The Elf on the Shelf

elf-on-the-shelf_Does your family practice the tradition of the “Elf on the Shelf“?  Our family does. Can we just chalk this up to “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time”?

How does the “Elf on the Shelf” work?

So here is what happens. Sometime before Christmas an Elf from Santa’s workshop shows up at the house. Yay! A REAL Santa’s Elf. Every night he flies to the north pole to check in with Santa and give him the dirt on what the kids are up to. This seems like a good idea, right? Leverage, parents, leverage!

Now, the key to his magic is he can’t be touched by kids. If a kid decides to pick him up or whatever he loses his magic. This is supposed to deter the kids from messing with him.

So, every day the little guy ends up someplace new in the house. Now, if the parents are smart they set the bar low on this one. You simply move him to a new place every night. The kids wake up and look for the new spot he is chilling in. Yay! He moved from the mantle to the kitchen counter! Hooray!

Ok – so here is the problem. Well, one of the problems….Lot of parents see cool ideas on Facebook or Pinterest and they feel the pressure to have the Elf doing some hilarious stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, this can be a whole lot of fun. I, myself, have really gotten a good laugh at some of our crazy Elf’s antics.

The problem comes in when you run out of ideas. Believe me, you WILL run out of ideas! We have been doing this going on 5 years and I am seriously struggling, here.

I did myself a favor this year and searched the internet for as many ideas as I could come up with. Enjoy!

200 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

  1. Elf is hanging out on the top of the kitchen cabinets.
  2. Elf sitting on top of entertainment center.
  3. Elf is chilling on the fireplace mantle.
  4. Elf sleeping in the tissue box.
  5. Elf hanging from missile toe.
  6. Elf hanging upside down from the bathroom mirror.
  7. Elf uses a dry erase marker to draw silly stuff on a family picture.
  8. Elf holding on to a candy cane and hooked onto pretty much anything.
  9. Elf “TP’s” the Christmas tree.
  10. Elf chilling in the silverware drawer.
  11. Elf hanging out by the nativity or other Christmas decor.
  12. Elf is stuck in the middle of a roll of toilet paper that is partially unrolled. Bonus points if it rolled down the stairs!
  13. Elf hangs decorates the Christmas tree with underwear.
  14. Elf looking thru toy binoculars and taking notes on his “naughty and nice” list.
  15. Elf wearing glow light bracelet.
  16. Elf in a light saber duel.
  17. Elf hanging out on the rear view mirror in the car.
  18. Elf reading the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus from the Bible.
  19. Elf taking a ride in a toy car or on a toy train.
  20. Elf praying with the Bible.
  21. Elf dressed up as ninja.
  22. Elf hanging out in a plant.
  23. Elf helping with the laundry.
  24. Elf smelling flowers.
  25. Elf hangs from the chandelier.
  26. Elf puts googly eyes on the food in the fridge.
  27. Elf puts googly eyes on the fruit.
  28. Elf is brushing his teeth.
  29. Elf chilling in the freezer.
  30. Elf is taking a bubble bath in the Barbie house.
  31. Elf in the cookie jar.
  32. Elf in the dog treat jar with “best cookie ever” note.
  33. Elf in the candy jar/dish/bag.
  34. Elf brings a small present for each day.
  35. Elf with a bunch of empty candy wrappers.
  36. Elf sewing a new outfit.
  37. Elf eating cake.
  38. Elf robbing the piggy bank.
  39. Elf on the computer looking at pictures of himself.
  40. Elf with remote control car.
  41. Elf with empty ice cream container.
  42. Elf covered in hair bows.
  43. Elf hanging from clips on the fridge.
  44. Elf peeking out of the Christmas tree.
  45. Elf peeking out of stocking
  46. Elf has a cold.
  47. Elf reading a story to other toys.
  48. Elf playing cards with friends.
  49. Elf takes a selfie.
  50. Elf playing a Connect Four with another toy.
  51. Elf caught with the silly string.
  52. Elf playing twister with Barbie or other toys.
  53. Elf in the “drive in theater” with Barbie. Use toy car and ipad for the “big screen”.
  54. Elf “repelling” from tv, cabinet, ceiling fan (turned off), etc.
  55. Elf bubble bath with cotton balls or marshmallows.
  56. Elf chilling in the freezer with Elsa.
  57. Elf feeding the ducks (rubber duckies).
  58. Elf with an open jar of Nutella and some smeared on his face.
  59. Elf roasting marshmallows over a candle.
  60. Elf going for a sleigh ride.
  61. Elf making a snow angel in the sprinkles.
  62. Elf doing yoga.
  63. Elf hanging like spider man.
  64. Elf writes a message in toothpaste.
  65. Elf wearing your little girl’s jewelry.
  66. Elf with his face popped out of the Rice Krispies box.
  67. Elf draws “Minion” faces on the bananas.
  68. Elf tied up on the toy train track.
  69. Elf playing golf with marshmallows and candy can.
  70. Elf spells something out with scrabble tiles.
  71. Elf has a sick day (complete with medication, tissue, thermometer, etc). This would be good if “accidentally” touched by kiddos.
  72. Elf brings a special ornament for each child.
  73. Elf makes snowflakes out of q-tips.
  74. Elf writes a message on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
  75. Elf making a snowman out of toilet paper.
  76. Elf making a snowman out of marshmallows or cotton balls.
  77. Elf is the mechanic fixing his car.
  78. Elf fishing in the aquarium.
  79. Elf buckled into the car seat.
  80. Elf playing a sport (football, soccer, basketball, etc) with other toys.
  81. Elf has a kissing booth.
  82. Elf watching a movie on tv with a bucket of popcorn.
  83. Elf playing video games.
  84. Elf spells a message in cereal.
  85. Elf sharing a “drink” (syrup) with Barbie.
  86. Elf decorating the Christmas tree.
  87. Elf with the art supplies drawing a picture.
  88. Elf frozen in a block of ice by Elsa.
  89. Elf hiding in the toilet paper rolls.
  90. Elf brings a new Christmas book.
  91. Elf clipping coupons.
  92. Elf brings a small gift with a note thanking them for good behavior.
  93. Elf walking across the ceiling.
  94. Elf brings green elf milk.
  95. Elf writes a message in flour on the kitchen counter.
  96. Elf puts Christmas bows all over.
  97. Elf making coffee.
  98. Elf wrapped himself in Christmas paper.
  99. Elf reading on top of a tower of books.
  100. Elf writes a message with m-n-ms (or other candy).
  101. Elf having slumber party in kid’s socks.
  102. Elf stuck in the slinky going down the stairs.
  103. Elf taped to the wall by another toy.
  104. Elf circles wish list in sales flyers.
  105. Elf with a calendar countdown to Christmas.
  106. Elf with a chain link count down.
  107. Elf sitting on a stuffed animal (or hanging from).
  108. Elf blocked in a house of legos.
  109. Elf having a sack race with other toys
  110. Elf plants magic candy cane seeds.
  111. Elf at the top of firetruck ladder hanging an ornament on the tree.
  112. Elf taking a picture with friends.
  113. Elf working out with marshmallow weights.
  114. Elf sledding down the stairway banister.
  115. Elf playing Christmas carols.
  116. Elf “on strike” sign if kids have been naughty.
  117. Elf baking with toy kitchen set.
  118. Elf sitting down to a meal of peppermints.
  119. Elf writes a message on the window.
  120. Elf makes snowmen out of powdered donuts.
  121. Elf popped popcorn by the microwave.
  122. Elf note with candy cane heart.
  123. Elf cutting out paper snowflakes.
  124. Elf with a chalkboard lesson message.
  125. Elf makes a “shoe shoe” train out of shoes.
  126. Elf makes a zoo with stuffed animals.
  127. Elf playing tic tac toe.
  128. Elf wraps the toilet in Christmas paper.
  129. Elf trap. Hang crepe paper across the doorway so kid’s can’t come out.
  130. Elf delivers a special letter from Santa.
  131. Elf in a throne made of legos.
  132. Elf hanging from a kite he made from Christmas paper.
  133. Elf coloring in a holiday coloring book. Maybe a new one for the kiddos!
  134. Elf hanging from “hot air balloon” made from balloon blown up.
  135. Elf zip-line across the room.
  136. Elf tied up by toys.
  137. Elf with all the hot cocoa goodness (cocoa mix, marshmallows, peppermints, cups, spoons)
  138. Elf landing from a paper plane.
  139. Elf baked goodies. Have some flour tossed on the counter and other baking supplies and the completed goodies on a plate.
  140. Elf is stuck in a jar.
  141. Elf on the counter with baking supplies and a note asking to make cookies.
  142. Elf stacks solo cups in the shape of a tree and sits on top.
  143. Elf makes Christmas tree out of crepe paper.
  144. Elf having a snowball fight with friends.
  145. Elf changes out the family pictures with all pictures of himself.
  146. Elf shaving with shaving cream and razor in the bathroom.
  147. Elf is captured by the Grinch.
  148. Elf laying in a hammock from two plants.
  149. Elf putting out a “fire“.
  150. Elf trapped in a clear balloon.
  151. Elf having a spa day in the bathroom. Use whatever toiletries are on hand and make a towel around his waist or hair.
  152. Elf makes tiny pancakes for himself (and to share).
  153. Elf has turned into a minecraft dude.
  154. Elf plays Angry Birds.
  155. Elf with a note telling kids to look for a certain number of “hidden” candy canes in the room. (Don’t forget to hide the candy canes!)
  156. Elf walking a tight rope.
  157. Elf fishing for goldfish.
  158. Elf hides Christmas ornaments for kids to find.
  159. Elf has reindeer poop (chocolate cereal).
  160. Elf taking the toy dogs for a walk.
  161. Elf makes photo copies of himself on the family printer.
  162. Elf playing the piano.
  163. Elf clipping box tops.
  164. Elf making a snow angel in flour or salt on the counter.
  165. Elf playing “The Voice” with other toys.
  166. Elf wrapping the tree with Christmas paper.
  167. Elf playing the drums (made out of cans).
  168. Elf in an igloo made out of packing peanuts.
  169. Elf makes smores.
  170. Elf is tangled up in the Christmas lights.
  171. Elf catching some rays on the beach.
  172. Elf stuck in the mixing bowl.
  173. Elf leading a line of toy cars down the hall.
  174. Elf looking for a dvd to watch.
  175. Elf pooped in the potty.
  176. Elf makes a design in Candy.
  177. Elf makes a candy cane swing.
  178. Elf hanging from a Christmas ball.
  179. Elf hanging from umbrella.
  180. Elf makes grocery list.
  181. Elf trying on Barbie’s clothes.
  182. Elf baricaded behind Jenga blocks.
  183. Elf “tied up” with dental floss with a note from the tooth fairy.
  184. Elf plays doctor.
  185. Elf makes himself a beard like Santa.
  186. Elf makes a special request for chores to be done.
  187. Elf watching “Elf”.
  188. Elf makes breakfast.
  189. Elf skiiing with popcycle sticks and candy canes.
  190. Elf covered in bandages from the first aid kit.
  191. Elf dressed in tutu and practicing his ballet.
  192. Elf wraps something in Christmas lights (Kid’s bed, desk, kitchen table, TV set).
  193. Elf hanging from a toilet paper roll “swing”.
  194. Elf drinking orange juice straight from the orange.
  195. Elf feasts on junk food.
  196. Elf hanging from the ceiling fan.
  197. Elf boating.
  198. Elf packs lunch for the kids.
  199. Elf hangs Christmas lights on Barbie’s house.
  200. Elf “making” chocolate kiss cookies.

Need More Ideas?

Have fun!

From my heart to yours,


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Taylor Mali: What Teachers Make

Taylor Mali is such an inspiring educator. In honor of school starting last week, I wanted to share something about teachers and anything by Taylor Mali is great.

Taylor Mali What Teachers Make


I have such great admiration for the teaching profession. I come from a long family line of educators (teachers, professors, school super administrators, librarians, etc). I think Taylor Mali sums it up beautifully.

What Teachers Make
by Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is
What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life
was to become a teacher?

He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true
what they say about teachers:
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.

I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?

And I wish he hadn’t done that— asked me to be honest—
because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and ass-­‐kicking:
if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor
and an A-­‐ feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time
with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored.
And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.
To the biggest bully in the grade, he said,
“Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?
It’s no big deal.”
And that was noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math
and hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you’ve got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.

Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?

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Kid’s Show Us How to Have Compassion in Victory

Kid’s Show Us How to Have Compassion in Victory

Kids show compassion




What a great example of showing compassion. Hey, I am all for celebrating victories. Not everyone wins. Not everyone should get a prize. However, these days I think there can be a tendency to gloat over the competition. I love this video of the Junior Soccer World Challenge. Japan lost to Barcelona and the Japanese kids were clearly devastated. Instead of rubbing in their victory, the Barcelona kids showed compassion. Beautiful.

Just look at the boy looking intently into the other boy’s eyes. We can’t know what he is saying but you can tell it is words of kindness and not boasting. Great sportsmanship.

Love wins.

From my heart to yours,



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Back to School: The Conversation You Have to Have

The most important conversation you need to have with your kidsIt is Back to School Time

I first stumbled across this beautiful woman’s page Glennon Melton Doyle a few years ago and this may very well be my favorite thing she has written.  Ever. And, that is saying a lot because nearly every single doggone thing she writes speaks to my soul.

I read this to my kids before every school year begins.

Spoiler alert: I can never get very far into it without getting choked up.

From my heart to yours,


Be brave. Be kind.

Have This Conversation Before You Send Your Baby Back To School -…
“Hey Baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. Second Grade – wow.

Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.


– Glennon Melton Doyle,

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