23 Cute & Clever Ways to Celebrate the Arrival of Elf on the Shelf

Genny Glassman | Nov 20, 2018 Being a Mom
23 Cute & Clever Ways to Celebrate the Arrival of Elf on the Shelf


It's almost that time of year again! Even well before the Thanksgiving dessert is eaten, it can be tough not to think about the holiday activity beloved by so many kids and parents alike: Elf on the Shelf®. After all, starting December 1 and for 25 days until Christmas, having the Elf on the Shelf® around means tons of fun, festive opportunities to get creative and design funny, simple, or downright elaborate scenarios and setups. These scenarios are sure to kick little ones' imaginations into high gear. And seeing their eyes light up when they take in every scene is priceless fun. It's for that very reason that parents everywhere are psyched to make the Elf on the Shelf® experience memorable for their children.

And of course, there is no greater way to kick off the little scamp's mischievous Christmas journey than by plotting an exciting Elf arrival. The ultimate entrance ensures little ones will be thoroughly fascinated and engaged with all the Elf's antics throughout the holiday season!

Although throughout the holidays it's nice to get the Elf up to all sorts of trouble -- from pulling pranks such as decorating the toilet to sneaking around doing work for Santa -- the arrival seems to call for a bigger splash. Lots of moms will be introducing their little ones to the Elf this year, and some are just welcoming their elves back after a long break since last Christmas. Either way, many take this arrival as a way to start the season early, encourage good behavior, or just let the kids know that there is a little magic in the air!

Here are 23 of the best Elf arrival ideas that real moms have executed to kick off the holidays. And even though some moms opted to go the extravagant route, others chose poses that could be considered quick and easy. Either way, these scenarios are funny, sweet, giggle-worthy, and most definitely memorable. 

  • Leave Little Elf Footprints!


    ??An Elf is Born ! ??

    A post shared by Oscars elf (@the_elf_named_elf) on

    Who's that sneaking around the house? Just a sneaky little Elf trying to get ready for Christmas! Take a little bit of powered sugar and place the little guy's feet in the "snow." Make sure it leads to the Elf's door (more on that later).

  • Special Delivery!


    A special delivery all the way from the North Pole! What a special way to get the kids excited for Santa's slay ride. Simply take a cardboard box, cut out a whole for the Elf to fit through, and sprinkle a little powered sugar around to make it look like snow!

  • Geronimo!


    What a daredevil! This little guy decided to parachute his way into the home (albeit in a pretty comfy looking chair filled with candy canes. For this one, carefully take some balloons and attach them to a small basket. Fill with candy canes or a Christmas note, and voila! Christmas magic.

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  • Have Them Bring a Little Gift (Like an Advent Calendar)!


    Advent calendars are extra nice on their own. But what if Elf decided to bring the kiddies this special treat for Christmas? A good way to get everyone excited for the holiday ahead, Advent calendars + the first elf sighting makes for a perfect plan!

  • Write a Little Note!


    What has Elf been up to since last Christmas? Write a letter detailing all of Elf's adventures and possibly give some hints from the big guy (that's Santa). Oh, and by the way, give Elf a name, like this mom did. Hey, Joe!

  • Throw a Little Party!


    Are there ever enough holiday parties? We don't think so! Plan an extra special party for the kids this season or do as some parents do and plan an "Elf adoption" party. Don't get too wild, little party animals.

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  • Light The Way!


    Welcome Elf back home by creating a festive runway for Santa to drop him off. Simply string up twinkle lights along the walkway and attach a sweet welcome note to the door. In fact, have the kids write the welcome note as a sweet holiday activity! 

  • Special Breakfast!


    Talk about dedication. Instagram user rlturner23 writes, "This momma was up at 2:30 a.m. setting up because I fell asleep." A special Elf breakfast is a sweet way to re-introduce the Elf, but not everyone needs to do it sleep-deprived. Simply decorate the breakfast table in holiday decor and place Elf in a seat of honor. Easy!

  • Have Them Play a Trick!


    Elves usually try and pull one over on us later on in the season, but if this isn't the first year that the kids are experiencing Elf, than why not start the season off with some mischief? These two have sneakily replaced the toilet paper with duct tape. This could get sticky, indeed! 

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  • Get a Personalized Balloon!


    This one takes a little planning, but once the balloon is ordered, everything is all set. This balloon, from British company, The Balloon Parlour, says, "Special Elf Delivery for [name of child] Return Me on 24th Dec." Just attach to the little guy, and then it's up, up, and away! (£16.50, about $21, The Balloon Parlour)

  • Write a Message in M&Ms!


    This is so simple that anyone can do it -- even if one is a self-professed "lazy mom." Simply take M&M's (or tiny marshmallows) and write out a message. This one says "Did you miss me?" but other good ones are "I'm back!" or "Greetings from Santa!"

  • Get a Yard Sign!


    This idea doubles as yard decoration! Companies such as Card My Yard make these special lawn decorations that have a special message from Elf to little ones. Hang Elf off the sign and let the world now that Christmas time has begun! (Prices from $50, Card my Yard.)

  • Gift Wrap the Door!


    Talk about an unusual object! Practice gift wrapping skills early this year, by wrapping the front door. Make sure Elf gets his own little door, too! It might take a little Christmas wrap ingenuity, but we promise this one can be done.

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  • Under Elf Surveillance


    Let the kids know that Elf is watching, with this playful note! This shadowbox by Etsy owner EvieGlitterSparkles is absolutely gorgeous, but of course, a note can be as elaborate or simple as need be. Best be on good behavior before the December 25 guys ($21, EvieGlitterSparkles).

  • Let's Go Sledding!


    Who doesn't love to go sledding? Elf surely does! Take festive Christmas wrapping paper and create an incline for Elf to slide down with some of his Christmas buddies. This big, grand gesture is perfect for a special welcome back.

  • Elf Arrives With Luggage in Tow


    Of course Elf travels in style! Create tiny luggage for Elf using old jewelry boxes and pip cleaners. Make sure to write a note from Santa to go along with the little guy. Who doesn't love having guests in for the holidays?

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  • Elf Arrives Mischievously 


    When there are two Elves, one can obviously be good cop and the other quite naughty! Set that precedent with this funny duct tape pose.

  • Sweet & Thoughtful Letter 


    Have the Elf arrive with this formal, printed letter and magical little door! 

  • Candy Cane Rope Swing


    Have the Elf come in swinging -- on candy canes!

  • Gift Box Elf


    Have the Elf pop out of his gift box in style!

  • Lots of Balloons 


    This balloon-packed arrival is sure to feel festive.

  • Sweet Tooth 


    Use a customized treat, like this chocolate lollipop, for the Elf to arrive in sweet style. 

  • Elf on the Shelf Breakfast 


    The Elf could arrive on the morning of December 1st bearing this Christmas-y toast. 


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