Inside this post, you’ll find a great alternative to The Elf On The Shelf. This post contains affiliate links
My friend sighs and rolls her eyes. We’re sitting in our local coffee shop talking about the holidays, our crammed December schedule, and how we’ll survive the holiday season when she bursts out “Oh my gosh, I have to do that damn Elf again!”
She goes on and on about how her kids love The Elf On The Shelf, but she’s tired of having to move Buddy the Elf every night, and then she turns to me and says,
“You know, I’m not even sure if my kids act any better with Buddy hanging around, I just don’t think it’s worth it. I wonder how I can get rid of that Elf.”
I giggle to myself and am instantly grateful that I didn’t jump on that bandwagon.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the Elf can be fun. Over the years, I’ve scrolled through Facebook and laughed at the antics those pesky Elves get into. I really love the one where Elsa freezes him in a block of ice. Now that’s brilliant.
But, I’m just not interested in doing The Elf on The Shelf.
Nope, No Elf On The Shelf In This House.
When I think about the memories I want my children to have and the values I want to instill in my children, The Elf On The Shelf isn’t something I want in my home.
As a Therapist and Mom, the Elf On The Shelf gives me a bad feeling because:
- it forces kids to be good because of an external motivator, The Elf, who’s always watching to see if you’re behaving. It’s far better for a child to learn appropriate behavior because of internal motivations of wanting to behave.
- The Elf is all about the presents. If a child is bad, then Santa doesn’t come and they don’t get presents. This just reinforces the commercialism of the season, right?
- if I’m going to do a big tradition, like the Elf, I’d much rather choose something that will teach my children values and reinforce what the holidays are all about…and it ain’t about the presents.
- Plus, he’s just a little too creepy for me.
But, I do appreciate the magic of The Elf.
I can see why it’s fun and why so many families have decided to bring an Elf into their homes.
So instead of The Elf On The Shelf, I’m introducing my kids to The Kindness Elves.
The Kindness Elves
The Kindness Elves are magical friends who love nothing more than to sprinkle kindness and joy wherever they go!
They love to visit and spread this happiness with children, encouraging them to do small acts of kindness in their daily lives.The premise is sort of the same as The Elf on The Shelf, but better.
Each day your child wakes up and looks for The Kindness Elves around the house. Instead of finding mischief, they find an idea for a random act of kindness from The Elves.
Once the kids to the random act of kindness, they are rewarded with a little postcard congratulating them on their act of kindness. This little postcard fits into their Little Book of Big Kindnesses to keep.
- encourage kindness, empathy, and taking care of others,
- recognize the good things kids do, instead of focusing on the bad,
- are in line with the true spirit of the holidays, and
- bring magic and excitement to the holiday season,
As your children do these random acts of kindness during the season, they not only learn how to show kindness to others, but they feel the joy and elation of doing something for someone else. They learn to LOVE to spread kindness.
This is a holiday tradition I can stand behind.
I’ve ordered my Elves, their home, and the book that comes with it, and I can’t wait to introduce them to my boys.
If you want your own set of Kindness Elves, head over here to pick out a pair for your family—> The Kindness Elves
They are culturally diverse and come in a variety of colors. I know you can find a set that works perfectly for your family.
Now that I think about it, maybe I should send a set of Kindness Elves to my friend, I bet she’d like them better than Buddy The Elf.
Our elf on the shelf was introduced this way. He brings a note everyday with a suggestion on something the kids can do to spread love and kindness. We’ve never used him as a spy for presents.
Just perfect! Thanks for writing about this Amanda! <3
Why over analyse the poor Elf – in our home he adds a bit of fun, excitement and levity. What’s wrong with that? I positively praise my child when he shows random independent acts of kindness and not enforced daily by a doll!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think using the Elf to add fun an excitement to the holiday is a great idea. My problem with it is when it’s used as a behavior modifier, like the book it comes with suggests. I honestly, think the Elf is a bit creepy (and that’s just my personal opinion) so I want Elves that are kinder looking. Plus, I’d rather put my money behind a product that I love, and agree with their message. That’s it.
At what age would you start the kindness elves. Is 3 too young?
No, I don’t think 3 is too young at all! It’s a perfect age to start.
We have an elf alternative and have done for several years. Our elf does not spy on the children and the most antics he gets up to is to hang upside down from the light. But no wrapping toilet paper round the tree and no snow angels in flour!
Last year my 10 year old son caught on and starting moving the elf himself. My husband and I would spend time in the evening looking for it and enjoyed the fun. This year my son whispered to me that he didn’t believe in santa any more 🙁 but he wants to still play ‘elf’ to keep the magic for his younger sister and he wants to be ‘santa’ for a family who is less well off. He is off to choose a present for a family we support through a food bank.
I also think the elf is super creepy, but I love the Kindness Elves. I wanted some last year – but now I’ve read this and I just grabbed mine! Can’t wait for them to get here!
Always can just turn the elf on a shelf into a kindness elf showing that people can change. I have never read either book or owned either one. These days anything interactive with kids and parents is priceless. Teens would often rather be on their phones etc.
You’re absolutely right, you can just use the Elf as a kindness elf. But, if I’m going to purchase an Elf from someone, I’d rather put my money behind the company that produces The Kindness Elvs…plus did you see the cute house they come with?
I love this! I bought some elves last year and this year will be our first time using them. I am working on ideas now, but I am struggling to come with 25 different kindness things. I have searched the internet but these ideas are not as prominent as elf on the shelf. So if you or anyone else has some ideas or even really fun successful ones that went well I would love it if you shared.
I’ve just stumbled on this post so sorry for being so late in the game, but you can search for “RAK for Kids” and you’ll find tons of resources. RAK = Random Acts of Kindness