Our Elf on the Shelf arrived with a note from Santa and an empty box for each child. They were instructed to fill their box with toys to donate to other children, so Santa would have room to leave new toys. Great Idea!!
"Elf on the Shelf" alternative - the "Wandering Wisemen." Move the Wisemen around the house as they search for Jesus. The kids have fun finding them all over the house. They Wisemen can face obstacles, maybe stop for food and drinks etc until Christmas morning when they arrive at the Nativity. (probably should be done AFTER Christmas)