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An Elf, a Reindeer, a Shepherd, and Baby Jesus: Our Family's Holiday Traditions Go Beyond Elf on the Shelf

Does your family have a holiday Elf tradition? We started one when B was just a little guy, with our Magic Elf, Snowflake. I love the Magic Elf as opposed to Elf on the Shelf because you can touch, play with and hug this sweet little guy all you want. The kids love to interact with Snowflake and make him part of all of our holiday fun. Last year, we added a reindeer to the fun, and adopted Fluffy, from Reindeer In Here. We don't stop with the elf and the reindeer, though, because Christmas is about Jesus coming to live among us and giving us the very best gift we could ever hope for.

Cirque Du Elf!

Don't get me wrong, our elf and reindeer add a lot of fun (and stress for mom) to our holiday season. Snowflake reminds the kids to be caring and gentle, and Fluffy reminds them that being different and being true to who they are- who God made them to be, is a wonderful thing! We're 10 days into December and I haven't forgotten to move Snowflake yet, and he has brought a treat, surprise, or has done something very silly each morning in December thus far. I love the belly laughs from the kids when they find Snowflake each morning after they wake up.

Shepherd's Treasure encourages kids to follow the shepherd to find Jesus- the greatest treasure of all!

The best part of Christmas for me is participating in daily Advent activities with my kids. We received The Shepherd's Treasure a few years ago, and absolutely love the ways it reminds us to love others and keep Jesus at the heart of Christmas.

The kit comes with a book to read with your family, a sweet little plush shepherd, and plush Baby Jesus in a manger. Each day during Advent, select a card (also included with the kit) and follow the activity as a family. The cards include a daily bible verse and include activities like making Christmas cards, sharing Christmas cheer with neighbors, and much more.

Personally, I think Christmas can include Santa, elves, reindeer, and all of those other fun characters we love. My job is to make sure that my children recognize and remember that above all, Jesus is the true gift of Christmas. Following our own Advent traditions like lighting our Advent wreaths at home, sending Christmas cards to shut-ins, family and friends, baking cookies with my in-laws, making gingerbread houses with Grammy and Pops, caroling, selecting gifts for people we love, baking bread for our church staff, remembering our teachers with special gifts and prayer, being together- that's Christmas to my family. Our actions are charged by the love of Christ. During this busy, busy season, I don't need to figure out what the elf we do each night before I lay down my weary head, but it makes my kids smile... they are the joy of my heart- God's sweetest gift to me here on Earth, and together, we wait for all that comes to us on Christmas.

We're in a season of waiting... waiting for a tiny baby who will change the world.
Does the childlike wonder and excitement of Christmas fill your heart as an adult?
It's my hope and prayer for all that we never lose our wonder.

I wait right alongside you with hope and in anticipation of the arrival of God's most extravagant gift to all mankind, and I don't know about you, but I can hardly contain my excitement.

Peace to you this season,

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