Jingles the Elf (Tara’s Family)
I wanted to do something different than the Elf on the Shelf with my kids. Elf on the Shelf is cute, but it seems to me to kind of drift from the true reason for the season. I don’t want my kids to be good just because their elf is watching, I want to instill kindness in them.
I love our little elf because it was made by a senior sister missionary living with my mom. So it was made with love, and now we’re using it to teach love. That brings it full circle for me.
Every day our elf, “Jingles”, writes the kids a note telling them what their “kindness activity” is for the day. Some of our favorites have been writing down a list of what we love about Daddy, making gingerbread playdough to share with our neighbors, and ding dong ditching some cookies to our neighbors.We have a little Christmas mailbox that he leaves his notes in, and he moves each night. In the morning, he is always sitting by something to do with that days’ activities.
It is a little stressful for me to come up with things to do each day, but it is so much fun to see how excited they get to find him every day and see what their activity is for that day. It helps me be a little kinder too. It is really wonderful for our whole family.
Buckles the Elf (Maegan’s Family)
I also was looking for an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf a few years ago when it was dominating the Pinterest world. I loved all of the creative ideas, but so many had the Elf being naughty!! My children could think of enough creative ways to get into things without Elf-inspiration.
So Buckles the Elf (a little felt ornament from Hobby Lobby) joined our family. Like Tara’s family, Buckles sometimes brings kind tasks for our children to do. He may also bring a small gift or surprise to do together like a Christmas craft. This year he helps deliver our Christmas advent books because this Momma is tired and can’t keep up with clever hiding places this year!
We did keep Buckles in a package in the freezer for a few hours so he would be cold on his return from the North Pole. And he’ll probably bring Elf Donuts (made from Cheerios) again since that’s been a big hit every year.
Stuck on ideas for your Kindness Elf? Our free printable has 25 Acts of Kindness with 25 coordinating hiding places!
Does your family have an Elf at your house too? We’d love to hear your fun ideas!