25 places to hide your Elf on the Shelf this holiday season

Vollie Knox, the elf at the Knoxville Visitor Center, moves around and was found hanging out with some stuffed animals. (Photo: Visit Knoxville)

BEHOLD! The holidays are upon us.

In addition to hot cocoa, holiday movies, dazzling lights and mad dashes to the store, you also have to figure out a bazillion and one places to hide your kids’ beloved Elf on the Shelf.

It was so cute and such a good idea at first. Now it’s just another task on the to-do list. 

And, with many families opting to bring out their elves after Thanksgiving, the time has come to get a plan in order. 

So, whether you place the elf somewhere each day or once for a week or so, we’ve got you covered with some impressive ideas. The difficulty ratings are based on how long it’ll take your kids to discover the elf, not how hard it is for you to put him there (the two are often unrelated).

25 places to hide your Elf on the Shelf

1. Above the stockings

Difficulty level: EASY.

OK, duh. I know. This is an easy one. But kids get grumpy when they can’t find stuff right away!

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Ok, I'm back to save your life….once again. I give you MY @elfontheshelf IDEAS post! Tons of photos from over the years + inspiration and where to get accessories for these little guys. Plus a little mom wisdom on how the !*&# I survived the last 7 years. ???So fly on over to the blog *link in profile* and let me help. Don't forget to tag your momma friends! #helpasistaout #elfontheshelf #elfideas #elf #livingwithlandyn

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MORE: Amazon’s Top 25 toys for the 2018 holidays. Get your gift list ready

2. Inside the holiday wreath

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

Depending on how or where your wreath is located, kids may have a hard time finding it.

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You never know where you'll find a Scout Elf next! #ScoutElfReturnWeek . . . . . #ElfontheShelf #ElfonaShelf #ElfPets #EOTS #ElfonShelf #ScoutElf #Christmas #IdeasforScoutElves #ElfIdeas #ScoutElfIdeas

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3. Inside the family photo area

Difficulty level: HARD.

Unless you have a tradition of decorating the photo area with photos, I’m betting your kid rarely frequents the area. Heck, throw a frame around the little guy. #Camouflage

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Thought I'd share, In case anyone's doing Elf on a Shelf for the first time this year. I've put a few tips on how to do it the easy way. Link in the bio ❤️?❤️?❤️?❤️?

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4. Tucked in the toys

Difficulty level: HARD.

Sure, the kids play with their toys all the time. But tucking the little elf neatly into a toy box, or buried at the bottom of it? I just don’t have faith that kids will be patient enough to dig through.

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Your elf idea for tomorrow. Link in profile for more. #elfontheshelf #elfideas #classroomelfontheshelf #classroomelf #christmasintheclassroom http://www.simplykinder.com/elf-shelf-classroom-ideas-2/

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5. Peeking out of a Rice Krispie cereal box

Difficulty level: EASY.

All the cutting and positioning will require a considerable amount of time and skill, so you better display that cereal-eating elf proudly! This should get a good laugh and low stress because the kids should find it quickly. Maybe snap a pic of the perfection before the kids get to it.

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? ? #ricekrispies #ricekrispytreats #snapcracklepop

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6. Scaling the wall with bows

Difficulty level: HARD.

The obviousness of this display is what will make it so difficult. What kid would think the family elf would “hide” in such an open space?

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Bow climbing. ? #itsstillnovembertho

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7. Climbing the tree

Difficulty level: HARD.

Most trees have 5 million and three ornaments, to be exact. Adding an elf to the mix will likely blend in and be nearly invisible.

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Ziggy climbing up the Christmas ? tree!! #ziggyisback #ziggy #christmastree #elfontheshelf #elf #elfideas #familytradition

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8. On the coffee table display

Difficulty level: EASY.

Especially if you have a little tray or decorations that draw attention to the area, kids should find this relatively quickly.

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Dec 2015 – I set up a gift wrapping station last night, next to my Christmas tree. Remember, no peeking…! ? ? . . . . #Elf #elfonashelf #elfonashelfideas #elfontheshelf #elfontheshelfideas #elfmagic #christmas #xmas #merrychristmas #merryxmas #festive #festivefun #elves #elfinspo #elfideas #elfmischief #elfantics #elvesofinstagram #elvesofinsta #elvesofig #elfmagic #tree #christmastree #giftwrapping #wrappingpaper #wrapping #wrappingpresents #wrappinggifts

A post shared by Elf Christian Jinx (@elfchristianjinx) on

9. In the crafts area

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

If you simply put him in the crafts area, this might be hard. But if you create a little display, like the one below where the elf is shown painting, it will be easier.

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Dec 2015 – I got busy with some paints last night and left a large canvas and paints for my boy to paint his own Christmas painting ? . . . . #Elf #elfonashelf #elfonashelfideas #elfontheshelf #elfontheshelfideas #elfmagic #christmas #xmas #merrychristmas #merryxmas #festive #festivefun #elves #elfinspo #elfideas #elfmischief #elfantics #elvesofinstagram #elvesofinsta #elvesofig #elfmagic #painting #easel

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MORE: Exclusive first look at Disney’s Top 15 Toys of 2018, fun toys for the holidays

10. In the bathroom

Difficulty level: EASY.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume your kids brush their teeth and maybe even shower in the morning. Please say yes. If that’s correct, they’ll have no problem finding the elf.

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11. Hanging from the curtains

Difficulty level: HARD.

You may have to hint and tell your kids to look upward.

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Hanging out in the living room. ❤️ #elfontheshelf #twoelvesarebetterthanone #twoelves #christmastime #eots #scoutelf #easyelfideas #elfideas

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12. Working out on the kitchen counter or table

Difficulty level: EASY.

What a funny little surprise it will be to see the elf get his arm day on. And let’s be honest, elf needs arm day.

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Incorporating health and fitness using the #elfontheshelf to teach my kids! ? . . . #momlife #elf #elfontheshelfideas #fitness #health #eatyourfood #santaiswatching #tistheseason #christmas #christmasshenanigans #elfideas #familyfun #gymelf #momlifebelike #momof2 #fitfamily #fitnessjourney #fitnessaddict #teachyourkids #healthyhabits #fitnessjourney #teachthemyoung #elfontheshelf2017

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13. Ziplining to the tree

Difficulty level: EASY.

This is as obvious as a display can get if you have the elf ziplining across the room to the tree. But this is a lot of work, too. Maybe save this for the grand finale. Or at least wait until you have a bunch of people over so you can show off.

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Super Ziggy is Ziplining…. #elfontheshelf #elf #familytradition #family #lights #christmaslights #idoitforLink #happy #creative #superheroelf #superhero #cape #tv #santa #superZiggy #elfideas #iamthatmom

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14. Stealing from the piggy bank

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

This might be hard if you don’t readily display the piggy bank, so move it to a spot that’s easily accessible. And uh, maybe consider putting a “just kidding” note on the elf so the kids don’t actually think he’s a thief.

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➕Day 3 – 2017➕ #theadventuresofemmett #elfspam #elfontheshelf #scoutelf #elfideas #elfies #elfontheshelfideas #christmasmagic #christmastradition #mumlife #scoutelfideas #imagination #inspiration #elfshenanigans #elfantics #naughtyelf #thethingswedo #elfgonebad #elvesgonewild #robber #thief

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15. Near the bathtub for a spa day

Difficulty level: HARD.

Unless you regularly hide the elf in your private bedroom and bathroom, you’ll probably want to give your kids a hint on this one.

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In serious need of a day in a spa like Pippin! Here is Pippin treating himself to a @clarins ‘elf’ spa along with a few other cheeky elf moments. • #elf #elfontheshelf #elfontheshelfideas #elfonashelf #elfonashelfideas #christmas #christmaself #elfantics #spa #spaday #relax #pamperday #christmas2017 #santaself #elfideas

A post shared by Nicola ????☕️ (@nicola_and_her_tribe) on

16. Flying near a major walkway

Difficulty level: EASY.

Use some clear string, make a paper plane and let the let the elf soar! Place this somewhere the kids pass by every morning.

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#Repost @elfontheshelf (@get_repost) ・・・ This elf came flying in the door for a high flying surprise! #ScoutElfReturnWeek . . . . . #ElfontheShelf #ElfonaShelf #ElfPets #EOTS #ElfonShelf #ScoutElf #Christmas #IdeasforScoutElves #ElfIdeas #ScoutElfIdeas

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17. In the popcorn bowl

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

Forgot to place the elf one morning? No worries. Tell the kids the elf went out for a day trip and will return home in the evening. Then at night, pop some popcorn and invite the kids into the kitchen to surprise them with the elf’s return.

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Not too crazy yet but I got a real believer this year so I better step up my game #christopherpopinkins #elfontheshelf #elfideas

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18. Hanging from the chimney

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

Again, sometimes the more “simple” the spot, the more difficult it is to find the elf.

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Stuck up the chimney #elfontheshelf #elfideas #instaelf #christmas

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19. Posing with a photo backdrop

Difficulty level: EASY.

Got a cute marquee board? Or even a little whiteboard? Write a cute little message instructing the kids to take an “elfie!” What a fun way for the kids to interact with their elf. This could be a fun first one!

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It’s Elfie time again! ? #elfontheshelf#christmas2017#christmas#elfideas#fun

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20. Hiding in the presents

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

If you’ve got lots of presents with intricate patterns of wrapping paper, this might be quite difficult for the little ones to handle. Hints are always helpful.

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3 days ago was the 2nd year I have been running this channel, and it has been a pleasure to excite all of you with fun and more elf magic each day???!#elf#elfontheshelf#elfideas#creative#christmas#art#santa#fatherchristmas#christmastree#happyholidays#santaclaus#snow#frosty#seasonsgreetings#happyholidays#presents#seasonal#love#family#cute#parents#cosy#kids#elfmagic

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21. Hiding on — or eating — the gingerbread house

Difficulty level: EASY.

Did your kids make a gingerbread house? If yes, then the elf definitely wants to start munchin’ on it.

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Could any elf top this idea? ???☃️#elf#elfideas#elfontheshelf#gingerbreadhouse#creative#christmas#craft#cute#festive#happyholidays#seasonsgreetings#family#winter#autumn#december

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22. Putting on a movie

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

Sometimes DVD players are stored in entertainment centers, which can make this hiding spot difficult. Try to find some way to draw attention to the area.

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MOVIE NIGHT. The popcorn ?is popping but there’s disagreement! Our elves aren’t happy we can’t find Shan’s favorite movie, “A Christmas Story.” Looks like Ashley McSprinkles has convinced the gang to watch Harry Potter. #shantheelf #elfontheshelf #elfideas #scoutelfideas #christmastime #elfantics #picoftheday #instagood #movienight #harrypotter #hewhomustnotbenamed #funtimes #santashelper #popcorn #2017 #christmas #elf

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23. Hiding in the holiday decor

Difficulty level: MEDIUM.

How often do your kids check out the decor in the house? That’ll help you determine how many, if any, hints you should give them.

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She’s back! We usually have Sparkle fly in on December 1st our advent calendar, but Evie has been super sick lately, so she flew in early to make her feel better. ✨ . The obsession that girl has for this elf is intense. She draws her pictures, talks to her, and reminds Hudson to be a “good big boy” when she’s watching. I’ll take it! ?? . Do you guys do Elf on the Shelf?? What have been some of your favorite places to put it or make it do?? We need new ideas this year since she remembers everything from last year! ??‍♀️ . #elfontheshelfideas #elfontheshelf #christmastradition

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24. Coloring

Difficulty level: EASY.

Grab the kids’ favorite coloring book and pop it open. 

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??WE ARE SANTA’S ELVES?? • #RosietheElf decided she wanted to exert some creativity last night! Not bad, little elf! • • • Have a cute scout elf idea? Tag us to be featured! #magicalelfexpress • #elf #elfontheshelf #elfideas #countdown #holidaymode #giftidea #blackfriday #waltogram #magic #ootd #fashion #holidays #community #waltdisneyworld #disneyland #waltogram #disneyig #instadisney #disneyland #wdw #costumeideas #waltgram #fashion #custom #sale #shopsunite #shopsmall #smallbizmama #elfideas #elfontheshelf2017

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25. Playing Twister

Difficulty level: EASY.

Like the cereal box, this requires some work. So display it somewhere the kids will definitely see.

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Who doesn't love a good game of Twister?? #elfontheshelf #elfideas #mamashelpingmamas

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