‘Tis the season to spread holiday cheer! It’s that time of year again and for many, holiday prep is already in full swing. Few things mark the beginning of the holiday season like taking part in traditions–and few traditions have gained popularity like the Elf on the Shelf. The Elf on the Shelf started as a simple idea that both parents and children quickly came to love and look forward to. Thanks to the Elf on the Shelf’s success, there’s now an array of quirky seasonal shenanigans to take part in like the Mensch on the Bench. So, in the midst of holiday prep chaos, remember to have some fun and enjoy the little moments that end up being some of the best memories.
Elf on the Shelf Alternatives
North Pole Gnomes – $34.99
If your children enjoy the mischief element of Elf on the Shelf, they’ll love the North Pole Gnomes. These gnomes manage and monitor Santa’s Naughty Meter and also play tricks on Santa and the elves.
The kit comes with a book (so your kids can learn about the gnomes’ origin story), a plush gnome (that goes to sleep in your child’s stocking) and a code to download an app that lets your kid play with the Naughty Meter.
This set was created by North Pole Letters, the company that sends kids letters from the North Pole, so you know they know Christmas.
Santa’s Lazy Gnome – $29.
Who says you can’t kick back, relax and check who’s on the naughty list? Santa’s Lazy Gnome does just that. This easy-to-maintain Elf on the Shelf alternative is a fun way to incorporate one of the season’s cherished traditions–without any heavy lifting. Everyone’s favorite “Gnomie” helps Santa keep track of who’s been naughty or nice with a whimsical touch. The set includes Santa’s Lazy Gnome and accompanying hardcover storybook.
Reindeer In Here Book and Plush Gift Set – $32.99
The Elf is all about mischief, with parents creating wacky new spots for the elf to hide each night and spy on kids to see if they’re being good and bad. The Reindeer in Here, on the other hand, is simple and just wants to cuddle–no need for hiding or mischief-watching. The reindeer with one short antler is a reminder to kids that different is good (and welcome!) teaching them a valuable lesson in the midst of some fun.
Mensch on a Bench – $60
Start a new tradition with the help of Moshe, a real mensch (Yiddish for an honorable person who always does the right thing) as the Mensch on a Bench. Moshe teaches children the real meaning of Hanukkah through a beginners-friendly book. Mensch on a Bench is a fun and interactive way to introduce and teach kids about Jewish traditions and Hanukkah.
Shiraz on the Shelf – $28
This one is for all the Mr. and Mrs. Clauses out there–the real boots-on-the-ground warriors making sure gifts are wrapped and trees are decorated. Leave out your wine glass and Shiraz on the Shelf will graciously pour you a glass to help you get through the holiday season. This 21-and-up tradition is sure to be a hit–and one we can look forward to. For another 21-and-up twist on a holiday tradition, check out our favorite boozy advent calendars.
North Pole Ninjas – $17.99
Did you know that Santa has an elite team of elves? That’s right–the North Pole Ninjas are on a secret mission sent by Mr. Jolly himself. The North Pole Ninjas are here to carry out missions of giving, kindness and caring this holiday season. Enjoy the beautifully illustrated book and unique storyline of these seasonal superheroes.
Disney Frozen Hide and Hug Olaf – $47.97
Disney’s “Frozen” has had quite the hold on children’s imaginations for some time now and thanks to the Hide and Hug Olaf, one of their favorite winter characters can come to life this holiday season. Following the same playful hide-and-seek Elf on the Shelf tradition, the Hide and Hug Olaf is meant to be found so that he can give a big warm hug of love. This is sure to be your Frozen fanatic’s favorite new festive tradition.
The Elf on the Shelf Kit and Accessories
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition Set – $29.66
Sometimes you just can’t beat the real thing. Pick up your copy of the original Elf on the Shelf that started it all. Move the Elf from secret hiding place while he watches to see who’s being naughty or nice. The three-piece set includes a book as well as your choice of boy or girl doll in various skin tones. Note that Elf on the Shelf is temporarily sold out at several retailers right now. Good thing you have alternatives, right?
The Elf on the Shelf’s The Night Before Christmas Storybook by Chanda Bell – $19.95
This Target-exclusive The Elf on the Shelf “The Night Before Christmas” is fun for the whole family. While aimed at children ages 4 to 8, parents will get a kick out of the colorfully illustrated story that includes all of the North Pole’s friends while adding to your collection of fun Christmas traditions.
The Elf on the Shelf Elf Pets: An Arctic Fox Tradition – $26.95
Even an Elf needs a furry best friend. This Arctic fox plush is your Elf on the Shelf’s newest friend and your child’s new favorite cuddle toy. The Elf on the Shelf Elf Pets set comes with a storybook that adds to the Christmas magic and Elf on the Shelf storyline.