GUEST POST FROM MY YOUNGER, BETTER LOOKING, MORE AWESOME, NOT-QUITE-AS-CRAZY BROTHER, DEFINITELY-NOT-AS-BLACK-SHEEP ERIC:

Ah yes, it’s that time again. The time of year we introduce our creepy, voyeuristic cute and sometimes cheeky friend, Elf on the Shelf into our children’s lives. It’s a brilliant strategy really. We parents get to use him as extra leverage for good behavior, while the kids get to wake up excited every morning to discover where he’s hiding and what sort of shenanigans he’s been up to all night long. The possibilities are endless!

Speaking of endless possibilities. There are about a million Elf on the Shelf boards on Pinterest, all gathering cute and funny ideas. The problem is that many of the same tired ideas are being driven ’round the block over and over and over and…you get the idea!

I’m not complaining in the least. I still use Pinterest in a pinch, and who hasn’t been caught out saying, “$@!%! It’s 11:30pm and I haven’t the slightest clue what Elfie is doing tonight!” In fact, tonight I just drew three different minions on some bananas with a sharpie… along with 1/3 of all Elf on the Shelf-ers following the latest craze.

Today I want to share some new ideas I’ve come up with, as well as a few popular ideas I’ve built upon. You’d best act fast with this new material though, because the very act of posting these publicly will undoubtedly get them Pinned up the wazoo, and we’re back to square one!

Now, I must quickly explain two differences between our family’s elf-shelving methods and the rest of the worlds:

  • We have an off-brand shelf elf that we’ve named Milo. He’s more cute than creepy and his body, arms and legs all have stiff wire that make him very mold-able.
  • Our kids can hold and play with him. Guess what, they love him all the more and *gasp* he’s still magical to them!

With that covered, here’s your 2015 list of new Elf on the Shelf ideas:

1. The Confetti Dangler

I shot confetti poppers over the chandelier. (Make sure no paper is touching any part of the light that gets hot. Unless you’re going for the epic “burn your house down” kind of surprise!) Then I hung Milo upside down in the middle and left a handful of poppers on top of the T.V. so the kids could have some fun too.

2. The Great Car Heist

One of my personal favorites: The kids couldn’t find Milo anywhere and finally gave up the search because it was time for school. Getting into the car however, we discovered that Milo had taken it for a joy ride and parked it sideways in the driveway!

3. The Epic Gingerbread House Surprise

Decoration station left by Shelf Elf for gingerbread houses.

Some of my adult siblings and I all received our elves from my mom as a gift a few years ago. We were all around last Christmas which meant that our three cheeky elves were joining forces. This is an epic gingerbread house making station the kids woke up to one morning! TIP: The kids used Graham Crackers and ice cream cones instead of ginger bread. It’s easy for them to get creative, and there’s less baking and mess involved.

4. Watch the Birdy – The Token Group Portrait

Shelf Elf poses with all the children's toys before he heads back to the North Pole for good

The kids woke up to the scene of Milo taking a photo of all his new friends. He was soon headed back to the North Pole and wanted a memento. The element of magic I nonchalantly pointed out to my kids, was that he was actually in the picture he had just taken!

The 2nd photo is from the DSLR (and a flashgun which wasn’t in the end scene!) It’s like a Find the Difference game!

5. Paper Snowflake Flurry

Milo cut oodles of snowflakes and strung them all around the Christmas tree, then zip lined across his creation using a star my little boy made at play school!

6. Roller Coaster Creation

During the time of joint forces, Milo and his brother Otis turned this bad boy into a rockin’ roller coaster! And yes, Otis is covering his eyes and Milo is throwing his hands in the air!

7. That’s a Wrap!

This was a fun one and got a good shock value reaction from the kids. You’ve got it…wrap the Christmas tree! This year I’m going to figure out how to wrap myself and “wake up” under the Christmas tree. I’ve never seen it before but you’re all welcome to try and beat me to the punch!

8. The Master Fort Builder

My kids love building a base/fort/camp (call it what you will) out of our couch cushions and blankets. Milo surprised them with a new design one morning.

9. Show & Tell Time

Another morning where Milo was nowhere to be found. He was finally discovered in my daughter’s car chair ready to go to school. If you’re the type to get preachy about Elf on the Shelf losing his magic if he’s touched, cover your ears–She took him to school for show and tell. So there! Neener neener poo poo!

10. Craft & Chocolate Surprise

The morning after he went to school with my daughter he surprised them with a fun craft activity, chocolate coins and a thank you note!

11. Triumphant Animal Parade

Another favorite of mine. Milo leading a triumphant animal parade near the Christmas tree atop none other than the king of dinosaurs, T-Rex!

12. The Elfie-Selfie

The three brother elves drew a fun Elfie-Selfie picture on poster board!

13. Marshmallow Snowman Roast

A lovely marshmallow snowman scene turns into a roasting massacre.

Okay, I’ll admit that this one was more for me and my Facebook friends. It was 1:30 AM and I’d just finished making a lovely marshmallow-snowman scene for the kids to find. I might have gotten a bit carried away!

14. Scanner Prank

While I had seen the copier gag before, I included both of my kids’ favorite toys and scanned two arrangements of the trio, one for each child. Whenever you’re using inspiration from elsewhere, remember that the more personal you can make it, the better!

15. The Tea Party

One of my first ever Elf on the Shelf arrangements was Milo having a tea party with my daughter’s Barbies and her favorite teddy. And yes, Milo was getting a little friendly with Sleeping Beauty!

16. The Toilet Paper Hammock

Another of my first creations, and one of the first “naughty” things that Milo did. We’re into the third year now and it’s still one of my daughter’s favorites. She told me a couple days ago that she hopes he does it again!

17. Sleep Over With a Letter to Santa

My daughter wanted him to have a sleep over with her toys, (maybe not the best idea seeing Sleeping Beauty from the previous Tea Party photo!) and she found him writing an email in the morning.

18. Reason for the Season

As a Christian family we wanted to remind the kids of the reason for the season!

19. First Night Intro Letter

The first time Milo made an entrance on a return year, he came with a letter that my 2nd grader could read, highlighted a big life event, and reminded them of how his visits work.

20. Epic Toilet Papering

Another joint effort from Milo and his two elf brothers, leaning more on the cheeky side! The gingerbread and Graham Cracker houses on the table are the results from the aforementioned Epic Gingerbread House Surprise photo.

21. Give it Up for the Cookie!

Shelf Elf waits with a cookie on Christmas eve by the fireplace.

What a coincidence! Santa’s favorite cookies are the same as dad’s.  This was our morning surprise on Christmas Eve, leading to a really fun family baking activity that provided the yummy treats for Santa’s arrival!

Mmmmmm….Snickerdoodles….OH sorry, I got distracted there for a minute! The 2nd photo is how the kids left Milo on Christmas Eve—ready to catch a lift with Santa back to the North Pole till next year!

22. Let It Go Already!

The next three aren’t mine but I’m including them because they hit my funny bone and aren’t plastered all over Pinterest…yet anyway!

Frozen’s Elsa freezes Elf on the Shelf! I don’t think it needs more explanation. My daughter is past her Frozen craze but I’m debating getting her a doll just to build on this idea!

23. Underpants Balloon-Ride!

Camera 360

This Elf on the Shelf flying through the room in a pair of underpants is hilarious, clever and frankly, pure genius!

24. Give it 20 minutes, actually 30!

This idea mixes Elf on the Shelf with potty-humor; a definite recipe for success!

I love the whole Elf on the Shelf idea (aside from when I procrastinate) and likely get more from it than my kids! I can only hope that when I’m old and decrepit, my kids will surprise me with Milo’s shenanigans every December morn! (I’m not holding my breath)

Eric Pearce, Single Dad Laughing’s Younger Brother

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!