We don’t elf on the shelf. We never have and we never will. Instead I believe that our holiday season should be filled with kindness, love, honesty and goodwill. Actually, not just our holidays, but our whole year!
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From the moment I first heard the story of the elf I knew we would never have one in our home or classroom. The premise of the Elf on the Shelf is that the elf is sent by Santa to spy on your kids. The elf only moves at night and often gets into all sorts of naughty mischief.
Every year my social media is flooded with pictures of these toys doing horrible things and making nasty messes.
Sure it’s funny, but I question why anyone would do this.
First of all… what parent has enough time to create even more mess to clean up? Do you have an army of maids to clean up behind you?
But beyond the whole, creating more work for yourself, I have to question why we would want these things and their story in our homes. The elf is considered a spy and judge on behalf of Santa. He is also perpetuating a lie, the Santa Claus lie, and making that lie more tangible, which could seriously erode a child’s trust in their parents.
There is something about being constantly watched and judged, by a toy that is making poor decisions, that is just wrong.
My home and classroom are not a jail. I don’t need “guards and jailers” watching my children and threatening to report on their every action. We don’t Elf on the Shelf, because I don’t need that pressure placed on my children. How is that fair to a child? What person would want to be placed under that kind of scrutiny at any age? Constantly being watched and evaluated and judged?
I want my children to make good decisions, because they want to and it’s natural for them, not to try and escape punishment.
I want them to choose kindness, love, generosity… now and when they are adults forging their way through the world. Kindness should be a natural instinctual response for my children. For them to develop innate kindness, it needs to be modeled. Not just once or twice, but consistently so that a story of kindness is woven into their lives.
The Elf on the Shelf is modeling pranks and mischief, which in moderation may be fun, but really, my kids are learning enough of that from their friends and media (it seems like every kid and tween show is just filled with this kind of stuff!). I’d rather focus on instilling the skills that are most important. The ones that are too often ignored in the name of ratings and marketing gimmicks.
Kindness, love, understanding, acceptance.
I knew I couldn’t be alone in my desire to fill our shelves with love and kindness. So it should come as no surprise that someone is finally doing it right. That there is finally the antithesis of Elf on the Shelf.
Let me introduce you to the Kindness Elves.
They are about truth, love and kindness.
They are about encouraging and promoting happiness and joy.
They are about caring and generosity.
They are also about acceptance.
The Kindness Elves are about the things that matter to me most as a parent and educator. Instead of tears, frustration and stress, they bring peace, joy, love and encouragement into our home and classroom.
And that is something I support any day of the year.