Take the stress out of this holiday tradition with these super easy elf on the shelf hiding spots; perfect for when you forget to move the elf…again!
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 their little elf!
So, what’s a mom to do?…..
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.
The Best Elf on the Shelf Hiding Spots (updated for 2020)
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.
I am sure the same thing happens in your house, and that’s why I am here to help.
In order to take the stress out of the situation I am sharing over 30 places to hide your elf on the shelf that don’t require a trip to Michaels or hours of preparation.
These last minute elf on the shelf ideas are just what you need to surprise the kids while keeping your sanity.
No-Mess Elf on the Shelf Hiding Ideas
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 busy-mom 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 hysterically funny spots around the house.
The idea is to keep the Elf on the Shelf tradition creative and fun, but no clean-up required.
The Best Places to Hide your Scout 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.
(Unnless you have already set the bar high with craziness and treats – then you’re gonna have to slowly wean them from their expectations).
Your kiddos will be amazed to find your family’s elf in one of these no-prep, last-minute hiding spots that you can shove the elf into quickly and easily.
1) In the butter dish
2) Under a wash-cloth “blanket” in the freezer
3) Tucked into the end of the toilet paper roll
4) In the utensil drawer
5) On top of the ceiling fan blades
6) Wrapped through the handle of the milk jug
7) Inside the box of cereal
8) In their underwear drawer
9) Hiding among their stuffed animals or other toys
10) Sitting inside a remote control car
More Elf on the Shelf Ideas:
11) Hanging from the rear view mirror of the car
12) Holding on to the Christmas Tree Topper
13) Hiding in the branches of the Christmas tree
14) Inside the mailbox
15) Placed in a sandwich bag with the bath toys
16) Tucked between the cushions of the couch
17) In the kitchen utensil holder
18)Inside the toothbrush drawer
19) Buckled into the carseat
20) In the opening of a tissue box
21) Peeking out between the window blinds
22) In a shoe
23) Hiding in their favorite mug or sippie cup
24) Hanging from the top of the shower head
25) Popping out of the top of their backpack
26) Tucked inside their lunchbox
27) In their sock drawer, using a sock as a sleeping bag
28) Sitting on the bathtub faucet
29) Lounging in the holiday wreath
30) Chillin in a bin of Legos or blocks
31) In the nativity scene
32) In the arts and crafts drawer
33) Hanging from the curtain rod
34) Hanging from the shower curtain
35) In the cookie jar
36) Sitting on top of a gingerbread house
37) Hanging from the outdoor Christmas lights
38) In a doll house
39) In a baseball glove
40) Driving a remote control car
Want a printable checklist of the hiding spots? Sign up right here!
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Elf on the Shelf FAQ’s
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.Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition
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?
The elf on the shelf idea is 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 the “magic” behind Christmas and the Elf on the Shelf has kept her in the world of “it’s possible” for just a little while longer.
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.
Don’t forget the basic 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.
Are you a visual person? Here are some more funny Elf on the Shelf Hiding Spots
There you have it mama! 40 Super Silly places to hide your elf, without the clutter and chaos to clean up.