He's back! That mischievous Elf on the Shelf who often misbehaves yet scares children into behaving at Christmastime. If you aren't familiar with this recent holiday tradition, here's a quick primer.

Parents can purchase an elf doll and tell their children that the elf watches them during the holiday season. If the elf sees them being naughty, he'll report it to Santa. Kids who fear ending up on Santa's official naughty list try to behave better so the elf won't rat them out.

Some people find the idea creepy, and some even think the Elf on the Shelf is setting children up to live in a future police state. Others, though, see it as a fun holiday tradition, and parents can get incredibly creative with the doll. Many parents move the elf after the kids go to sleep, making it look as if the elf were alive. In addition to nighttime being the prime reporting-back-to-Santa hours, many elves cause a little mischief while they're awake at night. Parents love to post clever elf poses onto social media, and Instagram is full of ideas for the Elf on the Shelf getting into trouble in the kitchen.

Here are 10 clever but not too destructive Elf on the Shelf ideas that you can recreate in your kitchen.

Day 4: Sugar snow angel. #elfontheshelf

A photo posted by Christine Throckmorton (@christinemht) on

Grace said mom there's rlly an elf in my cereal!! He strikes again.. #elfontheshelf

A photo posted by Brooke Courtney (@bcourtney09) on

#elfontheshelf (I totally stole this from idea from someone else-but it worked great!)

A photo posted by Marisa Carling (@mjcarling) on

#eatingdonuts #elfontheshelf #wheresours #day4 🍩🍩🍩

A photo posted by laurenbell988 (@laurenbell988) on

Someone wanted a snack! #elf #elfontheshelf

A photo posted by Malania (@malania_) on

Hehehe #elfontheshelf

A photo posted by Justine Calderone (@justine5280) on

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.