The 25 Best Elf on the Shelf ideas for parents to try

’Tis the season for epic Elf on the Shelf ideas. These stellar shots will spark a ton of creativity this Christmas!

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Mark Baylor
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He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake...and we’re not talking about Santa Claus—we’re referring to one pesky little helper. Explore fun Elf on the Shelf ideas to keep your kids in line this Christmas.

Parents’ new holiday tradition has made quite a splash in Decembers’ past. While the elf’s role is to make sure all of your kids are on their very best behavior—everyone wants to land on the nice list!—these devious sprites can be awfully naughty in the process.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas for kids in New York

If you’re searching for a few unique ways to spice up this fun, kooky tradition, explore our favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas for some inspiration, and don't forget to check out the best hot chocolate, our go-to locations for ice skating in NYC and the best Christmas movies for kids.

Here's what the Elf has been up to while the kids are sleeping...

Elf on the Shelf ideas

1
Photograph: Courtesy @roo_day

Coloring a holiday masterpiece

2
Photograph: Courtesy @roisin03

Catching up on card games with friends

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3
Photograph: Courtesy @tisforteacher

(Unsuccessfully) trying to hydrate

4
Photograph: Courtesy @shebesorted

Doing some rock climbing to keep active

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5
Photograph: Courtesy @shebesorted

Having a ball

6
Photograph: Courtesy @werethemillers2

Taking an out-of-this-world trip

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7
Photograph: Courtesy @zemilie7

Indulging in Nutella (don't forget about the new Nutella Café in NYC)

8
Elf on the shelf
Photograph: Courtesy @vintage_frills

Catching up on a midnight snack

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9
Photograph: Courtesy @emma_long_x

Sewing a festive outfit for Santa’s helpers

10
Photograph: Courtesy @scout_ourcheekyelf

Capturing holiday photo ops

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11
Photograph: Courtesy @forward_planning_

Making footprints in the snow

12
Photograph: Courtesy @ladylithia

Exploring new heights

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13
Photograph: Courtesy @shan_the_elf

Rocking around the Christmas tree

14
Photograph: Courtesy @mad_skillz_84

Playing a challenging game of Jenga

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15
Photograph: Courtesy @mshoneysclasshive

Adding graffiti to some family pics…

16
Photograph: Courtesy @sherri_davis_

Channeling his spidey senses

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17
Photograph: Courtesy @billy_theelf

Prepping cookies for Santa

18
Photograph: Courtesy @themessybunwife

Catching up on a few chores

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19
Photograph: Courtesy @maryannmaldonado

Stocking up on toilet paper

20
Photograph: Courtesy @lizziejim

Hanging out poolside

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21
Photograph: Courtesy @gags1972

Auditioning for "The Voice"

22
Photograph: Courtesy @justjazz93

Decorating for the festivities...sort of

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23
Photograph: Courtesy @flyby_jinglebells

Channeling the summer

24
Photograph: Courtesy @reanna211

Being a selfless vigilante

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25
Photograph: Courtesy @sarahdyan

Finding a good parking spot

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