Every year before Christmas time I try and think of ways to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas. I want them to focus on serving others instead of focusing on themselves. I also want them to view Santa as someone who celebrates the birth and life of Jesus Christ, instead of just a person who fulfills our wish list.
Drawing inspiration from the “Elf on the Shelf”, my children were sent an elf that promoted service, charity, obedience, and love.
Meet Ellie, the Service Elf.
Every Christmas, Ellie floats to our house from the north pole in a basket carried by balloons. She has a tissue paper (or fabric) blanket, a few treats for the kids, and a note from Santa that explains her mission as well as the true meaning of Christmas.
Each day, Ellie is found with a note that says what act of service the kids need to accomplish that day. My kids get so excited to see what task is written and they are always determined to do it. Because of Ellie, my kids were better behaved, more loving, and even did extra acts of service and love just because they enjoyed it so much. Our Service Elf makes the Christmas season full of love and giving instead of selfishness and greed.
I hope this year your kids will get a Service Elf as well and be reminded of the love and gift of Jesus Christ. And to help you out with this I’ve included instructions for getting your own Service Elf, a free printable of the letter from Santa, and a list of service acts for you to choose from! **Note: If you already have an “Elf on the Shelf”, I’ve included a free printable letter from Santa explaining the transition to Service Elf.
How to get your own Service Elf:
- Buy any elf figurine or stuffed elf. Walmart (and most other stores that sell Christmas decorations) has a range to choose from. Your kids won’t care what it looks like because they know that it will transform to a real elf while they’re sleeping. You can use an “Elf on the Shelf” as well, but I would leave out the book that comes with it.
- Print out the Free Printable below of the letter from Santa. Choose a name for your elf and write it neatly in the space provided. Don’t forget to address it to your children and place it in an envelope.
- Put your Elf in a basket, box, or anything else that can act as transportation. I put mine in a mail themed cookie delivery box that I found at Walmart and attached helium balloons to the strap.
- Give the elf a blanket to keep her warm for her travels and include some treats for the kids (optional). Attach the letter from Santa to the balloons or the box.
- Have a neighbor or family member place it on your front door step and give one strong knock (or thump) on the door. The idea is to have your children near the front door when this happens so they hear your elf landing at your house. You of course will be inside with them so they know you couldn’t have done it.
- Remember to place a piece of paper with a service act written on it (typed or in tiny elf writing) in the arms of your elf each morning. You can even move your elf to different locations around the house and pose her in playful scenarios. Remember that your elf is alive at night! Don’t feel pressure to do elaborate “Elf on the Shelf” type scenarios. Just moving the elf is enough (since these elves aren’t naughty and probably clean up after themselves).
That’s it! Enjoy the free printables and take a look at the list of good deeds/acts of service below!
Free Printables Below:
Letter from Santa for a Girl Elf: Click Here.
Letter from Santa for a Boy Elf: Click Here.
Letter from Santa for those who already have a Girl “Elf on the Shelf”: Click Here.
Letter from Santa for those who already have a Boy “Elf on the Shelf”: Click Here.
- Clean your room
- Help your mom with a chore
- bake a treat for a friend
- be extra nice to your siblings
- Sit next to a child at school who is sitting alone
- play with your pet
- help out a neighbor
- donate one of your toys to a child in need
- write a letter to a relative
- bring treats to a local fire station
- visit the elderly
- clean a room in your house without being asked
- bring a treat to Santa
- bring hot chocolate to crossing guards
- write thank you notes to teachers, policeman, or firemen
- give everyone in your family a big hug
- do something special for a friend
- leave a treat and note for the mailman and garbage man
- compliment someone today
- help your parents in whatever way they need
- clean up someone else’s mess
- pray for someone in need
- call your grandparents to tell them you love them
- make “Best Christmas Decorations” awards and bring them to houses in your neighborhood
- be extra nice to someone you don’t get along with usually
- bring blankets and hot chocolate to the homeless
- buy Christmas presents for a single mom or family in need
- Ding Dong Ditch a house in your neighborhood, but leave a gift or treat
- volunteer at a food bank
- make a care package for a veteran that is stationed over seas
- make a care package for someone with a chronic illness
- donate a book to the local library
- color pictures to pass out at a nursing home
- bring food to a family in need (especially Christmas dinner foods)
What other good deeds can you think of for kids to do?
I hope you all enjoy your Service Elf and your newly altruistic children!