Last Updated on December 6, 2023
All the Best Ideas for This Year's Elf on the Shelf Return
Each year the Elf on the Shelf arrival is a big deal. Listotic is here to help! We've compiled some of the best ideas for your Elf on the Shelf return. Check out all the elf return ideas!
When does your Elf on the Shelf return? Our elf return isn't always predictable. But usually, he makes a debut with one of his super fun Elf on the Shelf return ideas around the first of the month. But only if the Christmas decorations have been put up!
1. Special Package Delivery: Elf on the Shelf Returns
First, we have a super easy arrival idea! Especially since you surely have a few boxes showing up at your door. Am I right? Just cut a hole in the box. The elf couldn't wait any longer before popping out to greet the family. Add some snow of course since this elf package just arrived from the North Pole! This is a great Elf on the Shelf return idea for any family.
2. Elf Door to the North Pole: Elf on the Shelf Return Ideas
So, how does the elf get here so fast from the North Pole? Certainly, with all that magic, the Christmas elf might as well have their own entrance. Gosh, what an adorable tiny elf door! Make this door in the anticipation of your elf's arrival! Keep it up all month so the elf can come and go to the North Pole. They will need to meet with Santa from time to time. Add some miniature furniture outside of the door just to make it homey! Get the step by step instructions here!
3. DIY Swing and Elf Sign
eA grand entrance indeed! Your Elf on the Shelf return idea deserves to have some pizzazz and spunk! Give that elf a big sign and let him swing from the doorway. A toilet roll swing is a perfect size for an Elf on the Shelf. This Elf on the Shelf arrival idea is a great idea for houses with pets. Also, a great idea for toddlers with the elf safely out of reach. Heaven forbid for someone to touch the elf! Because as we all know, touching it removes their magic!
4. Tiny Countdown Paper Chain
Who doesn't remember making these in school or Sunday school? Thank you The Little Things Blog for sharing this darling idea. The paper chain serves so many purposes. It can be used as a holiday decoration, craft, and advent calendar! Cool, the Elf on the Shelf arrived with a miniature paper chain of their own! The downside to this Elf on the Shelf return idea is the elf must remember to remove the paper chains daily!
5. Fun Christmas Breakfast for Elf on the Shelf Return Ideas
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. So, why not celebrate the Christmas elf's return with a special meal as suggested by Elf on the shelf official website. Check out all the fun Christmas breakfast ideas on Listotic! Two fun things wrapped into one! An elf return and a fun Christmas breakfast feast. Don't forget to set a place for the special guest of honor!
6. Special Delivery: Fragile handle with care!
A cute package is on its way! This printable is surely a fun way to package up your elf for their return. Go to Eighteen25 to find out how you can download this printable.
7. Elf on the Shelf Arrival Letter
An idea especially for elves that need more time getting settled in. A short rhyming note to say that the elf has arrived. Surely it's time for the elf to get settled in for exciting days ahead. A free printable from Listotic. Leave the note outside the front door in advance of their Elf on the Shelf return! Get this free printable on Listoic.
8. Text Message Received
Beep! This Elf on the Shelf return idea is for those tech-savvy elves. Text Santa as soon as they have arrived at their post for the Christmas season. A fun way to welcome the elf's return. So, find out how this works on the official Elf on the Shelf website.
9. Toy Donation Letter: Best Elf on the Shelf Return Ideas
One of my favorites! This Elf on the Shelf arrival idea comes from Living Locurto. The elf returns with this printable letter asking for toy donations. Christmas is certainly a fun time but it is also a giving time. A good exercise for kids to do when they have toys they no longer play with. Start the holiday season out with some true giving. Afterward, there is more space in their rooms plus a full heart. Get the full details here.
10. Message in a Puzzle
Before the elf arrives, raise the anticipation! Leave a message in a puzzle. Some advance work required for this Elf on the Shelf return idea. But, it will be worth it on the day your elf returns. A fun message from the elf that can only be read once you solve the puzzle. You can even personalize a jigsaw puzzle from your Elf on the Shelf here.
11. Elf Stuck in a Balloon
This Elf on the Shelf arrival idea is so funny! Surely, everyone will want to know how that elf got inside? What a perfect way to travel from the North pole, in your own balloon, of course. Step by step details on Frugal Coupon Living if you want to see how the elf will pull off this trick!
12. Setting Up Camp for Christmas
The Elf on the Shelf has returned. And they are setting up camp at your home until Christmas Day. What a cozy campfire tea light and beautiful Christmas storybook tent! This fun set up is courtesy of Linda at Life on Summer Hill. She is such an expert at home decor she can even make an elf campsite look cozy & inviting!
13. Magic Mint Plate Surprise
A magical mint plate to show how clever and magical your elf can behave. Help your Elf on the Shelf make one of these mint plates. This is a fun activity to do with the kids, especially after the elf has shown you it's possible! Get directions to this fun Christmas activity on Listotic!
More Fun Elf on Shelf Return ideas!
14. Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt
Let's start out with some games! This Elf on the Shelf return idea starts with a hunt for candy canes. Get the free printable for this fun activity from East Coast Mommy Blog. So easy, because all the work is done for you! Certainly, a cute rhyming clue for any household.
15. I'll be hanging around until Christmas
An easy elf return that only requires a hanger. Hang the hanger on the tree and let your elf send a message. Surprise, he will be hanging around until Christmas day!
16. Quarantined Upon Arrival
We can't be too careful this holiday season. The elf has to start his or her visit by making sure they are safe to be with the family. Who knows what germs they might have contracted on the way from the North Pole. They most certainly don't want to pass anything on. A carefully crafted quartine box can be purchased on Etsy.
17. DIY Hot Air Balloon Arrival
A fun entrance for the holiday season! It is an elf DIY hot hair balloon & free printable sign from “a little of this that” blog. Arriving in style, these elves have traveled a long way, all cozy in a custom-sized hot air balloon, and a special message of “We're Back” written on the balloon. Certainly a special Elf on the Shelf return idea.
18. I'm Back Avalanche
Let's get this elf return started out with a prank! A balloon avalanche set up by the friendly elf is certainly one way! This is a playful way to let family members know he or she has arrived. Plus, it's a heads up he or she is ready to cause some innocent trouble around the house!
19. Christmas Book Countdown!
Your Elf will need a night to prepare for this Elf on the Shelf arrival idea – a Christmas book countdown. Gather up all the Christmas books and wrap them each with a number. Every day until Christmas, the kids can open a different Christmas book. Get the free printable and step by step instructions here!
20. Elfs & Donuts!
So, I just had to get at least one more idea in here. It's super simple! Serve breakfast along with your Elf on the Shelf return idea. I think we could be friends blog has a cute printable for the elf return called “donut worry I'm back” free printable. So, go grab it! Kids love waking up to donuts. Not to mention they will especially love their surprise breakfast guest too!