.

2 elf on the shelf ideas
2 elf on the shelf ideas

Don’t worry, we are keeping it easy and showing you how to do it.

Snow Ball Fight

First on the list of 2 elf on the shelf ideas, we have a snowball fight. This looks Pinterest worthy, and that’s where we found it but fret not. This 2 elves idea is simple.

2 elf on the shelf ideas snow ball fight
2 elf on the shelf ideas: have a snowball fight with marshmallows!

The 2 elves scene is in a shoebox. So first, grab an old empty shoebox. Simply use glue and sugar to form the snow base. The elf snow balls can be either marshmallows or small cotton balls.

These 2 elves ideas are fun and something your kids will love waking up to find.

Floor is Lava

Next on our list of 2 elves ideas is from Tara. I don’t know about your kids, but the floor is lava is something they love to do. Here is an easy way to recreate that fun with an elf activity.

2 elves ideas floor is lava
2 elves ideas: play the floor is lava.

Did we mention this 2 Elf on the Shelf idea is super easy? Just tape your 2 elves on to a mirror and using dry erase markers write Floor is Lava on the mirror.

Lemonade Pee

Naughty 2 elves shenanigans happening over at the lemonade stand. These elves were caught peeing and trying to sell it as lemonade.

Star Wars Elf on the Shelf Ideas

If your kid or partner loves Star Wars, these are for you. Star Wars Elf on the Shelf ideas coming at you faster than the Millennium Falcon. (Bad Star Wars joke, I know.)

Darth Vadar Uses the Force

Apparently the Elf did not go to the dark side and Darth Vadar used the force. This is another great last minute Elf on the Shelf ideas that any Star Wars fan would love (husbands included.)

Darth Vadar is your father.

Yoda Ate It

While this mama used Yoda, any stuffed animal or character would work.

Elf Light Saber

Make an elf light saber out of a glow stick and duct tape (for the handle.)

Elf Day at School Ideas

If you are having an elf day at school, here are 6 more Elf on the Shelf activities. These are non-religious and Christmas but not over the top so will work in any school setting.

elf day at school ideas
elf day at school ideas

Our Elf Day at School ideas are easy to do, work great for groups and the best part are free!

Elf on the Shelf Color by Number

3 different Elf on the Shelf color by number pictures are available for a fun creative activity.


Play Bingo with the Elf.

Christmas Message Decoder

Decode the secret message. This makes a great Elf day at school idea.

Selfies with Elfies

Have your class either draw photos of the elf or print pictures of students with the elves. Have them tape or glue onto the photo frames.

Make an Elf Placemat

See below for a free Elf placemat printable. Have kids color and have the room mom laminate as a gift for students.

Color an Elf Picture

There are various free Elf on the Shelf coloring pages. These are not only great for Elf day at school, but anytime you need the kids to quiet down and focus during the holiday season.

These fun free Elf on the Shelf activities are available in a free printable from elfontheshelf.com.

Dress Up as an Elf

Surely there is a principal or someone who would love to celebrate Elf day at school by dressing up! Check out how the students were welcomed at school.

dress up as elf day at school
dress up as elf day at school image source: twitter.com/kericollison

Get an adult elf on the shelf costume on Amazon. Here’s another fun example of a teacher in a elf costume.

More Easy Elf Ideas

Let’s keep going with more easy Elf on the Shelf ideas. Remember, we want to help keep this simple since there are a lot of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas when Santa takes the elf back to the North Pole.

Make a Gingerbread House

Using 2 pieces of bread, the bottle of ginger spice and your elf – make a simple gingerbread house.

elf on the shelf gingerbread house
Make an elf on the shelf gingerbread house with bread and ginger spice.

Farting Elf on the Shelf

Everybody poops, and farts too – well most people. This goes right along with the Elf on the Shelf poop ideas.

elf on the shelf fart idea
Elf on the shelf fart idea: the elf is farting bubblegum!

Make your elf fart with this simple technique. Didn’t mom say not to swallow bubble gum?

Elf Peed

Or should I say, elf pea’d. Using green peas, make your kid think the elf peed their pants.

funny elf on the shelf idea
funny elf on the shelf idea: elf peed your pants

Elf on the Shelf Prank

Another naughty Elf on the Shelf prank idea. Have the elf add toothpaste as icing to mini Oreo cookies.

elf on the shelf prank oreoes
Elf on the shelf prank: use toothpaste on oreo cookies!

If you haven’t tried the mini Oreo cookies, you might not want to. They are addicting.

Wrap the House in Toilet Paper

That naughty elf on the shelf has done it again! While a little messy, it’s not too difficult to clean. Bonus points it’s cheap and I sure hope you have the supplies needed for today’s last minute Elf on the Shelf idea.

Using toilet paper, wrap the house. Spell out words to amuse the child. This could also be a 2 elves idea.

Spiderman Got the Elf on the Shelf

Another easy funny Elf on the Shelf idea, wrap him up with a sign that says Spiderman go thim.

spiderman elf on the shelf ideas
This Spiderman elf on the shelf idea is captivating!

Looking for even more funny elf ideas, we got you!

Track Santa on his way from the North Pole. This is a great last day of Elf on the Shelf idea.

Takes a sleigh down the banister.

Leaves music playing in every room – make him a little guitar.

Elf on the Shelf cleans the house. We know that mom did it.

Makes donuts and green milk for breakfast.

Have him give your child a mini elf-size gift.

Elf races Barbie and Ken

Make a elf selfie out of play doh.

Have your elf take a bath in the kitchen sink. Don’t forget the bubbles!

Make a paper airplane and have elf fly but get stuck in the chandelier.

Have elf swing on an ornament hanging from the Christmas tree.

Give elf some maple syrup to drink from a straw.

Make a choo-choo train out of the family’s shoes for elfie to ride in on.

Cut toilet paper into snowflakes.

Have elf make pancakes for breakfast.

Put the elf in your kid’s school lunch with a note to make sure that he comes home.

Have a scavenger hunt to find the elf.

Make a tiny campfire. Use pretzels as a stick with a marshmallow to roast. A led battery candle would be great as a campfire.

Have elf eat chocolate from the advent calendar.

Elf delivers a special letter from Santa, all the way from the North Pole.

Make a hot chocolate station and have the elf stirring a cup.

Wrap the elf in wrapping paper.

Make a Christmas tree out of Post It notes and have elf write notes on each paper.

Put googley eyes on your elf with a sign letting them know that they are watching your kids.

Don’t forget the last day of Elf on the Shelf goodbye note on Christmas eve.

More Naughty Elf on the Shelf Ideas

If you have more of a bad elf than good, than these naughty elf ideas might be for you.

  1. Draw mustaches on the family photos using a dry erase marker.
  2. Using chocolate chips – make elf poop all over the place. Keep the chocolate away from the dogs!
  3. Create a zip line with string and have elf fly in using a candy cane.
  4. Leave the elf in the freezer eating ice cream.
  5. Elf gets stuck in the cookie jar – make sure to crumble up a cookie like he ate it!
  6. Make the elf go fishing in the aquarium.
  7. Make a naughty list with your elf’s name on it. Have him trying to scratch off his name.
  8. Open a bunch of candy wrappers like the naughty elf ate all of the candy. Make sure to leave a little chocolate on his face.
  9. Whoops, did Elf break a dish and leave glass all over the counter?
  10. Have the elf fall into the toilet. Make sure the toilet is clean before you do this.

That Funny Elf

One of my favorite things to do each morning is take a quick snapshot of my child’s reaction as well as what our friendly little Elf was up to while we were sleeping.

man elf on the shelf meme funny
funny elf on the shelf meme

Don’t miss our Elf on the Shelf memes!

It’s great to capture their reaction on camera and create a fun scrapbook page at the end of the holiday season to share with them later on in life.

That said, I need these things that this funny elf is doing to be EASY. So we are only sharing EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas. 

Which of these easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas to you plan on doing this year?

Lazy Easy Last Minute Elf on the Shelf Ideas is part of the Digital Mom Blog Christmas collection