Rascally Reindeer Decorations – An Alternative to Elf on the Shelf

The Rascally Reindeer – our alternative to Elf on the Shelf!

You’ve probably heard of The Elf on the Shelf, right? He’s a mischievous elf who shows up at the beginning of December to keep an eye on your kids.  By day, your elf sits on a shelf, watching to see who’s naughty and nice, but by night, he gets into all kinds of trouble while they’re sleeping. Elf is known for making messes in the kitchen, playing with the kids toys, and getting himself into sticky situations that he can’t get himself out of.  When you wake up in the morning, you find him, red-handed, in the act.

Well, we don’t do Elf on the Shelf here.  I don’t personally have a problem with him, although I hear that he creeps a lot of people out.  The reason I don’t do Elf on the Shelf is because my own kids were too old for it when I found out about it.

I’ve come up with an alternative though – something fun that I do with the daycare hooligans during the month December as we count down to Christmas.  Let me show you what we do instead of Elf on the Shelf here.

Meet The Rascally Reindeer!

rascally reindeer - twig reindeer ornaments
These reindeer decorations were originally going to be tree ornaments. They wound up being a bit big for my liking though, so I popped them into a potted plant and until I could figure out what to do with them.

The next morning, after watching the hooligans discover them in their silly location, it hit me!  These twig reindeer could be an alternative to Elf on the Shelf here in my daycare!

I was pretty tickled to think that a project gone wrong could end up being so much fun!

Our reindeer don’t get into any mischief at all.

They simply find new hiding spots each night, and they hunker down inconspicuously and wait for the hooligans to come looking for them in the morning. A reindeer game of hide-and-seek if you will…

Here’s what you’ll need to make your Rascally Reindeer Decorations:

supplies for rascally reindeer decorations

 For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  We appreciate your support!

How to make your twig reindeer ornaments:

Simply glue a couple of eyes and a nose to your twig reindeer and let the fun begin!  Where WILL they show up?

Here are ours, trying to blend in among the clementines.

Rascally Reindeer Decorations hiding in a bowl of clementines

Found you!

Rascally Reindeer ornaments in the fruit bowl

And here they are appropriately hanging out in the Christmas Cactus.

Reindeer decorations in a Christmas Cactus

  They seem to like greenery.  Here we have one camping out in the hibiscus,

reindeer ornament in hibiscus plant

and another chillin’ in the spider plant.

Rascally Reindeer in the spider plant.

On this night, they even managed to escape into the backyard!

Reindeer decorations in the snow

Oh, those Rascally Reindeer!  We never know where we’re going to find them!

What a fun way to count down the days to Christmas!

twig reindeer ornament - an alternative to Elf on the Shelf


Looking for more alternatives to Elf on the Shelf?  Check out:

7 Kind and Friendly Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf


Looking for traditional Elf on the Shelf Ideas? Check out:

40+ Elf on the Shelf Idea by Kids Activities Blog


You may also like:

Rudolph Footprint Greeting Cards

Toilet Paper Reindeer

Reindeer and Santa Craft Stick Ornaments



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  1. says

    Christmas has always been a family celebration in the Grinkmeyer home, but as our children grew older we found that their interest in Christmas morning waned and the sparkle in their eyes was gone. The day after Thanksgiving, 1992, we introduced the Christmas Web in our home with the placement of Magic Wands into their socks that had for years been hung at the fireplace mantel. Attached to each Magic Wand was a piece of yarn (a 70 yard piece of yarn). When our two teen-aged children came down Christmas morning, they found that the yarn was wound through the house – around window latches, door knobs, chairs and doors. It ended in a closet or cabinet which held their special Christmas gift from one of Santas elves, an elf who had been looking out for them for the past year and knew of their desire for this special Christmas gift.
    The Christmas Web continued as each of our children got married and as they had children. Each of our grandchildren have an Elf on the Shelf or Elf Magic elf who is now the elf that hides their special Christmas gift each year and leads them to it with their individual Magic Wand. We now have seven Magic Wands each with 70 yards of yarn winding through our house every Christmas morning, making getting a cup of coffee an acrobatic achievement before the winding hunt begins.
    The Christmas Web has become a highly anticipated family tradition for our children, grandchildren and us. We hope it brings as much joy to your family as it has to ours.

    • happyhooligans says

      I can’t even tell you how awesome I think your idea is! What fun parents you must be to come up with something so crazy-creative to restore the magic of Christmas in your home! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, once again, with your family!

  2. says

    Oh, I LOVE this! If it weren’t the wee hours of the morning, I’d be out looking for reindeer sticks! Super can’t wait to make these with my boys! I am featuring this on Makeovers & Motherhood’s Welcome Party Wednesday Link-Up this week! Thanks for sharing!

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