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100 EASY Elf Ideas with Pictures

Looking for QUICK Elf ideas that don’t take a ton of props or time to set up? You’ve found the perfect list of over 100 easy Elf Ideas with pictures updated for 2024! These hiding places are clever and quick and will take you less than 5 minutes to set up.

I’ve got more than 100 super easy and fast places to hide your elf that even a lazy Mom like me can remember to do every night in December, with even more added to the list for 2024!

It seems there are two type of parents when it comes to Christmas – Team Lazy Elf or Team Elf that Goes All Out! These ideas are for lazy elves, but if you’re looking for more creative elf ideas, check out some of my other posts like Elf Printables and some of these silly elf ideas.

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We’ve had our Elf, Criddle, since 2013 and while those first couple of years were a little bit harder, we now definitely have an elf groove. Plus, my kids know that our elf is lazy and the main fun our elf provides is just moving to a different spot every night.

And now that we’re on our 11th year of Elf, I feel like we’ve got quite a bit of experience. So, I’m sharing some of my favorite QUICK and easy Elf ideas with you today. In fact, if you add them all up, there’s over 100 – which you don’t need that many at all – but just in case!


We aren’t worried about all the elf antics over here. These ideas are so easy you’ll be kicking yourself about not already thinking about them. Or maybe you already did – that’s why I’ve got 100 for you!

My number 1 tip is don’t make it hard on yourself. Those funny elf ideas might seem hilarious, but those antics inspire some major burnout. Plus, I do NOT want to be cleaning up anymore toothpaste than I already do.

Forget to move the elf? Blame the cat or say your Elf has gone on strike. That’s a new one in our house! So that doesn’t happen often anymore, but if you DO forget to move your elf, always always blame the cat. Don’t have a cat? Yikes. Go with the strike.

Let the elf do special things every once in awhile.

Ok, yes, I said I keep things super simple and JUST MOVE THE ELF, but I lied a tad. As the years have gone on, Criddle has gotten a little more exciting and adventurous.

Every once in awhile she brings the girls a little gift. I even made a full list of fun Elf Gift Ideas and the girls LOVE when our elf does the annual Candy Cane Hunt with them. Our elf also loves to bring a note to the girls telling ME to make them a fun Elf Breakfast one morning in December.

QUICK Elf Ideas and places to put your elf that take less than 1 minute to set up.

Once you start moving your elf, you’ll start noticing fun hiding places more easily around your own home, but these are good ones to help you get started or when you’re stuck!

100 QUICK Elf Ideas with Pictures


This elf is wearing a sweater because she’s a little cold. But the refrigerator is always a good hiding place for a scout elf from the North Pole.


Out the window looking inside.


An elf wearing toast is always a fun idea – easy too! Source


With an Official Elf Report – whether the elf caught a child being Naughty or Nice, this report will definitely get some attention [and it’s easy and FREE to print!]


Elves love to play and pose with LEGO.


This elf brought the kids a pack of skittles and a Rainbow Skittles Magic Printable that explains the Rainbow Magic Trick they can do!


Making snowflakes – this was made even funnier because the elf cut up old electric bills.


In the Egg Tray.


My daughter has a Harry Potter shelf full of potions so the elf decided to show up in her cauldron!


It’s like Where’s Waldo but Elf edition in the middle of all these nutcrackers!


If you have a toy or machine that can make it look like the elf is stuck – that’s always fun. This one is a candy vending machine dispenser.


An elf riding anything is always easy and fun.


Posing with a toothbrush.


In a toilet paper roll. You could even take this a step further and throw the toilet paper down the stairs and let it unroll with the elf inside.


Elf Sleepover with Friends with socks as sleeping bags. Source


“Mom, don’t do any laundry today! You might touch the elf”. Oh my daughter, you are just soooo right! So help yourself out and put your Elf on the laundry, vacuum… wherever you don’t want to work that day!


Going on a trip? Have your elf show up on a suitcase a day or 2 before you leave.


Ready for a shower… in a shower cap!


Pinned to a sewing machine.


Lifting weights – so easy! Just a toothpick and a couple of marshmallows. Source


Posing with an Elf Pet. Or any Christmas decor!


POKEMON! Who knew elves love Pikachu?!


Is Mom cooking again? Dad? The elf is ready for any baking mishaps by the fire extinguisher.


You can even let your elf bring a fun game – print this FREE Christmas Bingo game that I created for some Christmas game fun!


Our elf always misses the girls if we’re traveling or they spend the night with a friend during the Holidays. So tucking her in their bed is the perfect spot!


Elves working out is a favorite – it also means you don’t have to walk on the treadmill on the day he hides here!


This DJ Elf is hard at work spinning tunes. I got these adorable sets in the Dollar Spot at Target. You can also find a TON of printable Elf accessories here.


I cannot handle the cuteness of this easy idea. Take a pic of the elf with your sleeping kiddo then make it their background picture. This would be a great Elf on the Shelf Teen ideas too! Source


In a dollhouse. My daughter decorated her dollhouse for Christmas so naturally the elf showed up!


This one is a little messy, but so easy and quick to set up. This elf is making a snow angel in flour!


If your little one is into coloring, your Elf can bring these Elf coloring pages.


Elves LOVE Post-It Notes. You can cover up a computer screen, tv… anything really!


Wrapped in a tortilla and ready for Taco Tuesday – this is a quick Elf on the Shelf idea for sure. Source


On STRIKE! This Elf is refusing to move until something changes – get the Bad Behavior Elf on Strike Printable.


Posing with other dolls doing the YMCA!


Twister poses are always fun and this one is easy because I’ve got a FREE printable Twister board for you to use.


This one looks a little harder than it really is. But if you have a Ninja Turtles fan, you’ve got to make these. All you need are apples, balloons and googly eyes!


In the craft supplies box.


It might take the full 5 minutes to get this one setup, but with minimal supplies. All you would need are marshmallows, a candle and a long stick or bamboo skewer.


This is a fun idea if you have a pack of candy canes laying around. Print this free Candy Cane Hunt Printable and hide the candy canes!


If you have a kid that likes band-aids, they’ll love these elf shenanigans!


Everyone knows there are 4 food groups according to elves… and syrup is an important one! Source


On top of the world!


In Christmas Stockings


Taking the dogs for a walk. You’ll need a doll stand or something to help the elf look like it’s walking, toy dog figurines, and pipe cleaners but this one looks so fun! Source


In the coffee container.


Elves can bring this fun Secret Message from Santa with a Christmas Puzzle Decoder.


Elf caught in tape.


A game of Elf Tic Tac Toe. Source


Elf Zipline – this one comes together pretty fast and all you need is string or dental floss and a candy cane. Source


In the silverware drawer.


In the shower.


Toilet paper the Christmas Tree! Source


Reading a book.


Put a Rudolph nose on all the pictures. If you have red pom-poms, this is an easy one! Source


In shoes.


Make a “sponge cake”! All you need is a sponge and some sprinkles! Source


In a houseplant.


Waiting for a movie night! Source


In a coffee mug – and yes, I have an Elf mug!


Melted Snowman – All you need for this one is water, sticks, a carrot, and a few blueberries for eyes and buttons! Source


With a Nerf gun!


With a note written in lipstick on a mirror. Source


In a basketball hoop!


With tissues and cough drops. This could be a good one if your Elf needs a sick day. Source


Writing or typing Santa a letter.


Reading the fine print. I love the magnifying glass with a receipt.


Washing machine roller coaster – this one cracks me up! Source


In the Christmas tree!


Making Q-Tip snowflakes. Source


Looking in the mirror.


In the makeup drawer.


Sitting in the kitchen with cookie ingredients. This is a fun and easy one depending on what you might want to make!


With cat food – the note is what makes this one so fun! Source – Instagram


In the Nativity


Taking a bubble bath – in a bowlful of marshmallows!


Hanging on the refrigerator with an Elf Grocery List! Source


Leaving a present with the toilet paper. Source – Instagram


In the cabinet – inside cups or bowls.


Drawing faces on eggs! Source – Instagram


Hanging out of the ice maker in the refrigerator.


Playing piano


Drawing faces on pictures. This one is easy and fun because you just use a dry erase marker that will wipe right off. Source – instagram


I am not sure if I love this one or hate it – but it sure is funny! Would your kid be brave enough to try? Source – instagram


Hanging out in a Kitchenaid mixer.


Playing card games.


Hanging upside down from a lamp.


A little bit complicated, but still pretty fast. You just need a can of shaving cream and a razor for this set up. Source


Another bit of a complicated set up, but all you need is Cheerios to make mini donuts! Source


How about another egg set up, but this time it’s a joke! Source – instagram


Set up an Elf Ball Pit with craft pom poms! Source – instagram


Elf Stilts – This looks so hilarious and all you need are 2 rolls of wrapping paper and some boots! Source


Looking for coins! This elf is doing a deep dive in the couch cushions. Source – instagram


All wrapped up – wrapping presents is a hard job for elves. Source


If you have a Roomba or robot vacuum, this is a fun one – the elves are taking a ride. Source


Nutella mustache – you could do this with anything, really. Source


This one is sure to get kids’ attention! Source


Forget choo choo trains, this is a shoe shoe train! Source


If you have a copier, this is such a fun idea to post around the house!

These easy Elf ideas will make it easy enough for any parent to succeed with an elf at Christmas!

While some parent totally get into elaborate scenes for their Elf, I do NOT on a regular basis. I like to keep things simple and fast.

And most of all I love to see the look and excitement on my girls’ faces as they scour the house looking for their little festive friend each morning in December!


This post was originally published in November 2018 and was last updated November 2023.

Are you looking for even more Elf Ideas? Check out my other Elf Posts:


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