I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really been a big fan of Elf On The Shelf. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all Bah Humbug about Christmas and having fun family Christmas traditions to enjoy with the kids.
I even enjoy looking at some of the antics the elves get up to at my friend’s houses on their Facebook and Insta feeds. But, we’ve never had an official Elf On The Shelf in our house. I’m sorry, but I can’t get past the fact that these creepy elves have been sent by Santa to spy on my kids.
Without consciously meaning to or even knowing I was doing it, my children have been raised with an attachment or gentle-parenting style of parenting. I’d never even heard of the terms when my motherhood journey began, I just followed my instincts and that’s how it worked out!
We co-slept, breastfed, carried our babies in baby carriers and never left them to “cry it out” as was the recommended norm if you wanted to sleep through the night. That style has continued as my babies have grown up – we discuss and help to solve problems rather than threaten and punish.
So, the thought of telling my children that an elf had been sent by Santa to spy on them and then report any bad behaviour back to Santa was just too incongruent with the kind of upbringing they were used to and didn’t sit right with me.
But, don’t worry! My kids didn’t miss out on the fun! A few years back when the Elf On The Shelf movement was really taking its stride, I managed to find a cute little toy elf (much better looking than the real elf on the shelf dolls) at a local shop.
This elf then magically appeared with some treats for the kids and a note to tell them that he was here to help them get ready for Christmas.
He would do similar, fun things overnight, usually not quite as mischievous as a typical elf on the shelf, and the kids would find him each morning, sometimes with a new Christmas tree ornament, a treat, a Christmas book to read or maybe a note telling them what to do next to get ready for Christmas.
Our elf was fun! He was helpful and giving and, best of all, the kids could touch him and cuddle him as much as they liked!
Each year our elf would return to help us get ready for Christmas. Often he would bring a new elf friend and our collection, and obsession, with Christmas elves got bigger.
Then, last year, a new elf arrived! We arrived home one day to find possibly the cutest elf ever, sitting on our doorstep with a note tucked up under his arm.
On reading the note we discovered that we had been elfed! Somebody (we still don’t know who but I’m tipping it was someone who knew about our Christmas Elf obsession) had left an elf, by stealth, on our front step!
What a fantastic new Christmas tradition! I had never heard of an Elf By Stealth before this cute little guy turned up at our front door – have you guys heard of it? Is this a thing that I have somehow missed?
If you’ve not heard of it before, it’s all explained here for you but, the crux of it is, you can choose to keep the elf you’ve been given or pass it on to someone else by stealthily delivering it to them – the idea is that no one knows where their elf came from, just that it has been delivered to them in an effort to spread the joy of giving at Christmas time.
There’s a note you can print to deliver with the elf to explain the game to the next recipient and keep the Christmas fun spreading through your neighbourhood.
Of course I couldn’t part with the elf we found. He was just too cute to not keep him! But, I loved the concept of this new Christmas tradition so much that I ordered 2 more elves (they’re available here on amazon) and printed out 2 new notes and stealthily delivered them to 2 families nearby.
That was exhilarating! All of the decisions, planning and execution were a whole family event. It’s actually kind of scary trying to sneak up to someone’s doorstep and leave them an elf and a note without being seen. We even got sprung by the resident cat at one of the houses we delivered to.
I’m certainly not suited to a life of crime! But, it really was fun back at home wondering whether our chosen recipients had discovered their elves yet.
And whether they would guess it had come from us – many fun conversations were had and you could really feel the sentiment of the joy of giving (with no recognition or reward) seeping through.
We were all just genuinely excited for the families to receive their elves and we hoped they would get as much excitement and joy from receiving them as we did from giving them.
So, whether you’re looking for a Christmas tradition that’s better than Elf On The Shelf, or you’re just looking for a new fun family Christmas tradition to start, check out elfbystealth.com – buy an elf, print a note, and stealthily deliver your elf to a friend, relative or someone in need of some Christmas cheer.
It’s definitely the best alternative to Elf On The Shelf I’ve ever seen, and it’s a great, new, family Christmas elf tradition!