Get Rid Of “Elf On The Shelf” And Try These Christ-Centered Alternatives Instead!

by Advent and Christmas, Evangelization, Family

It’s no secret that I’m not a Pinterest kind of mom. Any craft or project I try usually ends up as a complete fail. Maybe I’m slightly bitter about my horrible creative skills and that’s why I’ve never been able to fully get behind the “Elf on the Shelf” craze, but I think it goes a little deeper than that.

Tricking children into good behavior because an elf is watching them to tell Santa has never seemed like a good idea to me. I don’t want my children to be motivated to do kind things or have good manners because of an external reward such as a Christmas gift. I want my children to learn to love and serve others because they love and serve Jesus. I want my children to be motivated to do good because they know how much God loves them.

That being said, I’m not a grinch (most the time…). Christmas is a time for making memories and seeking out opportunities to bring more joy into our home. I knew there had to be a Pinterest mom or dad out there somewhere who could come up with a creative spin on the Elf on the Shelf to make it Christ-centered. I’m so excited about what I found on my search that I want to share it with all of our readers. Take a look at the ideas below and find one or two that will work for your family.

5 Christian Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf

1. The Giving Manger

Giving Manger - Elf on the Shelf Alternative

I just received my Giving Manger set and I could not be more impressed. This is a high-quality, beautifully designed product. The storybook gives all the details and instructions children need to get started. Throughout Advent, the empty manger is displayed and for each act of kindness, service, or good deed that a child does they are allowed to put a piece of hay in the manger. Their good works will make a bed for baby Jesus. This is a tradition that I can’t wait to get started in my family. Visit the to find out more and order your set!

2. Christmas Star From Afar

star from afar - elf on the shelf alternative idea

Christmas Star From Afar is a hide and seek game that keeps the focus on Jesus. Children set up the Nativity and each night parents hide the star for the children to find. The beautifully designed set comes with scripture cards that can be read each time the star is found. If your family has done Elf on the Shelf in the past, Christmas Star From Afar may be just what you need to keep things fun while moving to a tradition that is more faith-based. Visit the Star Kids Company website to order and take a peek at some of their other fun traditions while you’re there!

3. A Jesse Tree

Jesse Tree Catholic

The Jesse Tree is a favorite Advent tradition. In this tradition, you add ornaments to a small tree or branch in a countdown to Christmas style. The Mosaic Jesse Tree begins on December 1 with ornaments depicting a certain personage in Jesus’ genealogy. Then, starting December 17, it explores the O Antiphons: each celebrating a different name for Jesus, a different way He fulfills the prophecies of the Messiah from the Old Testament. It finishes off with Christmas Eve and Christmas: days on which we celebrate the closeness of Jesus, the Light of the World, and the incredible joy of His Incarnation. The Mosaic Jesse Tree comes with full-color ornaments and a reflection booklet complete with Scripture, meditations, and prayers for each day of the devotion. Features: Ornaments: – 3.5 inch diameter – printed on cardstock – 1/8 x 8 inch satin ribbon – ornaments require assembly: cut out, hole punch, and attach ribbon (included) Booklet: – 6 x 9 full-color booklet – includes scripture, reflections, and prayers for each day – features the corresponding ornament – Imprimatur (Archdiocese of New York) – December 1 – 16 feature prominent figures in Jesus’ genealogy – December 17 – 23 feature the “O Antiphons” – December 24 – 25 feature Christmas Eve and Christmas. Order your Mosaic Jesse Tree by clicking here to visit the To Jesus Sincerely shop.

4. The Shining Light Dolls Complete Nativity Set

Shining Light Dolls Complete Nativity Set

What makes this different than every other nativity set? The Shining Light Dolls set comes with TWO Blessed Mothers! For Advent, Mary is visibly with child and on Christmas morning the Virgin Mary will be holding Baby Jesus.  I love the pro-life, pro-family message this sends children. Bonus: These dolls are incredibly durable and washable. My daughter colored her Mary doll with a sharpie and has taken her on endless adventures with us, yet Mary still looks new! Order your set from the Shining Light Dolls website.

Visit our Amazon page for more great gift ideas!

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