Thank you to The Shepherd's Treasure for providing me with product in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.
You know you've seen them in the stores... those little holiday elves with the clothes and books to go along with them. Every year around this time, parents everywhere are scrambling to come up with ideas for those little elf dolls to delight their kids. We started an elf tradition with my son a couple of years ago, and while our elf is sweet, my son grew to expect the elf to bring him treats, and it quickly turned him into a greedy little boy.
All along, I have just wanted to teach my son the true meaning of Christmas. I've worked so hard to help him understand that the holiday is about Jesus- the greatest gift of all. In my own excitement of purchasing and giving gifts, I know my son is seeing the gifts element of the holiday, and not much else. I feel like I have failed as a parent, despite my best efforts. This year, we were introduced to a beautiful new Christmas tradition that's helping us to bring Jesus back to the center of it all in our holiday and in our home.
The Shepherd's Treasure was created by Stephanie Parker, who says this of her sweet idea for this project:
We were featured on Shark Tank for a product called the Zipade-Zip that I created for our little girl when she wasn’t sleeping well at night (watch here). God has truly blessed that business more than we could have imagined, for which we are incredibly grateful!
My heart’s prayer has always been to do what I can to give God glory through our business, because without Him, none of it would have been possible.
So where does the Shepherd come in? Well, last year, I did the Elf on the Shelf tradition with my kids. Although this tradition might be a wonderful fit for a lot of families, I really struggled with it as it took their focus off of Jesus and turned it towards the presents they were going to be getting IF they were good when the elf was watching them. I found myself un-explaining the Elf’s presence in our home because of how hard it became to refocus our children’s minds on the TRUE meaning of the season and on giving instead of receiving.
We were blessed with our own The Shepherd's Treasure to experience this holiday season, and I was truly delighted by it.
I couldn't wait to explore The Shepherd's Treasure with my son. Baby S is a bit young for this, but we're including her as best we can. B was very excited to see what this box with the shepherd on it was all about.
A beautiful gift- the Shepherd's Treasure comes with all that you see here.
The Shepherd's Treasure comes in a lovely gift box, perfect for gifting or for preserving your little shepherd and the story. The box contains a plush shepherd doll, a plush Baby Jesus in a manger, the Shepherd's Treasure storybook, Advent cards, and a handy guide for parents.
The plush Shepherd Boy and Baby Jesus are so sweet! B wanted to play with them, but we had instructions from the story not to play with the shepherd or move him.
This is a beautifully written and illustrated story, told by the shepherd.
The storybook explains to the children (and the adults) what the purpose of the shepherd is and when/where you might see him in your home during the Advent season. The shepherd introduces himself to the children, and asks the children to pick out a name for him. B chose the name Zachy for our shepherd boy. Zachy went on to explain the true meaning of Christmas, and remind the children that Jesus is the best gift of all.
The set comes with a wonderful calendar filled with ideas for parents!
One of the things that I dislike about Elf on the Shelf, is that I was spending way too much time on Pinterest, trying to come up with ideas to surprise my child with. My husband and I actually sort of fought over whose turn it would be to set up the elf each night- and neither of us wanted to do it. This calendar takes all the guesswork out of The Shepherd's Treasure for mom and dad. You can pre-plan all of the activities, buy what you need ahead of time, and get everything set up after the kids go to sleep. Each day has a different theme and a specific card to display with your shepherd boy. The card has a bible verse on it. It's my hope that we'll say the verse together each morning, and that B will still remember it when he gets home from school. I love the ideas that are on the calendar- like setting up hot cocoa for the family, decorating Christmas cookies, etc... nothing over the top or too silly.
The kids never know where they'll find their shepherd each day- the fun awaits each morning as they wake up!
The Advent cards are so helpful! Even the busiest parents will love these cards, and will be able to follow The Shepherd's Treasure with ease! More activity ideas can be found online.
I also love that each card has a verse for the day. The verses are simple for kids to remember.
In the back of The Shepherd's Treasure book, you can inscribe your family's name, the shepherd's name you chose, and when you started the tradition together.
We will be starting our journey with our shepherd on Thursday, and I am so excited to see how we do this as a family, My hope is that my son's attitude improves a bit, and that he remembers to keep Jesus at the center as we journey to the manger to find him waiting for us. Being the child of a blogger is fun, but it makes it hard on the parents when the kids see constant 'stuff.' It's our livelihood, so it's important, but it's more important to me that my kids always hold Jesus in their hearts, and are raised as givers. This is a beautiful tradition that I am so happy to have in my home and to share with my family.
B can't wait to get started on the Christmas journey to the manger with Zachy!
How It Works
1- Find it! Your family adventure begins when your Shepherd “appears” beside The Shepherd’s Treasure book. Place your Shepherd doll somewhere in your home and help create the excitement when your little ones find him for the first time!
2- Read it! Gather together and explore the true meaning of Christmas by reading The Shepherd's Treasure. For additional activities, look in the back of the book. Try the verse hunt and find a letter from your Shepherd explaining why Jesus is so special!
3- Name him! Pick a fun name for your Shepherd and record it on the dedication page at the end of the book.
4- Find him! Every morning your little one's job is to find their Shepherd and join journey! Explain not to touch or disturb him for fear that he might not find his treasure.
5- The Journey! Your Shepherd "travels in search of Jesus” each night while your kids sleep. After bedtime, find creative and fun ways for your Shepherd to continue his journey.
6- The Treasure! On Christmas morning, your Shepherd will find Baby Jesus! Place your Shepherd and Baby Jesus together somewhere extra special. Your children will find their Shepherd kneeling before the greatest Treasure of all time: Jesus!
The search doesn’t stop there! Our prayer is that this fun treasure hunt will result in a more lasting search to find Jesus every day! Our family will be diligently praying for the hearts of your little ones this Christmas!
Want it? Get it!
Head on over to The Shepherd's Treasure to read more about the Parker family and their beautiful idea for this project. You can also shop for The Shepherd's Treasure and start your own Christmas tradition with your family. Connect with The Shepherd's Treasure on Facebook, and Instagram.
Want it? Win it!
One MBP reader will win their very own The Shepherd's Treasure Set so they can enjoy a new Christmas tradition with their family! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older. No PO Boxes. Use the RC entry form below to enter for your chance to win. Void where prohibited. MBP is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please see our policies page for details.
Special thanks to The Shepherd's Treasure for allowing us to share about their beautiful alternative to Elf on the Shelf. Look for it in our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide!