4 fantastic alternatives to Elf on the Shelf

December is slowly creeping up which means only one thing. Time to get the Elf on the Shelf ready! If you’re not totally convinced about having an elf hang around the entire month or having the responsibility of having to move him every night, you’re not alone. We don’t have an elf nor do I have a desire to get one. If you’re like me and are looking for alternatives to Elf on the Shelf, read on. Move over elf—it’s time for families to start these new holiday traditions!

Reindeer in Here

What is it? Reindeer In Here is an adorable reindeer to call your own sent by Santa himself. The reindeer’s story is a perfect example of how every reindeer is unique just like every child. In fact, the adorable reindeer “sent” by Santa has two different-sized antlers. We already have a fan of a Reindeer In Here in our household. The set includes a book and an 8” stuffed animal.

How it works: In December, Santa sends one of his reindeer friends to hang out with each child. During the reindeer’s stay, the child and reindeer go on adventures as the reindeer “writes notes” back to Santa detailing their true Christmas wishes. On Christmas Eve, each child places their reindeer underneath the tree so that it can return to Santa in the North Pole.

Buy it on Amazon.

The Christmas Star from Afar

What is it? The Christmas Star From Afar is a unique game that teaches children about the true meaning of Christmas. Think hide-and-seek meets a daily countdown to Christmas. The Christmas Star From Afar includes a book, wooden star, a full wooden nativity scene that matches the artwork of the book and optional scripture to use throughout the month.

How it works: Starting the week before Christmas, set up the nativity scene, read the story and then hide the star. The next morning, the kids have the task of finding the star. Once they do, move all three wise men to its location and read the coinciding scripture. On Christmas Eve, the star and three wise men will reach its final destination at the stable with newborn baby Jesus.

Buy it on Amazon.

The Kindess Elves

What is it? The Kindness Elves sprinkle kindness (and magic) everywhere with little notes of kindness for kids to do. The set comes with two Kindness Elves and their little magic house.

How it works: Once The Kindness Elves arrive in your home, the elves are busy leaving a daily Act of Kindness suggestion throughout the house for the kids to find. Suggested acts range from simple kind gestures such as smiling at a stranger to grander gestures such as donating food to the local food bank. After witnessing the act of kindness, The Kindness Elves leave the children a little postcard congratulating them on their act of kindness for the children to record in their Little Book of Big Kindnesses. Children can then write back to the elves if they wish. On Christmas Eve, the Kindness Elves bid farewell with a goodbye letter highlighting their stay and kind experiences that were shared. They may even pop back throughout the year during birthdays or other special occasions. After all, spreading kindness is always in season.

Buy it at The Kindness Elves Store.


What is it? A plush doll named Lupita who encourages children to do good deeds throughout the Christmas holiday season leading up to the Three Kings Day. The Lupita storybook celebrates Hispanic traditions while spreading the message of kindness and acceptance. The story tells how Lupita was given a special mission by Our Lady of Guadalupe to watch over the children from Dec. 12 to Jan. 6. Set includes a plush doll and bilingual English and Spanish storybook set.

How does it work? Starting Dec. 12 (Our Lady of Guadalupe Day), place Lupita in your kid’s bedroom and every night the child will tell Lupita all about the good things they did that day and ways they can do even better. On Christmas day, kids will give a homemade gift to their parents. On Jan. 6, Three Kings Day, well-behaved children will find special gifts from Lupita.

Buy it at Target.

Follow Cheryl’s family adventures at O the Places We Go.

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