November 25, 2013

The Christmas Mouse: An Elf on the Shelf Alternative

We don't "do" Santa at our house. (Jen Hatmaker sums up how I feel about Santa, probably better than I could.) So when the Elf on the Shelf became popular, I ignored it as an option for our family. What I wasn't expecting was that every one of my daughter's friends would have a family elf, and that those elves' antics were the daily talk on the playground. And I'll admit it, I was also getting a little jealous of what fun those families were having. Thus the Christmas Mouse was born!

Montgomery P. Mouse reported for duty last December 1st. Each morning the girls had to find him somewhere in the house and in return, Monty would give them that day's assignment (via a typed note). Sometimes the assignment was simple, such as a challenge to do one nice thing for someone that day.

Sometimes it was exciting, like being given $50 to spend on the World Vision catalog, so they could be a hero to a less fortunate family.

And sometimes it was simply fun, like being told we were going to see the Garden of Lights that evening.

I can't emphasize enough how much my girls LOVE their Christmas mouse. If (for whatever reason) you're looking for an alternative to the Elf, consider creating your own Christmas Mouse.

To create your own Christmas Mouse, here's what you'll need...

A Mouse

This is the mouse I used from (aff link). It's called an elephant mouse, and although you can't tell from the picture, the poor thing has a HUGE nose. If you go with this guy, you'll want to fold the nose under, stitch in place, and add a glass bead to make a "real" nose. That's what we did for Monty and he's just as cute as can be! There are tons of options on Amazon for mice (check out this search) but I liked that this one had closed hands, allowing him to "hold" items.

A Character

Give your mouse an outfit, name, and back story. My friend Bethany made this amazing outfit for her Christmas mouse...

A Plan

It can be a little exhausting to have to be creative EVERY night in December, so here's 25 ideas to help get your creative juices flowing...

1. Mouse reading a book - Read your favorite Christmas book that evening.

2. Mouse enjoying cookies and milk - Bake Christmas cookies together after school.

3. Mouse with a globe or world map - Write letters to your sponsored children.

4. Mouse cutting out hearts - Show love by spending x amount of dollars from World Vision catalog.

5. Mouse making marshmallow & toothpick sculpture - Kiddos get to do the same.

6. Mouse tangled up in Christmas lights - Go driving to see Christmas lights that night.

7. Mouse with playing cards - Family game night!

8. Mouse with drinking from mug (or buried in marshmallows) - Hot chocolate after school!

9. Mouse hanging from tree - Make homemade ornaments.

10. Mouse with donut snowmen - Morning treat!

11. Mouse footprints leading outside - Play outside today.

12. Mouse roasting marshmallows over tea light - Let's do s'mores!

13. Mouse with candy cane - Kids told to try to find all the hidden candy canes in the room.

14. Mouse with remote - Movie night!

15. Mouse cleaning bathroom with toothbrush - Clean the bathroom. (Hey, we can't always just have fun!)

16. Mouse with disco ball - Dance party tonight!

17. Mouse with blank paper (and maybe spy costume) - Message (your choice) in invisible ink.

18. Mouse with beginning of a story - Kids need to finish the story.

19. Mouse with tea party - Join in!

20. Mouse delivers mini xmas tree to kids room. :)

21. Mouse with crayons - Kids get new coloring pages.

22. Mouse with glow sticks - Give a pack of glow sticks to the kids to play with after dark.

23. Mouse on cushions at piano - Practice Christmas music piece.

24. Mouse dressed as a king or shepherd - Read the nativity story.

25. Mouse hanging from stocking - Merry Christmas!

By the way, to keep the excitement alive all year (and to work a little geography into our afterschooling), Monty left for a cross-country trip right after Christmas. He has been sending the girls postcards from his travels...

My oldest was a little concerned that he continues to move farther west (when we live on the East Coast), but I assured her that by hopping on a plane he can make it back in a day. They CANNOT wait until he returns this December 1st! And, really, neither can he. :)


  1. Absolutely adorable! I wish I had seen your Christmas mouse last year before I bought an Elf. Pinned and shared your amazing ideas!

  2. Cute idea! I finally sucummed to the elf craze this year.

  3. I decided last year that I wasn't going to do the Elf, but I actually really love this! I have already made up an extra fun advent calendar with activities so I think I'll hold off on this idea til next year (gives me a year to find the perfect mouse!). Thanks for sharing :)

  4. This is super cute! We don't do Santa either, so we do the Christmas Angel instead. :)

  5. So during the year does he get sent around to people you know or how does that work?

    1. Shannon - Last January I went to and ordered about 10 postcards from famous spots around the US. Then every 6 weeks or so, I dropped one in the mailbox for the girls to receive the next day. This next year, I think Monty is going to do a tour of Europe!

  6. Love this. Boycotting the elf, but this is perfect for our family! Thank you for sharing.

  7. I just saw this and it's an absolutely adorable idea!!


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