Monday, 26 December 2016

The Kindness Elves Journey

Meet our Kindness Elves, Max and Blossom. 

This very sweet pair of elves joined our house on the 1st of December and have been inspiring our household to be kinder and more thoughtful each day in the lead up to Christmas.

Started in 2013, The Kindness Elves was first started by mother of 4, Anna Ranson over on The Imagination Tree. In a bid to try something that was a 'sweet-natured alternative to the "naughty elf" tradition', with a positive message of emphasising kindness, sharing and gratitude.

When I came across it last year I never got around to starting it before Christmas. So this year, I was delighted to find out that she has now started selling Elves with a sweet house for them to 'live' in.

The elves have been making appearances each morning, and it's clear that they are adored by each of our children. Quite often, when they wake up their first words to us will be 'can we see what the kindness elves have  left?

I borrowed a few ideas from various other blogs which have already established the tradition in their homes or came up with my own to suit the activities we would be doing as a family in the lead up to Christmas. They ranged from larger projects like making baked goods for the neighbours to sharing smiles with everyone they saw during the day.

The point is, they shouldn't become a chore and hard to manage with everything else you need to do as a parent or teacher

I thought I'd share a few pictures of the kinds of challenges that we got set this month. 

When they first arrived, they came through a door with a letter explaining why they were there and asking them if the children could give them a new name. 

Free Hugs - giving someone a hug could brighten someones day. 

Making cookies for the neighbours to give as Christmas prezzies:

Making bookmarks and leaving them in library books for children to find when they take them out:

Put together a care package for someone in need/homeless person:

Paint a cheerful picture to go inside the care package:

Write a list of things you are grateful for (dictated for the children who can't write):

We then hung our list of gratitude on our traditions tree.

Putting together a box of dried and tinned goods to take to the local food bank:

Make a smoothie for Daddy before he leaves for work:

Help tidy your siblings bedroom/make their bed.

Donate old toys and books to a local doctors waiting room/children's hospital.

Make some wrapping paper to be used on gifts we will give to others:

In addition to the challenges, every so often, the elves might leave the children a treat to say thank you such as a little chocolate or a tube of paint etc. They also showed acts of kindness themselves, such as when they fixed Chick 6's Christmas jumper that needed a hole stitching and they sewed new hats for the boys.

After our 25 days of kindness, on Christmas day the children came down to find these elves in the kitchen and a note -

The letter read -

Dear Children, 

We are so sad to say goodbye. We have gone home to our home in generosity valley. Over the last month we have been really impressed with your many acts of kindness and the way you tried so hard with each challenge we set you. We encourage you not to stop your kind acts, but to carry on being good and kind to each other and those around you. We have decided to leave with you two toy kindness elves to help remind you to continue being kind. Have a wonderful Christmas. We might pop back from time to time to see you... so keep a look out!
Love Max and Blossom.

Chick 6 was particularly sad that they were gone. But I reminded her of their promise to come back from time to time. They have been such a great asset in our home and have really helped to keep a focus on giving this Christmas. Each day we have started with something positive.

If you have not yet done this, I highly recommend doing it with your children. There is no reason to only do it at Christmas time, it could be a year round source of inspiration and magic.

Chick 6 got an easel and art materials for Christmas. I was so touched when I saw her at the kitchen table painting our new kindness elf toys.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has been doing this and tell me their favourite 'act of kindness'.

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