Preview: Try this positive spin as an Elf on the Shelf alternative! Celebrate the holiday- don’t fear it!
If you don’t like Elf on the Shelf because of his constant, watchful eye, you have to check out this Elf on the Shelf alternative with a positive twist! This reinvented elf idea uses the same standard scout elf in a kind, fun way that is in line with positive parenting. Let the kids enjoy the elf tradition with kindness and FUN- not judgment!
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Do you like the Elf on the Shelf?
It’s 6:45am and I drowsily start to lift my head because I think I hear my 4-year-old whispering. Why is she out of bed? I wonder as I slowly start to realize it’s morning. And she is whispering.
I hear little feet across the wood floor. She is dashing now- pitter-patter back and forth across the living room. Then, a gasp.
She saw him.
A pause, then little feet running up the steps.
Straight to her sister’s room. Still trying to whisper: “Get up, come see!” “He’s taking a bath! In mosh-mellows” (aka marshmallows)!
Now two sets of feet are excitedly running back down the steps to see this morning’s holiday surprise.
I love Elf on the Shelf.
I love listening to my kids race around the house in the morning trying to see where he “landed”. I love hearing one sister excitedly run to drag the other sister to the Elf’s new location. I love listening to them theorize about why he landed there, what he did while he was gone, and where he might be next. Observing them as their little imaginations run wild just brings out the magic of Christmas.
I heard my oldest telling my husband that her favorite part of Christmas is finding the Elf. I love the joy this elf brings to my children. (and moving him is easier to remember now that I do this!)
However, I do not love the Elf on the Shelf story. I don’t like the idea that he is watching for bad behaviors and running off to tell Santa.
I don’t want my kids to think someone is constantly watching over them looking for any little slip up that can be reported back to Santa so Christmas can be canceled.
What do you think about Elf on the Shelf?
Same elf, new (positive) perspective
My children LOVE the Elf on the Shelf. They do not fear him. They write him notes (not about gifts they want, just friendly notes) and they bring him gifts. They talk to him and draw him pictures. They love this elf.
And I think this is why:
Our Elf on the shelf is here for a very different reason than the traditional story tells.
He comes every year with a note that tells the kids that he is here to celebrate the holiday season with them.
This note asks them to tell him about all of the fun Christmas activities they do. He says he loves to hear about how they spread Christmas kindness. He takes trips back to the North Pole to talk to Santa and check how Christmas plans are going and help him prepare for his big trip. He tells Santa about the kids’ adventures and the kind deeds they do.
He does not stare at them all day watching for naughty behavior. He does not “tell” or “tattle on” the children. He is here to bring more joy to the holiday (not less joy!).
At the end of the day, do your children actually behave better because the Elf on the Shelf is watching?
Are we really going to cancel Christmas, return toys, or put coal in stockings?
I don’t want to put a damper on their holiday with a constant babysitter or tattletale. This concept is not what encourages lasting behavior anyway. After the holidays when the elf leaves, then what? We want our kids to make good decisions and become good people forever. I love this description from the North American Montessori Center:
“Dr. Montessori believed that using rewards & punishment inhibits the development of self-discipline. Rewards and punishment deny children the opportunity to make their own decisions and to be responsible for their own behavior. Rather than learning how to analyze situations and make wise decisions, children may make decisions based on what an adult might do to (punishment) or for (reward) them.”
I digress.. but back to my original point-
The Elf should be fun and bring excitement!
Why this happy Elf on the Shelf alternative works
Besides the obvious reason of having a fun buddy to hang out with over the Christmas season, this positive, friendly Elf on the Shelf works for a few reasons (in my opinion):
- The kids still get to participate in the Elf on the Shelf Christmas tradition just like all of their friends
- We can use the same little elf everyone uses with the adorable little Elf accessories
- They are young for such a short time and any little thing that adds joy to the holiday in a positive way is a gift in itself
- We get to see the excitement on their faces every morning as they search to find where their holiday friend has “landed”
Fun things to do with Elf on the Shelf!
Get this elf involved in the fun!
Whether you chose to let the kids touch him or not is up to you, of course. I say Moms can touch him in an emergency but he still needs his powers to fly back and tell Santa about all the fun things he did- so they can’t touch him. When I plan an activity for the next day, I try to “hide” him in a place he can see the activity.
Some fun activities to celebrate the holiday and get in the Christmas spirit with the Elf on the Shelf (ok, while he watches anyway!)
and don’t forget this one:
–Print your Christmas Eve checklist for kids! (everything they need to do before bed on Christmas Eve night in a cute little checklist!
Ultimately, what matters is that our kids are happy and we moms still have a little sanity left. If you loathe the idea of moving the elf then there are many other traditions you can do with your kids to celebrate the season (ideas: Family Christmas Bucket List).
If you like finding creative things to do with the elf and seeing your kids get excited about him, try this positive Elf on Shelf alternative can help add a little extra magic to your family holiday!