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Pandemic-Themed Elf On The Shelf Ideas For 2020 That Are So Relatable

This year is all about tiny masks, toilet paper gags, and Zoom calls to the North Pole.

For kids, 2020 has taken away a lot of the fun stuff, from playdates, to hugging friends to team sports. But even as cases spike, we know this much: It will not be ruining Elf on the Shelf for families that love the tradition of hiding Santa’s Little Helper around the house, ostensibly to report back to the North Pole with updates on the kids’ behaviour.

If anything, the pandemic has infused a special kind of dark humour into the scenarios parents and caregivers are setting up for Santa’s little spy this year. Popular themes this year include quarantining elves, fun with toilet paper, and #stayhome Netflix bingeing. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites to infuse a little extra laughter into these final weeks of this wild ride of a year.

Inspiration for Elf on the Shelf 2020:

While @minimalist.mama_ has not yet started hiding her family’s Elf on the Shelf around the house, she has brought him out of storage ― for a 14-day quarantine.

It’s standard procedure this year. Ellie, the Elf on the Shelf at @conorwinders’ place is even taking the precaution of wearing a teeny tiny mask, while she sits in quarantine:

And @backtobasicsplay gave her two elves an industrial-sized bottle (well, relatively speaking) of sanitizer to get them through the next two weeks in their sealed quarantine jar.

Ewww! Looks like somebody’s elf showed up in Sweden symptomatic.

Little Simoneta seems to have caught something too, after a cold overnight trip to her new digs in Puerto Rico.

Oh no, this whole elf family’s down! Who will snitch on the kids now?

This elf from cherubcoutureshop is all of us, just trying to break up the monotony of lockdown life, with a stylin’ collection of fabric face masks.

You can buy very-2020 elf sweaters too, from @the_stitching_closet, with logos such as “Oh Quarantree” and the brutally honest “2020 is elfed up.”

This little elf was lucky enough to get its hands on a mini can of Lysol, in spite of ongoing shortages in stores.

Young Elmo here is clearly living with TP hoarders.

If you’re short on toilet paper in your home, take a leaf from DIY blogger Amy Locurto’s book and create these elf-sized printable letter boards teaching frugal wiping habits.

Printables are big this year. You can buy this kit on Etsy from Sarah Marie Kays, to tell your kids “Congratulations, you survived 2020!”

Congratulations, you survived 2020
Etsy: Sarah Marie Kays
Congratulations, you survived 2020

The Official Elf on the Shelf website shares some pandemic-related ideas too, with how-to instructions for recreating them.

In a very relatable scenario, this elf is breaking the isolation with Zoom calls to co-workers. You can download the jpeg to try this at home, here.

"I think you're muted, Buddy."
Image: Elf on the Shelf
"I think you're muted, Buddy."

Also, who hasn’t worked their way through Netflix’s entire back catalogue this year? You can pay homage to a very 2020 family hobby with this type of scenario:

Elf on the Shelf Movie Night
Image: Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf Movie Night

And just in case the message of washing your hands right still hasn’t sunk in, there’s this delightful bathroom tableau with a lipstick-on-the-mirror reminder.

Wash Your Hands
Image: Elf on the Shelf
Wash Your Hands

Whatever pandemic scenes you create for the kids this year, just remember the golden rules of surviving 2020: Stay safe. Stay silly.

WATCH: Learn the sweet origin story of Elf on the Shelf.

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