How does Santa really know what kids want for Christmas? Besides checking his famed Naughty or Nice list, the Big Guy consults with a very special (and mischievous!) elf.

The Elf on the Shelf is the cute children’s character and storybook that has inspired a new holiday tradition for families across the nation.

So how does it work? When a family “adopts” this doe-eyed elf, it receives Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole to report back to Santa Claus (only after the kids are sound asleep!). Each morning during the holiday season, the elf returns and rests in a new place to watch all the fun, while the kids race around to find their elf.

Of course, the elf has some help finding new scenarios and spots to scout from each day. Parents (another one of Santa’s helpers!) come up with some crazy clever ideas for the elf.

We scoured the blogosphere to find the best of the best Elf on the Shelf ideas — check ‘em out below. And don’t forget to pick up Elf on the Shelf and exclusive skirt and scarf accessories, available only at Target.

1. Have a snowball fight with Woody!

Elf has a snowball fight with Woody

2. Trying to steal some kisses.

Elf on the Shelf kissing booth

3. Roasting a sweet snack over a clever campfire.

Elf roasting a snack over a candle

4. Zip-lining around the living room.

Elf on a zipline

5. Playing hide-and-go-seek with a few friends.

Elf hides with dolls

6. “Snow angels” out of white rice.

E;f making a snow angel in rice

7. Getting ready for game day with a new outfit and cooler.

Elf with a tiny cooler of soft drinks

Want more creative ideas? Check out Target’s Elf on the Shelf Pinterest board.