Elf Pockets

Elf Pockets are a fun holiday activity that inspire your little ones to be on their best behavior. They’re easy to make & bring smiles every morning!

Elf Pockets are a fun holiday activity that inspire your little ones to be on their best behavior. They’re easy to make & bring smiles every morning!

Show of hands, please – how many of you out there feel like the Elf on a Shelf is creepy? High maintenance? Maybe you like the idea of elves, but don’t have the time to keep up with it every day. I have an alternative for you!

Elf pockets! This is something my mom did with my brother and me when we were little. She hung a little crocheted pocket on our bed post, and if we were good the whole day we woke up to a surprise the next morning. The elves left goodies in our pockets overnight! Sometimes we would try to stay awake long enough to catch the elf, but we never did.

What is it and how do I make it?

The elf pocket itself can be made from anything – crochet, knit, or sewn. All that matters is that it is a pocket to hold stuff, and has a loop to be hung from. It doesn’t need to be large; less than 6″ square is perfect.

Ours were crocheted granny triangles with a single crochet chain for a handle. She made one just like that for Monster, and maybe next year she’ll be making some for the girls, too!

Elf Pockets are a fun holiday activity that inspire your little ones to be on their best behavior. They’re easy to make & bring smiles every morning!

I used part of a fat quarter to sew this one. All I did was cut out two pocket shapes, sewed them together, and added some ribbon. 

Elf Pockets are a fun holiday activity that inspire your little ones to be on their best behavior. They’re easy to make & bring smiles every morning!

Not good at sewing? No problem! Another option is to use fabric glue or iron-on adhesive for the seams. You could even use a back pocket from an old pair of jeans. Just cut off the pocket and add a handle.

If you want to get extra fancy, decorate it! Break out the glitter glue and gems. Add some lace. Maybe some jingle bells? The sky is the limit. This also makes a great project for the kids to decorate.

What do we do with it?

Hang it on your child’s bedpost, wall, or doorknob. If you have a light sleeper or don’t want to risk waking up your kiddo, I recommend the doorknob. While your child sleeps, slip in a little treat. When he wakes up in the morning, tell him that he was so good the day before that the elves brought him a goodie.

You can start this any time you want. Some may want to begin right after Thanksgiving. We always hung ours up on December 1. You could also just use it the twelve days before Christmas.

I love this because it encourages your child to be on his best behavior or the elves can’t come. Plus a little surprise every morning is like a teeny tiny Christmas present every morning. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Here are some ideas:

Elf Pockets are a fun holiday activity that inspire your little ones to be on their best behavior. They’re easy to make & bring smiles every morning!

I’m so excited about the elf pocket this year. Monster is finally old enough to understand what’s going on. All year I’ve been stashing tiny little things away, so I’ve got a head start. I can’t wait to pass the tradition on to the next generation.

And don’t get me wrong, the Elf on a Shelf definitely has its perks. I love seeing the photos of elf mischief in my social media feed. But after a month of dinosaur mischief, I’m ready for a break! And I’ve got enough tiny ones watching me all day – I don’t need anything else!

Have you ever done anything like this with your family? What would you put in the elf pocket? 

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About Samantha

I am a SAHM to three kids and a menagerie of pets. I love coffee, books, crafts, wine, cooking, and more coffee. Seriously, I couldn't function without coffee. Read more about me!

24 Comments

  1. Whatever you do, don’t forget to add the treat if the child earned it. Explaining that sometimes the elves run late might be necessary. Misdirection is a good tool (What was that outside the window? Go look!) to distract a tragically upset child who is wailing “But I was good!” Use your imagination. And have fun!

    • That’s also part of why I cheated and hung it on his doorknob. I can’t go in there to wake him up without putting something in the pocket first!

  2. I love this idea so much, I can’t even explain it!

  3. I think Elf on the Shelf is SO CREEPY, and you have to move it and be creative with it? Heck no. This is a way better idea! Although I’m not into treats for good behavior (praise yes, treats no), especially daily food treats, but an encouraging message with an occasional small treat would work great!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one! It would be so cute to leave little notes or cards! I’ll have to make a few now! Thank you!

  4. Great idea! This would be so much easier to handle than the elf on the shelf thing!

  5. What a cute idea! I think my kids would love this!

    • I hope they do! I love it because it’s so versatile. You can do it for however long you want to, so you could start it now and not be “late.” Enjoy!

  6. Thank you for sharing this idea! I love starting traditions with my little boys that are meaningful for the holiday! This is adorable!

    • Thanks, Erin! I’m the same way! I am all about traditions right now. I love sharing them with my kids, and I know my mom gets a kick out of it, too.

  7. LOVE IT! I just posted about doing the Kindness Elves as an option instead of the EOTS. We are all truly creeped out by him. My girls were terrified at the thought. Love this alternative!

    • Hahaha! I was working at a bookstore when the EOTS got popular. A majority of my coworkers were creeped out, too! I will definitely be checking out your post!

  8. Very cute idea. I think that it could be much easier, and much more fun for the kids!

    • It’s soooooo easy! And not messy at all! I know my brother and I enjoyed it when we were little, and now my son does, too. I can’t wait for the girls to be old enough to understand it… I can’t wait to see 3 excited faces every morning!

  9. I love this, what a cute idea. So simple and kids will have so much fun with it! Thanks

  10. Oh my this is brilliant! I’ve never heard of this. This is an awesome idea, I will def be trying this in the years to come. I think the Elf on the shelf is kinda a good idea.. But so creepy! This is less haunting. The Elf on the shelf is so popular, I always hated thinking my girls would be the only ones without stories about their Elf. But this solves it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lol! I was worried about my kids not having those goofy stories either, but I really just can’t bring myself to do that elf. This is so easy, and he’s loving it. Let me know how it goes for you!

  11. What a super cute idea!! I love this project.

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