Elf on the Shelf has become a popular cultural sensation in many homes in the U.S. We know several people who enjoy having fun with the little elf, but we also know people who are looking for alternatives to Elf on the Shelf.
Wait! Before you report my behavior to your elf and put me on the naughty list, we don’t think there is anything wrong with Elf on the Shelf. It’s just a fun little activity that many parents and kids enjoy around Christmas.
We have many family members and friends who move their elf around the house and create different comical scenarios for the elf. The elf finds himself hiding and creating messes, being stuck in precarious situations, or creating fun activities for the kids.
Elf on the Shelf started back in 2005 when a children’s picture book about the Elf was published. It told the story of how Santa uses the Elf to report on the naughty or nice behavior of the children. The toy spread like wildfire and within 3 years, it a won Best Toy Award, won a Book of the Year Award, and the National Best Books Award.
So, 14 years after its creation, Elf on the Shelf is a household name in pretty much any home with kids.
For many, the elf plays hide and seek with the kids and sometimes wreaks havoc around the house. Other parents use the elf to bring notes or acts of kindness for the children to perform.
In our home, we have chosen not to do the Elf. Not because we think there is anything wrong with it, but mainly because we just didn’t want to do it for the purpose of behavior monitoring or have to come up with things to do each night. And plus, we have four kids who make enough messes on their own, we don’t need an Elf making for messes. 😂
So instead, we opted for another fun activity called Star from Afar as an alternative to Elf on the Shelf. In finding Star from Afar, we found some other alternatives to Elf on the Shelf that might interest others as well.
5 Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf
This is our favorite alternative to Elf on the Shelf. Our kids love Star from Afar! Basically, there is a little wooden nativity that comes with the several characters including the 3 wisemen and a star. Each day the star moves around the house and the kids try to find it. Once they do, the wisemen are moved to that place, and it repeats. There are also a book and scripture cards to read with it.
Shepherd on the search hides the shepherd each day, and the kids find him. They will read the story of the shepherd’s journey in the interactive children’s book that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas.
The Kindness Elves make a great little alternative to Elf on the Shelf since they are still elves. They don’t really come as a bundle and require a little more creativity on the part of the parents. These two elves are hidden around the house, and when they are found by the kids, they deliver an act of kindness to be performed during the day or week.
Melk is a monkey (but any animal can be used) who teachers children about God’s character through fun lessons and activities during the Advent season. In addition, he also has 11 letters that he will deliver throughout the year. Melk the Christmas Monkey can also be used with bigger groups of kids as well.
This year, we discovered the Advent Blocks and are adding them to our Christmas! Each set includes 27 wooden blocks as well as a family devotional guide.
You line up the blocks, and, each day, you read the story, and rotate that day’s block so that the image is revealed. You move the star block one space to the right, resting on top of that day’s image—and one step closer to Christmas Day.
This is the tale of one shepherd who went on a journey to find the true treasure and meaning of Christmas. It comes with a book and a set of cards that lead the shepherd to a new verse to read each day. it offers clue on the Shepherd’s journey and lets the nativity come alive.
One of the alternatives to the Elf on the Shelf may be a good fit for your family, bu however you choose to celebrate the season, we hope you will enjoy it with your family!
Do you have any more activities or traditions that you follow through the Advent season?
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