A Nicer Christmas – Elf on the Shelf Alternative
Christmas is my favorite season of the year. I start getting the itch to decorate in early October each year. I honestly just love the happiness I get to see my children experience as everything turns red, green, and magical.
My mother in law always says that Jesus is born again in someone’s heart each day so I should feel free to celebrate the Christmas season all year-long. Isn’t that a great way to look at it?
To me, Christmas is just that. A feeling. A season of all the good feelings. I try to make sure that everything we do during the season brings happiness, joy, and a loving and giving spirit.
Family Christmas Traditions
Since having our first daughter my husband and I have wanted to create special things we could do together each year. Something we could look forward to. Christmas cookies, visiting a live nativity, checking out all the decorations as the Disney hotels.
The one tradition we have always refused to jump on the bandwagon with was the Elf on the Shelf.
We neither understand the appeal or want to tie ourselves down to that kind of commitment each night of the Christmas season.
Plus, he’s creepy.
And, I try to teach my kids to be nice and sweet and I certainly don’t want them misbehaving and claiming that it was okay for the Elf so it should be okay for them!
No thank you!
Daily Commitments with the Elf on the Shelf
Now, the past few years we have done an advent calendar thing with the kids which they love. But really it just involves them moving a little-felt character into the Nativity scene each day so it doesn’t really involve that much commitment.
I researched a few more alternatives to the Elf as well which you can find in my post Elf on the Shelf Alternatives.
This year though I think I have found the PERFECT alternative to the Elf.
An Elf on the Shelf Alternative – Reindeer in Here
The premise of this holiday tradition is entirely focused on your child’s own experiences during the season.
A Reindeer arrives on the first day of December and stays until Christmas day.
Your child names their new friend and takes him or her everywhere with them during December. Enjoying the season with them, getting to know them, and reporting their activities back to Santa so he can know them better as well.
This idea is more than just making sure you are nice and not naughty. It is about sharing themselves and their experiences for a season.
I love it.
Totally takes the pressure off me from having to plan something every day. Plus I’m not constantly nagging that Santa will see if they aren’t being nice. They have their own little reminder to carry around each day.
Reindeer in Here is a Teaching Toy
Reindeer in here is also a unique little-stuffed animal. He has one antler that is smaller than the other. Making him quite different from all the other reindeer.
A special book comes with your reindeer which packs a powerful lesson in empathy and understanding in a way that is easy for young children to understand and comprehend.
He teaches children that we are all unique and special in our own way. He teaches them that we should celebrate these differences in ourselves and in each other.
Honestly, it is those kinds of qualities that I want my children to remember each holiday season.
During a season that can quickly become a receiving season, this special little toy puts the focus back on others. It helps my children learn to be kind, and generous.
Reindeer in here also fits right in with other topics of generosity and understanding that we like to encourage our children to participate in during the Christmas season.
We like to do shoeboxes for the elderly, military stationed overseas, and underprivileged children. These people live lives that are different from ours but we should still be sympathetic, empathetic, and kind. We are teaching our children that even when people seem different, they still need and deserve to be treated equally. Respected as individuals and given support and love when they need it.
My mother creates gift bags for the oncology floor at our local children’s hospital each year. My oldest has helped her make and deliver these for several years now. Not only do I feel this is a wonderful way for her to learn about giving back but I also feel it’s a great way for her to see and understand that differences like sickness do not change who a person is.
Reindeer in here has become so important to our Christmas season because he is a physical and visual reminder of these values every day.
What if we all spent time this season teaching our kids that being unique and different is something to be embraced and celebrated?
Elf on the Shelf teaches kids about being silly, making messes, and being naughty. Is that really what we want to be teaching them during a season when we could and should be teaching them about generosity, empathy, and service to others?
What kind of difference could we make if we all changed the narrative for our children this season?
Reindeer in Here is an Award-Winning Toy
Reindeer in Here has won so many awards in his short time. From Moms Choice Awards to receiving the National Parenting Centers seal of approval. The Reindeer has been featured in People, Newsweek, and US magazines. And he has ranked as the #1 bestseller and #1 new release on Amazon.
This toy is the real deal and obviously, I am not alone in my love for him.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through a link I provide that I may be compensated. This does not change the price for you and I only recommend products and services that I believe in and trust.
Where to buy the Reindeer in Here
Reindeer in Here is sold in various independent retail locations which you can find a list of on their website HERE.
Y’all know how much I LOVE Amazon, and yes they are sold there too.
If you are considering adding a Reindeer to your family I would purchase EARLY. Firstly you want him (or her) to arrive at the very beginning of December so you get to experience his magic for the whole season. Secondly, he has sold out for several years so make sure you get yours while you can.
The Reindeer has also added new products each year and he may or may not have some new friends from his book released each year.
Our Experience So Far with our New Family Christmas Tradition
Reindeer in Here creator Adam Reed was kind enough to send us our own Reindeer to check out early in 2017. When we received ours, my husband not knowing what was in the package opened it with the kids.
Well, needless to say, our Reindeer, now names Cocoa, was unable to go back into the box to await the normal arrival time of December 1st. Cocoa went everywhere with us for those days. Which was pretty funny watching my daughter carry this Christmas Reindeer around a pumpkin patch.
Cocoa waited in my daughter’s car seat while she was school each day and she greeted him excitedly when I picked her up.
Cocoa has been a real hit, and this year my middle child is old enough to get her own reindeer to tote around with her. While I am normally quite a minimalist when it comes to toys for my kids, check out how to declutter and organize your playroom here, I am quite happy to purchase a few more reindeer for my family.
Grab your Reindeer Here, a magical elf on the shelf alternative, and watch your child’s eyes and heart light up this season.