Updated: Feb 1
Thankfully, my kids are too old for me to have been challenged with the Elf-on-the-shelf craze. I see my younger friends on Facebook posting about what mischief their elf got into the night before, and it just stresses me out. With such a focus on the elf each day, I feel like it would take the focus off of Jesus - my desire is to focus Him throughout the season of Advent. Instead of celebrating the Elf-on-the-shelf, all throughout December, I suggest incorporating a similar daily tradition but make it all about Jesus instead of the Elf. There are two kits I found that are ready-made for you. The Shepherd’s Treasure includes a pose-able shepherd who can be but in different positions and the kit comes with ideas for fun ways to set him up each day (I love this help with creativity). The Shepherd’s Treasure also offers a kit for Easter that you can add to the Christmas set so that you can enjoy the treasure of finding Jesus all year long (so would be economical if you choose to use both seasons). The Christmas Star from Afar is another kit that you can buy. The entire nativity is set up and you hide the included star each night. In the morning, your kids would search for the star and when they find it, they move all three wise men to where the star has been hidden. The night before Christmas, you place the star on top of your nativity stable. On Christmas morning your three wise men reach the nativity scene and find their king, baby Jesus.
If you don’t want to buy the kit, you could also use a nativity you already have and just buy a wooden star that you hide somewhere each day. Or, another alternative is: have Mary and Joseph travel around the house each night until Christmas even when they wait in the manger. On Christmas morning, baby Jesus arrives in the manger. You can extend the fun by having the Wise Men travel around for a while after Christmas to celebrate Epiphany.
What other ideas do you have to replace the Elf-on-the-shelf or is there a way you use it but keep the focus on Jesus?