Elf on the Shelf Ideas: When You Forget to Move Elf

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I have read on Facebook about some parents struggling to come up with  Elf on the Shelf ideas. Struggling to impress their kids with it. Struggling to remember to move Elf every night.

Let me tell you something. This is our third year of doing this fun Elf on the Shelf game. I also forget to move Elf from time to time.

Ok, often.

This is how it played out this morning.

I wake up way before everyone at my house. I get up sometimes as early as five, generally about six. We homeschool, so our day work day does not start until 10:00 am or so.

I start my day with coffee and hammer out as much blog work as I can before everyone starts to wake up. Generally, I do not move the Elf until morning because I have time to set up my plan before anyone else gets up.

I got carried away with my work this morning and two little boys woke up and ran to the living room to check for Elf. They headed straight towards the kitchen table where they last saw him.

You would have thought I was going for the Superbowl interception of a lifetime as I leaped from my chair to block them. Elf had NOT been moved. Ack!

I quickly sent my kids on a mission to find Elf, it was my way to distract them. I said, “He went that way, or maybe that way.” I grabbed Elf, tucked him under my shirt, and ran to my bedroom.

Shew, that was close!

Grab Our Elf Didn’t Move Printable Cards

when you forget to move eld on the shelf

I grabbed the football jersey I had purchased weeks ago. These Elf on the Shelf clothes make life so easy for the days I need a quick idea.

And this football jersey was perfect because tonight is typicality a football practice night for three of our boys and I knew it would be canceled because of all the ice and winter weather conditions we’ve had here in Dallas.

I grabbed one of my Elf on the Shelf printables which are blank note cards that allow me to write a note to the kids.

I wrote, “Cold flight back. I wonder if you’ll have football practice tonight?”.

elf on the shelf clothes

I hid Elf in a sweater and called for the kids. My husband distracted them while I ran to the playroom and sat Elf out.

They were amazed when they found him. They were amazed that Elf knew they played football and the Elf on the Shelf jersey was a total score!

More Elf on the Shelf Ideas


  1. My kids are older, but I have been enjoying seeing your Elf’s adventures. I really wish that the Elf had been around when my kids were 3 or 4. They would have gotten a kick out of it. Although I have been toying around with the idea of having a mischievous elf that would make my teenagers laugh each morning (like getting into my daughter’s makeup, gift wrapping the toilet, etc).

    1. Jen- thank you so much. I am so glad you’re enjoying it.

      You totally should do that for your teenage daughters. Our 12 year old clearly “knows” the behind the scenes stuff that goes on with Elf, but he enjoys seeing his brothers have fun with it and he gets a kick out of the crazy antics. And he loves when Elf brings treats.

      Really, it is all about having fun.

      I am so glad you stopped by!

  2. I love your ideas!! We also have an Elf for our three kids and they love him! In fact they’ve been asking when he’s coming back since Halloween ended! My daughter even invited him to her birthday party. I have hesitated to bring him out till December 1 because I didn’t want it to get boring but seeing your ideas hassle me think we can make it much more fun this year! Thank you so much for sharing!!! I will be checking out your pintrested board too

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