The Elf on the Shelf quickly became known all over the world in 2005. Parents and children alike get excited about the idea of Santa sending his sneaky elves, in true hide-and-seek fashion, to spy on children and report back about their behavior. It has become a tradition for many families. While The Elf on the Shelf is an adorable concept… it has never actually made its way into our home.
Last year I shared how Dave and I told our girls the truth about Santa. (Aidan is still an avid believer though.) This didn’t come as too much of a surprise to Bella and Abbi. They have always known that Christmas is not about a jolly man in a bright red suit. It’s not about decorating cookies, pretty trees, sparkling lights, or presents. From an early age our kids have understood that the first Christmas morning was spent in a humble stable full of smelly animals and exhausted travelers.
But I desire for our children to know more than just the simple truths about Christmas… I want them to know the specifics. Details like: An old man and an aging woman who understood that Old Testament prophecy pointed to a New Testament Messiah. A young woman, yet to be married, joyfully accepting God’s call of becoming the mother of Christ. A noble man willing to care for God’s son as his own. A group of magi in search of The Savior. A set of shepherds, uneducated and of low class in society, being the first to hear the exciting news about a baby… and how That Baby changed everything! (Be sure to download our Advent with a Twist series from last year if you missed it!)
I try to prepare our littles’ hearts for the “big day” in a tangible way which is why when The Shepherd on the Search, a Christian version of The Elf on the Shelf, was released I was one of the first people to buy it.
Our shepherd’s name is Luke and he has become a cherished tradition in our home. Luke helps our children discover Christ each Christmas. He teaches them about advent (during his daily ADVENTures) while instilling Biblical truths in their little hearts. The Shepherd on the Search has been a great resource in making the story of Christmas come alive and keeps the eyes of our entire family fixed on the manger all season long!
But we don’t stop and start with the Shepherd on the Search. There are many other great resources we use in our home during the holiday season as well. Here is a list of books we use. I highly recommend any and all of these for your own family.
- Jesus Storybook Bible
- The Story of Christmas book set and Advent calendar.
- Christmas Prayers for Bedtime
- Picture books such as; The Legend of the Candy Cane, The Legend of St. Nicholas, The Pine Tree Parable, and The Crippled Lamb.
Christmas celebrates the most beautiful love story that’s ever existed and it’s my goal for our kids to understand it. We spend every day leading up to Christmas learning more about Jesus. Who He is. What He came to earth to accomplish. Where and when He was born. And why both the cradle and the cross are important.
As Christmas approaches, don’t simply celebrate the day. Celebrate the why!
We would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite traditions, past or present, that bring you joy during the Christmas season?