Tonight, Keira's "Kindness Elves" will hitch a ride on Santa's sleigh and head back to the North Pole.
They appeared suddenly one morning 12 days ago, bearing 12 Christmas books wrapped in holiday paper and a note written in tiny capital letters. Keira was told she could open one book every night and read it with her family. She soon discovered that the elves had wrapped up some books we already had, and she loved to anticipate whether each evening's book would be brand new or an old favorite.
Every night while Keira slept, they did something kind for her, like:
- cleaning up her toys
- tucking her in while she slept
- making her breakfast
- drawing her a picture
- wrapping Christmas presents for her
- bringing two extra elf friends for her to give to someone else
- mailing cards she had written to Rudolph and Prancer
- bringing her a fish to babysit while the neighbors are out of town
- helping with her homework for music class
- drying her wet snow boots by the fire
Every morning, she had to search the house for the elves, and find out what "kindness mission" the elves had assigned her for the day, such as:
- being a good friend to someone at church
- visiting her grandparents
- remembering to say "please" and "thank you" throughout the day
- helping mom and dad with Saturday chores
- being extra kind to her friend's baby brother at a playdate
- shopping for toys and taking them to a Toys for Tots drive
- giving dad a back rub and combing mom's hair
- secretly dropping off the new elf friends at the home of someone who would love them
- drawing in and delivering Christmas cards to neighborhood friends
- making Christmas cookies and sharing them with friends
This little girl had one thing on her mind the moment she awoke each day: finding those elves. She went out of her way to not only do what the elves instructed, but to also be kind in other ways. I'd notice her holding the door for someone at a store, giving someone a compliment, or sharing a toy, and she'd look at me and say, "That was a kind thing, right mom?"
That meant far more to me than the ability to use the "elves are watching" threat to inspire good behavior, although that came in handy a few times, too.
Mary and Joe, as Keira named them, will definitely be returning next year.
I'll admit I was hesitant to jump into the elf trend originally. It's not that I don't have "an affinity for elf culture" (wink), it just sounded like one more thing to do during the holidays. But when I stumbled across this Elf on the Shelf variation, I was intrigued. What a wonderful way to enhance the magic of the Christmas season while also teaching my daughter its true meaning—sharing love and light and kindness with our fellowmen.