Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

The Kindness Elf: An Intentional Alternative to Elf on the Shelf

16
Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

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 daunting fun 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 of magic and reality. While most parents are over placing their elf in different mischievous places all around the house 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.

Jingle, our Kindness Elf

I think one thing that we all can agree on as parents is that we desire for our children to be kind, and not just during the holiday season. But 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 1 and begins each day with sharing a special mission of kindness for our children to perform each day through December 25. 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 are a few examples of daily missions for your Kindness Elf to give your kids:

  • Open the door for a stranger
  • Pay for someone’s coffee
  • Call a friend and tell them one thing you love about them
  • Go to a church, Salvation Army, or community center and adopt a child/family for Christmas
  • Put together bags for the homeless and needy to keep in your car — fill them with gloves, water, protein bars, hand warmers, gift cards, etc.
  • Ask Mom or Dad if you can help them with a chore around the house
  • Give someone a compliment
  • Make cookies for an elderly friend

Our girls filling boxes for Operation Christmas Child

But the Kindness Elf likes to have a little bit of fun, too. Some days 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!

Surprise! New Christmas jammies and a night out to look at Christmas lights!

Here’s the thing, mamas and papas… KINDNESS MATTERS. 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 it 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.

You can find the complete schedule of The Kindness Elf's missions here at From Blacktop to Dirt Road.

Related video:

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.