The Elves are Coming: Elf on the Shelf Calendar

Shelby Mullen

Posted on November 16 2019

The Elves are Coming: Elf on the Shelf Calendar

Before you read any further know this: I am an Elf on the Shelf loving Mom. I am, as kids say these days, “extra” and I will NOT apologize for what I am about to rain down upon you. I spend hours thinking of ways to keep my children giggling at our Elf and all of his shenanigans and I thought that I would share my success stories from last year with all of you! Maybe you don’t want to invest the insane amount of time into your Elf that I have. That’s okay! Maybe you think I need a hobby. You are probably right. But I’m here to make your life easy this year. Everything you need is here: a calendar, a full tutorial on each setup which should take you less than ten minutes, a list of supplies (most of which are household), and a list for your local dollar store (less than $10). So go ahead and grab a glass of wine because this is going to be a long one but I promise you will thank me on December 7th at 10:45pm at night when you are snug in your bed and realize you didn’t do anything with your elf. You can just refer to this post and thank me later!

Elf on the Shelf Calendar Free

1) “Welcome” – Personalized Letter, Elf on the Shelf Book (the one that came with the Elf), Plush Elves that they CAN touch (this is optional – this is exhibit #1 of my being “extra”)

The word file for this letter is attached. All you have to do is switch out the names and hit print! Unless your children are also coincidentally named Bryn & Cam then by all means, just fire away. Place the letter with the book & Elf somewhere where they will see it. Now here is the extra part that is totally optional: get them plush elves that they can touch when they feel tempted to put their little hands all over the magical Elf. If you don’t want to do this, simply delete the PS part of my letter. However, my children have a hard time following instructions and day #1 of this journey is WAY too early to go through the “oh no you touched him now Mom has to do more extra stuff to make his magic come back” fiasco.


2) “I’m Stuck” – Kids Underwear, Strong Tape or Magnetic Clips

This is easy. If your children are like mine, they wander downstairs in the morning with the same case of dehydration that plagued them at bedtime the night before. They don’t say good morning to me. They don’t let the dog out. Sometimes they don’t even pee first. They go straight to the refrigerator looking for the first of 447 snacks/drinks/meals to be consumed throughout the day. Put him on the fridge. Done.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas underwear
3)“Toy Time” - Toys

Gather up all of the toys your children neglected to put away and have the Elf do something funny with them. If you are feeling extra salty at all the things your children didn’t clean up, you can kick this up a few notches and have him put them in a garbage bag with a warning note. Your choice depending on how your day went and how savage of a mom you truly are.
Elf on the Shelf Toys
4) “Banana Art!” – Bananas, Sharpie

Minions are really easy to draw and that’s the avenue that I went down last year. But if you don’t want to draw minions, you can do pretty much anything you want with this.
Elf on the Shelf Bananas Minions Sharpie
5) “Manger Scene” – Manger

On a semi-serious note, we think that the Elf is great and we enjoy having fun with him all season long. However, we always remind our children what this holiday is really about: the birth of Jesus Christ. We write about the real reason behind all of this silliness in the welcome letter when he arrives. We nestled our Elf, who is named Oatmeal by the way, right next to Mary and Joseph, gazing at baby Jesus.
Elf on the Shelf Baby Jesus
6) “Egg Trick” – Real Eggs, Candy Eggs (Kinder, Chocolate, etc)

Place him next to real eggs with a spatula of sorts. I used a play spatula from their playroom (again probably something they failed to pick up off the floor). Leave a note that he is cooking up a yummy surprise and switch the eggs out to Kinder Eggs when they are at school (or napping, or not paying attention, or watching their 7th straight episode of Peppa Pig, etc).
Elf on the Shelf Eggs
7) “Elf Swing” – Toilet Paper Roll, Pipe Cleaners, Push Pins

This is one of the few Elf tricks that might take you the full 10 minutes. Grab a toilet paper roll and thread some pipe cleaners through. Push pin that above a doorway and fasten your Elf to the roll to make a swing. Don’t worry about it if you have to basically cover him in tape to secure him, they won’t notice since he’ll be at the top of a doorway.
Elf on the Shelf Swing
8) “Bow Climb” – Gift Bows

You can grab a bag of gift bows at the dollar store. Stick them on the wall and let him do some “bow climbing” exercises. I put him next to a holiday decoration that we had hanging on the wall.
Elf on the Shelf bows
9) “Candy Thief” – Bag of Candy

My children LOVE M&Ms. I potty trained my 2 year old son using bribery techniques and M&Ms and you know what? I have no regrets. I don’t miss buying those diapers. But I digress. Open up their favorite bag of candy (or any snack they love) and stick his head in. You’re done. Goodnight.
Elf on the Shelf Candy
10) “Cookie Hangover” – Doll Furniture, Mini dolls or Barbie, Cookies, Milk, a Cup

This was one of my favorites. After a few glasses of wine last year, my husband and I were entertaining ourselves and came up with this naughty setup for our sweet Oatmeal.

Naughty elf on the shelf

When we realized our daughter would undoubtedly report her Elf’s shenanigans to her preschool teacher, we decided to tone it down and swapped out the bottle of booze and naked doll for a spilled glass of milk and cookie crumbs. This is one of my top five favorites and our daughter’s uncontrollable laughter was worth it the next morning.
Elf on the Shelf cookies and milk
11) “Hide & Seek”
Also known as, mom was too tired to do anything and shoved him in a lantern. We all have these days. Just shove him somewhere and call it a day, mama!
12) “Photo Art” – Dry Erase Marker

Find a picture in your home and draw some silly faces on it. If your child had a particularly challenging day, you can use this opportunity to give them a gentle reminder about trying harder the next day.
13) “Tree Crash” – Kids Toys, Christmas Tree

My children absolutely LOVE when Oatmeal is naughty. Find a car, truck, airplane and put it in the Christmas tree with the Elf to make him crash.
14) “Yummy Treat” - Powdered Mini Donuts

We made our mini powdered donuts look like snowmen. Again, the option to be extra is there. Otherwise just set some mini donuts out – the kids will love it and you will get to drink your coffee in peace.
15) “Gone Fishin” – Chopstick, Kitchen Twine, Goldfish Crackers

This is one of the more involved setups. I even went so far as to dye the water blue using food coloring but you don’t have to. Just set him up in a glass and let him go fishing!
elf on the shelf fishing
16) “Golf Day” – Construction Paper, Toothpics, Candy Cane, Mini Marshmallows

I know. I am rolling my eyes at me too. Clearly this was a day where my husband took the children out of the house for several hours or I had 7 cups of coffee. This was so over the top and did take longer than ten minutes but it’s a goodie. I cut out the greens, glued little flags to tooth pics and glued those to the greens. If you can’t commit to this, which I totally understand, just play hide and seek with him. Disclaimer: my children were sneaking the mini marshmallows all day long so prepare for a sugar high.
elf on the shelf golf
17) “Elf Decorates” - Dollar Store Party Decorations

We bought some cheap green and red garland from Dollar Tree and pretended that Oatmeal decorated the sliding glass doors in the kitchen. We chose the kitchen because he had a good view of the kitchen table and was there to supervise mealtime. Everyone ate everything that night without complaint. Feel free to leave your elf there all season long if you have picky eaters.
18) “Elf Bed” - Dish Towel, Large Marshmallow, Small Figurines

Grab your Elf and make a bed for him using a dishtowel as blankets and a marshmallow as his pillow. We grabbed some small animal figurines and used them as Elf lovies.
Elf on the Shelf slumber
19) “Spidey Elf” – Spiderman Stickers, Kitchen Twine, Push Pins

Grab some stickers and turn your elf into Spiderman. We used some kitchen twine and hung him upside down under the kitchen cabinet.
Spiderman Elf on the Shelf
20) “Tree Mischief” – Toilet Paper

Let’s be serious, you’ve been doing this for twenty days. You are tired. Nothing is wrapped. Your house is a disaster. You aren’t ready to host anything other movie night with Chinese takeout. Just grab that roll of toilet paper and wrap it around the tree a few times. What a naughty elf!
21) “Hot Chocolate” – Hot Chocolate Mix, Candy Canes, Party Cups

Make a hot chocolate party for the kids. We snagged these really cute tumblers at Dollar Tree and dressed it all up with candy canes, marshmallows and chocolate syrup. This was a hit and the kids loved making hot chocolate and watching movies.
22) “Caught on Camera” – Nest Cams, Outdoor Security

We have arrived at the most extra Elf scheme of all time. We were hosting a holiday party with my husband’s family and my skeptical and adorable nephew Nathan was going to be sleeping over. When my sister in law told me that he was teetering on thinking the Elf was a fraud I could not handle it. Auntie Shelby couldn’t have any potential non-believers up in here so I hatched a plan to get the train back on the tracks.

Dressed in my favorite holiday onesie, I went into the garage and retrieved the largest ladder I could find. I tied sweet Oatmeal up using my trusty kitchen twine and up the ladder I went. I spent the next twenty minutes swinging Oatmeal around to ensure the Nest camera would catch his trip home.

This is extra. This is crazy. I have no idea what my neighbors thought of this spectacle but I can only imagine comparisons were drawn to the Griswolds. I’m not even mad because my plan worked perfectly and Nathan started to rethink his stance on the elf.

If you don’t want to freeze while waving an elf around in front of your security cameras, just refer to #11 again.
elf on the shelf nest cam
23) “Hide & Seek”

Do it again. Drink wine. You are almost there mama.
24) “Santa’s Here”

YOU MADE IT! It’s finally time to send this sweet little elf home to the attic, I mean, the North Pole. As the story goes, Santa picks him up and brings him home after he is done leaving presents under the tree. Download the CatchACharacter app (it's free!). Take a photo of the Elf sitting on all of your perfectly placed presents and then insert the big guy into the picture.
Here is what I looked like the day after all this madness ended:
In all seriousness, the holidays are such a stressful time for parents. There is so much to do and never enough time and if you are like me you beat yourself up over everything you did or didn't do. If I can say one thing, just try to find the joy in everything that you can. Is the elf sort of annoying? Yes! That said, I know that in the blink of an eye this magic will all be gone and my children will be grown. This post is really about me finding the joy in the little things, enjoying this season of life, and helping some other mamas along at the same time. Deep breaths mama, you got this! 

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