Our Advent: Truth in the Tinsel and Elf on the Shelf

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Truth in the Tinsel has become a holiday season staple in our home. We’re not what you’d consider a religious family, but we do believe in teaching our children the Biblical Christmas Story and the reason we, as a family, celebrate Christmas. Santa is also part of our Christmas and a tradition we’ve chosen to continue with our children. I’m of the mind that there is plenty of room for both versions of Christmas in our house. The best thing about Truth in the Tinsel is that you can absolutely adapt the program and lessons to your life and how your family chooses to celebrate Christmas.

Truth in the Tinsel

This will be third year using Truth in the Tinsel, a guided Advent study for children. Each day, we read an Advent story and the kids color ornaments to hang on their own tree. It’s a simple activity that takes 10-15 minutes each day, but it reminds them of why we celebrate Christmas and gives them a chance to sit down and soak it all in. I’ll even tie it into other Christmas activities like baking.

It’s also the third year our Elf on the Shelf, Alfie, will be coming to spend the holidays in our home. My kids adore their elf. Not because he’s naughty and gets caught turning our milk blue or toilet papering the tree, but just for the simple joy of finding him around the house each day. I’d love to say he helps with behavior during the holidays, but I’d be lying. He’s just a fun little guy that hides in our house and helps us celebrate Advent. Yes, your Elf can celebrate Advent with you!

Here are three easy ways to incorporate both traditions into your Christmas season:

Truth in the Tinsel and Elf on the Shelf

1. Have your Elf deliver the Truth in the Tinsel ornaments:
This year, Alfie will be bringing the kids their ornaments each day. I’ve already printed and cut out the ornaments at night after they’re in bed so I’m set for Novmeber 30th. This makes my life a lot easier because I don’t need to think of something to do with Alfie each night. I wish I could create all of these Pinterest-worthy setups for the Elf, but I just don’t have it in me, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. All I need to do is put two ornaments in his hands and hide him somewhere in the house. I’ll set an alarm on my phone to remind me to set him up each night so I’m not shooting out of bed at midnight thinking, “I FORGOT THE ELF AGAIN!”  If your kids are older, you can have your Elf deliver the craft supplies for each project. We are going to move to the crafts next year when both kids are a bit older. The paper ornaments work perfectly for us for now. 

2.Your Elf can help create a display for the ornaments:
Last year, Alfie made my kids a paper Christmas tree to hang their ornaments on. You could also set up a small artificial tree in the kid’s bedroom or in your living room. I suggest setting it up somewhere the children will see it each day and within their reach. This isn’t the family Christmas tree with breakable ornaments. This is their tree. Let them decorate it as they see fit, even if all of the ornaments end up on the same two branches. Having their own tree to decorate will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment and they’ll be reminded of their lessons each time they look at their beautiful tree.

3. Have your Elf deliver Advent Stories or a new Bible:
Our Elf loves bringing books to the kids. I order a lot of books from my kid’s Scholastic fliers (I have a Scholastic addiction) and have the Elf leave them during his stay. This is the perfect chance to give your kids a new Bible or some great books about the Christmas Story. One of my favorites in the Scholastic flyer this month is Humphrey’s First Christmas. You can also print out the Advent story for the day and have your Elf deliver it with the ornaments. My kids like being able to draw pictures and write about the stories right next to the passages.

I’m looking forward to our Advent lessons again this year. Each year, the kids seem to absorb more of the stories, ask more questions, and become more excited for the Season. If you’re looking for an easy, yet meaningful way to teach the story of Advent, I definitely recommend purchasing Truth in the Tinsel and making it a new holiday tradition.

I’d love to hear how your Elf helps you celebrate Advent in you home. Leave a comment and share your ideas!

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  • Reply Jenn November 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    That book looks super cute, an probably right up our alley. We also have the Elf, but…. I don’t love him. He doesn’t get into mischief here, either, and little man likes finding him around, but he’s just not my favorite.

  • Reply Heather December 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    This is our first year for truth in the tinsel and having an elf (son is just under 2). Our elf shows up doing something that represents what we are doing for the advent that day. For example, when we talked about gabriel, our elf was found making snow angels in mommys sugar, when we talked about the kingdom, our elf was found in a lincoln log built castle wearing the crown we were going to decorate. He also brings books, ornaments to decorate, and other special things to help us celebrate the holidays as a family and learn the true meaning of christmas.

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