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Easy Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

It's that time of the year, when those scout elves are eagerly waiting to return to their families or join the new ones starting this fun tradition. 

We are here to make sure you are prepared for that special moment with these incredible and easy Elf on the Shelf arrival ideas that are tons of fun and your kids are going to love.

Collage of easy Elf on the Shelf Arrival ideas

So if you are plotting what creative new grand entrance your elf can do this year check out these fabulous ideas.

When Does the Elf on the Shelf Arrive?

Traditionally the Elf on the Shelf arrives on December 1st. However, that little trickster often does just what they want so sometimes they show up even as early as Thanksgiving night.

What are the rules of The Elf on the Shelf?

The Elf on the Shelf has been around for quite a while so most of you probably know the rules but if you are new to this then here is a little back story on the rules. 

The children are not allowed to touch the scout elf otherwise he/she will lose their magic.

Their elf will arrive during the beginning of December (the actual date is parent-dependent) to watch over the kids and make sure they are listening to their mom and dad and being all-around good kids during the holiday season.

They will then head back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

That is why having a fun and memorable arrival for your elf is always a delight. Your kids are always ready for that creative mischief that the elf gets into every year while they are sleeping. 

They wake up to find them in a new place (moved by the parent of course) and see what they have gotten into, which sometimes means they have been up to no good.

Easy Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

How will your Elf arrive this year? 

1. Elf Special Delivery

Having a special delivery box or envelope that you use year after year could be a fun idea for your elf's arrival.

It would also make it easy for mom and dad because you won't have to come up with something big and grand every year.

Plus what child doesn't love getting packages in the mail? Especially when they come directly from the big man himself. 

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2. Bring an Advent Calendar

We are past the point of making our elf do anything because our daughter is well into her teenage years at this point but our tradition every year was that Peanuts (our elf) brought the yearly advent calendar.

We always enjoyed advent calendars (let's be honest, we still do) because when our daughter was little (think toddler age) it allowed her to not only get a little treat each day counting up til Christmas but also allowed her to do number recognition. 

You may love to make your own and that is great too but if you are looking for an easy advent then check out these fun options.

Fidget / Sensory Advent Calendar


Construction Toys Advent Calendar


Diamond Painting Advent Calendar


Lego City Advent Calendar


3. Special Arrival Letter

You can't go wrong with just a simple I'm back arrival letter. It doesn't require much effort or extra thought to put together.

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Looking for a free printable arrival letter? Check out this awesome one from Living Locurto. It encourages kids to do a random act of kindness as a Secret Santa!

4. Elf Return Breakfast

One of the other fun ways we liked to announce the arrival of Peanuts, our elf, was to have a special return breakfast. 

You can do this with just a normal breakfast with fun decorations around the table. This would make it easy if you needed to set it up the night before. 

Although if you do have extra time creating a special breakfast is always fun too. Maybe your elf brings breakfast items they don't typically get to have that often like donuts or you create fun pancakes.

5. Epic Prank Event

Of course, you could always have your elf come back with a bang and do a giant epic prank right from the start.

Just keep in mind your kids may expect the entire holiday season with their elf to be big and grand too. So even though this one is totally an option I think I might stick to something a little less over the top.

6. Hot Air Balloon Arrival

Photo Source Via Pinterest

Materials you might need:

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Don't want to mess with creating your own hot air balloon. Check out these adorable homemade felt one that you can purchase. You could use it year after year!

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7. Special Ornament/Pajamas Delivery Tradition

Like I said above we always had Peanuts (our daughter's elf) bring the advent calendar every year but if you like doing a special ornament every year then that may be another great option for the Elf to bring at the start of his arrival.

What about pajamas? I know lots of families like to do it the night before Christmas (we do that too) but sometimes I feel like we miss out on the whole season of wearing them. Bringing them on the night the elf arrives could be an excellent idea.

8. Elf Scavenger Hunt

One of the best parts of the Elf on the Shelf tradition is getting up in the morning and searching for them.

What better way to keep that excitement going than having an arrival morning scavenger hunt?

I mean who doesn't love a game of hide and seek right?

The final clue would lead to the elf and maybe an extra treat or two that he brought. You could throw in one of the other arrival ideas for this one too.

Photo Source: designseverydaybeauty via Etsy

"Have your Elf hide the letters of the “ELF-abet” around the house for your kids to find. This is an easy elf activity for toddlers learning the alphabet. As an added bonus, you get ten minutes in the morning to drink your coffee while the kids run to find all the letters! We’ve also included a list of ideas of where to place the letters with corresponding objects around the house (ie V with the vacuum)." - Designs Everyday Beauty


Free Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt Ideas

  • Santa and his reindeer will be here soon.
    To find your clue, go look for a spoon.
  • Santa checks his list and then checks it once more.
    Your next clue can be found on the back of a door.
  • Santa's sleigh can fly through the air.
    Your next clue can be found under a chair.
  • Santa's white beard shows us he's pretty old.
    Your next clue can be found where we keep the food cold.

9. Elf Arrival Banner

Banners are always fun and can be used year after year. 

You can create your own like this one from the Elf on the Shelf's official site using cardstock or even paper plates

10. Cute Elf Fairy Doors

Last but certainly not least of the Elf on the Shelf arrival ideas is setting up an adorable elf "fairy" door.

This could be a great idea if you don't have a fireplace and your child wonders how the elf gets in and out every night. Through the magical fairy door of course! 

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The Elf on the Shelf tradition is just about bringing something new and exciting to the holiday season for your child.

It does NOT have to be about doing all the grand things or going overboard. You CAN keep it simple.

That means if you want or need to just move your elf from a different location each night while doing nothing fancy that is okay.

Your kids will be excited either way!! 🙂