During the Christmas season a few years ago, everywhere I looked, I seemed to see Elf on The Shelf. Or I heard people complaining about the “Elf” living at their house!
9 Christian Elf on the Shelf Alternatives
To me, the “Elf” did not add joy to their holiday season. It even seemed to add more stress. Almost every day I heard or saw an adult comment, “I hate the elf.” “Wish I had never purchased the darn thing.” and “That elf is ruining Christmas!”
One thing for sure, it did not lead children to the manger or learning about the real meaning of Christmas. In fact the elf seemed to get away with naughtiness the kids would never get away with. And I wasn't quite sure I the teaching “be good just so you can get what you want” was the right mantra to instill in the children I am raising to be responsible, caring adults. It seemed a bit manipulative and selfish.
Perhaps, you, like I was, are looking for a positive, Christian Elf on the Shelf alternative for this year?
Our family enjoys, Melk the Monkey, a series of lessons and activities I have created to use throughout the advent season (and even a few times during the year) to teach Who God Is and keep the reason for Christmas alive in their hearts all year long. My kids learned so much from Melk, the Elf alternative. But here is a list of 9 of the best Christian alternatives and what they teach:
A Comparison Chart
Detailed Info of Elf Alternatives
1. Melk, The Christmas Monkey
Melk, The Christmas Monkey, is an excellent tool for teaching God’s character to children. Use the 30+ fun Bible lessons and activities that the entire family can enjoy during the Christmas Advent season.
Each day your child finds Melk ( a monkey or other plush friend of your choice) in a new setting with a new note teaching something about WHO GOD IS and explaining a fun reinforcing activity. There are also activities that can be incorporated into other holidays such as valentine's day, Easter, etc.
Included in the book:
- instructions and set up photo
- short materials list for mom and dad
- a letter from Melk to read and/or print teaching the lesson to remember and explaining the activity
Most of the props are things commonly found around your house or printable from the internet for free so it takes very little prep work. Monkey or other “friend” sold separately.
2. The Christmas Critter
The Christmas Critter was created by another missionary mom, looking for a way to teach biblical character lessons to kids at Christmas time. She has 4 seasons of downloadable lessons and activities in which the “critter” of your choice finds himself in mischievous elf-like predicaments, but learns (and teaches your kids) a biblical character-building lesson through it. Check out the Christmas Critter here.
3. The Christmas Angel
The Christmas Angel is an Elf on the Shelf type Christmas tradition that helps families to focus on the true meaning of Christmas as they look for ways to keep Christ in Christmas during the Advent season.
Each Christmas Angel comes in a keepsake tin that includes The Christmas Angel storybook, the Christmas Angel plush doll, and a pouch of “golden dust.”Included with the Christmas Angel doll is a colorfully illustrated storybook that shares the story of the Christmas Angel with your family.
You can find various activities using the Christmas Angel on Pinterest. Some examples, leaving glitter dust from the angel wings and hiding the angel.
4. Kindness Elves
Kindness Elves™, a sweet-natured alternative to the “naughty elf” tradition, with a positive message of emphasizing kindness, sharing and gratitude within our children! These adorable little friends help the kids to develop thoughtfulness and compassion for the world around them in a playful and fun way! No focus on bad behavior or reporting back to anyone, but a positive focus for building kind character habits for a lifetime.
5. The Shepherd on the Search
The Shepherd on the Search is a fun family activity that celebrates the birth of Christ. It is a way to create a meaningful tradition for the entire family. kit includes:
The Shepherd on the Search kit includes:
- a storybook
- a super cute 9.5-inch plush shepherd boy doll
- a decorative box for storing your shepherd for years to come.
It includes activities in the book and you can find more on Pinterest.
6. The Christmas Star From Afar
What a great way to introduce your little ones to the story of Jesus Birth. The Christmas Star From Afar kit includes:
- An Advent Calendar that reveals the long history of the holiday
- A Hide and Seek Game for kids of all ages.
- A Nativity Set for kids. Is complete with nativity, figurines, and a storybook.
- Detailed instructions for how to use the set.
7. Ewe On A Pew
A fun Christmas tradition is meant to reinforce the story of the birth of Jesus in a fun and exciting way for children! The Ewe On A Pew will keep children interested in the message of Jesus.
Ewe on a Pew is a book and plush toy combo: it includes a 10-inch plush toy & fully Illustrated children's book.
8. The Traveling Wise Men
Children pretend they are the Wise Men searching for baby Jesus. This advent project does not require items to be purchased. You can make nativity items or use what you have from your nativity set. The Traveling Wisemen book by Chelsea Wojck can be found here. And her instagram account gives a good visual explanation of the activities that could be used with the children.
9. Donkey in the Living Room
Children will learn the true meaning of Christmas through individual stories of the characters present at Jesus’ birth—the Donkey, Cow, Sheep, Shepherd, Angel, Camel, Wise Men, Joseph, and of course, baby Jesus. On each of the nine days leading up to Christmas, The Donkey in the Living Room introduces the story of a new character, unwrap that character's piece from the nativity set, and share a new appreciation for the advent season.
Whichever Elf on the Shelf alternative you choose for next year, remember the goal is to find a fun, educational and meaningful way for your children to learn about the true meaning of Christmas, the baby in the manger and their connection to Christ.
Which alternative is your favorite? Did we miss any great Elf on the Shelf alternatives?
Our 10 Days of Christ-Centered Christmas Activities & Crafts blog hop is filled with lots of fun activities for the family. Our Fabulous bloggers are:
- Dec. 4th – Inspired by Family
- Dec. 5th – Chaos & Clutter
- – Paradise Praises
- Dec. 6th – Encouraging Moms at Home
- – Crafty Moms Share,
- Dec. 7th – Thinking Kids Blog
- Dec. 8th –Teach Me Mommy,
- Dec. 9th – Proverbial Homemaker
- – Suburban Soiree
- Dec. 10th – The Awe Filled Homemaker
- –Future Flying Saucers,
- Dec. 11th – Adventures in Mommydom
- – Spark and Spook,
- Dec. 12th – Talking Mom 2 Mom
- –Clarissa R. West,
- Dec. 13th – Pichea Place
- –Homeschool preschool