25+ Easy Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas Kids Will Love

Whether you use your own elf, or you prefer Elf on the Shelf, mischievous ideas like these will help you survive the holiday season!

I resisted welcoming elves into our home for years, but now that they are here — I have to admit, they can be kind of fun.

Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas

We have a house full of elves each December, and I have grown to enjoy some aspects of them. For instance, I really got into the elves trip to Walt Disney World one year.

The hardest part about the elves is contemplating what mischief they might get into (and then cleaning it up afterwards). My husband doesn’t help here, and my pleas to get the older boys involved is usually met by, “I don’t know what to do,” and a blank stare — so after a few nights, I get kinda stumped.

I hope some of these mischievous elf ideas help you out, like they did me! Let me know what your elves have done.

Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas

  1. Our elves took a bag of candy (from Halloween) and sat under the tree eating candy and watching the lights. They even pulled a few candy canes off the tree.
  2. Invited all the house stuffed animals to a movie night (movies all over the place, popcorn everywhere).
  3. Made snow angels in flour.
  4. TP’d our Christmas tree.
  5. Sometimes the elves bring little gifts (candy, hair bows, pencils, paper, markers, etc).
  6. Emptied the Tupperware drawer
  7. Switched lunches around
  8. Emptied clothes drawers
  9. Tried on all the coats in the closet
  10. Took a bath in the kitchen sink (all the soap and shampoo got moved to the kitchen)
  11. Pooped in the toilet (M&M’s)
  12. Wrapped themselves
  13. Rolled the bedroom with yarn/TP
  14. Left crumbs all over the kitchen counters
  15. Went on a joyride with all the house stuffed animals. We found the car down the street on the way to the bus stop.
  16. Went fishing in the toilet for goldfish
  17. Wrote on my son, and the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker
  18. Took all the bows and put them all over the bathroom
  19. Christmas Eve night the elf hid several gifts and left notes about being good for the year
  20. Turned the ceiling fan on high so all the homework papers on the kitchen counter went flying everywhere
  21. Put green food coloring in the milk. (We could tell it was the elf because he had green fingers.)
  22. Elf on the Shelf toilet papers the tree.
  23. Elf caught his whole body in the cookie jar.
  24. Elf overindulging on syrup, the elf drink of choice.
  25. Let Elf play board games with Barbie, Ken and any other playmates around.
  26. Have Elf surprise the kids with breakfast. Mini-pancakes with lots of syrup would be good.
  27. Elves taking a mini-marshmallow bath in the bathroom sink.
  28. Elves playing tic-tac-toe on big marshmallows.

Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas: From Our Readers….

  1. Our elves bake cookies leaving sprinkles for decorating.
  2. Our elves have been know to write notes on the mirrors.
  3. Our biggest surprise was when they (2) threw an elf party & our Christmas tree ended up on top of our coffee table. They were “rocking around the Christmas Tree.”
  4. Our elf was in a hot air balloon this a.m.
  5. Ours stuck Christmas bows all over the toilet one day, turned the toilet water green.
  6. Our elves had monster trucks invade the Christmas village, even made herself a skirt out of Christmas ribbon! (So apparently she is a she.)
  7. Left a Note and a Hot Chocolate with an “8 WEEKS OF FUN” from 365 Atlanta Traveler – (Thanks Kristy Stevison-Casey. This one is my favorite elf on the shelf ideas!)

What have your elves done? Send us a photo!

What If Your Elf…Doesn’t Like Messes

Now, not everyone has an elf who’s mischievous…right?  I mean, some elves just love to visit their families — but they don’t make huge messes that you have to clean up!

There are also elves who get back to your house after reporting to Santa…at the last minute.  So maybe those elves don’t have time for a long, drawn-out scene.

Some of my favorite, non-messy, and super easy ideas are…

  1. Wrap the elf up in a washcloth (like a blanket) and hide them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  2. Put a straw in a bottle of syrup, so it looks like the elf is drinking it.
  3. Put the elf inside a drinking glass (upside down, so it’s trapped) with a little sign that says, “Help!”
  4. Tape the elf to the wall, with tape on its arms and legs, and army figurines pointing their weapons at it.
  5. Make it a little cotton ball-covered hat, along with a sign that says, “I’m a Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins!”
  6. Place it in or on one of your child’s toys — inside a dinosaur’s mouth, or driving a Barbie car.
  7. Have it “cook” M&Ms in a pan on your stove top. (Just have him sitting nearby with a whisk!)
  8. Put him in your silverware drawer…just lying down with the spoons.
  9. Have him coloring a coloring book — make sure the page is full of scribbles and your elf is holding a crayon.
  10. Have him write a message out of candy or cereal.  Something like…”Be Good” out of Cheerios would work!

Don’t have an Elf yet? There are two kinds. The Elf on the Shelf, and Elf Magic. Our elf is from the Elf Magic clan. Then we inherited an old Elf on the Shelf guy from my cousin. If you don’t know how to summon the elves, Amazon can help. They also have more Elf on the Shelf mischievous ideas, and even outfits to dress your elves.


Our Elf Story

(Or why I finally broke down and welcomed an Elf)

I’ve have a love/hate relationship with the Christmas elves. I resisted for years, even turning a blind eye when my son put out crackers and water, night after night in hopes that an elf would visit our house from the North Pole.

It would have broken the heart of any other parent to hear him beg. “Please. please? Maybe just a baker elf, or a cleaning elf? They could help. Please.”

No. I had to stick to my guns. No amount of screaming, crying or disappointed little faces would change my mind. I had too much to do in December and there is too much commercialism in the holidays anyway.  No elf.

What Happens When Grandma Gets Involved

Sometimes ‘No’ only means no until Grandma gets involved. One day I was lamenting to my cousin about the elf ‘situation,’ when we had a little heavenly intervention from my Godmother, egged on by my Grandmother, who seemed to say “For goodness sake, give the poor boy an elf.”

Since both my Godmother and my Grandmother had passed away, they spoke through my cousin saying “You know, I think we have one of those elves. My mom always had them on the shelf growing up. They’re a little creepy, but you can have them.”

Yup, those are them, the creepy elves, also known as the Elf on the Shelf. And so my love/hate relationship with ‘those damn elves’ began.

Elf Ideas: The Arrival

For those that don’t know about the elves, and I’m surprised every year that I come across people who do not, there are two kinds of elves, the Elf on a Shelf, and the Magic Elf which comes alive and creates mischief – to the children’s delight and the mother’s horror.
As Elf on the Shelf has become more prevalent, he seems to get into quite a bit of mischief too, but originally, he was just supposed to move around and report back to Santa how the kids are doing.
Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas

One year Santa found some stowaways on his sled when he came to work at Phipps Plaza doing pictures.

Some elves arrive at Thanksgiving, and others don’t come until a week or two before Christmas. Our elves arrive as late as possible or when I just can’t stand the begging anymore.
Last year, they hitched a ride with Santa and he delivered them when we went to get our picture taken. The photo I snapped of Santa giving my son the elves, is one reason I wish I had given into the request for the elves earlier when my older son begged and begged.
Elf Mischief Ideas

This is why I allow ‘those elves’ in my house.

The elves can be a hassle, and the retailers have definitely capitalized on making money on the fun, but at its heart, the elves are another form of Christmas magic.
The mischief doesn’t have to be huge, or cost a lot, and the joy on the kids faces is pure gold.
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Have an Elf on the Shelf, or Magic Elf? You know they get into a lot of trouble. Here are some Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas you can expect to see. The second one is my favorite.
25+ wacky and fun Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas for holiday fun. The second one is my favorite.
25+ Easy Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas Kids Will Love

Sue Rodman | Co-Founder

Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories. @SueRodman