24 Elf on the Shelf ideas for Christmas 2020
After a difficult few months it's the moment kids across Kent have been waiting for (and as parents you may be dreading!) The elves are back and on a shelf near you.
The treasured tradition sees scout elves positioned in homes throughout December able to report back to Father Christmas about the nice and not-so-nice behaviour they witness as well as causing some minor mischief of their own when backs are turned.
But as it's 2020 these pint-sized pixies are likely to be under a new set of rules, just like everyone else in the household.
Here's some of the things you may be prepared for them to get up to...
1 I'm back - but don't forget the sanitiser!
Every elf likes to make an entrance. Writing I'm back in toothpaste, flour, icing sugar, lipstick, chocolate spread, strewn sprinkles or any other smear-able material will make for an arrival of sugar-high proportions.
But we are in the midst of a global pandemic after all. All elves should be dispatched from the North Pole with hand sanitiser and face masks this year and maintain social distancing at all times.
And if there's any risk that they've been in contact with a positive case during their journey, they should quarantine high up on a shelf away from the rest of the household, for a number of days to be on the safe side.
2 A season for giving
Alongside monitoring behaviour, elves are particularly good at encouraging kindness, and this year that may be more important than ever.
Before the children get an influx of new toys for Christmas perhaps your elf, with the help of an empty box, could encourage them to donate a handful of things they no longer play with to a charity of their choice or suggest they help donate some items to their nearest foodbank, which is in desperate need of support in these tough times. Advent calendars for children are particularly welcome in late November and early December.
3 Ride the shoe train
Parents hate mess in the run up to Christmas and one thing guaranteed to make them angry is an emptied shoe cupboard as the elves, and the rest of the toys, snake their way around the living room in a train of the family's shoes.
4 Marker mayhem
The elves love a marker pen! Be prepared for funny faces on bananas, eggs or the front cover of mum's new magazine! And if there's any 'googly eyes' laying around in a craft box, watch that they don't appear over the eyes of granny in the framed family photograph!
5 North Pole breakfast
The elves can go to town on the weekend and with Kent headed for Tier 3 restrictions the whole family will be glad of the light relief come Saturday!
If your family is lucky, they'll be a mountain of treats from the North Pole for a weekend breakfast. Think pancakes, waffles, marshmallows, hot chocolate, syrup, sprinkles and even the odd candy cane thrown in for good measure! Just be prepared to use that daily walk and outside time to burn off the children's sugar high!
6 Tree decorating
An elf likes to help - or hinder! Be prepared to find them raiding socks and underwear drawers in search of unusual decorations for the Christmas tree. Despite the chaos the kids will love to see their school vests, socks or even the odd pair of their pants hanging from the the tree like icicles!
7 Winter Olympics
Tokyo 2020 may have been a casualty of coronavirus but these elves have nevertheless been in training. Weightlifting marshmallows with cocktail sticks or straws is one of their preferred winter hobbies. But don't turn your back for long - they're also partial to some sneaky snow angels in the flour if you're back is turned for too long.
8 On your marks, get set, go!
Watch those toy cars parked up at night. A midnight grand-prix against all the other toys, complete with a homemade black and white chequered flag, brings out the elves competitive streak.
9 King of the gingerbread
Elves love sugary treats. It also means they're armed with the best recipes. The elves often share a great recipe and ingredients for a proposed weekend baking session. This Christmas gingerbread recipe for kids here is one they suggested earlier.
10 Snow scene from home
It's not unusual for the elves to get homesick and with isolation across borders and different tiers now a consideration they won't be able to pop back to the North Pole as regularly as they have been used to. With a few white towels, toilet paper, kitchen paper and cotton wool the elves are able to recreate a snowy scene to make them feel right at home of an evening.
11 That's a wrap
Elves are expert wrappers. The kids love to find the contents of their lunch box, mid-morning fruit snack, school books or their hat and gloves wrapped in Christmas paper when they arrive at school and open their bag.
12 Write a letter to Santa
If they come armed one morning with a nice writing set, sparkly piece of paper, or stickers to decorate, writing to Father Christmas can become quite the occasion and a nice festive activity for everyone.
13 Call Santa on Zoom
Heading back to the North Pole regularly is more of an issue for the elves this year as borders and isolation periods must be taken into account. Santa will be expecting regular updates on the children's behaviour via Zoom this year and the elves will be expected to dial in regularly. Don't be surprised to come down and find that tablets and chargers have been raided by elves joining Santa's latest conference call.
14 Treasure hunt
They might decide to hide the advent calendars one night, perhaps a special Christmas card or tickets to a surprise festive outing. A festive treasure hunt with house map and clues will lead you back to what you've lost and can be a fun weekend activity for all the family. A few chocolate coins along the floor from the kids' bedrooms to start the trail go down a treat too.
15 Festive film fest
Watch that unopened bag of popcorn you had in the cupboard - when the kids go to bed those elves will be raiding the Christmas DVDs for some festive viewing and running a movie night for all the toys. You're likely to find the crumbs from unfinished sweets, popcorn and crisps across the carpet by the television not to mention a mess in the DVD drawer or cupboard as they look for Elf, Home Alone or Arthur Christmas. It's not unknown for them to make their own cinema tickets too!
16 Prepare for landing
Making paper aeroplanes are a popular pastime when the kids have gone to bed. Expect to find the planes on bookshelves, in the Christmas tree, on tops of photo frames and coming into land with a runway of fairylights along the carpet.
17 Snowflake city
Left alone with some paper and a pair of scissors and your house will soon look like the North Pole when the elf gets to work. Think Will Ferrell in Elf when he decorates the department store after it closes.
18 Fun in the tub
Just like small children - every elf needs a bath. A sink or bowl full of mini-marshmallows or small white balloons make for the perfect elf-sized spa for a soak. And don't forget to leave them out a rubber duck too!
19 Do you want to build a snowman?
If your house is distinctly lacking in real snow be prepared for a few rolls of toilet paper to go missing overnight as the elves attempt to build their frozen friends. Stacking the rolls and adding black and orange paper for buttons and noses make more than suitable substitutes for company.
20 A LEGO ambush
If the other toys are getting fed up of the elf's mischievous ways or feel like they missed an invite to the karaoke or Christmas movie night - all it takes is a few well-built LEGO men with a vehicle and some Christmas wrapping string to tie up the elf, load him on like a roof box and cart him off in revenge.
21 Food and fridge forages
When the sugar craving gets too much you will find your elf foraging in the kitchen for food. You could find him attempting to knock over an open cereal box, with his hands in the Christmas chocolates or his face in the chocolate spread jar.
22 Sweet dreams
Every elf needs a place to rest their head. You may often come downstairs in the morning to find your elf asleep in the kids' dolls house, a shoe box, a tissue box (still with the tissues inside for some extra comfy bedding) or a Christmas-looking tea towel or oven glove from the kitchen. They're not adverse to roping in a teddy for a Christmas-themed bedtime story either. The Night Before Christmas is a firm favourite.
23 Embrace the toilet humour
As parents it often makes us cringe but the kids love it - and every good elf knows the kids do too! A popular pastime of the elves is to encourage a visit from Santa's reindeer who aren't' adverse to leaving their poop - in the form of chocolate chips or chocolate-covered raisins - behind.
24 An elf on the shelf suitable goodbye
They might borrow Barbie's car or a truck from the toy cupboard to move their belongings, leave behind a Christmas Eve box with new pyjamas or chocolate treats or could even spell out 'see you next year' in magnetic letters, on a chalk board, or with sweets on the kitchen worktop. It's not unknown for them to even leave a postcard as they prepare for a post-Christmas holiday and a well earned rest after Christmas morning.
But however your elf disembarks the night before Christmas it's usually memorable. After all, it's more than 300 days until you'll set eyes on them again!