Are you looking for a Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf? If you are looking for ways to turn your child's heart to the true meaning of Christmas this year, our Heart of Christmas may provide some inspiration.
I love Christmas! The gift giving, baking, decorating, family, friends, finding a big fresh tree- all of it! I don't think there is anything wrong with getting caught up in the Holiday. I do feel the need to ground myself a bit and keep from getting caught up in the hoopla so much that the focus of what it is about just…disappears. I created this as a way to intentionally turn my child towards Jesus's birth, and his message- kindness, service, charity, and of course ultimately salvation. I want my children to experience the joy of doing for others just for the sake of bringing a light to their day.
Some of the activities involve digging into God's word to learn more about him, others will require you to act as he did – selflessly and with love. The activities can and should range from simple ones that take no preparation to more elaborate plans that might require a little money or sacrifice and more time. Service will stretch from those closest to us outwards to complete strangers.
The idea is that your children wake up each day searching for Jesus and his instructions for the day. This is a fun reminder and a symbol of what we should be doing everyday anyway. The preparation for this Advent activity has been very convicting for me as well.
It doesn't take very much time or money to put together the components for this nearly month-long celebration of Christ.
Heart of Christmas: A Christian Alternative to Elf on the Shelf
- A cardboard box for all your supplies
- a sharpie
- red card stock or construction paper
- Baby Jesus from your nativity
- a calendar
Cut out 24 red hearts from construction paper or card stock.
Write each of the activities that you chose on a paper heart.
Check your calendar as you decide activities, things that are more time intensive should be saved for when the kids are not in school and you are not entertaining the whole family at your home. Schedule something for each day from December 1st-24th.
Gather supplies whether it be arts and crafts items, stationary, change, your hearts, and baby Jesus and keep them in the box. If you have everything organized and on hand it will be much easier to carry out your plans and you won't be scrambling gathering everything you need at the last minute- set yourself up for success!
We are using the baby Jesus from our Little People Nativity Set since I have a 3-year-old I am not quite ready to sacrifice my porcelain version for the project.
Here are some ideas for your hearts:
- Hang up an Advent Calendar (Here are some Advent Calendars you can make.)
- Write letters to soldiers
- Do something kind for each person in your house today.
- Load up gently used toy's to donate.
- Put together toiletry bags for a homeless shelter.
- Read the Christmas Story together.
- Bake cookies and deliver to fire/police station.
- Make a winter treat to feed the birds and squirrels.
- Gather all the change in the house, take it to your closest Salvation Army bell ringer.
- Set up Nativity Scene. (Here are DIY Nativity Scenes you can make.)
- Leave bags of quarters on the washers at a laundry mat.
- Make a Cross ornament to hang in the tree.
- Go to Dollar Tree and pass out 10- $1.00 bills to random children (with parents permission first)
- Read a book about Jesus' Birth.
- Make breakfast with mom.
- Choose an angel from the angel tree.
- Visit a nursing home, pass out carnations and “Merry Christmas” greetings.
- Feed a meter for someone.
- Hold the door for everyone you see.
- Visit a living Nativity.
- Make a list of Jesus's names.
- Make a homemade ornament for a neighbor.
- Rake or shovel a neighbors driveway.
- Attend a candlelight Christmas service.
- Put together cocoa packets to pass out.
- Volunteer somewhere.
Would you like to do an elf, but without the naughtiness? Check out The Kindness Elves for 12 days of kindness!