Our family has Elf on the Shelf Alternatives, but they’re just as lovable as the real thing!
There is no doubt that the traditional Elf on the Shelf characters, so ubiquitous at this time of year, are wildly popular.
Many families love their elves dearly, and there are thousands of hilariously cute blog posts and Pinterest boards dedicated to coming up with fun and creative ideas for them every year.
In our house, the tradition is also carried out, and in the month of December I can be found giggling to myself in the wee hours of each morning while I pose and prepare our little elves for their daily show.
There is only one difference.
Our elves are not the same ones everyone else seems to have. Our elves are Wayne and Lanny stuffies, also known as Disney’s Prep & Landing.
As much as I love the general idea and tradition of the regular Elf on the Shelf dolls, and the notion of making fun and lasting memories for my boys each Christmas, I personally find them slightly…well, creepy looking. That is just me, and I realize and respect that many do not. It’s just a personal preference thing. Luckily it has worked out well for us, as our kiddos adore the Wayne and Lanny stuffies, which do have some key advantages over the classic elves.
If you happen to also feel like me, loving the tradition but not the “official” dolls, don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and use a different kind of “elf” for your own family’s holiday friend. I happened to find the Wayne and Lanny dolls (who also happen to be super cute elves!) together on sale at a card shop one year when the idea hit me. But there are lots of other alternative elf dolls out there you could go with.
I was concerned in the beginning as to whether or not my boys would know that our “elves” were not the official ones, and possibly worry that they weren’t the real ones their friends all have.
So far so good though, and in fact both boys really love and cherish Wayne and Lanny. Even throughout the rest of the year they often ask how long it will be before the elves return. Our elf alternatives seem to be a success, and we look forward to many more holidays with them around.
Here is one of the many poses I had fun working on last year. I don’t get this creative every night; sometimes if I’m out of ideas I just sit them on the couch with a remote and a cozy blanket!
Thinking about trying alternative elves, too? Some tips for parents who choose to try alternative elves like ours:
- You will have to keep in mind that your alternative elf, if on the bigger side like ours are, will not be able to do all the things you see the original elves doing on Pinterest pages and blogs. There have been a few times when I sadly had to forego a fun pose I really got a kick out of, simply because our bigger elves couldn’t hold it. That said:
- It can be both fun and rewarding to come up with some of your own more original poses than the well-used ideas that float around on the internet. Because our elves are bigger, I’ve had to get pretty creative at times. On the flip side, the bigger elves can sometimes be configured in cool ways that the small ones can’t.
- Your kids may ask why your family’s elves are different than the ones all their friends have. This might be a great opportunity to have a discussion about why differences make people special and that it’s ok not to be like everyone else.
- Obviously, unless the elf alternative toys you buy happen to come with different holiday themed outfits, they will not have the many wardrobe options available to them that the original elves do. This has not been an issue for our family, in fact I think of it as one less thing to do!
There are pros and cons to both types of elf, but regardless of which you decide is right for your family, one thing is universally true for all: having an elf in your home for the holidays IS a commitment.
If, like me, you’re prone to occasional bouts of forgetfulness with things like the tooth fairy, having an elf to put into various fun and creative poses every night (sometimes AFTER you’ve gone to bed and finally gotten comfortable) can begin to feel like a chore.
I can say it’s definitely worth the laughs and memories if you can get through it, though, and so much fun to see the reactions your kids will have.
Whichever you choose, good luck with your poses!
Keep an eye on our Instagram to see what our Wayne and Lanny elves get up to this month. Happy Holidays!
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