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Trying to shift her family’s focus to liturgical living, Lilia Grundy introduced the family’s elf to Saint Nicholas last year.

Not the Season of the Elf

“We are so excited to celebrate the Advent season with you. So keep up the great work—say your daily prayers, novenas, help those around you,” This note “written” by Saint Nick was my quick attempt to change gears. I had bought into the consumer-rich, marketing craze of the “Elf on the Shelf” series, but it was too late (or so I thought it was!)

As I had dug deeper into my faith, I felt God’s nudge on my heart to change our holiday focus away from Woody (our family elf) to Jesus.

It was already December, but I was determined to introduce faith-filled activities into our secular customs anyway.


Elf Meets Saint

I know how much our kiddos and their classmates fancy their elves (and elf pets), so I didn’t want to take that joy away from them. I decided to weave Catholic traditions into the month’s rituals—notes typically left by Woody were now also left by Saint Nicholas. Small gifts were centered on our faith (prayer cards, figurines, books, and so on). We prayed the Saint Andrew novena. We celebrated the feast of Saint Nicholas by learning and reading his story. And we added a lighted nativity scene to our front yard.

Truth be told, our girls were concerned that Woody had lost his mischievous personality—but I insisted that it was his maturity in his growing faith (and theirs) that was allowing them to understand the real meaning of Advent.




The Gang Gets Along

I ordered the Good Deeds Manger online and incorporated that activity in our “Saint Nick/Woody” routine. The girls grew eager to accomplish their daily good deeds. We prayed each night by the Advent wreath, and Woody—along with his pets—joined us too.

Now that the season is in full motion, I share that it’s never too late! Our activities evolve—and that’s OK! Change means growth. This year, we have added an Advent Vespers concert to the calendar, along with a visit to the Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto. Our holiday schedule still includes movies and parades, but we’re keeping our faith front and center.


Click to tweet:
I felt God’s nudge on my heart to change our holiday focus away from Woody (our family elf) to Jesus. #catholicmom


No matter how far along we are in our faith journey, we can always begin to incorporate more liturgical living into our lives. And yes, it’s possible for elves, pets, and saints to all get along!

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)


Copyright 2022 Lilia Grundy
Images: copyright 2022 Lilia Grundy, all rights reserved.