An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Low Maintenance Elf On The Shelf Ideas

Monday, December 16, 2019

Low Maintenance Elf On The Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf is everywhere! If your family participates in the Christmas tradition, these are some fun ideas on where to place your Elf for your kids to find the next day

I'll be honest: I don't like Elf on the Shelf. I think it's weird. Maybe because I grew up in the Chuckie era of freakish dolls coming to life and, you know, killing you, but I think the elf is weird looking and the fact that he moves at night and positions himself to watch you and report your behavior to Santa? No ma'am, that's just weird. My husband, however, got into it last year with the boys. They thought it was a hoot! So he's continued the tradition this year, and I have to say - he's done some pretty creative things! This post is more about him and his creativity than mine, but I hope it inspires you for some (relatively easy) low maintenance Elf on the Shelf ideas.

I know some Pinterest moms go all out and make crafts, change the elf's costume, use props and have a whole narrative around why the elf is where he is and what he's doing. That's more than I can really manage with four kids! I feel like the pressure to keep up with "those moms" is a deterrent from wanting to participate in the "Elf on the Shelf" phenomenon too. But you don't have to be that fancy for it to entertain your kids! You can keep it simple and low maintenance, and it's just as thrilling for your kids as putting in hours of crafting work every night.

Watching from the chandelier to make sure everyone eats their supper
Did you wash your hands after using the bathroom? Hope so, because the elf is there taking notes!

The great thing about Elf on the Shelf is that you can keep it really simple and it still thrills young kids. We try to pair the simplicity with whatever we're talking about with them. For example, the boys really wanted a little Christmas tree in their bedroom. I said they could have one as long as they listened, followed directions and had good reports from school for a week. That week, we put the elf in the hallway outside their bedroom, on the shelf (ha! puns!) in their rooms, and near the entry to our home (the one by the garage that we actually use, not our front door) so that the Elf (who my kids have named Eli) can "keep tabs" on what their behavior was like for the day.

On the shelf in the older boys' bedroom - better go to sleep kids!

Another fun thing about keeping your Elf on the Shelf simple and low maintenance is that the fun of it isn't about what the elf is doing, it's in having your kids wake up in the morning and finding him. The thrill of the hunt, not the feast, right?! My kids could care less where or what the elf is doing, they just love trying to find him.

Think you're going to "steal" a snack from the pantry without asking first? Think again, the elf is watching!

That all said, my husband has come up with some pretty creative (and still low maintenance) ideas for ways to display the elf. The boys absolutely LOVE any and all things Frozen. So one Saturday morning after watching the movie that Friday night, hubs put the elf in a glass, filled it with water and put it in the freezer. Then he pulled him out before the kids woke up and when the kids found the frozen elf, daddy said that Elsa "froze" him because he was being naughty! It was a simple way to incorporate what the boys are talking about (ummm, everyday. Every. Single. Day) into what the elf is doing to make it more life-like. Ugh, life like dolls are bringing back those Chuckie memories, but I digress. The kids love it.

Like it? Pin it!

Elf on the Shelf may seem a little intense, but it doesn't have to be. It's easy to figure out ways to make him low maintenance if you don't have capacity to do intense crafts or don't want to put in the mental effort of being insanely creative. If you're weirded out by the elf like me but your kids love it, I hope this inspired you to do some low maintenance elf of the shelf ideas. Leave the crazy stuff up to those Pinterest moms who craft the heck out of everything. 


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