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As a crafting aficionado, Busy Philipps looks forward to Elf on the Shelf each year. Lucky for us, she shared her four favorite hacks for nailing the popular holiday tradition.

The 39-year-old Busy Tonight host tells PureWow exclusively that when it comes to prepping Elf on the Shelf for her daughters, Birdie (10) and Cricket (5), creativity (and fun) is key. Thanks to her longtime partnership with Michaels, Philipps doesn’t have an issue with either.

“I love doing crafts and when I was a kid, my favorite projects in school were always dioramas, so I always think of the Elf on the Shelf as a diorama,” she explained.

So what tricks has Philipps learned over the years? Here, four tips from the Elf on the Shelf pro herself.

Tip One: Make elves more posable by putting wire hanger inside them. This opens a world of possibilities, like elves doing yoga, elves climbing the stairs—the list goes on.

Tip Two: Sew their hands or feet together and make them hang from unexpected places or, say, hug a bottle of wine.

Tip Three: Incorporate kids’ toys to get the elves involved in silly scenarios like Philipps’s own “Elf Visits Barbie’s Dream House,” pictured above.

Tip Four: Establish classics that the elves do every year, so children can look forward to their favorite. Philipps, for instance, relies on her tried-and-true elf races to make her girls laugh.   

Above all, Philipps says the most important thing about crushing the Elf on the Shelf game is not losing precious R&R time because of it. “I don’t spend more than 30 minutes on it each night. It looks impressive, but it’s really just fun and fast for me. If it takes longer than 30 minutes, it’s really just not worth it for me,” she explained.

We’ll cheers to that, Busy. 

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