Our Elf on the Shelf Alternative {Kindness Elves}

This post was originally created two years ago. We have continued our Kindness Elves since, however my girls are now aware that Mommy and Daddy are really "Santa Claus". Stay tuned for how we delivered this news, why we chose to and how it was received. 

So, first of all, this is NOT my original idea. Here's my inspiration I found on pinterest from The Imagination Tree {such a precious blog!} I was inspired by her thoughts and creativity! So I took it and ran with it and this is what we came up with...

Jelly, Jolly and Jingles.

JIngles pictured here, delivering her message to the girls. 

Jelly and Jolly with the new Bibles they brought as gifts. 

First of all, I take no issue with EOTS except we're kind of creeped out by him. Here's why I dove head-first into an alternative to him:

We began our Christmas traditions before we had a relationship with Christ. Therefore, traditions were established without our having ever taken the time to evaluate them through the lens of our faith. Of course, hindsight is 20/20... but I wish I hadn't began the Santa thing. If I could go back, I'd go a different route.

But despite that, Santa is still something we do because... well, kinda late now. I know they'll know the truth one day, but for now, I'd rather try to BLEND Santa with a view of Christmas which is MUCH more CHRIST-centered. We've already reduced our Santa-gifts to 4 gifts: something they want, need, will wear and will read. That has definitely streamlined his deliveries. Anything beyond that is a gift from Mommy and Daddy. Secondly, our girls know we "send money to Santa"... therefore there is a finite resource for Santa to draw from. Santa buys his toys so they can't simply be "made for free," and the girls can also chose to divert some of the money we "send to Santa" to money we gift to those in need. This works for us because it puts a focus on a limited number of "wants" for Christmas, gives the girls the opportunity to give to others, keeps us from feel overburdened with shopping for them, but still keeps some of the magic in Christmas for them.

Also, over the past 2 Christmases in particular, I've worked very hard to keep the focus on Christ. The girls definitely are intrigued by Christmas and Santa, but they also know the true story of Christmas. They know why we celebrate it AND they know that gifts they receive from us or Santa are all because of the greatest gift of all- Jesus Christ.

So, this year, I wanted to keep working that final point in thoroughly. In the past I've been guilty of using the "naughty or nice" thing to manipulate behavior. *SHAME* This year, I wanted our focus to be much more on how the gifts we receive at Christmas are a reflection of the greatest Gift of all- that NOT ONE PERSON actually DESERVED... His Gift was grace and so shall our Christmas gifts be.

So, I ran across the kindness elves and loved them. It gives us the opportunity to shift our homeschool this December more toward advent-related activities. It's a great opportunity for a month-long character study on kindness to follow-up behind our month of Thanks-GIVING. AND it's just fun.

The Elf on the Shelf is FUN {for the kids and for mom!} and I wanted some of that action ;) BUT I wasn't happy with him for a couple of reasons. First of all- like the tradition of Santa (and the Easter Bunny), it doesn't point back to Christ in any way. Secondly, it's a bit of a manipulation technique to get good behavior during the time approaching Christmas. Third- my entire family found him creepy. Really #3 is like 80% of the reason why we didn't go there.

Last year, I used an angel for basically the same idea but it just wasn't as cute or fun honestly. A couple of weeks ago I found some adorable elf-looking girl ornaments at Target and knew what they were perfect for. Last week, I typed up the following letter and let the elves surprise the girls Friday morning (St. Nicholas Day by the way :)

I've also included the letter I did tonight for their first surprise in the morning (they've been gone all weekend). AND of course, here are some pictures as well. I hope it's an encouragement to you and your family!!!

Kindness Elves Letter