Since its debut in 2005, Elf on the Shelf has become an essential part of Christmas magic. This seemingly innocent family tradition is evidently simple, according to Pinterest. Yet, parents know the truth behind this mischievous elf. What once may have seemed like a cute manageable task has graduated into an obligatory Google fest of easy Elf on the Shelf ideas.

Yes, the thought of baking miniature donuts for the elf and surrounding him or her with a miniature toy army, complete with an explosion of rainbow sprinkles is adorably charming. But ain't nobody got time for that, or the desire to clean up!

In reality, moving the elf for a lazy parent sounds more like this, "Did you move the elf last night?" If you want to avoid the crack of dawn rush to pose the Elf on the Shelf in a less than magical location, then these Elf on the Shelf Ideas for the lazy parent are definitely for you. Let's step it up together! We personally tried the following easy Elf on the Shelf ideas, and they came together in less than five minutes!

1. Chilling in the Refrigerator

elf on the shelf in refrigerator
Brittany Baxter / Oola

You may not want to use this pose for your Elf on the Shelf's debut. We recommend saving this Elf on the Shelf pose for a little bit later in December. You'll get a kick out of watching your kids curiously walk around the house looking for the elf. They won't find the elf until they open the refrigerator to get what they need for breakfast!

Simply wrap the elf in a tea cloth, or face cloth, to keep them nice and "warm." Place the elf on the door shelf bin within the refrigerator, and patiently wait for your children's priceless reaction.

2. Having a Cold One With a Friend

elf on the shelf drinking syrup with barbie
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Whether you have real maple syrup or a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth, your Elf on the Shelf won't discriminate because they always stick to the four main groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.

Grab a bottle of syrup, a couple of straws, and a pal from your child's playroom. Surely elf would love to relax with a cold one after a long flight back from the North Pole. This easy pose will come to gather in a snap!

3. Storytime With Elf on the Shelf

elf on the shelf reading to pez
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Elf on the Shelf loves to read! Whether they're reading their favorite book, A Christmas Tradition, or a winter-themed story, you'll always find them during December settling down with a group of friends to enjoy storytime.

This quick Elf on the Shelf pose will come to gather in a matter of minutes with the help of a few toys and one of your child's favorite books. We propped our elf on a teacup in the back, so they're sitting slightly higher than the others.

4. Elf on the Shelf: Locked Out

elf on the shelf locked outside
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Uh oh! Elf was on the way back from the North Pole and got locked out! This hilariously adorable and easy stunt will charm the kids, and you'll love how simple it is to pull off. Simply attach elf with quality tape by the arms to a glass door. Make sure that the tape is hidden not so as not to ruin the magic.

5. Elf on the Shelf: Snow Angel

elf on the shelf snow angel with flour
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Elves love playing in the snow! They'll want to show you how fun playing in the snow can be by making snow angels!

This easy Elf on the Shelf idea has been around for quite some time. Perhaps some parents may be turned off by it for fear of mess. If you have concerns, know that a damp paper towel will easily remove excess flour from your elf's clothing.

If you don't have flour on hand, you can use powdered sugar or granulated sugar. If you're still not feeling the flour and sugar idea, you can always use rainbow sprinkles for some added magic.

6. Tiolet Paper Trouble

elf on the shelf stuck in toilet paper
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Surely you have an impressive stockpile of toilet paper from the great toilet paper panic of 2020, so posing your Elf on the Shelf with some toilet paper shouldn't be a problem.

Stick Elfie in the toilet paper roll, and have a Barbie or any other toy hilariously roll Elfie away.

7. Elf On The Shelf: Coffee Break

elf on the shelf drinking k cup from straw
Brittany Baxter / Oola

As we've already established, a flight from the North Pole can be a long one. Elves need their caffeine, too, so that they can keep a watchful eye on the kids all day and report back to Santa.

Offer your Elf on the Shelf a little pick me up, with a K-cup and a straw. Helpful tip: Reuse the K-cup in the machine that's already punctured.

8. Christmas Cookies With Elf on the Shelf

cookie crisp elf on the shelf
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Christmas day is just around the corner, and Elfie doesn't want you to forget to make Christmas cookies for Santa!

Elf on the Shelf and baking doesn't have to be overly complicated. Keep it simple. Grab yourself a box of Cookie Crisp cereal and set them out on a small baking sheet or a plate. Your children will be delighted!

9. Elf on the Shelf: Candy Message

elf on the shelf be good candy message
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Candy messages from the Elf on the Shelf are a fun and easy way to spread Christmas magic this holiday season.

You can use whatever candy you have to create this message, but preferably something that you'll be able to manipulate quickly. We currently had Nerds on hand; although it worked, it was slightly more time-consuming. Christmas-colored M&Ms would be a great choice.

You can write "Be good," or "I'm back!" and use this idea as a first night Elf on the Shelf pose.

10. I Wanna Swing From the Chandelier

elf on the shelf in chandelier orb
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Maximum results with minimum effort, this oldie but goodie always seems to bring a smile to my child. That elf is having fun! The chandelier hangs over the dining room table, allowing the elf a bird's eye view of the daily happenings.

11. The Elf on the Shelf Grocery Store List

elf on the shelf with grocery store list
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Did you know that elves go grocery shopping too? It's a lot more difficult during December with their busy schedules. They don't need much, but if you pick up foods from elf's four main food groups, they'll be all set!

Write up a short grocery-list that will make your kids giggle, and place it next to the Elf on the Shelf. Easy-peasy.

12. Mirror, Mirror

elf on the shelf checking self in mirror
Brittany Baxter / Oola

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest elf of all? Looking the same doesn't come easy—an elf needs a proper beauty routine. Prop your Elf on the Shelf next to a small mirror. Surround the elf with beauty products for an added touch.

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