Does the thought of an elf sneaking into your house every night to make a mess while you sleep kick your OCD into overdrive? Me too, but my kids love it! Today I am sharing my favorite completely mess-free Elf on the Shelf hiding spots so your kids can have fun and you can have your sanity.
Mess-Free Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Ok, let’s get real here for a second.
I simply do not understand the messy Elf on the Shelf ideas that you see all over Pinterest.
First, you have to go to the store and buy all the items involved in the nightly mischief. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have extra money to spend during the holidays.
Second, you have to be insanely creative on the daily in order to come up with new shenanigans every night.
Lastly (and this is the part that blows my mind) YOU have to clean up the mess that little sneaky critter makes – every morning!
Sorry, but this busy mama ain’t got no time for that!
That being said, my kiddos absolutely love their elf (his name is Squiggles). Without fail, they start asking about his day-after-Thanksgiving return each year as soon as Halloween hits.
In order to keep this fun family holiday tradition going I needed to come up with some Elf on the Shelf ideas that don’t require me adding another task to my holiday to do list.
Elf on the Shelf Hide-n-Seek
This is how the Elf on the Shelf works in our home.
No, silly pranks. No disasters to clean up.
Each night the elf is moved to a different location in the home. Simple and neat-freak approved!
In the morning the kids cannot wait to wake up and discover where Squiggles has hidden after his return from his nightly journey to the North Pole to report back to Santa.
The key is to have him hide in hysterical locations.
The idea is to keep the Elf on the Shelf tradition creative and fun, but no clean-up required.
What’s the Deal with Elf on the Shelf Anyway?
The most simplified explanation comes straight from the book that accompanies the elf:
The scout elves are dispatched into your home to keep an eye on your kiddos during the holidays and report back to Santa regarding their behavior. Easy-peasy! So, why have we made it so complicated?
There is nothing in the book about the elf making a mess or causing mayhem during the night.
But you know what? It’s a super-fun and easy tradition to help make the holidays magical for your kids.
In fact, my oldest has begun to ask to inevitable questions about Christmas and the Elf on the Shelf has kept her in the world of “it’s possible” for just a little while longer.
The Best Places to Hide your Elf on the Shelf
Here’s the deal:
- You’re a mom
- Your days are already packed with to-do lists, work and kids activities
- At the end of the day you are exhausted
You know what you need to be doing at night in the weeks leading up to Christmas?
Not scurrying around your house setting up some elaborate scheme.
Trust me on this one – just move the elf to a funny spot and the kids won’t complain one bit (unless you have already set the bar high with craziness and treats – then you’re gonna have to slowly wean them from their expectations).
In the butter dish
Under a wash-cloth “blanket” in the freezer
Tucked into the end of the toilet paper roll
In the utensil drawer
On top of the ceiling fan blades
Popping out the top of a backpack or lunchbox
Wrapped through the handle of the milk jug
Inside the box of cereal
In their underwear drawer
Hiding among their stuffed animals or other toys
Sitting inside a remote control car
Hanging from the review mirror of the car
Holding on to the Christmas Tree Topper
Hiding in the branches of the Christmas tree
Inside the mailbox
Placed in a sandwich bag with the bath toys
Tucked between the cushions of the couch
In the kitchen utensil holder
Inside the toothbrush drawer
Buckled into the carseat
In the opening of a tissue box
Peeking out between the window blinds
In their shoe
Hiding in their favorite mug or sippie cup
Hanging from the top of the shower head
Elf on the Shelf Rules
- Don’t touch the elf, or he/she will lose his magic. In our house we have “gloves” that allow the adults to pick up the elf if he falls or to remove him from a hiding spot if he gets stuck. Kitchen tongs also do a great job of keeping the magic alive.
- Each night the elf is supposed to move. Not wreck your house, just move. Our elf has never made a mess and I promise you if you start the tradition that way your kids will be just as excited to discover his hiding spot as they are to find Cheerios all over the floor.
What if the elf doesn’t move?
Inevitably there will come a morning when you wake up and the elf is still in the same spot. In that case simply offer the following:
- He must have been really tired and couldn’t make it all the way back to the North Pole
- Mommy fell asleep on the couch watching TV last night and he couldn’t leave because I was in the room.
- You were SO good yesterday he didn’t have anything to report back to Santa.
- He must not be feeling good.
- The weather outside made it unsafe for him to travel.
There you have it mama! 25 Super Silly places to hide your elf, without the clutter and chaos to clean up.
Are you a visual person? Here are some more funny Elf on the Shelf Hiding Spots
Where are your favorite Elf on the Shelf hiding spots?
Let us know in the comments below and we will add them to our list!