It’s that time of the year again – when that little Elf comes out and sits on your shelf. While this tradition can be a fun (ahem, dragging) one, wouldn’t it be better if it actually had a takeaway?
One that had a purpose?
Enter The Kindness Elf, the alternative to Elf on the Shelf and the perfect combination between magical and reality. 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. One that captures the essence of the holiday spirit and is an extension of The Greatest Story Ever Told.
I think one thing that we all can agree on as parents is that we desire for our children to love with the kindness of Christ, and not just during the holiday season. It’s our job to equip them! And there is no better place to start intentionally teach our kids about kindness than in the home. And here’s how it works.
In our house, Jingle the Kindness Elf comes December 1st and begins each day with sharing a special mission of kindness that is a reflection of God’s love for our children to perform each day through December 25th. The missions range from simple to more in depth, but the key component in each of them is to give our kids the opportunity to practice intentional kindness on a daily basis. And the more opportunities we give our kids to practice this at home, the more natural it will be for them to practice kindness on their own.
Here is our schedule of daily missions for your Kindness Elf to give your kids:
December 1st: 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 2nd: Give someone a compliment.
December 3rd: Make cookies for an elderly friend and go visit them.
December 4th: Help your sibling (or friend) read a book.
December 5th: Make Christmas cards for your pastor and deliver them.
December 6th: Adopt a child through Operation Christmas Child, Angle Tree, or through any local church or community center.
December 7th: Ask Mommy if you can help her with something around the house (ie empty the trash cans, sweep the floor, wash dishes, etc).
December 8th: Let someone else pick what they want to watch on tv (this is always a hard one for my kids!)
December 9th: Call someone and tell them what you love about them.
December 10th: Think of someone who might be lonely this Christmas and bring them a meal.
December 11th: Clean your room (with Mommy’s help).
December 12th: Let someone in front of you in line at the store.
December 13th: Make cookies and bring them to your local police station.
December 14th: Say something kind to your sibling (or friend).
December 15th: Tell your Daddy or Mommy how thankful you are for their hard work at their job.
December 16th: Make a Christmas card and give it to a stranger.
December 17th: Pay for someone’s coffee and leave them with a note of kindness.
December 18th: Make “Needy Packs” to keep in your van to hand out to the homeless and needy (bags with water bottles, gloves and hats, hand warmers, gift cards, protein bars, baby wipes, and scripture).
December 19th: Bring flowers to your local nursing home or hospital.
December 20th: Make Christmas cards and bring them to your neighbors.
December 21st: Donate toys to a local charity.
December 22nd: Help Mommy set the dinner table.
December 23rd: Play kindly with your sibling.
December 24th: Read the Christmas Story, then pray to God and thank Him for sending Jesus to be born in a manger so that He could save us.
December 25th: It’s the last day for the Kindness Elf to give special missions. Ask your child what kindness means to them now. Then ask your child to CHOOSE what mission of kindness they will do for the day.
But the Kindness Elf likes to have a little bit of fun, too. On the weekends, his missions are accompanied by announcements of family fun night. Because we all know that the Christmas season is the perfect season to spend time together as a family. Here are some of the fun family nights that our Elf has announced to our kids:
- Surprise them with a new pair of pajamas and load everyone up in the car. Head to your local gas station and pick up some hot chocolate and drive around town to look at Christmas lights.
- The next weekend, take those same new pajamas and have a family Christmas movie night with your favorite snacks and drinks (Elf is our favorite movie!). Take out your sleeping bags and camp out in the living room under the lights of the Christmas tree.
- Grab your coats, it’s time to go out! Head to your favorite local Chinese restaurant and then to the ice skating rink. Make sure you take videos of Dad wiping out!
Our family also does an Advent reading each morning the month of December. Not only do we want this month to be one that we teach our kids to be kind, but use it as another opportunity to hear God’s Word and prepare their own little hearts to celebrate the greatest birth of all time. Every year we read through My First Countdown to Christmas after we find out what mission our Kindness Elf has brought for the day. If you are looking for a tangible, precious way to get your kids thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, this book is the perfect place to start if you have small children.
Here’s the thing, mamas and papas… KINDNESS MATTERS because kindness matters to our God. It’s because of His loving kindness that He sent Jesus in that manger so many years ago. And there is no better time than the season of love to teach our kids about what matters the most in this life. Kindness can change everything. But it won’t be able to make a difference if we don’t take the reins and teach in in our homes first. And that’s where the Kindness Elf will help push your kids off the shelf and into the hearts of those who need kindness the most this holiday season.
Thank you so much for posting about this tradition with your family. I have been trying to come up with a way to teach my children about helping other and that Christmas isn’t about getting presents, but about giving. I cannot wait to start this with my little ones!
April Walker says
Love! Love! LOVE! I saw your post on Today Parenting, and wanted to click over here to comment. I love this idea and am totally bringing it into our home this year. THANK YOU! Best wishes to you and your family.