Looking for some naughty elf on the shelf ideas to make your children giggle on the run up to Christmas? Here are 24 naughty ideas for your elf, to keep you going until Christmas Eve.

What is Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the shelf has become a holiday tradition where parents place a small figurine of an elf in a nook or cranny around the house. It originated in 2005 with Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell, when they published the book ‘The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition‘ which came with its own toy elf.

The story goes that the elf arrives at the beginning of the festive period and leaves on Christmas Eve with Santa. It flies back to the North Pole every night, reporting to Santa on the day’s activities and if your children have been naughty or nice. When the elf returns it gets up to mischief in the house. Every morning the elf is in a different position for your children to find. Throughout the day the elf remains in position watching closely.

Naughty elf on the shelf toy hanging on a Christmas tree branch
Naughty elf on the shelf

What are the rules of Elf On The Shelf?

If you follow the rules included in the story they include:

  1. Don’t touch the elf or it will lose its magic.
  2. Talk to your elf when you want to.
  3. Elves return to the North Pole every night and leave to stay with Santa on Christmas Eve.

However, we advise using the rules that suit your family and parenting style. Adapt and change them as you see fit.

In our house, child 1 was anxious that the elf was accidentally touched and moved. Now there are ways around this if you want to keep this rule.

If your Christmas elf is accidentally touched, according to Elf on the Shelf you can write an apology letter, sprinkle cinnamon or sing it a Christmas carol. We wrote our own letter from the elf to our children, explaining that Santa had granted her a magic potion that allowed her to be moved.

Elf on the Shelf naughty ideas

It can be tricky to think of new places for your elf every night (and easy to forget). Try setting a reminder on your phone to move the elf and have it as a family affair with partners or older children also helping out and having a turn.

The fun of it is in being creative about where the elf ends up every night. An elf that is naughty and cheeky increases the possibilities and the potential laughs. Here is a round-up of the best naughty elf on the shelf ideas for this year. We’ve included some classic ideas and some new ideas for this year.

1. Making snowflakes with toilet roll

2. Caught by spiderman


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3. Blow up Christmas tree baubles

4. Wrapping the Christmas tree with toilet roll

5. Bathtime balloon bubbles

6. Captured by toy soldiers

7. Going for a swim with the ducks

8. A melted snowman

9. A snowball fight

10. Toilet roll igloo

11. Pinching the biscuits


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12. Cooking spaghetti elf style

13. Playing the guitar

14. Making snow angels

15. Making banana bread

16. Who is a smarty pants?

17. Sweets on tap

18. Sack race fun

19. Milkshakes anyone?


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20. Mmmmm chocolate!

21. Playing with Lego

22. Playing in the elf ball pit

23. Wrapping up the toilet

24. Goodbye from the elf

The only limit to the naughty elf on the shelf ideas is your imagination. Thank you for all the brilliant ideas shared in this post, there are a lot of cheeky elves out there! We hope you have found something useful and that the elf brings magic, joy and laughter to your house this Christmas.