2016 Elf on the Shelf Calendar and 85 Ideas! Free Printable Calendar

Autumn breezes…leaves turning…tall boots and big, cozy sweaters…bonfires. Yes, fall is around the corner and I am posting ELF ON THE SHELF ideas, haha! It’s never too early to be organized and prepared. Especially if it opens up time to spend with my little ones because my planning and work is done before the busy season hits!

I’m craving hot cocoa, bonfires, and those irresistible pumpkin streusel muffins from DD (which I have a great copy cat recipe to get my by while I’m at home), but I am also looking forward to our annual North Pole Breakfast, more themed movie nights than I can fit in into less than one month, and lots of cuddles because…well, just because! We take the month of December off from homeschooling and just spend lots of quality time together.


Here are some of my ideas in a calendar format for you all to print if you like. There are 3: one blank that you can fill in, one filled in, and one that is a replica of the filled in one except it’s photos. Print the page that works for you. At the bottom of this post, I will share some photos of other cute Elf on the Shelf ideas that wouldn’t fit into my calendar, but may work for you if these don’t or if something falls through and you need a quick idea. I also want to point out our elf “antics” are “kid friendly,” meaning, I try to only use them for showing good examples and nothing “too” naughty. I also have lots of free printables on my blog from last year that you can include in your elf activities this year. I really love the Elf Random Acts of Kindness printables. I am hoping to share with you all the new ideas I come up with as I go this year. 🙂




Not all of the photos listed in the calendar or below are mine! They are from Google searching and Pinterest. Just a heads up!

ELF 2016 Calendar

Some tips from the ideas on the calendar:

  • I’ve done a calendar that *can* start as early as the day after Thanksgiving after learning of so many families that do this and needed extra days of ideas. Around here, we start December 1st. Use the ideas that work for and when you want to start.
  • The North Pole Breakfast is obviously optional and you can do as much or as little as you like! It’s just the special day the elf (or elves) come back from the North Pole to stay with your family for the season, typically staying until December 24th. I personally like to pick a theme, but you don’t have to. Use what you have already if that works for you. If you want ideas for the North Pole Breakfast, check out my posts from last year or my Pinterest board.
  • I have a poem on my previous post for the books the elf brings on day 2.
  • If you don’t have a countdown ornament, a new ornament to collect every year works fine or an advent calendar of some sort,or countdown links made from construction paper).
  •  For our nativity, the elf is starting a new tradition this year: bringing 1 piece of the nativity per day with the story behind each person or animal. I will share that printable, as well.
  • The minecraft masks were free printables that I google searched and found.
  • Instead of a tea party, set them up for a hot cocoa party!
  • The photo booth was made with a tri-fold board. I drew, then painted a scene, cut out the holes for the heads, and let the children each have a turn getting their picture taken with their elf. Another idea is to use the free printable (also a google search) for a kissing booth or other type booth for the elf.
  • The balloon tree is an idea that I do when I set out the presents on Christmas Eve while the children sleep. I have also done it on my sister’s tree for her daughter’s birthday that is right after Christmas.

Here are the photos (better view) that are posted on the calendar:

elf NPB

(North Pole Breakfast above)

elf books

(Books on day 2)


(Letters to Santa or a Christmas Wish List)

elf countdown clock

(Tree Ornament)

elf baking

(making breakfast)

elf lunch notes

(Lunchbox Notes)


(Candy Cane Hunt)


(Nativity Countdown or all pieces)


(Sledding – the wine bottle shirts, hats, and scarves fit the Elf)

elf snowman theme  elf marshmallows

(Snowman Theme Day)


(Reading a book)


(Selfies – on phone, computer screen, in frames, and/or printed out all over the house)


(As Minecraft characters with building blocks)

(Hot Cocoa Party or a special dinner)

elf parachute

(Parachuting in)

(Encouraging letter from “Santa” to keep up the good behavior and/or “seeds” to grow lollipops)


(Polar Express Theme day or riding in on a train)


(Supplies for cinnamon or clay ornaments)


(sunbathing or a postcard from a relaxing day away)

kissing booth

(Kissing Booth or DIY Photo Booth)

(Elf leaves donuts)


(Playing games)

elf candy cane hunt

(Random Act of Kindness – took cards they made to nursing home and visited residents)

(Elf has set up supplies for Gingerbread Theme Day)



(Something with “snow” – snowflake cutting, snowballs for a fight, snow angel)


(Countdown links or Advent Calendar, usually given at the beginning of the month)

(Makes faces on pictures with dry erase markers or add DIY silly pieces to pics)

elf unwrapping

(Have a surprise for them? Slightly wrap them to look like the Elf unwrapped them)

elf toy mag

(Looking at the Annual Toy Magazine)


(In his own sleeping bag, near or under the tree)

3876_10152363842075131_990225737_n  basket of reindeer food

(Elf leaves reindeer food supplies)

Some other ideas are:

Elf playing tic tac toe. My daughter learned last year and loves to play. She would love this set up for her.


Isn’t this adorable? I plan movie nights (probably too many) but having one already on when the children wake up is a great idea!



If you need an idea to present your new Elf this year (either a first timer or getting a second Elf), there is a woman who did this with hers. I think it’s a cute idea if you can get the elf to sit up in the balloon perfectly.


Elf drawing himself! My daughter loves to draw, so I will leave out supplies for her to also get creative.


Dress your elf up! I have multiple costumes for my elves. You can make them yourself with some felt!! Not handy at sewing? Use some fabric glue and hold with clothes pin til dry. Make sure you leave it large enough to get your elf down in the arms and legs. Some ideas for costumes: “Elf,” pink bunny from The Christmas Story, Gingerbread Men, the Grinch, a Snowman, Santa (if you do that in your home), a reindeer, etc.


Your elf can come in a hot air balloon, parachuting, or ziplining!

Get silly with food! You can do this in less than 5 minutes for a quick laugh and even slip in a lunchbox note from the Elf for your child to get at school.


Set your Elf up sunning “at the beach.” Or make a postcard of your Elf literally at the beach (lots of online pics) and leave it out for the day instead of your Elf. 😀 (Tip: If your little ones can reach anything near your Elf, please don’t leave sunscreen in reach like the photo!)


Leave an after school (or anytime if you homeschool like us!) treat…

If you have lots of time on your hands and you’re feeling creative (and maybe multiple bathrooms, haha), you could wrap one of the toilets.


Hosting an “Ugly Sweater” party? Let your Elf join in on the fun and dress him up and place him in the tree for your little ones and guests to see. Or, just dress him up for fun anyway!

elf ugly sweater

Going on a trip this holiday season? We take our Elves with us. Pack their bag and make goodies bags to open along the way!

Leave supplies for decorating ornaments or do a craft…

Decorate the “outdoor” playhouse – we brought ours into the garage so they could play in it during the winter –


Utilizing ANY of your children’s toys, hahaha

Ready for movie night with popcorn!


Decorating a mini tree –


Indoor snowball fight (don’t forget snowballs for the littles)

Leave a message on a mirror or with food…

Elf eating “Elf” food, haha


Elf crepe papering the doorway, teeheehee

Elf taking a marshmallow bath…


Mini pancakes for breakfast 18720_10152341890220131_1165861676_n

Elf “captured”

elf taped up

Elf sack races!!

elf sack races

Elf camping out…


Super Elf

Elf photo booth props ~

Elf Rocketship


Avenger Elf 🙂


Minecraft Santa Elf




And my favorite Elf door yet (because it’s not too teeny and it’s so festive!)


Hope you got some new ideas and inspiration for your elf this year! I can’t wait to update my blog with photos of our antics and fun festivities this year. I’ve been planning the North Pole Breakfast for a while…yay! Check back for free printables this year and don’t forget to look back on my previous posts of our themed days (with free printables). Just some of the themed days are: Grinch, Polar Express, Gingerbread, Reindeer, Snowman, Elf…





2 thoughts on “2016 Elf on the Shelf Calendar and 85 Ideas! Free Printable Calendar

  1. I love your ideas!!! I am very interested in the nativity story on each piece, but I could not find that printable. Is it available, or am I just blind? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment. I will share with you on the blog the nativity printable I am using. I laminated mine so I can reuse it every year if it works out. I hope to update the blog soon now that I am home from an extended vacation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s