If you have been shying away from jumping on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon because you fill it doesn’t honor the Lord and takes focus away from the true reason for Christmas, you can make it a Christ-centered tradition with these christian Elf on the Shelf ideas and printables that go along with them.
After years of seeing my sister, among others, share so many fun elf antics on Facebook and Instagram, I finally gave in. Last year I broke down and bought an Elf on the Shelf (actually I bought him the year before on clearance, but didn’t have him visit our home until last Christmas).
I had been fighting it for some time. I didn’t want to give in to what everyone else was doing. I also didn’t want people to think I was a bad Christian, because after all, there are many other Elf on the Shelf alternatives for Christians and many Christians have been convicted to NOT include Elf on the Shelf in their Christmas festivities for valid reasons such as the elf distracts from the true reason for the season, promotes mischievous ways, and further entertains the fantasy of Santa Clause.
I’m a sucker for traditions, especially around the holidays. Advent calendars have been a HUGE tradition all my life at Christmas. We did advent calendars when I was a child and I never once thought of NOT doing them with my kids. I may even go a little overboard with them, but hey, I have 8 kids, so I fill it’s warranted. But I was wanting to add some more traditions, especially ones that were a bit more hands-on and interactive. Because let’s face it, opening the door on an advent calendar or placing an ornament on a tree only takes mere seconds.
So I decided to pray about it, wait on it, and figure out what my own convictions were regarding the Elf on the Shelf. So when I saw Elf on the Shelf at 50% off after Christmas one year, I decided I was going to go ahead and buy it and figure out how to have fun with our elf, all while honoring and glorifying Jesus. I had one year to figure out how to do that. Over the course of the next year I scoured the internet looking for Elf on the Shelf ideas and then brainstormed how I could point those ideas towards Christ.
The following ideas are what I have come up with so far. There are not ideas for every day of December. We did not have our elf move every single night because let’s be honest, who really has the time or the brain power to change it up every single day for 25 days? So we just did it every 2-3 days. Our elf also is not on a mission to see who is naughty or nice and report back to Santa, or anyone for that matter. What our elf does is reminds us of the amazing love, grace, and power of our Lord.
Each of the ideas below has a little printable to go along with it, a related scripture, and most have some sort of activity to do. And for our elf’s arrival, we used this arrival letter and tweaked it a bit. Don’t forget to leave an elf on the shelf goodbye letter when the season is over.
Donate Toys to Girls and Boys
We started off with having the kids gather up toys they no longer wanted or needed and donated them to our local Goodwill type store. I put our elf in a roll of garbage bags and placed him in the Christmas tree.
For this one I spelled out I love Jesus with M&Ms and stuck the elf head first in the bag as if he was still fishing for more candy.
God Keeps Watch
I always got a kick out of this Elf on the Shelf idea, so I definitely wanted to come up with a Christian alternative. So I used it to remind our kids of the amazing power of our omnipresent God. If I remember correctly I had to actually glue the eyes on (I had bought ones with sticky backs), but the coldness of the fridge made many of them fall off easily).
Be Kind to Everyone
This one is a reminder for us to be kind to everyone. It suggests making a Random Acts of Kindness jar to help you be more intentional in the kindness department – any jar will do – glass, plastic, whatever you have on hand. There are Random Acts of Kindness cards included to print (both filled in and blank).
This is always a fun activity, plus it’s simple to do. I used this rainbow activity to remind us of God’s promises, mercy, and love. Just line up Skittles along the outer edge of a plate (white plates work best so that you can see the rainbow more clearly) the night before and you’ll be all set for the morning.
Stick with God
This one encourages us to be close with God. It incorporates a fun scavenger hunt game to find bubble gum too.
For this one, kids have a fun message to decode that they can then share with others.
It’s Better to Give Than to Receive
This idea teaches kids that it is better to give than it is to receive and then offers ideas on how to put that into action. And in case you are wondering, I got the big pencil at Kohl’s in their Christmas gift/stocking stuffer area that is usually near/in the men’s section.
This one is a fun and yummy one! Make a birthday cake for Jesus! I like to do this one as close to Christmas day as possible.
The Greatest Gift
I also like doing this one close to Christmas day. Just place your elf in any nativity that you have and read about the greatest gift we have ever received the following morning.
And there you have it, ten ideas for making the Elf on the Shelf Christ-centered.
If you’d like to use these printables in your own home you can find them in my online store.