Kindness Kids

The first time I saw Elf on a Shelf, I was seriously annoyed. Like someone took my mom’s elf decorations from my childhood and the concept she put forth that they were watching us and would tell Santa if we were naughty and turned it into this huge marketing scam of a book and doll that you now had to buy into and do all this stuff with for your kids. Grrr!

Then I started seeing the bazillion Pinterest boards from friends and others and reports on their elves from them. It was cute and creative and no fair because we do not do Santa (my kids can watch a few Santa containing movies, but we don’t emphasize it).

Some of the ideas I saw and liked, but some I was like, “Seriously, you made that big of a mess for this made up elf story thing?” Then there were reports from friends of kids doing naughty things once the elf showed up and blaming it on the elf. The whole contradiction of an elf that makes messes and is so mischievous while expecting kids to be on their best behavior during the Christmas countdown did not sit well with me.

I did have friends that made the thing more wholesome, but there was still the issue of elves and Santa. Why would I make up this really not-so-great commercialism-driven version of Santa when we have the real deal St. Nicholas which is way better?


I saw this post fly around among certain friends and family members that tend to be more like-minded with me. You guys, those way cute little “elves” nearly got me. I have a very low ability to resist German toys, miniatures, and things that are knitted. Still with the elves though. Killing me.

Plus, we have all these great saints during the Nativity season like St. Nicholas and St. Lucia that show us how to be kind and live our lives. We can read about what they did and then put it into practice in our own lives.


Well then Orthodox Mom did this post and many of my issues were solved. And the dolls were at Target. And so cute. And I could no longer resist Waldorf-y dolls in fair isle knitwear!

This afternoon I decided I was just going to do it and I had some vague ideas about how to incorporate it with our Nativity saints project and a few other things I already had planned for this season.


I found everything at Target pretty easily and got home. The dolls are actually skiers and ornaments so I had to make some slight alterations to them. Then I searched for vintage travel stickers and printed them out on label paper to cut and paste on the suitcase.

Once I had the whole thing assembled, I snuck into our garage, out the side door and gate and then put the suitcase on the front porch and ran back around trying to walk into the house casually.

Stephen was super wrapped up in putting together and practicing church music and I sort of forgot to tell him what I was doing as I was doing it. So he answers the door and is pretty unsure about the safety of this random thing on the porch and is in the middle of closing the front door and telling the kids not to touch it as I come around the corner. He explains the “strange” circumstances to me and I try to convey with wink, nod and smile that it’s definitely OK and hand the suitcase to the kids. They immediately tear into it and are enthralled with the dolls as Stephen reads the note inside which explains everything. The kids immediately named the dolls Rosie, Daisy, Charlie and Linus.


Since tomorrow is church my first idea was to have the kids light a candle for someone and say a little prayer. I am the candle stubs lady (among other things) at our church and I collect them until we have enough to send back to a monastery which will melt them back down, filter out the wicks and make new candles with them. I knew we had some that would be the perfect size for our Kindness Kids. I really want to tie in our other thing we are doing with the lives of the saints readings we do each most days too. I went to the OCA Lives of the Saints page and tomorrow’s saint just happened to tie in perfectly with my candle plan. St. Patapius was known for healing many people and with several family members and friends ill right now we can ask him to pray for our loved ones as we light our candles.


I love that it forced me to pick an important part about the life of this saint and make it simple, kid-friendly and practical for my kids instead of what I have been doing which is just reading the official mini-biography that they really do not have the attention span or comprehension for.

I am not completely sure about all of our plans, but I do have a few ideas in mind. I may write another post about this later in the season recapping.

Happy Advent!


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4 responses to “Kindness Kids

  1. Liz

    Jaw-dropping amounts of love for this idea. I’m Catholic, not Orthodox, but we share the Saints. 🙂 I also homeschool (though we take December off in our schedule), and we do a lot of learning about the lives of saints. This month I’ve been using saints’ lives to coincide with our service activities. St. Nicholas was super easy, of course. Thank you for posting this great idea!

  2. GrandmaTiger

    I don’t remeber saying the elf decorations were watching and reporting….I don’t think I personified any of our decorations, Santa was just a sort of vague idea – Dad was the one who went to the great lengths – including having Doug walk in muddy boots across the living room floor – to keep “Santa” alive ….

  3. Lisa Wuertz

    Well, maybe you don’t remember, but you don’t remember a whole lot of things, Mom. 😉 I remember you both being in on everything.

  4. Pingback: Live and Learn Advent 2013 Edition | Daylight Rising

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