Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf

Chances are, you have heard about about Elf on the Shelf, the popular family tradition where children wake up to find one of Santa’s elves in a new mischievous situation. The elf is said to watch the children and report back to Santa if they have been naughty or nice.

Many parents seek out alternatives to Elf on the Shelf either because they don’t celebrate Santa in the popular way or they just want to do something different. If that’s you, here is a roundup of alternatives to consider. They may make a great addition to your family traditions this year!


The Christmas Mouse is an awesome idea! Just like the elf, it is found doing funny things every morning and gives the kids a service assignment to carry out that day. From Little Page Turners.


The Kindness Kids commit RACKS (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness) all season. Check it out at The Orthodox Mom.


The Christmas Service Star is a simple and sweet alternative that focuses on serving each other within your family. From Let’s Get Together.


Our family loves the Jesse Tree. An easy alternative to Elf on the Shelf is to hide the day’s Jesse Tree ornament for the children to find each morning. In fact, this approach would work with any favorite advent activity! Read more at Proverbial Homemaker


Another simple activity is to start the journey of the Magi after Thanksgiving and have them end at baby Jesus under the Christmas tree. They can be in a new, fun location every morning for the kids to find with a little scripture or devotional on a piece of paper for them to read. 

More Great Ideas