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The Doula Dish

7 Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf

Elf on a Shelf. We all have an opinion on this rosey-cheeked holiday tradition, and most of those opinions are passionate ones. Some of us love thinking up new mayhem for our Elf to partake in, some of us are far too lazy (or, you know, crazy busy and hardworking parents) to add coordinating an Elf's activities to our to-do-list, and some of us just really don't like the idea of telling our children a doll is spying on them.

But whether your family has a spying elf or you're looking for an alternative to the Elfy fun, read on for some extra sweet (and totally non-creepy) ideas! And if you, like me, are one of the parents who can't fathom adding a new item to the to-do list? Not all of these ideas will be for you, but some of them can be used to get things done (check out the chores elf, for example...)

Don't have an elf yet? Buy any cute elf you find or, if you're the crafty type, hop on Pinterest and make your own elf. Enlist the help of your kiddos for some extra Elfing around!


1) Kindness Elf

Purchase Kindness Elves instead of an Elf on a Shelf, or use your Elf on the Shelf as a kindness elf! These sweeties dream up acts of kindness for children - or the whole family - to do for others, and they notice and leave notes when they see kids doing kind things.


2) Puzzle-Solving Elf

Create a puzzle or problem your child can help the elf through. Maybe it's a maze the elf must complete (draw or print one on paper or, if you're really ambitious, make a 3D maze out of blocks!), a math problem or riddle to solve, or even helping a silly elf with pants on his head get dressed properly!


3) Valuable Lessons/Conversation Starting Elf

The elf may find a book or a something else to spark a topic you'd like your children to learn about. Maybe the elf finds a new book about bullying, for example, or writes a note with a thought-provoking question.


4) Skill-building Elf

This elf can help your kids learn new skills! Perhaps the Elf is sitting in a shoe practicing tying it, or sitting on a potty (you could even get creative and leave red and green confetti in the toilet as "elf poop."


5) Chores Elf

Have the Elf start doing chores or tasks that need to be done to encourage kids to make their beds, tidy their rooms, etc. etc.


6) Festive Elf

Each day the elf can have a new bit of the holiday decorations out and ready to decorate with!


7) Christmas lessons

have the elf discover a new part of the story of Christmas (or a different holiday or story that's important to your family) each day. One day she might find herself in a small nativity scene, another day she may read a Christmas story or meet the angel on top of the tree!

EmmaRose BenneComment