When I decided to roll with Photoshop Elements, I was certain I would loose the availability for actions. I was wrong! Even MORE of a reason for the novice photoshop-er to roll with Elements.
They aren't 'actions', they are 'effects' - with about a thousand different tutorials online (this one is my favorite) to help you install them (I might be hyperbolizing...slightly...). Not only that, but there are some sweet free ones up for grabs all over the net. The example below are from Coffee Shop Photography. This is a great site with tutorials, actions/effects, and simply - fun ideas for all levels of photographers. There are also actions/effects packages that you can pay for - and should to support the photographer enthusiasts willing to share precious effects that sometimes take hours to create.
Have fun! and get creative!