Looking for easy ideas for your Elf on the Shelf this year? While the elaborate ideas that flood the internet are magical, they can be exhausting to keep up with. The holidays are hectic, so do yourself a favor and simplify! You can keep the magic and fun without extra stress. We chose ideas that focus on giving and kindness. They are great for all ages and will get your whole family thinking of others. The idea of a Kindness Elf originated a few years ago but, these ideas will work for Elf on the Shelf too!
Elf on the Shelf Transforms to a Kindness Elf
The Elf on the Shelf craze started about 5 years ago, with parents hoping that this magical stuffed elf could convince their child to behave before the Christmas holiday. But years later, exhausted parents who forget to move their shelf every day and who are tired of cleaning up the messes their naughty elf makes every night have started to look for alternatives to their naughty little elf. The Holiday Elf or otherwise known as the Kindness Elf is a wonderful alternative to the naughty Elf on the Shelf.
Instead of playing tricks and making messes, the Holiday Elf/Kindness Elf (who can still be your Elf on the Shelf, just…reformed) suggests kind things to do for your family, friends, or community every morning.
10 Days of Kindness Elf Ideas
Every morning, before your children wake up, write a note from your Kindness Elf suggesting something they can do that day to show kindness to someone around them. Depending on your children’s ages, they can help decide how they want to perform the act of kindness, or you can give them a little more direction with specifics.
Day 1- “Choose 3 Toys to Donate to Children in Need”
Let your kids choose toys that they would like to find a new home for. Make sure they understand broken toys or toys with missing pieces are not good choices. Getting them involved in the process, helps reduce the chance of meltdowns over toys. They feel important since they get to decide what to keep and what could make another child happy. No toys to donate? No problem! Gather clothing, coats, shoes, or even old bedding and towels. Many organizations and animal shelters need these items! This easy idea for your holiday elf helps teach the importance of giving. Added bonus you’re clearing clutter!
Day 2- “Help Friend XYZ by Doing ABC Today”
Helping someone without being asked is a great way to spread kindness. They can do this at home, at school, or anywhere their day takes them. You can pose this as a question, or keep it more open. For younger children, it will be easiest to ask, Who would you like to help today? After they choose, you can talk about ways they can help that person. For older children, this could be more of a game. They have to seek out at least one person to help throughout their day and then report back to you, or their elf!
Day 3- “Send a Note to a Friend”
They will choose a person to write a note to and list some of their favorite qualities about them. This print out is a great tool to help direct your child. If you want to add a bit more magic, they can put their note somewhere the person to find without signing their name. Then they will get to see how it feels to make some feel special!
Day 4- “Make a Gift List for Your Family”
No, not their own wish list! They will make a list of people they want to give a gift to. This idea for your holiday elf can even be a three-part activity. First day make a list, second go shopping for the items, third decorate or wrap. A simple idea we love is ornament painting! Get a pack of small ready to paint ornaments, your child can choose what shapes or types. Then they can paint or decorate one for each person on their list. Breaking this into three parts works great for younger children. It keeps them excited about giving special gifts, without being overwhelming.
Day 6- “Bake Cookies for PMO/Military Police/First Responders”
Getting kids to help in the kitchen is a great way to spend time together while doing something fun. Their activity will be to help bake cookies or other treats. Keep in mind this one may get a little messy, but that is half the fun! For the older ones, having them do this with minimal or no supervision is a great learning experience. You can make this a two day activity by having them choose someone to take treats to! Delivering treats to your local fire station or police station is always a great idea!
Day 7- “Hand Out Random Acts of Kindness to the Community”
This is another activity that you can make as simple or elaborate as you want! On the simple end, get a box of candy canes tie a little holiday greetings note to them and there you go! For the younger ones, you might want to do this part ahead of time and then task them with passing these out. This would be simple to work into your normal day, too. These can be passed out to people as you run your errands or they leave them for friends and neighbors to find. The idea is to leave them anonymously for people to find. But, even if that is not an option for you this is a great way to put smiles on faces!
Day 8- “Give a Surprise Gift to Friend XYZ”
Think of one person to surprise with a special gift, and then deliver it anonymously! After your child chooses, have them think about that person and things they like. Younger children may need prompting. Make sure they understand the idea is to think only about that other person. What is their favorite color? Do they like tea or coffee? A small gift card or a nice mug would be perfect! Keep this one simple, this is meant to be a small gift to brighten someone’s day.
Day 9- “Deliver Christmas Cards to Neighbors”
You can either buy a pack of cards or have them decorate their own. This activity can even be done together as a family. Make as many or as few as you would like. These cards can go along with numbers 5, 6, or 7. You can deliver them anonymously, or if you usually send out cards to family and friends. Another option would be to make them and send them to service members who are away from home for the holidays!
10. “Create Ornaments for a Friend’s Tree”
Surround your elves with art supplies. For the younger ones, keep it simple! A coloring page, crayons, and markers are perfect. They can color or decorate the page as they like and then choose who they want to give it to. If you have a bit more time you can try finger paints and do something fun like this, or even this. Older kids might enjoy making salt dough ornaments or handprints. Depending on how crafty you are, you can keep this simple or go all out!
You can use these easy ideas for your elf whether you use Elf on the Shelf or Kindness Elves. These are all great ways to get the whole family thinking about kindness this holiday season. You can incorporate the ideas on this list with the more traditional Elf on the Shelf ideas. Or, use this as a starting point for teaching kindness!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out Teaching Compassion Through Days of Kindness
Photo Credit: Brittney Arruza