3 Alternatives to “Elf on the Shelf” to Help Your Child Get into the Festive Mood

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Image adapted via Flickr/ mbaylor

Christmas is just around the corner, and everyone is probably starting to think about the holiday and all the festive fun that comes with it. One of the common traditions these days is the very popular “Elf on the Shelf” idea. It brings a cute (well, I personally think they're creepy) Elf into your house that you get to do daily fun things with (like hide him in funny places). He's used to help keep your children in the spirit, and he's said to bring the happenings back to Santa — that's how he knows if you're naughty or nice.

It's not a tradition I do with my kids for a few reasons, but I do think the fun behind this tradition is a good one. It's fun to see the kids get really excited about Christmas and have fun finding a hidden elf, but the watching for Santa thing is creepy to me.

{ MORE: Christmas Gifts from Baby: Sweet Presents from Your Baby to the Ones that Love Them }

If the Elf on the Shelf isn't your thing either, there are some alternatives that bring the same spirit of fun and family without the idea that the elf is there, watching for your kids to do something bad.

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Image via Flickr/ alicia bramlett

Kindness Elves

One of my biggest issues with the popular elf idea is that it's used to make your children behave and scares them into doing so. This alternative — the kindness elf — does the opposite and highlights the good your children are doing, which I think sends a much more positive message for kids.

If you'd like to read up more on the idea behind the Kindness Elf and how you can incorporate it into your child's festivities, check out Imagination Tree.

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Image via Flickr/ 2,500,000+ views Thank You!

Advent Angel

If your family is religious and you prefer to keep the idea of Santa and his elves out of your traditions, there are still ways to incorporate the fun spirit behind the Elf without highlighting those areas your family doesn't celebrate (like Santa).

The Advent Angel is also a great idea even if you're not religious, as it centers around fun hiding places, highlighting the good in your children and others, and offers positive, handwritten letters.

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If you'd like to read up more on the idea behind the Advent Angel and how you can incorporate it into your child's festivities, check out Mama Hall.

{ MORE: Did the Holidays Wreck Your Baby's Sleep Schedule? Here's How to Deal }

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Image via Flickr/ nicolesfunstuffwithkids

Put in place your own traditions to set off the season

When I was young, we would start the holiday season right after my December-born sister's birthday. We'd start by shopping for a tree, decorating, and baking holiday cookies. If you're not into the elf idea or the daily holiday-spirit thing, just starting off the holiday with traditions like tree decorating and cookie baking will not only be fun activities as a family, but they will help your kids get right into the holiday spirit.

If you do want to partake in the daily fun, doing some holiday-inspired activity is a great, active way to get the kids involved. Coloring sheets, doing good deeds, and watching holiday movies are perfect for kids of all ages.

{ MORE: Looking for Stocking Stuffers for Your Baby? Look No Further! }

What are some of your tips for getting your child into the holiday spirit? Share in the comments!

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3 Alternatives to “Elf on the Shelf” to Help Your Child Get into the Festive Mood

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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