Ever heard of a North Pole Breakfast? Welcome your elf with a breakfast-to-end-all-breakfasts that’ll make you ‘The Best Parents in the World’! 

Elf Breakfast Ideas

A North Pole Breakfast is a fabulously fun way to kickstart the Christmas season.

It’s a great way to welcome your elf back for another year, say hello to a new elf arrival, or simply signal the start of the holiday season.  Even now as teens, Hannah’s boys adore a North Pole Breakfast!

We’ve got everything you need to create a fabulous North Pole Breakfast.  From decor and food ideas to free printable signs, activity ideas and even a free North Pole Breakfast playlist! 

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What Is A North Pole Breakfast?

This is a once-a-year breakfast-to-end-all-breakfasts that’ll make you ‘the best parents in the world’!

A relatively new Christmas tradition, it’s a fun family-friendly meal to celebrate the Christmas countdown.  The North Pole Breakfast is based around the four main elf food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup*!

Often enjoyed as a special breakfast on the first day of December when your scout elf arrives, it’s a way to get everyone in the Christmas mood.  Typically a bright, colourful and candy cane inspired affair, they are unashamedly kids-first in focus and sure to earn you lots of Brownie points!

The great thing about North Pole Breakfasts is they can be as extravagant or low key as you want.  Go to town decorating the whole room and laying out Christmas treats galore.  Or just add a few festive touches to your regular breakfast for a quick boost of Christmas cheer.

Same goes for the candy overload.  You can whole-heartedly embrace the elf cuisine.  Or opt for mainly healthy treats and add the sweetness with decorations and activities instead.

* That’s the 4 main elf food groups described by Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf in the all-time Christmas classic movie, Elf. 

North Pole Breakfast Table

When To Have A North Pole Breakfast?

When to have a North Pole Breakfast?  The answer is, of course, whenever you want! Here’s a few ideas for when we think an Elf Breakfast would work well:

  • Have a North Pole Breakfast as your elf arrives on 1st December, to welcome them back or celebrate the new arrival, and of course to help your elf acclimatise!
  • As a special treat on the first weekend of December to mark the start of Christmas countdown.
  • On Tree Decorating Day, for extra special memories and festive cheer.
  • In fact for extra Christmas magic to accompany any countdown activity, e.g. before you head off on a Winter Walk to deliver the Christmas cards, forage for foliage to make garlands and wreaths, etc.
  • As a party theme for a December birthday.
  • An extra special North Pole Afternoon Tea on the last day of the school term (no need to limit it just to breakfast!).
  • To accompany a Christmas movie night, or screening of Elf!
  • On Christmas Eve morning to set the tone for this magical day.

Cream Cheese Snowman at Elf Breakfast Table

What Does An Elf Breakfast Look Like?

The beauty of the North Pole Breakfast is that it can include absolutely anything you want and be presented anyway you’d like! Bright, cheery and sugary are the most common themes but the sky’s the limit!  Let your imagination run wild!

Enjoy planning and preparing over the course of a few days with your children, or lay it out one morning as a surprise from your elf.  It’s entirely up to you!

This is a meal packed to the brim with fun, colour and festive cheer but, it is also wonderfully versatile. So, mix and match our suggestions below to suit your family. Then relax and enjoy that sugar high!

Pair of Gingerbread Houses in front of the Christmas Tree

North Pole Breakfast Ideas for Décor

Elfish themes of sleigh bells, bright red baubles and candy canes are definitely the most popular options. Consider weaving some fairy lights around the dishes for sparkle. And, of course, a gingerbread house would make an amazing centrepiece!

There is certainly no need to be spending lots on new decorations just for this event; any Christmas-themed items will work perfectly to add festive flair to the North Pole Breakfast table.

The meal lends itself to a buffet-style approach, with all the food spread extravagantly across the table.

We’ve shared lots of ideas below.  Plus, we’ve created a set of free printables for you to use.

FREE Elf On The Shelf Printables

Download our FREE North Pole Breakfast printables to help set the scene.

Elf Breakfast Table Decorating Ideas

Here’s some ideas for how to make your North Pole Breakfast table look extra Christmassy!

Base Layer

  • Put your Christmas tablecloth to use!
  • Use a red tablecloth and add a white table runner to create a Candy Cane vibe.  Or switch it round the other way.
  • If you don’t have a tablecloth or runner, roll some wrapping paper down the middle of the table instead.
  • Create a snow scene instead with a white tablecloth and some fake snow or white / sparkly / silver sprinkles.
  • Don’t forget the lighting.  Spread fairy lights across the table for festive sparkle!


There’s no need for a centrepiece at all of course. However, if you’d like a focal point, here’s some ideas:

  • A small decorated Christmas tree.
  • Homemade gingerbread house.
  • Sleigh or sledge covered in treats.
  • Favourite larger Christmas decoration welcomed back for another year (a snowglobe would work well for example).
  • A tiered cake stand, piled it high with sweets, cakes and cookies.
  • Relocate your Hot Chocolate Station to the table with a cup tree of Christmas mugs.
Pair of Gingerbread Houses on Cake Stands

Ideas For Christmas Dishes

Add more Christmas vibes with festive dishes for the food:

  • Use as many Christmas-themed dishes as you have.
  • Wrap chopping boards in aluminium foil (with either matt or shiny side facing up) to give them a more festive feel.
  • Cut Christmas shapes out from red and green card, and place the food on these?
  • Top regular dishes with Christmas napkins.
  • Hang a decoration off the corner of a dish for some festive flair.
  • Overfill dishes and bowls so the food spills onto the table slightly to add some elfish mischief and make the table look even more inviting to little eyes.
Cream Cheese Snowman Idea

Place Settings

Much of the food at a North Pole Breakfast is finger food.  So you may prefer not to set the table for eating at and go more buffet style.  

However if you’d like to create a family-friendly sit down meal then enjoy making festive place settings for everyone.

More Festive Flair

Ideas for more festive flourishes to make the table even more Christmas spirit.

  • Hang candy canes over the edge of a few dishes or use them to line the insides of vases.
  • Dot sweets and chocolates haphazardly around the table to create an elf workshop vibe.
  • Sprinkle baubles and sleigh bells here and there.
  • Add a North Pole Breakfast sign to welcome diners (download our free printable).
  • Mantre for life: you cannot have too many fairy lights!
  • Add crackers or Christmas hats.  Why not?!
  • Put out a gift from your elf, or indeed a gift and message to them.
Marshmallow Snowmen & Fruit Christmas Tree at North Pole Breakfast

FREE North Pole Breakfast Printables

To really finish your festive breakfast table in style, we’ve created a whole host of fun printables for you to use.

From a welcome sign and place name cards to invitations, an Elf Rules poster and activity signs, there’s everything you’ll need to welcome your elf!

Click here to see the full collection and download yours.

Printable Elf Breakfast Posters

Elf Breakfast Food Suggestions

What do elves eat?!

It’s hard to know where to start as there are so many different treats which can be incorporated into an Elf On The Shelf North Pole Breakfast. 

In fact, we had so many food ideas that we’ve created a separate post to share them all with you!  Check it out.

One decision to make it whether it’s going to be a true breakfast morning meal or not.  That will likely determine how you approach the menu.  We’ve popped some suggestions below to get you started – sweet treats, healthier alternatives, savoury ideas & drinks.  Then head to the full post for more details and inspiration.

But first, our quick tip

A lot of the Elf Breakfast goodies have a longer shelf-life.  So we love to go a little overboard on the display to make for a really opulent table.

It’s when we like to open the Christmas chocolates and break out the festive crisps.

Then we simply pack away the items not consumed ready to be brought out and enjoyed later in the month.

Elf Breakfast Ideas

Sweet Treats

There’s no doubt; sweet treats are the focal point of the North Pole Breakfast.

Go down the breakfast food route with cinnamon rolls, pop tarts, French toast, and Christmas tree pancakes, or simply pile the table high with sweet goodies galore!

From marshmallow snowmen to Christmas jelly pots, cookies and cakes with festive cupcake toppers.

We like doing a mixture.  Putting larger dishes out of slightly more substantial sweet dishes.  And then filling the gaps on the table with candy canes, chocolates, and other sweeties.  Scroll down for our shopping list of inspiration.

Pancake Stacks

The perfect excuse to incorporate food group number four into your breakfast! Syrup!!

Any American-style pancakes, stacked high with syrup poured on top, will be perfect.  

But we cannot resist the opportunity to mention the Stackable Pancake Co’s Christmas Tree Pancakes.  It’s honestly a bit of Christmas magic in itself when the milk turns the pale mix brilliant green!  And it makes for such a eye-catching (and tasty!) North Pole Breakfast centrepiece!

Stackable Pancake Co Christmas Tree Pancake Stack

Snowman Faces

An ideal activity for little hands, these snowmen faces really look the part on the North Pole Breakfast table.

Simply use spots of edible glue to secure an orange Smartie nose in place. Then add dots of chocolate icing to give your snowmen eyes and mouths.  We used white chocolate oreo biscuit bases but you could use mini meringues instead.

North Pole Breakfast Treat Ideas - cupcakes & snowman faces

Healthier Alternatives

Of course, there is balance required in everything, even once-a-year blow-outs!

Fruit of course works really well.  And there’s plenty of redand green options to use for festive colour.

We love a strawberry and banana candy cane (check out our hack to make the candy cane shape).  And Santa strawberries are so cute too.

Or simply top your porridge with some festive embellishments & sprinkle on a little cinnamon for Christmas flavour.

Fruity Christmas Tree

Layer a mixture of green grapes and other jewel-coloured fruits to form the shape of a Christmas Tree. Or better still of course, use a tree-shaped dish!

We love berries here as they look great against the bright green of the grapes. We’ve added a meringue star to the top of the tree. You could use a piece of starfruit instead of course, or an apple slice cut into a star shape.

For a final festive sparkle, we have sprayed the tree and star with a few puffs of edible gold shimmer.

And if you fancy going the extra mile and making a full ‘Christmas Tree – Night Sky’ Christmas fruit board, check out our idea here.

Fruit Christmas Tree North Pole Breakfast Idea

Savoury Ideas

If your family doesn’t have a sweet tooth, or you just can’t face that much sweet stuff yourself, there are plenty of ways to add something savoury to the display.

Make a Christmas tree shape board with alternating rows of cherry tomato halves and cucumber or green pepper.  Add a cheese star to finish.

Or cut avocado toast into festive shapes and add tomato or red pepper garnish to finish.

Snowman Cream Cheese Toast

Using two slices of toast, cut two circles of different sizes. Add a thick covering of cream cheese and top with blueberry eyes and buttons, and a strawberry nose to create this adorable snowman.

Head here for more fun Christmas toast ideas.

Snowman Toast Idea


Hot Chocolate is the obviously North Pole Breakfast go-to beverage!  And we’ve got a plenty of hot chocolate recipes for you to explore – including our delicious slow-cooker hot chocolate, perfect for a group!

Add whipped cream, mini marshmallows and a candy cane swizzle stick for the ultimate indulgence!  Bring to the table prepared or set up a Hot Chocolate Station for people to help themselves.

If your family prefers cold chocolate milk, cover the top outer rim of a glass with a little melted chocolate and festive sprinkles. Let it set in the fridge, and then fill with cold milk.

And, we’ve got lots of mocktail inspiration if you fancy going for something more a little more unusual!

But, even water, can be given a festive makeover when marketed as “Melted Snow”!  Use our free printable sign to encourage your little ones to keep hydrated.

Elf Breakfast Hot Chocolate Cheers

An Elf Breakfast Shopping List

If you’re wondering where to start, we’ve created a litle shopping list of goodies for you to use. These are the treats that can be added directly to the table without any extra effort.

  • Candy canes (great for decorating the table!)
  • Chocolate tree decorations (makes for a fun activity too, hanging the decorations on the tree)
  • Jelly beans
  • Fudge
  • Marshmallows (try our Marshmallow Snowmen for plenty of festive cheer!)
  • Chocolate coins
  • Toffee popcorn
  • Gingerbread men
  • Cadbury Festive Friends or equivalent
  • Chocolate fingers
  • Other Christmas chocolates
  • Stollen bites
  • Panettone
  • Lebkuchen biscuits
  • Mince pies
North Pole Breakfast Shopping List of Easy Treats

Activities To Enjoy At Breakfast

Of course you can absolutely just enjoy your elf breakfast for its own sake!  However for the most magical memories, consider adding an activity or two alongside.

Download our free North Pole Breakfast playlist, decide what you might like to do and consider whether you want to deliver any gifts at the North Pole Breakfast too.

Download Your Playlist

Get the Christmas party into full swing with a festive soundtrack.  We’ve created an exclusive North Pole Breakfast playlist ready for you to download FREE at Spotify.  Give that festive kitchen disco a kickstart (and burn off a little of the sugar!).

Set Up For An Elf Breakfast

North Pole Breakfast Activity Ideas

Here’s a few of our favourite North Pole Breakfast ideas for extending the fun!

Head Out For A Winter Walk

Burn off the sugar and get some fresh air with a festive walk.  Check out our ideas for how to encourage the little ones out of the house.

Decorate The Christmas Tree

So why not get all those ornaments ready and spend the day decorating and nibbling sugary treats whilst you pump up those festive tunes in the background?!  Check out our lowdown from the professionals on how to decorate your tree.  And don’t forget our Jolly Jingles Spotify playlists – all ready and waiting for you to just hit play!

Write A Welcome Message To Your Elf

Help your little one to prepare a letter for your elf letting them know about all the things they’ve been up to during the year and sending messages to the North Pole.

And don’t forget our FREE printable poem from elfie – perfect for sharing as a reply!

Play A Christmas Game

Perfect for getting everyone into the Christmas spirit!  We’ve got all sorts of Christmas Family Game ideas for you to try.

Write To Father Christmas

Surely an elf breakfast is the perfect opportunity to sit down and write letters to Santa himself?!

Decorate A Gingerbread House

If you haven’t used a gingerbread house as a centrepiece, this would be a brilliant time to get busy decorating!

Read The Elf On The Shelf Story Together

Enjoy reading the story of the Elf on the Shelf tradition together to remind everyone of your visitor’s purpose.

Make Reindeer Food

Is there a more magical time to make reindeer food than at a North Pole Breakfast?!  Check out our wildlife friendly recipe here.  There’s free printable reindeer food labels ready to use too!

Have A Paperchain-Making Competition

Always popular and ever so easy.  Grab a bunch of paperchains.  You can use shopbought ones or make your own from coloured paper or old wrapping paper.

Set a timer for 3 minutes (or longer if you’re feeling particularly enthustiastic!) and see who can make the longest chain in that time.

It’s a brilliantly sneaky way to get some stealth family assistance with the decorations too!

Elfish Gifts

If you’re having a North Pole Breakfast on December 1st, why not lay out a gift from your elf, as a thank you for the meal.  It’s a great opportunity to give your little ones something Christmassy that they can enjoy the whole way through December.

Here’s our favourite ideas:

  • Christmas pyjamas -perfect for enjoying throughout December.
  • A book to enjoy reading during the countdown to Christmas?  We’ve got recommendations galore for you here.
  • Why not fanfare the arrival of this year’s advent calendars?
  • OR pick one of our carefully curated selection of Gifts from Elfie.

Gifts To Elfie!

You could of course arrange a gift from your children to the elf as well.

With a whole host of elf merchandise now widely available, there are plenty of options to choose between. 

These bespoke elf outfits from Totally Elf are amongst our favourites!

North Pole Breakfast Table

We hope you have a fabulous time creating your North Pole Breakfast and welcoming (back) your elf!  

And if you need a little extra inspiration for what mischief your elf might get up to – do check out our Elf Planner for 24 easy-to-arrange ideas!

Share Your Adventure!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @jollyfestive.

And be sure to tag #jollyfestive in your photos.  We love to see which Christmas activities you’ve been enjoying!

More Activities