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7 Simple Elf on the Shelf Return Ideas

The Scout Elves are back and their ready to keep it simple. If you’re searching for ideas for exciting elf arrivals, then look no further. See below for Elf on the Shelf return ideas featuring new products, free downloadable printables or simple inspiration, so your Scout Elf can plan the best welcome back surprise!

Christmas Choo Choo Train

Elf in North Pole Advent Train

Chugga, chugga, choo, choo! Your Scout Elf will board the North Pole Advent Train to help you count down to Christmas.



  1. Your Scout Elf will set up the North Pole Advent Train according to package instructions.
  2. Then, they will print and cut out the snowy scene.
  3. They will set up the backdrop and wait for you to discover them aboard the train!

Get Printable

Donut Delivery

Elf, donuts, and donut delivery printable

Sweet treats are always on the menu when your Scout Elf comes home. When they arrive for the season, they’ll plan a yummy breakfast so you “donut” have to worry about the season’s first meal.


  • Color printer
  • Card stock/paper
  • Printable
  • Scissors
  • Plate
  • Donuts


  1. Your elf will print and cut out the printable sign.
  2. Then, they will prop it near a plate of delicious donuts for you to enjoy!

Get Printable

Soaring Snowflake Arrival

Elf on Soaring Snowflake sled

Wheeeee! Your Scout Elf will dash through the snow with their elf-sized inflatable sled.



  1. Your Scout Elf put on their scarf and hop on the inflatable sled, so they can have some fun in the snow!

Snowy Welcome Back Breakfast

Snowy Welcome Back Breakfast table

You’ll step into a winter wonderland after your Scout Elf sets up this snow-themed North Pole Breakfast® surprise for your family. Your family could even create a similar snowy breakfast and invite your Scout Elf to partake in the celebratory moment!


  • Blue tablecloth
  • Snowflake napkins
  • Snowflake sequins
  • Snowflake foil swirls
  • Waffles sprinkled with powdered sugar
  • Fruit
  • White powdered donuts Christmas tree
  • Glass of “snowman milk”
    • Mini glass bottles
    • Straws
    • White milk
    • Marshmallows for heads
    • Colorful chocolate coated candies for buttons
    • Red licorice for scarves
    • Black and orange decorating icing to draw eyes, noses and mouths
  • Color printer
  • Card stock/Paper
  • Printable
  • Crayons or colored pencils


  1. Your Scout Elf will get to work preparing a wintry welcome back breakfast. They will use a blue tablecloth and snowflake décor to set the scene.
  2. Then, they will prepare a breakfast of waffles, fruit, white powdered donuts and “snowman milk.”
  3. Lastly, they will print the worksheet and leave it for kids to complete.

Get Printable

Look Who “Popped” By

Elf in Christmas Car Ride

Beep! Beep! Your Scout Elf will cruise into an effortless scene in no time with this pop-up elf backdrop.



  1. Your Scout Elf will set up the Christmas Car Ride pop-up scene.
  2. Then, they will hop in the driver’s seat and get ready to cruise into Christmastime!

Returning Home

Elf with 'Joy' decoration

It’s back to the basics for this elf idea! Your Scout Elf will find a holiday location to land when they return from the North Pole!


  • Spot in your home decorated for Christmas i.e. mantel, bookcase, nightstand, etc.


  1. After their nightly flight to the North Pole, your elf will return to your home and land among the Christmas décor…would you expect anything different from a visitor who’s crazy about Christmas?

Scout Elf To-Do List

Elf making to-do list

Santa’s not the only one keeping a list! Your Scout Elf will keep a pencil and paper handy to make sure they’re keeping up with their responsibilities, too! Call Santa? Check. Wrap presents? Check.


  • Mini paper
  • Mini pencil


  1. Your elf will find a comfortable place to sit, maybe on presents they finished wrapping like this Scout Elf.
  2. They will get out paper and pencil, creating a to-do list and checking it off as they go!

Didn’t find the perfect idea for your Scout Elf? Check out additional arrival ideas!

Before you or your elf get to work recreating any of these inspirational photos, be sure to read these safety warnings. Santa wants to make sure everyone stays safe!