Start a new family tradition that points to the real meaning of Christmas, with these four christian alternatives to elf on the shelf.
Our Family’s Elf on the Shelf Tradition
First of all, let me start out by saying we have an elf on the shelf. My sister in law gifted it to us when my older boys were 3 and 1 years old. Our family has truly enjoyed having Flint the elf visit us every December.
We decided from the beginning, Flint was not going to be a “naughty” elf. Instead he was going to help us celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
Flint The Christian Elf On The Shelf
Every December morning when Flint comes, the boys find him in a different spot around the house. He has a note for them to read that includes an activity for the day, and the verses in The Bible we will read for our family devotion that night.
Sometimes he sends us on a church activity or service project. We have filled shoe boxes for samaritans purse, put together mana bags for the homeless, delivered gift baskets to families who are in need in our community, or delivered food to the local food pantry.
Sometimes Flint will send them on a scavenger hunt, where at the end they will find a gift.
One year it was a family board game, another it was pj’s, and another year a Christmas movie with popcorn. Most of the time however, it’s something simple like, singing Christmas hymns together, breakfast for dinner, or enjoying a cup of hot cocoa.
We really tried to never put emphasis on how the elf on the shelf is marketed – As something for kids to be “good” for, so they can be on Santa’s nice list and get lots of presents under the tree Christmas morning.
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Looking For Christian Alternatives To Elf On The Shelf
Now that my older boys are teenagers and we have a one year old, I feel it’s time to start a new tradition. One that points more directly to Jesus’ birth.
Flint the elf will still come out every year and find his seat as an ornament on our Christmas tree. A reminder of all the memories from Christmas past.
In my search for christian alternatives to elf on the shelf this is what I’ve found….
1. Advent Ornament Books
The ‘Jesus is Born’ nativity ornament book is a fun, way to get your littlest kids involved with Christmas decorating while learning about our Savior. This advent activity includes 7 short devotions – each including a Scripture verse, conversation starters, and a coordinating, removable ornament to help you and your child share the greatest story ever told!
Names of Jesus advent ornament book. Each ornament features a different name of Jesus alongside advent devotions and scriptures that tell the Christmas story, while explaining the deeper meaning in His names. It’s an excellent way to help the little people in your life understand the real meaning of Christmas while creating a lasting family tradition.
Emmanuel, God with us advent ornament book. To go with each Christmas ornament, there is a short advent devotion, a promise from scripture and a short prayer. It’s the perfect way for the whole family to share the greatest story ever told this Christmas!
Heaven and Nature Sing ornament book. Make a joyful noise as you gather to decorate the tree and sing carols from this Christmas carol book. Features 7 pop out ornaments with scripture about the theme and the story behind each beloved hymn.
Simply pop out the ornaments, then add ribbon and hang them on your Christmas tree. At the end of the Christmas season, simply place the ornaments back into the book and pack away. These advent activity book ornaments can be reused year after year.
2. The Shepherd On The Search
The Shepherd on the search tradition is probably one of the closest christian alternatives to elf on the shelf.
It comes with a plush shepherd and a hardcover story book.
The book tells of When the angels visited the shepherds to tell them the good news, your shepherd set off on a journey to find the newborn baby. The journey ends on Christmas Day, with your shepherd finding his way to the manger to worship the baby Jesus.
Just like with the elf on the shelf, your kids can wake up to find their shepherd in a different spot around the house every morning, as he searches for baby Jesus. It was always a fun game for my boys to see who would find him first!
3. The Little Lamb From Bethlehem
The little lamb from Bethlehem comes with a plush lamb and a story book.
I think this one is geared more for toddlers and younger kids. Also included in the set are ideas for family fun and Christmas service, including bible verses.
The Little Lamb Christmas Toy tells the story of Christ’s birth from the unique perspective of a lamb at Jesus’ birth. This special retelling brings the story to life for little ones.
4. Kindness Elves
The Kindness Elves are friends who love nothing more than to spread kindness and joy wherever they go!
This is such a lovely idea. It helps children to think less about their own wants and focus instead on serving and loving others.
From the website:
“Experience for yourself the amazing impact the Kindness Elves have in the home by encouraging kids to carry out daily Acts of Kindness for their siblings, friends and neighbours.
This bundles all the magic of the Kindness Elves into one discounted bundle, including the Elves, the Accessories, the illustrated Storybook, and the 12 Days of Christmas Kindness ePack.”
I think you could make this tradition your own very easy without having to purchase anything if you didn’t want to!
My Favorite Christian Alternatives To Elf On The Shelf
If I didn’t have to worry about the budget, I think I would purchase all the advent ornament books and the shepherd on the search.
BUT since I do have a Christmas budget to stick to, I will start with the shepherd on the search and the heaven and nature sing ornament book. Maybe in the next few years we can add the rest of the books to our collection.
I would love to hear if you already practice one of these traditions in your home!