I have a confession to make: I am not a big fan of The Elf on the Shelf.
Don’t get me wrong. The little guy is adorable and all, and clearly kids love him. But keeping up the Elf routine can be time-consuming and stressful for for parents—no matter how much we love seeing our children’s faces light up with wonder over the elf’s antics.
Some parents also don’t like the fact that The Elf tends to promote mischievous behavior and a sense of being good in order to get presents from Santa.
If you’re looking for a way to bring giving back into the holiday season while still having fun with an elf, allow me to introduce you to The Kindness Elf.
Lauren, a blogger and mother of three, highlighted their family’s Kindness Elf tradition on the Today Show Parenting Team website. This mom decided she wanted her family’s elf to have a meaningful purpose to help the family prepare to celebrate Christmas.
“While most parents find placing their elf in different mischievous places all over the house daunting after the first few days, The Kindness Elf brings an entirely new plan of action to parents, and children, everywhere,” she wrote. “One that captures the essence of the holiday spirit and is an extension of The Greatest Story Ever Told.”
Lauren explained that The Kindness Elf also helps parents teach children about “intentional kindness.” So, each Dec. 1, their elf arrives at their home, smiling and excited to share ideas for the family to come together and practice kindness to one another and others in the community.
Wonder what the Kindness Elf’s missions are all about? Here’s a breakdown of his first week at Lauren’s family’s home:
- December 1: The Kindness Elf arrives! Ask your child what they think kindness means. Then give them their first mission, which is to hold the door open for a stranger.
- December 2: Give someone a compliment.
- December 3: Make cookies for an elderly friend and go visit them.
- December 4: Help your sibling (or friend) read a book.
- December 5: Make Christmas cards for your pastor and deliver them.
- December 6: “Adopt” a child through Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree or through any local church or community center.
- December 7: Ask Mommy if you can help her with something around the house (i.e., empty the trash cans, sweep the floor, wash dishes, etc.).
You can get a full list of The Kindness Elf’s daily missions on Lauren’s blog “From Blacktop to Dirt Road.”
And in case you think you’d miss the dose of fun The Elf on the Shelf provides, Lauren shared that the Kindness Elf also announces family-fun nights, such as getting new holiday pajamas, going out in the car and riding around to see Christmas lights around town—all of which sound like fun for the whole family!
Lauren’s family isn’t the only one that’s welcomed the Kindness Elf into its home. Lots of people have shared their elf pictures on social media—thereby providing the rest of us with tons of great ideas for how to bring the Kindness Elf concept into our own homes.
This early education teacher introduced her class to Jingles the Kindness Elf! How adorable!
Apparently one family’s Kindness Elf was a little late with his arrival. But that didn’t stop him from getting the job done!
Another teacher used her Kindness Elf to remind her students to say “thank you.”
It’s always good to remember that a little kindness goes a long way, especially during the busy holiday season!