Last year I posted about our \”Elf on the Shelf\” alternative. If you don\’t know about \”Elf on the Shelf\”, he\’s a long lanky toy elf who always finds mischievous things to do each night while the kids are in bed. Well, our family has a bit of a crazy side and that family tradition just seems sooo fun! But my Catholic side never wanted to make an elf the center of Christmas fun. Sure elves are cute, but I try to not make Santa or his elves a focus at Christmas time. While I loved the idea of a cute character getting into a bit of innocent fun each night, I didn\’t like using an elf toy for this fun family tradition!  
So,  yes I \”Baptized\” the Elf on the Shelf idea!
 At our house we have the three kings who are searching for baby Jesus each night! This tradition has turned into the talk of our Holiday conversations. The kids are thrilled! They ask about the Wisemen before they ask about a Christmas tree or gifts!  So of course we have to do this again this year!! 
I want to explain this tradition better for those who weren\’t following our blog last year:
Our three Kings: Balthazar, Melchior, Caspar, and their camel (who my kids have named, but I\’m embarrassed to tell you what it is) are a handful! They are on the search for Jesus!  Sometimes they can get into a bit of trouble as they struggle to find the Infant King. 
Each night, during Advent till the Epiphany, my husband and I move the three wisemen to a new hiding spot and create a \”situation\” for them to get into or out of. Then, after our kids wake up each morning, they try to find the three Wise Men. Most days it\’s easy, but some days the kids have to search for awhile! 
The only rule we made was that the three wise men have to find the Infant Jesus that belongs to their Nativity set. That\’s just to make it more interesting, since we have many nativity sets around the house. Their special nativity set remains hidden in my bedroom until Christmas. Then, Christmas Eve we pull out the nativity and set it up in a special spot. The wise men continue searching for Jesus until the feast of the Epiphany! 
These three wise men and the Nativity set are from Playmobil. (sold separately – I sound like a commercial)
 I liked these Wisemen because they are poseable.  I do wish they were more poseable (like an action figure) but these work fine. Because they are poseable, it allows us to make them appear to be doing certain actions like, hold things, climb, slide, reach, etc. This makes them so much more fun!!
Typically, we would think that the wisemen should be following a star, so you may be asking, \”Where\’s the star?\” That is a fair question.
When we first started this tradition, we tried having the Wisemen follow a star, but it was hard to have them stay in a path and come up with places (on that path) for them to search.  Plus, the kids knew where the Three Kings were going to be and the journey seemed to be kind of boring. So we changed our idea a bit: Now the Wisemen jump around the house and the kids enjoyed searching for them each morning. 
I was upset to lose the star, but we decided to play on the Bible quote: \”Where is the newborn king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to adore him.\”  After reading that I figured the Wisemen were a little lost at some point even with the star to guide them. We told our kids that our house is like the city of Bethlehem and the Wisemen are searching Bethlehem for Jesus. We explained to the kids that it\’s not 100% like the Bible, but we all found it more interesting and fun this way.
Another change we have made since we started our tradition is the time our kings search. We originally were only going to do this from Christmas to the Epiphany, but the kids, my husband, and I were having so much fun with our new tradition that we started hiding the wisemen during Advent, too.
Our family has been enjoying this new tradition and we are ALL excited to see our three little amigos start the search again! So prepare yourself for some upcoming posts as we share photos of our Wisemen\’s Adventures! 
I\’m posting this a few weeks before Advent so you have a chance to buy a set for yourself. Our family has just loved this awesome family tradition! I encourage you to try it!
The cheapest place I found this set was on Amazon:
See last-year\’s Wisemen ADVENTure posts:
Note: Our Wise Men ADVENTures Link-up is now open!  
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  1. Jennifer, I absolutely love this!!! We have this set, thought I'm a bit ashamed to admit the pieces are in different toy bins throughout the house. You have inspired my to go dig them all out today and put the set together. My crew and me will be joining in! Hope you all are well and that you have a blessed Thanksgiving together.: )

  2. Great idea, Jennifer. I have one question, since I am very out of the loop on the whole Elf thing, when the children find the wisemen what do they do? Do you move them back to a certain place? Do the kids help the wisemen out? Do they just stay there until the next day? I know that was more than one question. Thanks, though. I have been unofficially following your blog for a few years and really like your ideas.

  3. Hi Stephanie!! lol! I found a baby Jesus from another nativity set in a toy box the other day!! I'm not sure how I missed seeing him till almost a year later! It's amazing what you can find – shoes, rosaries, socks, cups, etc. Love it! Best wishes on your toy hunt! Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, too!! (3)

  4. Hi JenniferAnne, More than one question is fine!! 🙂 I ask my kids not to touch them so they can continue searching the next night. If they are in trouble we don't touch them and see how they get out of the problem the next day.Sometimes they are in the way, like the time they were searching in the toaster and we needed to make toast! On days like those, the kids or I move them to a safe spot (like my desk). If it works better for you, just put them back before the kids go to bed. I hope I explained all that well enough. If not, feel free to ask another question!Really just do what makes the most sense to you and your family. We all like to do things in different ways. God bless and have a blessed Holiday! (5)

  5. I love this idea! I much prefer this to the elf! Thank you for taking the time to share!

  6. Such a clever alternative to the elf (which I never understood!) I wish my kiddos were younger so we could do this.

  7. Hi Debra, I'm not sure how old your kids are, but we did something similar to this when I was a teen. My bothers, sister, and I would move the figures around the house when no one else was watching. Our little guys turned up in some funny spots! It was one of my fondest memories of my teen years. We all enjoyed creating a new situation for them and seeing how long it would take before someone noticed the figures had moved. So this idea might be adaptable to older kids. It was for us! God Bless!

  8. I just love this idea, Jennifer! My oldest boys will be the ones to keep our Wise Men on the move and are having a blast with it already! Last night the Wise Men were enjoying one last game of Farkle before setting out on their search for the Christ Child – I posted a picture and a link to your post here.: Thank you for the inspiration and I hope you have a blessed Advent!

  9. This is brilliant! I cannot wait to do this with my kids, we are all going to love it!

  10. Our crew will be taking part in this ADVENTure as well. Thanks so much for sharing!! How much fun!!! 🙂

  11. We are trying this this year. I feel the same about the Elf on the shelf. It is hard when my daughter listens to her whole church class talk about their elf. Did I read you have scriptures to go with this? Can you share them before I reinvent the wheel and make up my own. Add me to the link up if you are doing it again this year. ThanksDana

  12. Hi Dana! Glad you can join us this year! To get this activity going, we read and discussed the Magi story in Matthew. In particular we focused on Matthew 2:2 which says: \”Where is the newborn king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to adore him.\” After reading that I figured the wise men were a little lost at some point even with the star to guide them. We told our kids that our house is like the city of Bethlehem and the Wise men are searching Bethlehem for Jesus.Hope that helps. Have a blessed Advent!!

  13. I teach kindergarten in a Catholic School, and the wise men are going to join us in advent. I'm working on some standards based activities to go along with their antics each day. Thanks for the inspiration!

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