I love seeing my friends’ Elf On The Shelf pictures pepper my facebook feed throughout December.
Part of me wishes I would join in.
But I just can’t.
I know myself. I’d get all excited about it for a day or two, and then it would just turn into a chore. A chore I’d feel compelled to continue, because if I failed it would tear a giant hole in that Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy fantasyland I’ve built up in my kids’ heads. Not only would I have to continue it for an entire month, but I’d be forced to recreate this every December FOR YEARS ON END. (Again, going back to the fantasyland I’ve encouraged these children to grow.)
I would quickly hate that elf.
So we do something different.
We slowly start setting up our Nativity scene when Advent starts. Mary comes out the first week, then Joseph joins her. The shepherds are seen caring for their sheep a few days later. And the angels are always watching over us (whether they’re announcing Jesus’s birth or not). While we’re setting that up, the Wise Men are wandering.
In our house, they wander all over the living room.
When my kids were preschoolers, I’d explain the story by encouraging them to move the Wise Men around the house in their search for baby Jesus. This gave the kids a great (authorized) excuse to play with the nativity scene. I was happy that they were immersing themselves in the story through play.
It also gave them something to do with the nativity scene. Nativity scenes draw people in, and for kids, it must be so frustrating not to be able to play with them or touch them. This Search of the Wise Men alleviates some of that frustration! (And may help to keep their hands off the other figurines.)
The Search of the Wise Men gives me two advantages over Elf On The Shelf:
- The kids are in charge of it. Sure, that takes some of the “magic” out of the season. But really, I think that kids like to have more opportunities to direct traditions, decorations, etc. And–let’s face it–it takes ALL the stress off of me!
2. It’s Biblically-based. Sure, Elf On The Shelf is cute. I’ve got no beef with him. But an effort to put more emphasis on the “Jesus’s birth Christmas” over the “Santa Claus Christmas,” we’ll keep moving our Wise Men all over the house.
So, keep posting those Elf On The Shelf pictures! They may encourage our family to get the Wise Men in (and out) of some sticky situations.
For other Advent ideas, check out the Catholic Women Bloggers Network.