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a month of elf on the shelf ideas with free north pole breakfast printables

Elf on the Shelf 2016

This was our third year of having Jingle Bell visit and it is becoming one of our favorite traditions. We always kick of Jingle Bell’s arrival with a fun breakfast and we all just love looking for him each morning.  Here is all of the fun we had while Jingle Bell visited us last year. 

a month of elf on the shelf ideas. Tons of fun original ideas with free printables and links to free printables

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Day 1 – North Pole Breakfast (12/3)

north pole breakfast - elf on the shelf idea - free printables

Since we usually spend Thanksgiving out of town, our elf always arrives the first Saturday of December. Last year, he arrived on December 3rd, 2016.  We hosted our North Pole Breakfast to welcome our elf, Jingle Bell. We had Snowman donuts, strawberry/banana santa hats, chocolate reindeer donuts and gifts. To read more about this tradition and all the fun we had at our breakfast (and to get some free printables), CLICK HERE

Day 2 – Snow Angel (12/4)

snow angel- elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell dumped out some of our fake snow decorations and made a snow angel.

Day 3 – Ornament Hunt (12/5)

hide ornaments around the house to find and add to the tree - elf on the shelf ideas

 

Scavenger Hunts have been a big hit over the years, so this year Jingle Bell hid ornaments around the house. He asked the kids to find them and then put them on the tree.

Day 4 – Spreading Holiday Cheer (12/6)

spread holiday cheer - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell brought us a gift bow and asked us to spread some holiday cheer by doing something nice for someone else. We filled a box with cookies and gave it to our mailman. I know the kids are still young, but I’m hoping as they get older we can continue to teach them about doing nice things for others, especially at this time of year. To get the free printables from Frugal Coupon Living, click here.

Day 5 – Nerf Gun Attack (12/7)

nerf gun attack - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell was hanging upside down pointing a nerf gun at us. Of course, Hudson thought it was hilarious.

Day 6 – Pooping Elf (12/8)

Pooping Elf - elf on the shelf idea

We found Jingle Bell in the bathroom, pooping in a glass and reading the Elf on the Shelf Book. The boys couldn’t believe their elf poops chocolate kisses. This was one of their favorites, by far. In fact, a year later, they are still talking about it. Being a mom of boys has meant accepting that boys think poop is funny, lol. To get the mini Elf on the Shelf Book from A Little of This That, click here.

Day 7 – Disney Gingerbread House (12/9)

gingerbread house - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell brought us a gingerbread kit. The kids loved that it was a Disney themed house and we all had a great time building it together.

Day 8 – Backwards Day (12/10)

Backwards Day - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell declared it Backwards Day. He turned our banner around, wore his clothes backwards, and encouraged us to be as backwards as possible for the day. We had dinner for breakfast, breakfast for dinner and the boys wore their clothes backwards too. It was such a fun and silly day!

Day 9 – Train Ride Around the Tree (12/11)

elf riding a train around the tree - elf on the shelf idea

The kids woke up to find Jingle Bell riding a train around the tree. The kids absolutely loved this!

Day 10 – Elf Yourself (12/12)

Elf Yourself - elf on the shelf ideas

The kids loved looking in the mirror and becoming an elf.

Day 11 – Swinging from the Light (12/13)

elf swinging from a chandelier - elf on the shelf idea

Part of the fun for the boys is trying to find Jingle Bell each morning. JB doesn’t have to always be doing something elaborate, just the fact that he is somewhere else and the kids get to search for him brings them so much joy.

Day 12 – Lego Christmas Tree (12/14)

elf sized Christmas tree - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell built his own elf sized Christmas tree with legos.

Day 13 – Paper Sack Races (12/15)

sack race with other stuffed animals - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell recruited some of the boys’ other toys to have a sack race.

Day 14 – Nerf Gun Fight (12/16)

nerf gun fight - elf on the shelf idea

Apparently the toys thought Jingle Bell was cheating at the sack races, so they tied him up and had a nerf gun fight. The boys thought it was pretty funny.

Day 15 – Snowball Fight (12/15)

elf on the shelf snowball fight with instructions to make your own ice walls - elf on the shelf ideas

The boys woke up to find Jingle Bell and Buzz Lightyear having a snowball fight. Then they noticed that Jingle Bell had left them their own ice walls and their snowballs so they could have their own snowball fight. It was so fun! One of our favorite Jingle Bell memories and the ice walls and snowballs have provided hours and hours of fun! Click here to learn how to make your own ice walls and click here to purchase indoor snowballs.

Day 16 – Paper Airplane (12/18)

paper airplane riding elf - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell took one of the paper airplanes the boys had made and flew on it.

Day 17 – Glow Party (12/19)

glow party - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell had a glow party in the bathroom. He had glow stick necklaces around his neck and left some for the boys to play with too.

Day 18 – Book Tree (12/20)

new Christmas books decorating the tree - elf on the shelf idea

Jingle Bell brought the boys a bunch of new books and covered the tree in them. It wasn’t quite as funny as when JB covered the tree in underwear, but the kids still liked it. Plus, they loved having new holiday books to read.

Day 19 – Cookie Decorating (12/21)

let's make cookies for santa cookie playset - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell brought the boys the cutest pretend cookie set and suggested we bake cookies for Santa.

Day 20 – sELF Portrait (12/22)

sELF portrait - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell painted a sELF portrait. He is quite an artist.

Day 21 – Mini Cookies (12/23)

Elf size cookies - elf on the shelf ideas

We baked our cookies a few days earlier, but didn’t have time to decorate them, so Jingle Bell made some elf sized cookies and reminded us that we needed to finish our cookies for Santa.

Day 22 – Goodbye Jingle Bell (12/24)

Goodbye Letter - elf on the shelf ideas

Jingle Bell said good-bye and headed off the the North Pole.




For more Elf on the Shelf Ideas, check out these posts:

Elf on the Shelf 2015

Elf on the Shelf 2014

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

North Pole Breakfast 2017

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

We kicked off the holiday season the first Saturday of December again this year with our North Pole Breakfast. This is our 4th year of this tradition and I just absolutely love it. A few components of the breakfast have become staples, such as the strawberry, banana santa hats topped with mini marshmallows and the powdered donuts north pole tower.

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast donuts and strawberry banana santa hats and free printable for sign

After they were a such a big hit last year, the chocolate reindeer donuts also made an appearance again this year.

To add something fun and new, this year I made Christmas tree pancakes. I just added green food coloring to our pancake mix, then used my biscuit cutters to make different size circles. I stacked the pancakes and added a gold glitter star to the top (taped to a cake pop stick). These were pretty easy to make and the boys loved them!

christmas tree pancake stack for north pole breakfast

I made a new North Pole sign and gift tags again this year. I really like that every year has its own sign and since I haven’t seen any new ones on Pinterest the last few years making my own has become part of the tradition.

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

We re-read the our Elf on the Shelf book like we do every year and the boys opened their gifts from Jingle Bell (JB). Hudson got an awesome magnetic tic tac toe and checkers set, holiday window clings, bookmarks and an elf on the shelf activity pack. Luc got a magnetic North Pole activity set, holiday window clings, an elf on the shelf activity pack and a coloring book.

gifts from elf for north pole breakfast

north pole magnetic scene from target dollar spot gift from elf for north pole breakfast

window clings gift for north pole breakfast

Both boys thanked me for the fun breakfast and thanked JB for the gifts. They both told Jingle Bell how much they love him which was the cutest thing ever! We had such a fun morning!

elf on the shelf idea north pole breakfast for arrival with free printables

To get this year’s North Pole Breakfast printable, Click Here.

north pole breakfast free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do and places to eat

The Sugar Cane Train Holiday Express

If you are in Maui from November 24th – December 25th this is a must! As a kid we used to ride the Sugar Cane Train every time we went to Maui. I have fond memories of it, but my parents tell me it was so slow and boring. Even still, I always hoped I would be able to take my kids on it one day, but they closed it down a few years ago, so it didn’t happen. When they announced last year that they were re-opening the Sugar Cane Train for the holidays with a Christmasy twist I knew I wanted to take the kids on it. We absolutely loved it! A real train ride with Santa, lights, holiday music, cookies and snow!! It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season.

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

 

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

Last year, once Santa boarded the train he sat in one spot and elves brought the kids to him. This worked out awesome for us because we were the first ones there and ended up in the seats next to Santa. This year, Santa walked through the train and although we personally had less time with Santa, it worked much better overall. This year they also added a Premium ticket option that included extra time with Santa, a souvenir photo and an extra toy. A cookie, milk and a train whistle are already included in the general ticket and this event is already quite pricey so we decided to skip the Premium experience. Another big change from last year is that everyone was assigned a car. This made the loading process go quicker, but make sure if you are going with a large group to buy your tickets together so you will all be placed in the same car. Last year the train was decorated as Rudolph, but this year, they used a real vintage steam locomotive to pull the train, which was pretty cool. After our ride, they even let kids check out the engine.

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

My biggest tip is to line up for your car as soon as you get there and once you enter your car sit on the side furthest from the ocean (when facing the front of the train you want to be on the left side). All the action happens out the windows on the left side of the train. I don’t want to share too much because I love a little magic and surprise, but I will say to bring your camera and be ready for a fun and magical night.

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

sugar cane train - holiday express - west maui with kids - things to do

Click here to get all the details and purchase tickets. Mele Kalikimaka!

diy holiday stamps instructions and free printable - perfect for decorating gift tags, wrapping paper, scrapbooks, etc.

Mom’s Craft Night – December

Back in September, I went to an amazing two-day scrapbooking event called Ready, Set, Create. One of the teachers, Vicki Boutin, taught a layout class that involved making our own stamps. I absolutely loved it! I decided it would be perfect for our December craft night as it is a busy time of year and this craft is quite relaxing and easy. I created a page of holiday stamps for everyone to use and am really happy with how they turned out. The possibilities are really endless with these. They could be used to decorate wrapping paper, scrapbooks, cards, gift tags, etc. and you could make them for every holiday or you could make generic ones. I also think my boys would love to play with these. And for how affordable this craft is, you could go nuts!

Supplies:

  • 9×12 Adhesive Foam Sheet
  • 9×12 Thick Foam Sheet
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Stamp Pads (I recommend Tim Holtz Distress Ink)

diy holiday stamps instructions and free printable

Instructions:

Download your free printable here.

easy diy holiday stamps instructions and free printable - perfect for decorating gift tags, wrapping paper, scrapbooks, etc.

Print it out and color over the backside with a pencil.

Place sheet drawing side up on sticky backed (non-foam) side of foam sheet.

Trace shapes with pencil. When you lift the sheet up the shapes should have transferred onto sticky side of foam.

Cut out shapes.

Remove backing from thin foam and adhere it to the thick foam (thick foam will act as your base).

Cut around the shape leaving a small border.

diy holiday stamps instructions and free printable

Tips:

*Any scratches or marks on the thin foam will show up when stamped. This is great if you want to add details such as stripes on your ornament, but if you want a clean image, be careful.

*If ink gets on the base, just wipe it off with a damp paper towel before stamping

*Stamps clean easily with a damp paper towel when using Tim Holtz distress inks.

diy hot apple cider and soft ginger cookies perfect for craft night making holiday stamps

To make the night extra festive, with minimal effort, I made hot apple cider in the crockpot and soft ginger cookies. It was a really fun evening and I have been loving using my holiday stamps.

how to make a quick and easy ice wall for indoor snowball fights. Perfect holiday gift or elf on the shelf idea.

Easy DIY Ice Wall

These are so quick and easy and are perfect for an indoor snowball fight. Our boys, especially our four year old, had a blast with them. In fact, we have had a snowball fight almost every day this week and I must say, the ice walls have really taken the snowball fights up a notch. Plus, it costs less than $10 to make two of them and they can be done in an evening.

Supplies

– 2 28×40 trifold display boards

– Light Blue Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint (I mixed China Blue and Blue Cotton together, but one color would work just fine)

– Foam paint brush

how to make an ice wall for an indoor snowball fight - great elf on the shelf idea

First, I bent the trifold display boards in the opposite direction and placed them under a heavy bin for a few days (this made it possible to use the white side instead of needing to paint the cardboard side with the white paint)

Then I drew lines on with a pencil and once I liked it, I painted over the lines.

how to make an ice wall for an indoor snowball fight - great elf on the shelf idea

That’s it-done. So easy, right?

Our elf, Jingle Bell, and Buzz Lightyear had their own ice walls made out of construction paper and they had their own indoor snowball fight with marshmallows.

how to make an ice wall for an indoor snowball fight - great elf on the shelf idea

If you are interested in buying the indoor snowballs, we have two different sets, the indoor snowball fight set and the snowmen balls in a tin. The first set, looks realistic, but are a bit crunchy and sometimes hurt when you get hit with them. The snowmen balls obviously don’t look as realistic, but are so cute and soft. My younger son loves carrying his around in his bucket. So if you have older kids, I would suggest the first set and younger kids would probably like the second set better.

how to make an ice wall for an indoor snowball fight - great elf on the shelf idea

Also, wouldn’t this make the cutest gift? A little indoor snowball fight kit would for sure be a hit.

how to make an ice wall for an indoor snowball fight-so easy and cheap to make

how to make an ice wall for an indoor snowball fight. Quick, easy and under $10 to make. Perfect for elf on the shelf or a Christmas gift
yeary ornament scrapbook page using Bella Blvd by thecreativecopycat

Yearly Ornaments Scrapbook Page

Every year, we select a family ornament for our tree. They are some of my most treasured possessions and I love sharing stories about each one and admiring them on our tree all December long. The boys love ornaments and decorating the tree as much as I do, but they haven’t quite grasped the concept of fragile and irreplaceable yet, so on top of placing these at the top of our tree, for added insurance, I decided to document them. I love that these ornaments tell the story of our little family. Nic and I in love, finding out we were expecting just before Christmas, becoming a family of three and now our family of four. 🙂 I also included a special ornament from each of the boys’ first Christmas because I felt they were a key part of the story and I needed to fill a few more boxes. 😉 The kids select an ornament every year and at some point, I would like to make pages documenting all of our special ornaments, but for now, this is at least a start. 🙂

I got my layout inspiration from this gorgeous page by Katie Rose. I love collages and knew this would work perfect.

pinterest photo of bella blvd layout by Katie Rose

I took a picture of each ornament on white cardstock, then used befunky to place them into a collage. I left the center blank and printed this out at 8.5×8.5.

holiday ornament collage for scrapbooking page

Then I selected papers and embellishments from the Bella Blvd Make it Merry, Holly Jolly  and CHRISTmas collections. One quick tip, that you will love if you are a paper hoarder like me. If I am layering squares of paper, I always cut a square out of the bottom layer first using my trimmer and save it to use in another layout. This is what it looks like from the back. I usually play it safe so I make my square pretty small. Just slide your paper in your trimmer, pick up your blade until it is where you want to start your cut, then push it into the paper and pull it down, being sure to stop a few inches from the bottom of the paper. Turn your paper and repeat, until you have cut out your square.

scrapbook tip - cut out square to save paper

Then I assembled my page using some pop dots for a little dimension. I’m so happy with how it turned out and now I can worry just a little less about my precious ornaments as I know that one way or another the story of them will be passed on for generations to come.

yearly ornament details scrapbook page by thecreativecopycat

 

 

free printable - calm and bright gift label - teacher gift idea

Holiday Teacher Gifts

Anyone else kind of panicking that Christmas is in ten days and tomorrow is the last day of school?! I imagine I am not the only one who was frantically pulling together a last minute teacher gift today so I figured I would share what I did just in case it helps a fellow procrastinator out.

After having pulled these together quickly at Halloween, I thought I would buy two different sized bath bombs from Lush and make snowmen as teacher gifts, but when I went to Lush, they already had something similar so I bought these adorable bath bomb penguins. I felt that they weren’t enough on their own so I added a bag of cookies with a homemade tag. I used lunch bags with about 4.5 inches cut off the tops, filled them with the homemade cookies, used washi tape to seal them, and attached my tag with a mini clothespin. I think they turned out really cute and took less than 5 minutes to put together, which was still enough time for my oldest to pull the pom pom off his new hat and my youngest to throw all his cars around the house!

free printable - calm and bright holiday gift labels

Click here to get the free printable for the tags I made. If you use them, I’d love for you to let me know. 🙂 Tag me on instagram @thecreativecopycat Thanks and Happy Holidays!

oreo truffle christmas tree

Oreo Truffle Christmas Tree

I know elves stick to the four main food groups Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corn and Syrup, but in my world, the four main food groups are: Candy, Cupcakes, Cookies and Coffee. 😉 And in the cookie department, Oreos have my heart all the way. So, naturally, I look for any excuse to buy them.

This brings me to Oreo truffles, one of my absolute favorite desserts. I make oreo truffles instead of cake pops for every party. They don’t require baking so they can be whipped up much faster than traditional cake pops, but you can still create all sorts of fun things with them. Every year, I tell myself I am going to make wintery fun pops from my Bakerella cookbook, but I always have so much going on this time of year that it never ends up happening. I still make my oreo truffles, but usually just stick them on a tray and call it a day.

image from pinterest - egg carton christmas tree

When I saw this photo of an egg carton Christmas tree on Pinterest a few days ago, I knew a Christmas tree of oreo truffles would be a perfect, simple and festive dessert.

Oreo Truffle Christmas Tree

  • Servings: Approx.18 truffles
  • Print

Delicious and easy oreo truffles displayed as a Christmas Tree are the perfect holiday dessert.

Copycatable Rating:????? Credit : oreo truffle recipe from Bakerella

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package of regular oreos
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • Green Candy Melts
  • Yellow Candy Melts
  • M&Ms for decorations
  • corn syrup

Directions

  1. Finely crush oreos in mixer
  2. Transfer to bowl, add softened cream cheese and stir to combine
  3. Using a cookie scoop, form balls and place on wax lined cookie sheet. (I used a mini star cookie cutter to make one star shaped)
  4. Place in refrigerator.
  5. Melt candy melts following packaging instructions.
  6. One at a time, dip a truffle into the melted candy.
  7. Place onto the lined baking sheet and let them dry.
  8. Assemble into tree shape and use corn syrup to attach m&ms
  9. Refrigerate until ready to eat

elf on the shelf idea - photobooth - with free printables - elf sized props and photo strips

Holiday Photo Booth – Elf on the Shelf Idea with Free Printable

I love photo booths. I pretty much set one up for every holiday and we always have a blast in them. For our holiday themed photo booth, I found free printables on Pinterest. If you aren’t already following me, you should – I have an entire board dedicated to DIY Photobooths with tons of links to free Christmas printables. Just download the printables you like best, print them, cut them out and glue them to dowels.  Or you can just buy a few holiday hats, headbands and glasses from Target. They always have cute holiday stuff, especially in the dollar section and these are especially great for little kids.

holiday diy photobooth with free elf on the shelf sized photobooth props

Then follow my DIY Photobooth Tutorial found here.

To add your elf on the shelf into the fun, you can print out elf-sized photo booth props. Sadly, the elf photobooth printables I used are no longer available. I know some shops sell them, such as this one, but I couldn’t find any free ones. I’m no professional (sorry no santa beards or reindeer antlers from me), but I did whip up a few simple props that I think will get the job done. 🙂 All you have to do is print them, cut them out and glue them to toothpicks (I used the ones with only one pointy edge). Click here for free printables.

Free Printables for elf on the shelf sized photobooth props and photobooth strips

Then you just snap some pics, print them out and watch your kids eyes light up!

Or, if that all sounds like too much work (I get it, it is a busy time of year). You can just print out the photo strips and photobooth props I made and set them up next to your elf. Most kids are pretty easy to please and I’m sure any variation of this idea is sure to be a hit.

If you use my printables, please tag me on instagram @thecreativecopycat. I’d love to see your pictures. 🙂

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

North Pole Breakfast 2016

This has to be one of my favorite holiday traditions. It is such a fun way to celebrate the arrival of our elf, Jingle Bell. Every year he arrives the first Saturday of December and we have a fun and festive breakfast to kick off the holiday season.

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

This year, I tried a few new things from Pinterest. I made reindeer donuts, which we all loved! I had been wanting to make these the past few years, but Hudson couldn’t eat the chocolate donuts until this year so I knew these were a must! They were so easy and so cute. You just add m&ms for the nose, pearlized sprinkles for the eyes and pretzels for the antlers. (Total 5 star copycatable rating).

reindeer donuts for north pole breakfast

I also made stacked donut snowmen, which were cute, but I’m not sure that I would make them again. I’m kind of a semi-plan/mostly fly by the seat of my pants at the last minute kind of gal and these were just a bit too much work for a last minute project. You use two different sizes of powdered donuts and powdered donut holes to make the snowmen. My grocery store didn’t have powdered donut holes, so I bought glazed and covered them in powdered sugar. (well, I actually accidentally covered them in flour first, ooops, then attempted to brush them off and re-cover them with powdered sugar). Then you add pretzel sticks for the arms. (so far so good). For the hats, I bought chocolate wafers from the ice cream section and Godiva chocolates. The original recipe called for chocolate cordial cherries, but I couldn’t find those and don’t really like cherries, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with Godiva. I attached the chocolates to the wafers with some frosting (still going good). Then I attached the hats to the tops of the snowmen. I cut a sliver off each donut hole to make the tops flat, which also helped the hats to stick. Then came time to make the faces. This is where things went downhill. The instructions said to use black decorating icing – not the gel kind – but of course, my grocery store only had gel so that is what I used. It did not stick! I didn’t even attempt the orange frosting noses and stuck orange tic tacs in instead and after struggling with three snowmen, I decided they didn’t need faces. haha. (I would say this is a 3 star copycatable rating for a few reasons-it required a lot of ingredients, a lot of assembly, and the faces were very challenging. In all fairness, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe, so maybe next year I will plan ahead better and give it another try). The good news is that the kids loved them so at least my effort was rewarded.

snowmen donuts at north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival

I also did my usual strawberry banana santa hats and north pole donut tower.

north pole breakfast for elf on the shelf arrival santa hats made with bananas, strawberries and mini marshmallows

Every year, Jingle Bell brings the kids gifts, writes a welcome letter and puts out a matching sign. (these usually can be found on pinterest, but I couldn’t find a new one this year so I made my own. I actually loved this because I was able to tie in the color of my table, which usually clashes with all the Christmas green.)

north pole breakfast welcome letters from elf on the shelf

north pole breakfast welcome letters from elf on the shelf

Jingle Bell brought Hudson pajamas and an activity book and he brought Luc a collection of elf on the shelf books.

gifts at north pole breakfast - elf on the shelf pajamas and coloring book

north pole breakfast gift from elf

Luc said he didn’t like Jingle Bell, but he loved the donuts! Hudson loved everything about the breakfast (he shares my love of holidays and sweets!). It was such a fun morning!

north pole breakfast elf on the shelf arrival

Click here to download my free printable so you can have your own North Pole Breakfast! 🙂

north pole breakfast free printable for elf on the shelf arrival

north pole breakfast with free printable for elf on the shelf arrival