Here are 25 ideas for the Kindness Elves to use together as a family tradition in the run up to Christmas this year! Acts of kindness for children to show to friends, family, people who help us and strangers and hopefully encourage some character development, thoughtfulness and kindness at the same time.
Click here to read the full introduction to our original Kindness Elves tradition that we started last year! In the article I spoke about how we hoped to start a new family tradition each Christmas, using Kindness Elves as an Elf on the Shelf alternative. The feedback was immense and SO many people all around the world said they were going to join in with us and start a kindness revolution! We have grown our very own Kindness Elves Facebook community (please hop on over and join us there too) as well as our own Instagram page too.
We now have a dedicated Kindness Elves website and shop too, where you can finally purchase your very own, beautiful Kindness Elves in their gorgeous little house, with stunning interior design and working mail box! Who will you give one to as a gift this year?! [Top tip: buy yours as EARLY as you can before November as they all sold out within a few hours last year when we first launched our initial stock! We have plenty ready for you this year but we know how popular they will be so get in there quickly!]
To get you started and to help us all plan ahead, here are 25 ideas for ways to use the Kindness Elves in the run up to Christmas. Where possible I have included a photo from our little set ups last year. I will add more photos and ideas to the FB page this year as we go along.
25 Ideas for the Kindness Elves
1. Give your Kindness Elves some names, and write a wish list together of all the kind things you can do for others this month, including at home, with family, friends, teachers, local charities, animals, service workers and those in need. (This list, generated by the children, should obviously influence what you choose to do next. The following are simply some ideas to get you started!)
2. Choose, wrap and donate some new toys to a nearby charity for giving Christmas gifts to local children.
3. Fill a jar with 20 things I love about you and give it as the ultimate gift to cheer someone up. (The girls did this for their grandpa last year and he still pulls out the little papers to read all the time to make him happy!)
4. Collect toys that are no longer played with and donate them to a charity shop or find a local toy drive for needy kids to share them with. Our Kindness Elves set a very good example by donating some of their tiny elf toys too!
5. Make a meal for somebody who is poorly or a new mother, and help deliver it to them.
6. Take a home-baked gift to the neighbours.
7. Donate old shoes to a children’s shoe charity. [We have found and LOVE the UK charity Sal’s Shoes which collets old children’s shoes and ships them directly to orphanages and schools in Africa. They even photograph the children wearing their new shoes as a lovely update after they have arrived!]
8. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for and stick it onto a happy/ thankful tree.
9. Visit the local home for the elderly with some drawings and/ or flowers. Spend some time chatting with the folk there and cheer them up.
10. Create a care kit to give out to the homeless. This could include a toothbrush and paste, flannel, gift card for a coffee shop, new socks and a scarf etc.
11. Enjoy these brand new toothbrushes and toothpaste from the Kindness Elves! Then brush your teeth until they’re shiny and go out and SMILE at everyone you see today. You could make their day very special!
12. Sort through outgrown clothes to take to a charity shop for less fortunate children.
13. Make or buy a bird feeder and start to feed to birds in the garden each day. There are some great DIY bird feeders using pine cones and other ingredients on Pinterest.
14. Put together a hot chocolate treat kit and give it to a stranger, family member or friend to warm them up.
15. Make some gingerbread play dough and package it into little gift jars with a cookie cutter attached to hand out to friends at school, youth group or church [here’s our 4 minute gingerbread play dough recipe you could use!]
16. Put together a craft and activity kit for sick children at the children’s hospital. Include card, papers, scissors, glue, stickers, sequins, pipe cleaners, pom poms and googly eyes, along with a favourite craft book.
17. Paint some beautiful pictures and add decorations, collage materials and other additions to turn into cards, wrapping paper and gift tags for all the presents we are giving away.
18. Make a DIY gift together for a favourite teacher or sports instructor e.g. bath salts, soap, decorated coffee cup etc. Take a look at my Homemade Gifts Pinterest board to get you started on ideas.
Follow Anna @ The Imagination Tree’s board Homemade Gift Ideas on Pinterest.
19. Pack up a box of food to the local food bank and go and donate it together. You can do a quick google search to find the one closest to you for donations.
20. Give a homemade thank you card or cookies to the post man or delivery office. They’re very busy this time of year!
21. Make a token book full of free gifts for Mum and Dad e.g. washing up, tidying toys away, putting away the laundry etc.
22. Bring some kids magazines to the kids waiting area at the doctor’s surgery or hospital.
23. Make some wishing wands for writing our new year’s wishes onto, and display them.
24. Make some hand-crafted thank you cards ready to use after Christmas to say a real thank you for gifts.
25. Give out free hugs to all friends and family today! Hugs release endorphins and make everyone feel so good!
We also did some set ups where the Kindness Elves brought chocolate coins or little gifts to the kids as a thank you for all that they have done. Those could be ad hoc and whenever you feel the kids need thanking for all of their generosity over the month. The favourite gift came just before Christmas and was a tiny nativity set for the tree.
Straight after Christmas our Kindness Elves disappeared back through their tiny Elf Door in our skirting board near the fireplace, leaving behind a tiny letter for each child saying how much they had loved watching them grow in kindness, generosity and thankfulness over the past month. They promised to return through the door soon and to answer any letters sent to them, as long as they were small enough to fit in the post box!
PS: We got our sweet little Elf Door from the gorgeous Magic Door Store (they are willing to ship worldwide.)
There are SO many other simple and meaningful ways to show kindness and thoughtfulness to those around us. What else have you done that you would add to this list? Inspire us with more ideas in the comments please!