A New Advent Tradition (Nothing Against The Elf)


For a year or two now we’ve debated about whether or not we should invite the Elf on a Shelf into our home.  He seems like a fun, mischievous kind of guy so we know he would fit right in.  And this is a house where magical things happen all the time.  For example, last St. Patrick’s Day I woke up to discover that a Leprechaun had used my bathroom.


Somehow, though, the Elf just didn’t seem right for us.

For one thing, everybody else is doing it and we have a deep need to march to a slightly different beat.

For another, we’ve already taught our kids that Mama and Daddy have a direct line to Santa and the behavior reports are all up to date so we don’t really need an elf to help us with our North Pole communications.

Most important, though, is that we really want to incorporate traditions into our Christmas that are focused on the birth of Christ and the message of faith, hope and love.

Handsome Hippie Hubby and I are aware that we are as susceptible as anyone to that feeling of wanting more! More! MORE! at Christmastime.  We LOVE to decorate and fill the house with delicious treats.  We can’t wait for that moment when the kids come tearing down the stairs and see the living room filled with colorful packages and new toys.

While I do see that some valuable lessons can come from the Elf, I can also see how, in our house,  he could become a part of the feeding frenzy that we work very hard to keep re-directing toward acts of love and charity toward our neighbors (and I mean HHH and I are working hard on our own hearts and minds, as well as trying to teach our children).

So it was in this mindset that a few days ago I came across this post from Charming Farming about something mysterious that happens with her nativity wisemen and then…

Yesterday… something mysterious happened at our house too…


After band class Sweet Hippie Daughter went out to check the mail and was very excited to find a package on our front porch.

We all gathered around and opened it up and found, inside the pretty box, a card.


Beneath the card, wrapped in some very fancy gold and red tissue paper was a simple little nativity.  SHD unwrapped each piece very carefully and set them on the coffee table.



“I can’t find baby Jesus.”  She said, and went through the paper several times, looking for him.

“Weird!” we answered.  “Well, the card says, ‘let us look for him together,’ so maybe he’s coming in a separate package or something.”

“Maybe so,” she shrugged and set up the figures under the tree.

We didn’t think too much about it but this morning I woke up to find something most unusual!

It would seem that the shepherd led his flock to a snack during the night!


And while Mary, Joseph and the angel seem to be waiting, patiently, in their spot under the tree, the 3 kings appear to literally be searching the house for baby Jesus.  They climbed all the way up on top of a photo frame on the wall!

I can’t imagine how they got up there but… you know… they’re wise, so I figure they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve.


I can’t say for sure but I have a feeling these guys are going to have some lessons to teach my family as, during the season of Advent they wait (Mary and Joseph) and search (the kings) and hope as they go on about the business of life (the shepherd).

I’ll be sure to share the photos on Facebook of where they travel next and what the children think about all this as they figure out what’s going on.

Do you have any unusual Advent/Christmas traditions in your home?

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

This post has been linked up at:

The Chicken Chick


20 responses »

  1. The Elf on the Shelf will murder you in your sleep. Good call on not letting him in your house. I’m still not so sure about those 3 shifty wisemen though. I would keep an eye on them too. Someday you might wake up and all your gold, frankenstiens, and muhr will be gone;)

    • All the credit goes to Charming Farming. I’m the queen of enjoying other people’s great ideas. That’s why I love crafty people like you! You creative girls make the world go ’round. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful idea- I love that everyone is looking for baby Jesus. Definitely something I will consider doing with my son when he is older. Can’t wait to read more about the wise men’s adventures!

    • I hope it will open up lots of discussion about what it means to be searching/waiting/preparing for the arrival of Jesus in our lives.

  3. I absolutely adore this idea. I don’t have kids yet, but this will definitely be taking place in my house once we do have them. Plus having a merry band of misfits is more fun than a little guy with funny ears…(though he is pretty cute!). 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this today on the Daily Blog Boost. I’m going to share this in several places, as well!

    – Brooke –

    • Thank you! I’m so glad that you like it. It has been fun so far. I’m excited that the hubby is starting to get into it. He’s the truly creative one so I’m sure he’ll come up with something fabulous! 🙂

    • Thanks! I wondered if anyone would comment on that. It was so funny to me last spring when I wandered into the bathroom in the morning and saw that! Life in my house is a constant adventure. 🙂

  4. I really really really like this idea. And I haven’t ever like any santa/elf on the shelf/tooth fairy photoshopped pictures before. I’ll need to keep this in my back pocket for the future!

  5. I love this idea.

    As a non-Christian I find the Elf to be a gimcky big bribe attempt. Every Christmas our family tries to foster the spirit of giving. We donate to food banks, toy drives & charities. The big thing is we talk to the kids about helping Santa or other families who need things more than we do. And the kids get it.

    I’m not sure that coercing them to ‘be good’ or ‘no gifts’ sets the same tone.

  6. What a fun idea! I love family traditions and that you’re introducing a new one to your children this holiday season. The point is to have fun and learn together, which is what you are clearly doing. Beautiful.

    Also, a family of hippies?? My kind of people 🙂 Stopping on from SITS today and hope you are enjoying your weekend!

  7. Pingback: 10 Ideas to Keep Christ in Christmas | Mothering with Grace

  8. Pingback: What Do You Think Wednesday – Lying To Your Kids or Promoting Good Imagination? | Lazy Hippie Mama

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