If there's one tradition that's been firmly entrenched in Québec culture for some years now and that children love, it's the visit of Santa's elves. Their funny tricks at night make little ones laugh when they're found in the morning, frozen in the middle of a crime.
Of course, it's up to parents to devise imaginative ways to put the Christmas elves in a different situation every day of December. Lacking inspiration? Here are some ideas for tricks that can easily be created using accessories found at home or products at your local Familiprix.
1. Toilet paper
Spread toilet paper in any room of the house or use it to decorate the tree. Then, place the elf next to their masterpiece. A classic that kids love! You can even recycle the toilet paper to avoid waste.
Take a few sheets of tissue paper from the box and place them around the leprechaun. Then wrap a scarf or small blanket around the elf to make it look like he's caught a nasty cold. Once again, you can reuse tissues to reduce waste.
3. Adhesive bandages
After the elf’s crazy trick the day before, think of this one. Grab a few unused adhesive bandages from your medicine cabinet and stick them on the elf’s body, as if they have hurt their knee or elbow in a fall. This trick usually encourages children to take better care of their elves.
4. Cotton swabs
Some elves can be quite artistic. Take some cotton swabs and arrange them to create snowflakes on the kitchen or living room table. All you have to put the cotton swabs back in the box when you're done. You will be ready to use them again.
5. Toilet paper rolls
Toilet paper rolls serve more than one elfin purpose. The possibilities are endless, provided you can do a little DIY. For example, with a little imagination, a cardboard roll becomes the front of a beautiful sled, the seat of a swing, or a cute reindeer.
6. Adhesive tape
Tape the elf’s arms and legs to the wall to simulate an abduction. You can even place figurines, characters or stuffed animals nearby to reveal who's done it. It's a staging technique that elicits a lot of amusing reactions.
7. Bath products
Elves also need to wash up sometimes. Set up the naughty elf in the bath with various beauty products, such as deodorant, shampoo, soap, bath bombs, bath salt, etc. A child who hates bath time may have a sudden urge to get into the tub!
Give your disposable masks a second life. Hang them in the Christmas tree or a plant with rubber bands on either side; they make wonderful hammocks for the elf to rest in. In the morning, laughter is guaranteed when kids discover the elf perched between the branches.
9. Wrapping paper
Surprise your child by wrapping a piece of furniture or an object around the house that they will see or use in the morning. Ideas? Their lunchbox, the toilet or the living room sofa. It all depends on how much time and patience you have.
10. Post-it notes
Spread Post-it notes on the walls or floor of any room in the house, forming letters to reveal Holiday messages or putting them together to create a design. The number of Post-it notes is up to you, depending on the scope of your project.
11. Cotton balls
Use absorbent cotton balls to recreate a fun snowball fight between the elf and the other toys or dolls in the household. You can use whatever you have on hand to build fortresses on either side, such as toilet paper rolls, marshmallows, glasses and the like.
12. Shaving cream
Use shaving cream to write a message to your child from the elf in the bathroom mirror, or draw something if you're talented. It'll definitely be a surprise when you take your child to the bathroom in the early hours of the morning.
13. Bath toys
Fill the kitchen sink or bathroom sink with water and use one of your child's floating bath toys to make the elf comfortable. Apparently, elves can't swim, so make sure they are correctly placed on the toy.
14. Coffee filters
Using a simple cutting technique, coffee filters are transformed into beautiful snowflakes in various designs. If you like, you can even add colour. See the wonder in your children's eyes in the morning.
15. Sweets and chocolate
It's a well-known fact that elves have a sweet tooth. Place a few candies and chocolates around the elf, some still intact, some empty wrappers, to make the story more believable. Mom and Dad can then enjoy some of the treats.
16. Aluminum foil
Transform your elf into an astronaut by covering their arms, legs, hat and whole body with aluminum foil. Place them in a strategic corner of the house, or hang them from the ceiling using a piece of string or wool. Surprising gasps are guaranteed.
A simple piece of cardboard can be used to create all kinds of fun scenarios for your elf, such as a yoga mat, an airplane, a flower or a house. All you have to do is let your imagination run wild. You'll be able to recreate the wildest of stories.
Use products from a makeup kit, such as lipstick, to smear the face of the naughty elf. The next morning, have fun asking your children if they're allowed to use these items without permission and what they think would be an appropriate consequence if the rules were broken.
Take a bowl and pour coloured glitter into it. Then, position the elf so that their head is tilted over the bowl. Just like children, elves can catch a stomach bug too. In case you didn't know, elves throw up glitter, which is much easier to pick up!
20. Paper garlands
Cut pieces of garland and tape them to both sides of your child's bedroom door frame to barricade the entrance. Install the garlands early in the morning so that children who get up at night don't discover the trick before daybreak.
21. Christmas bows
Put Christmas bows on all the children's everyday essentials, such as toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc. This is a great way to try and get a subtle message across to the kids about the tasks they have to perform.
22. Popsicle sticks
Popsicle sticks can be used in a variety of situations. Attached to the elf's feet, they transform into skis. Put together, they form lovely snowflakes. Again, with a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.
Elves aren't just naughty; they can be kind and caring too. Place stuffed animals and dolls in a semi-circle in front of the elf, who is holding a storybook in their hands. The result is a wonderful scene of tenderness and happiness.
24. Candy canes
Before you eat any candy canes, you can use them to form letters and deliver a message to your child from their elf or use them to hang the elf somewhere. They also make lovely decorations when hung on the tree.
25. Paper and pencils
According to tradition, elves must leave home on the night of December 24 to help Santa Claus. Write a short letter to your child from their elf. The elf can announce their departure for the North Pole and say goodbye.
So here are our simple tricks to inspire you. Your child will have plenty to smile about this December.
Have fun with your elves!
Text written in collaboration with Vie de Parents