News and Updates

Five Minutes for Mom: Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Shopping for kids is my favorite. Picking out holiday gifts for children is the most fun and we had a great time selecting these top picks for you. You and your kids will love these fantastic gift ideas for all the children on your holiday shopping list. Some of these items use affiliate links, some are from our sponsors, but all are perfect for any child on your list.

Check out these awesome gifts for kids…

Reindeer In Here

This gift is a special EARLY Christmas present…

REINDEER IN HERE is a brand new children’s book and plush toy that’s sure to make your family’s Christmas fun and stress free.

This new holiday tradition offers families a NEW alternative to the Elf on the Shelf.

If you don’t want to remember to move an elf around your house every night, you’ll love that REINDEER IN HERE takes all the negatives associated with Elf On The Shelf and turns them into positives. Find out how the tradition works here…

The stuffed reindeer is adorable and the book is beautifully written and illustrated. Your whole family will love the sweet story.

LIMITED EDITION for Christmas 2017 – Available for purchase on Black Friday (November 24) exclusively on Amazon for $24.99. Get on this email list to be notified.

Read the full article here.

Daddyhood: Shelf the Elf: How a dad and a toy reindeer plan to end the menacing rule of Santa’s creepiest helper this Christmas

Move over Elf. And say hello to Reindeer in Here.

Reindeer in Here is the brainchild of a dad, who like so many parents, had enough of “that Elf” and its negative nature.

“The Elf just sits there on a shelf, moves around from room to room, and basically spies on the kids,” says Adam Reed, a young father and author.

The 2005 Children’s book The Elf on the Shelf gave rise to what was billed as a “fun-filled Christmas tradition.” The frenzy came with a toy, a stuffed elf, that was designed to sit on shelves and watch over kids to make sure they were good—and definitely not naughty—as they prepared for Santa’s arrival.

And millions of parents went along with it year after year, even though the negative concept and stress of moving it every day to a new location bothered them.

“One day I had this epiphany: Maybe I could change the Christmas tradition into something positive that also doesn’t add more stress to parents at Christmastime!” remembers Reed.

After all, fatherhood had already caused this new dad to look differently at life. The birth of his daughter in 2015 inspired him to write a children’s book, BEE IN THE SEA, which won five awards for writing and best new release.

Not a bad start for straight out of the gate.

Emboldened, he says he was ready to tackle the Elf with a toy that has zero to do with spying and everything to do with bonding.  He was determined to create a new lasting Christmas tradition for his family and other families across the world.

Here’s how it works: After arriving in early December, the reindeer is designed to be the first gift of the holiday season.

Instead of staying put, the Reindeer is mobile: goes on adventures, engages in hobbies and spends quality time with the kiddos. They bond. The toy doesn’t sit on a shelf and spy.

“Reindeer In Here encourages interaction and positive reinforcement for good behavior, in addition to removing the stress of moving and hiding an elf every day. Rather than fear Santa’s holiday helper, children have a new friend to take where ever they go,” says Reed. “While both the Elf and REINDEER IN HERE share the goal of reporting back to Santa, the reindeer isn’t on a mission to watch, it’s here to learn.”

Limited edition Reindeer in Here, both the book and toy, are available starting Black Friday on Amazon.

Read the full article here.

POPSUGAR: Parents Who Hate Elf on the Shelf Will Appreciate This Vicious Takedown Courtesy of Reindeer in Here

For any parent who hates the idea of the Elf on the Shelf (he is super creepy, TBH), whether you participate in the charade for the kids’ sake or not, you’re about to bow down to a new Christmas tradition: Reindeer in Here, Santa’s newest helper who just openly sh*t-talked your elf.

Created by a dad and children’s book author who was looking for a Christmas tradition to start with his nearly 1-year-old, Reindeer in Here was born out of Adam Reed’s pure desire to create an antidote to the Elf on the Shelf. After reading the book that accompanies the Elf, “he was taken aback by how creepy it looked, how intimidating the story was to children, and how stressful the ‘tradition’ came to be for parents,” the Reindeer in Here website reads. He vowed right then and there to make a brand-new Christmas tradition for kids by taking “all the negatives of the elf, and [turning] them into positives.”

And that’s how Reindeer in Here — a cuddly friend who keeps the magic of Christmas alive throughout the month of December, before he’s left under the tree on Christmas Eve to return to Santa’s sleigh — was born. But Reed didn’t stop there — the dad published the negatives of the Elf in a list right at the top of the Reindeer’s website, just a few weeks before the Elf’s official return to most houses for the holidays.

From the fact that Reindeer in Here is “cute and cuddly” while the Elf is “creepy and ugly” and “children are scared of it” to the claim that inviting the Reindeer into your home means no stress for parents whereas thinking of a million and one places to put the Elf inspires all of the anxiety amid an already stressful season, Reed isn’t holding back.

If you’re living for this feud, purchase your very own limited-edition Reindeer in Here on Amazon starting on Black Friday, Nov. 24.

Read the full article here.

This Mama Loves: Elf on the Shelf Alternatives

Some of these alternatives to the elf on the shelf were sent to us, and some are hyperlinked to our affiliate account, so if you decide to add some Christmas magic to your home this year, you’ll also be supporting my family by shopping through our links. I’ve compiled and updated this list so people have an idea of what is out there!

By now most people have heard of the scout elf- aka Elf on the Shelf. Now it’s gone way beyond little Scout elves, and into outfits, props, accessories, pets and so much fun! But…as fun as it is, not everyone loves the original Elf on the Shelf. Are there alternatives to the elf on the shelf? Yep. Many. seems like it’s a growing industry.

We have multiple elf friends in our family. A little of everything. Our elves don’t report to Santa, but they sure do like to move around and have a lot of fun- and sometimes get into a little bit of mischief along the way. Our elves all arrive when we wake up on December 1st and when we wake up on Christmas Eve, they’ve gone to help Santa get ready for THE BIG NIGHT.

So, if you’re NOT a Scout Elf family, and you’re not sure you want to do the ‘official’ Elf on the Shelf…what’s out there?

I’ve even posted him on here….and Christopher PopinKins.  But they aren’t the only elves in town.  Given that December is just a few weeks away and many of us have our elves arriving Thanksgiving night, I thought I’d share some of the OTHER elves I’ve seen – we all have our own style and taste, and to be honest, I want one of each. (I love Christmas!)

I also wanted to note- we do move our Elves almost every night (sometimes we forget).  Our elves in our house do NOT “report” on behavior.  You’ll see some elves in this post that go along with that idea, you’ll see beloved character friends, a Hannukah “elf” alternative and more.  I love the spirit of Christmas and find the elf tradition to just add to that fun and magic of the holiday season, so I embrace it.  So many of our friends do crazy elf antics that I’ve done (and have more planned) whole posts about Elf on the Shelf ideas!  I will tell you- the moment I start to feel stress or anxiety about this whole fun elf thing, that’s when we stop. I’ve seen Bad Moms Christmas, remember, and I’ve embraced the BadMoms mantras! Until that happens- I’m going to keep enjoying and having fun- and since you all seem to love the printables (which can be used with any Christmas elves, really), I don’t see a reason to stop!

Reindeer in Here

This little guy is the CUTEST reindeer I have ever seen, and he’s new to the elfin’ scene in 2017. Adam Reed, Reindeer in Here creator, wanted to put a little more Christmas and less creep into the whole elf situation, and this little dude came to be.

REINDEER IN HERE is a brand new children’s book and plush that’s sure to make every family’s Christmas fun and stress free.  LIMITED EDITION for Christmas 2017 – Available for purchase on Black Friday (November 24) exclusively on Amazon for $24.99.


FIRST GIFT OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON: In early December, the  REINDEER IN HERE  book and plush “magically” arrive for your child, setting the stage for a new yearly Christmas tradition.  It’s their FIRST gift of the holiday season from Santa — and it came early!

THE STORY BEGINS: As the story unfolds, the child learns that many years ago Santa asked his reindeer for some help locating each child’s home.  But this time, not only did Santa want help in finding  their homes, he also wanted to learn much more about each individual child and didn’t know the best way to do it.  One special little reindeer who was born with one antler smaller than the other and big blue eyes quickly suggested a way.  The little reindeer said Santa should send some of his reindeer EARLY in the month of December to stay with the children so Santa could learn as much as possible about each child —where they live, what they like, what they don’t like, what they do each day, where they go, who their family is, and where Santa should leave presents on Christmas Eve.  Then every night while the child sleeps with the reindeer next to him or her, the reindeer writes notes to Santa detailing their daily adventures.

CHILDREN/REINDEER BOND: After naming their own reindeer, the child is encouraged to show it around, taking it to a different place each day, both inside and out of the house so that when Santa comes on Christmas Eve, he knows as much as possible about the child, how good they’ve been and exactly where to deliver the presents.

ON CHRISTMAS EVE: The child should put their reindeer under the tree so it can greet Santa.  After Santa finds the reindeer, it will go with him to guide his sleigh back to the North Pole until next year — when the child’s Christmas reindeer will return in early December to see his friend once more!

Read the full article here.

Cafe Mom: The Elf on the Shelf Has a New ‘Nicer’ Rival: Reindeer in Here

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for the arrival of Christmastime’s most controversial guest: the Elf on the Shelf. To some, the Elf is a beloved harbinger of Christmas cheer. To others, he’s that creepy little f-cker we forgot to move again last night. One dad who found himself firmly in the latter camp decided it was time to create a rival for the Elf on the Shelf. Children’s author Adam Reed invented the Reindeer in Here, and it’s coming this Christmas to take the Elf down.

The Reindeer in Here was essentially created to be the anti–Elf on the Shelf. He’s a “cute and cuddly” reindeer with big blue eyes and one horn that’s smaller than the other. Rather than showing up to provide 24-hour kid surveillance to Big Santa, the Reindeer in Here’s job is to learn about kids — their likes, dislikes, personality, where they live, etc. — and report on the fun adventures they have with their host family. The official website explains:

“After naming their own reindeer, the child is encouraged to show it around, taking it to a different place each day, both inside and out of the house so that when Santa comes on Christmas Eve, he knows as much as possible about the child, how good they’ve been and exactly where to deliver the presents.”

They even made this handy chart to show how the Reindeer stacks up to his, um, competitor?

The Reindeer in Here is still a spy, but it’s a friendly spy. And, lest you have any doubt that this reindeer is meant to be a savage clapback to the Elf, the makers even created Shelf the Elf, a social media movement to “empower parents” to fight back against the “creepy” and “stressful” Elf culture.

As Newsweek reports, some psychologists do claim the Elf on the Shelfactually has the potential to be damaging to small kids. David Kyle Johnson, PhD, wrote for Psychology Today that, like Santa, the Elf on the Shelf is a lie that “threatens your parental trustworthiness.” He adds, “… Stopping bad behavior with promises of future reward is … a terrible and harmful practice. First of all, it’s just lazy parenting — the easiest, but worst, way to get your children to behave. Secondly, children need to learn self-control and to do the right thing for its own sake.”

But, as an Elf on the Shelf mom myself, I can’t help but wonder if we’re all getting our panties in a twist over nothing. Yes, the Elf on the Shelf book is weird. “The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, what you say and what you do,” it posits. “The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, each and every Christmas.” As a parent, I’m not particularly down with the whole Elf spy thing — and a lot of parents aren’t — so our Elf exists solely for fun. I move it around and my kids think he’s just there to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. No biggie.

But, even for parents who do use the Elf as some sort of behavioral aid, it’s hard to imagine things are really so out of hand that we must be “empowered” by a crazy-eyed reindeer to finally ditch the tradition before we cause permanent damage.

The thing with the Elf on the Shelf, the Reindeer in Here, Santa Claus, the Mensch on the Bench, and every other friggin’ holiday “tradition” that hasn’t been marketed to us yet is, these things don’t need to compete with each other. They’re totally under our control. It’s our choice to buy it. We get to choose how we introduce it and what kind of role it plays in our holiday celebrations.

So if the Reindeer in Here sounds like the perfect fit for your family, more power to you. Or, if your kids are already counting down the days until the Elf on the Shelf shows up, awesome. And, if you’re just sitting there beneath a massive pile of smiling elves and stuffed reindeer, patiently waiting until your kids finally grow out of all this bullsh-t and you can get some peace? Um, same.

Read the full article here.

Today’s Parent: Elf on the Shelf has a sassy new rival—and you’re going to LOVE him

If you’re like parents everywhere, then you know Santa’s little spy….ummm I mean, Elf on the Shelf, is less of a magical Christmas tradition and more of an annoying chore for mom and dad. Not to mention he’s kind of creepy—he spies on kids and then tattletales to Santa. Plus, kids can never touch him or they’ll ruin his magic. And you’ll break your kid’s heart and scar them for life if you accidentally forget to move their special friend into a Pinterest-worthy masterpiece EVERY morning in December leading up to the big day. Sorry—can you tell I have some serious feeling about this elf?

Thankfully there’s a cuddly and adorable new alternative to Elfie—cue the chorus of angels singing. Reindeer in Here—who like his name’s suggests—is clearly here to save the day. Reindeer was created by children’s book author and dad, Adam Reed, with the direct intention of dethroning Eflie (#sorrynotsorry). Ads for the Reindeer come in the form of a sassy and hilarious smear campaign against Elfie that we, who are still recovering from last Christmas, absolutely LOVE.

The website pokes fun at Elf on the Shelf by portraying him as a convicted criminal with a blurred out face, and directly comparing him to the loveable and way less creepy Reindeer. And Reed’s hilarious #ShelfTheElf campaign also encourages parents to shelf their elf and post creative pics of how they put him to rest forever, on social media. RIP Eflie. Head to for more info and inspo.

But hilarious elf jokes put aside, here’s why we can get behind this lovable new alternative to the once beloved Elf. Reindeer isn’t here to narc, he just wants to be your kid’s Christmas BFF. He won’t report back on naughty behaviour, he’s just here to help Santa get to know more about your little one by hanging out with your kid every day and writing letters to the Big Guy in Red each night about what your kid likes and dislikes and where you’d like Santa to leave your gifts (we prefer them next to the tree not under it—thanks Kris). That’s right, unlike Elfie who’s too magical to bond with your kid, the whole purpose of Reindeer is for your kid to play with him, taking all the hard work away from parents. You don’t have to move the Reindeer every damn night—or find excuses when you forgot to move him.

Please, sign us up for these reindeer games!

Reindeer will be available to purchase online and in stores on Black Friday.

Read the full article here.

iHeart Radio: Elf On Shelf Has Cuddly Competition

Do you have a creepy little ‘Elf on the Shelf’ that comes out at your place over the holidays?  Well, he better watch his back because a new reindeer is about to dasher and dancer all over him. “Reindeer in Here” … is here. And, it wants to put elves out of a job.  The plush reindeer comes with an accompanying book and its job is to help Santa find your little one’s home on Christmas morning.  Unlike the Elf, the reindeer is soft and cuddly and children are encouraged to move it around the house!

Find out more about “Reindeer in Here”!


Read the full article here.


The popular Elf on the Shelf toy has a new rival: Reindeer in Here. The alternative toy, created by a children’s book author and dad, is a direct attack on the menacing, big-eyed doll that spies on kids and reports their naughtiness back to Santa. Reindeer in Here just wants to be their friend.

The 2005 children’s book The Elf on the Shelf introduced a so-called “fun-filled Christmas tradtion” into American homes.The book, written by Chanda Bell and Carol Aebersold, came with a stuffed elf, whose bendable limbs allowed the doll to perch on a hearth, providing the room with 24-hour surveillance. Millions of parents went along with an idea that was frankly creepy.

Damn, reindeer, drag the elf to filth! REINDEER IN HERE

Reindeer in Here doesn’t want to narc on your kids; he just wants to tag along until Christmas, taking notes on their likes and dislikes. According to the toy reindeer’s promotional ads, Reindeer in Here “writes notes” back to Santa every evening, telling the great toy giver in the North that Emily in Manhattan, for instance, doesn’t need any more Sailor Moon collectibles; what she really needs is Tupperware and an electric mixer.

For years, psychologists have suggested that Elf on the Shelf was a damaging parenting tool, yet the toy still flies off shelves every December. The promotional language is, frankly, ominous: “The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, what you say and what you do. The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, each and every Christmas.” Why, one might ask, would you want to send that message to a child?

What did the elf do to deserve a black bar over his eyes? REINDEER IN HERE

Children’s author Adam Reed, the creator of Reindeer in Here, pulls no punches on his website, calling Elf on the Shelf “intimidating” and “stressful for parents.” Children, he says, “are scared of it.” His website, which calls November and December #ShelfTheElf months, invites photos and social media posts from families deciding to  “finally put their elf to rest.” In the funny ads accompanying the campaign, the elf’s face is blurred, or his eyes are covered with a black band, making the character look like a convicted predator.

Reindeer in Here—the book and the plush toy—can be bought in stores and online on Black Friday.

Read the full article here.

BLAST.COM: Elf No Longer Safe on Shelf, There’s a New Reindeer in Town

It’s just about holiday season which means spindly stuffed Elves are going to start popping up all over homes across the US to keep kids in line.

Before you break out what is arguably one of the creepier parts of Christmas, there is a new option.

Elves better watch their tiny little backs because a new reindeer is about to dasher and dancer all over them. Reindeer in Here … is here. And, it wants to put elves out of a job.

The plush reindeer comes with an accompanying book and unlike the traditional Elf, kids can get in the action. It’s the first Christmas gift Santa sends to them and it arrives at each child’s house in early December.

Its job is to help get Santa to know each individual child even better over the whole month of December. Then on Christmas Eve, the child puts the reindeer under the tree to go back to the North Pole with Santa until he returns next December for the tradition to continue again.

He officially leaves the North Pole on Black Friday.


Read the full article here.