The 'Elf on the Shelf' alternative is rooted in the biblical Christmas story.
If you have kids, there's a good chance that you have heard of Elf on the Shelf. The idea is that the elf will encourage good behavior by watching kids' actions during the day. The elf will then return to the North Pole each night to report to Santa whether a child was naughty or nice. Although fun, some parents may not like the idea of a spying elf or of gifts being conditional on good behavior. For those looking for alternatives to the elf, Mary on the Mantel may seem a little more appealing. But what is Mary on the Mantel? We'll explain what Mary on the Mantel is and how it still encourages good behavior by focusing on kindness and giving back.
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What Is Mary on the Mantel?
Many parents like to teach the biblical meaning of Christmas to their children versus the make-believe. The Mary on the Mantel doll and book help to teach why we truly celebrate Christmas in a fun and positive way. Since God's love and the gift of Jesus is unconditional to our behavior, the Mary on the Mantel idea is more in line with that premise. The focus is on loving versus trying to behave perfectly, and it's a great Advent activity for the whole family.
How Does Mary on the Mantel Get Played?
Each day of Advent, the Mary doll will show up in different places of the house, just like the Scout Elf does in Elf on the Shelf. However, instead of getting into mischief, like the Elf, the Mary doll will be doing activities to get ready for the birth of Jesus. Parents just need to set up little scenes with Mary doing these activities. It will be a teaching moment when kids find her doing things like washing baby clothes or preparing for her journey into Bethlehem.
Every morning when the kids look for Mary and find her doing a new activity, they will also get an activity of their own. Parents can slip a note into Mary's bag with a small activity that they can perform like a small chore or helping a sibling.
What Is the Mary on the Mantel Book About?
The book is about the preparations that Mary goes through to get ready for the birth of Jesus. The story also includes special jobs for your children to do in an attempt for them to show love and kindness to others. It's a way of preparing their hearts for the biggest gift of love that we are given. It ultimately ends with the nativity scene and the birth of Jesus.
How To Buy the Mary on the Mantel Bundle
You can purchase these items either at The Catholic Company or Campbell's website, Be a Heart. Some of the options include the Mary on the Mantel doll, the add-on Motherhood Set, as well as the Mary on the Mantel book and activity set.
Crafted from hand-dyed cotton and showcasing embroidered features and wool yarn hair, the doll is available in different skin tones as well.
This add-on includes a pregnant belly attachment for Mary, a ring sling and infant Jesus.
The book and activity set includes 60 Acts of Kindness cards for children to help children grow in virtue.