Have you already run out of 'Elf on the Shelf' ideas? Keri Lumm (@thekerilumm) has five simple suggestions and one that requires a little more time.


Shawne Wittrock's oldest daughter was in preschool when she started asking about an elf.

Apparently, an elf was visiting her classmates' homes and gotten into some mischief. Annalee wanted to know more.

But it was a turbulent time. Wittrock was pregnant with twins and medical complications meant spending six weeks in the hospital. 

Her husband, Chad, decided to lighten the mood — and invited an Elf on the Shelf to their home in Arcadia, a 400-person town in Northwest Iowa. 

"It was a fun way to take their mind off everything," Wittrock said. Their twins, Sutton and Eliza, arrived as healthy babies in mid-December.

That was more than four years ago, and Sparkle Heart has visited ever since, adding "a bit more magic" to their lives every year. 

►MORE: 32 ways Elf on the Shelf has played, goofed around and rabble-roused during the holidays

'A bit more magic'

The Wittrock family has noticed their elf, Sparkle Heart, has a simple and caring approach to the holidays — with a twist of mischief thrown in.

Welcoming. Some families welcome back their elf by reading a book, but in the Wittrock household, Sparkle Heart always brings a gingerbread house the first night to do as a family.

Encouraging. Their elf wishes her daughters well. Before a school concert, for example, Sparkle Heat might play a toy instrument and write a good-luck note.

Kind. Sparkle Heart is known for a gentle heart, and occasionally writes compliments on their bathroom mirror.

Celebratory. Sparkle Heart covered the bedroom floor during the twins' birthday mid-December.

Playful. The elf also borrows Barbie toys to go camping and roast marshmallows. 

Troublemaking. Sparkle Heart has gotten into some trouble, too — including putting toilet paper where it doesn't belong. That includes toilet papering the Christmas tree.

Outdoorsy. The elf's been known to make snow angels on the kitchen counter using marshmallows. 

Mischievous. In addition, the elf found dry-erase markers and drew mustaches and eye glasses on framed family pictures. 

Adventurous. Sparkle Heart brought silly string one morning, prompting a silly string fight in the snow.

Creative. Occasionally Sparkle Heart leaves tricks, such as a plate lined with Skittles and a note to add hot water. That created a rainbow design.


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