As an elementary class teacher, Christmas is one of my favorite seasons. Over the years, I collected many ideas of how to decorate my classroom for Christmas and collected a range of activities like Christmas scavenger hunt. However, a classroom might not be the environment that comes to mind when mentioning Elf on the Shelf. But then, what’s to say it can’t happen in a class?

The Elf on the Shelf tradition can be a fun way to make your class more cohesive and interactive while getting students excited for the holiday season. You can tailor it to suit your classroom’s unique features, heightening the entertainment. If you are thinking of having an Elf on the Shelf in your classroom this year, here I share my favorite ideas with you:

16 Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

An Official Letter from the North Pole

You can introduce the elf to the class with a letter from the North Pole. The content of the letter could be glad tidings to the class. Then again, the letter could be how you explain the rules to the kids.

The letter idea could come in on the first day. When done writing, place the class elf beside the letter with a pen in its arm. Alternatively, place the elf in a pencil holder, then place the pencil holder beside the letter. This will further create an impression that the elf actually wrote it.

The Naming Ceremony

On the first day of introducing the Elf on the Shelf to the class, you can get your students to choose a name for the visitor.

You can pick 3-4 students to suggest a name, then have the whole class cast a vote on those names. You could also pick the names on the shortlist yourself and have the class vote.

Fake Naughty and Nice List

One of the easiest ideas to work with is to have the classroom elf compile a fake naughty and nice list on the board.

Typically, this list will have the kids on the nice list with the teacher on the naughty side of the list. But you can switch things up however you want.

When coming up with the list, try to make the “elf’s writing” distinct from yours. This way, no one will think you’re the class elf.

Captive Elf

This is another Elf on the Shelf idea that is easy to pull off. All you have to do is place the Elf in a box with a “Help Me” sign on the outside. This will create an impression that the Elf was being mischievous through the night and got captured in the box.

A New Elf Everyday

What’s better than one classroom elf? Many classroom elves. Instead of working with just one classroom elf throughout the whole thing, you could bring in a new elf each day.

With multiple classroom elves, you can expand the amount of Elf on the Shelf classroom activities you get to do. Ultimately, this could create more classroom fun.

Hiding Candy Canes

Here’s an idea that gets the kids more involved. To pull this off, get some candy canes and hide them. Then have the elf hang from the classroom door, holding a message telling the kids about the hidden canes and how to find them.

When hiding the canes, you may throw a candy cane cable or two in the mix. This could be a way to throw the kids off the trail of the real candy canes.


Another quirky way to have multiple scout elves in the class is to photocopy the classroom elf. You could scatter the copies all over the class floor close to the photocopier. Then lay the elf on the photocopier.

This will make the students think the elf was making copies of itself, and it hastily stopped when it heard someone coming.

Bring the Magic Back

One of the rules of the Elf on the Shelf tradition prohibits the students from touching the elf, else it loses its magic. But then, there are times when they break that rule.

When the elf loses its magic because someone touched it, there should be a way to bring that magic back. Why we love the elf, we do not want it around throughout the year.

One way to bring the elf’s magic back is to let it have a marshmallow bath. In place of marshmallow, you can paper snowflakes.

The Elf Took a Photo!

For this idea, take a picture of the elf doing a certain pose. Then put that picture on display with the elf sitting in front of it still doing the same pose.

You do not have to print a hard copy of the photo to do this. You could make the picture the wallpaper on the class’s computer then place the elf in front of the screen.

Later on, you can get the kids to make the picture the wallpaper on their devices.

Decking the Classroom

Having the class elf hang from the Christmas lights is one of many fun ideas you can readily pull off. It will make the students think that the elf was decorating the class before it suddenly got stuck.

If the Christmas decorations are not placed in a way that the elf can hang from them, you could just entangle the elf in them. It should create the same impression.

The elf may also hang or get entangled in wreaths, baubles, figurines, and any other decór that can be on a Christmas tree.

Cover a Part of the Class in Toilet Paper

This might not be one of the easiest Elf on the Shelf classroom ideas because having to clean the class after might be a bit of a drag. But then, it’s still a lot of fun as it could highlight the tricksiness of the elf.

Instead of covering the whole class in toilet paper, cover only a part of the class. This way, the cleaning that comes after would be less tedious.

Of course, ensure you get the elf entangled in the TP. That’s the easiest way for it to be the culprit.

Snow Angel

This is one of the popular Elf on the Shelf ideas. It is pretty easy to recreate, but you’ll need more than the usual school supplies to pull it off.

Typically, people use mini marshmallows as the snow in which the elf makes a snow angel. However, you could also get artificial snow to make it even more genuine.

The Candy Cane Dance

If feasible, you can have the elf in a cane dance pose with a candy cane in one hand and its hat in the other hand. The best position for the elf in this position is the edge of the teacher’s table. Placing it close to the edge could give the dance an adventurous undertone.

The Curious Elf

How about you have the elf in the class library with a book in its hands? You could make things even more interesting by opening the book to one of the exciting pages.

Alternatively, you could just have the book upside down in the hands of the elf. Both are sure to create a strange impression of the elf.

To encourage students to get in on the library Elf on the Shelf idea, make the elf sit on the library shelf with a note asking for a book. The note could ask for a specific book – possibly one about Christmas traditions. It could also be a new book you want to introduce to the students.

Caught In the Christmas Tree

This option is pretty straightforward. Place the Elf in between the branches of the tree like they are its hiding place. But don’t make it too hidden, so the students can spot it.

All Aboard the Polar Express

This idea could be a good sendoff for the Elf on the Shelf. But to do it, you may have to get a toy train set.

With the elf sitting on it, place the train set in spot that is visible to the whole class. Then leave a farewell note beside the train.