Confession: The Elf on the Shelf kind of drives me crazy. Not only is he a little creepy looking, but I think he gives children the wrong view of God. Elf on the Shelf is supposed to be Santa’s scout. He (or she) watches children to see if they’re being good or bad and reports back to Santa. Bad children don’t deserve Santa’s gifts, but good children do. This sounds like the way many people see God. I don’t want to introduce that idea to my children, so I wanted an Elf on the Shelf alternative. That’s why the Kindness Elf started visiting last year.
What is the Kindness Elf?
We don’t emphasize Santa Claus in our house, but we were gifted an Elf on the Shelf a few years ago. I decided that each day, our elf would give an idea of how we can give to others. This brings the focus off of getting more things (because clutter!!) and lets my children experience the joy of giving. I was a little inconsistent with this last year because we had a newborn, but this year, I put together 25 giving elf arrangements that I can set-up pretty quickly. While I won’t have the super intricate Elf on the Shelf arrangements that I see on Pinterest– I think the ROI will be strong 😉
25 Kindness Elf Ideas
Buy a Starbucks gift card and give it to someone in line
Write a Merry Christmas message and put it on a random car (here’s some inspiration!)
Send a gift to a soldier
Sing Christmas carols to neighbors or people in our community
Donate old toys or clothes to a nearby shelter or other charity
Play with someone new at the park, gym childcare, church nursery, co-op, etc.
Clean up without being asked
Buy extra groceries for a food pantry (find a local food pantry here)
Adopt a family to provide Christmas gifts for
Check in with an elderly neighbor
Bring baked goods to neighbors or friends
Make a Christmas ornament to give away
Bring breakfast or a snack to volunteers at church (Maybe a cute hot cocoa bar?)
Hold a door open for someone
Put change in a Salvation Army can, or sign up for a bell-ringing shift!
Read a book (or tell it back) to a sibling
Memorize Isaiah 9:6, and share it with others
Earn chore money to give to others
Practice greeting people politely
Help pack a lunch for a family member
Invite friends over for coffee and cocoa
Leave a treat and a note for the mail carrier (not cash, as this article explains!)
Make coupons of kind things to do for a family member
Bring bagels to the police or fire department
Give a candygram to the librarian
I imagine my arrangements will be super simple, because I will probably have to sneak the Elf somewhere in the morning after Miss H is already up 🙂
What other acts of kindness would you suggest for little ones?