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Spreading Kindness During the Holidays
What is this Elf thing anyway?
When our little one was about two I was starting to hear more and more about Elves on a shelf. My good friend had one for her guys, and it seemed like a really cute tradition to start. Basically, the elf is placed in different parts of your home, and often is up to a little “no good”. He or she reports in to Santa to let him know how it is the child did that day. Each night the parent moves the elf to a different spot.
Kids love it. Me? I thought it was creepy. I mean, honestly, two little eyes peering down at you and then flying off to the North Pole in the night to tattle on you. Then they come back?? This tradition wasn’t going to cut it in my house. I did, however; know that many of his friends would be participating and I’d have some explaining to do as to why he was the only kid without one of those creepy elves.
A different kind of Elf.
I started to research a bit about elf alternatives. I’m not a scrooge, after all. In my research I found that a woman named Anna Ranson in the UK had developed The Kindness Elves. Back then, if I’m not mistaken, she wasn’t selling anything, but I thought her idea was so incredible, that it’s what I decided to do in my own home. I ran out to Hobby Lobby, purchased some really cute elves, and decided that that would be a tradition in our home as well. You can read more about Anna Ranson and her story on her website.
How Are Kindness Elves Different?
The purpose of the Kindness Elves is to spread kindness. Anna has now developed an entire Kindness Program, and it’s wonderful. In our home, during the Christmas season, the Kindness Elves visit randomly when they have “witnessed” an act of kindness that our child has demonstrated.
For example, my little one absolutely loved the elderly neighbor next door. He loved to visit her. The morning after one of his visits to our neighbor, the Elves showed up with a bowl, mixing spoons and cookie mix, along with a note that talked about seeing this act of kindness. The note explained that making cookies with mom and sharing them with neighbors would be another way spreading kindness during the holidays. He was so excited.
So sorry about the image quality of these photos – I didn’t know I’d be sharing at that point 🙂
How we have built on this tradition:
Every season, usually around the first weekend in December the elves show up one morning with an empty, extra fancy Christmas gift bag. It’s usually a pretty strong fabric one like the one I’ve linked to. Our son fills that bag with toys he no longer plays with and leaves it out that evening for “pick up”. The elves pick it up that night and bring it to Santa. Santa and his elves then clean up the toys, fix any broken parts, and on Christmas, sends them to new homes. In reality, mommy does the cleaning up and brings them to a shelter or another place in need of good quality, used toys. It’s our families way of passing it on and spreading kindness during the holidays.
It’s important to us to keep the meaning of Christmas alive and well in our family. Every year the first appearance of the Kindness Elves is when they deliver the Advent Calendar. From there they only appear randomly (hello, so much less stress) when they witness an act of kindness.
However it is that you spread kindness during the holidays or at any time, it helps to teach kids that doing unto others helps them as well. Being kind helps to raise spirits, confidence, and rounds out our kids.
How does your family spread kindness during the holidays and throughout the year?