So your kids have been begging you to do Elf on the Shelf but who even has time for that? All the elaborate setups and changing his position every day would be enough to send you crazy at an already crazy time of the year.

We started Elf on the Shelf for the first time last year. My daughter called him “Bobby” and just having him in the house and talking about the magic of Christmas was amazing in itself. Whether it is because you are limited with time or you aren’t great with a hot glue gun, these eight easy Elf on the Shelf ideas will capture the spirit of the season with truly minimal effort!

If you want to buy an Elf on the Shelf, there are a few places you can find them online – Mr Toys Toyworld and Lime Tree Kids are my go to stores!

Advent calendar guardian

If you are doing an advent calendar with your kids (check out our favourite 16 non-chocolate advent calendars here) then leave your Elf on the Shelf next to the advent calendar and tell the kids that he delivers the gift inside the advent calendar each day. If yours is an advent calendar that is easy to open and you have kids who like to peek then you may need to remember to pop the gift in each night before you go to bed. This is what we did with our Bobby last year and it worked a treat!

Simple elf on the shelf ideas - no fuss

Elf on a journey

Start your elf at your front door and each night before you go to bed, gradually inch him closer to your Christmas tree. The kids will love seeing him gradually make it all the way there and each step is a day closer to Christmas morning.

Christmas countdown

Cut 25 little pieces of paper and number them each from 1 through to 25. Sit your elf in one position, nestled into your Christmas tree or somewhere the kids will see him every morning.  On December 1st rest the “1” on his lap. Before you go to bed each night change the number over for the next day (i.e. “2” on December 2nd etc.)

quick elf on the shelf ideas

Angel elf

Use your elf as your Christmas tree topper and tell the kids that is the best spot for him to watch over what is happening in the house. Done!

Slow decorator

When you set up your Christmas Tree, don’t put the decorations on, simply put your elf in the tree. Each night add a couple of decorations and tell the kids that the elf is decorating the tree.

Hide & seek

Play hide & seek with your elf. Each day hide him in a different spot for your kids to find. Under the bed, in amongst their toys, in a kitchen cupboard. If you need to get a few things done in the morning, make the hiding spot harder to keep the kids occupied for longer!

Easy elf on the shelf ideas for lazy mums

A hard taskmaster

Make your elf responsible for delegating chores throughout December. If you need the washing folded pop him in the washing basket and remind the kids that he is watching. This one may not be so much fun for the kids but I’m sure you will enjoy it!

Santa’s little helper

Gradually wrap your presents throughout the month and each night add another one under the tree and sit your elf on top. You can tell the kids that he is slowly bringing the presents in so Santa doesn’t have to bring so many on Christmas Eve. Plus you won’t be doing the mad rush just before Christmas to have everything wrapped in time. Win/win!

So by all means, go all out with your Elf on the Shelf if you have the time and inclination. The internet is full of Elf on the Shelf inspiration – there is a HUGE list over at Baby Hints & Tips with some amazing ideas. If you are after Elf on the Shelf accessories then definitely check out Lime Tree Kids, Catch of the Day and Etsy.

Or take inspiration from our simple ideas with minimal fuss. Either way, Elf on the Shelf adds to the magic of Christmas and is a beautiful tradition to start with your family.

Do you do Elf on the Shelf? Any tips for other mamas?

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