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The Holiday season is a time rich for inciting wonder in children. There are so many joyful things to believe in and our little ones are always looking for clues to prove the magic is real.

In recent years, parents have welcomed activities such as “Elf On The Shelf” to involve the whole family in creative holiday fun and learning.  Children acknowledge the ever-watchful eyes of Mr. or Mrs. Elf, whom allegedly reports back to Santa and gets in lots of mischief during his or her brief stay in your household.

This year, we’re challenging our creative parents and children to participate in “Kindness Elves” in lieu of gift-centric naughty elves. This adorable concept was imagined by Anna Ranson, the Mom and mastermind behind The Imagination Tree. Kindness elves visit children who already devote time and kindness to their communities, children like our Ambassadors, and they collaborate with children about how to give back during the holiday season. The elves work overnight to provide children with a kindness challenge. For instance, children may wake up to find their kindness elves holding a spatula and lounging in a mixing bowl, with a note saying “let’s make cookies for our neighbor today.” Like “Elf on the Shelf,” they need a little magic from parents but are worth the extra effort.  And the best news is you can use your existing “Elf on the Shelf” to make the kindness magic happen.

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This month, the ISP campaign is inviting our ambassadors to make a Kindness Elf goal. As a family, decide if you want to commit to:

Ornament Level  One kindness Elf activity a week

Reindeer Level Three kindness Elf activities a week

Ultimate Santa Level daily Kindness Elf activities

We also encourage ambassadors to post an #elfieselfie, showcasing their kindness in action. Tag @infinitesmileproject for re-post consideration. We can’t wait to see your kindness at play this holiday season.

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Items Needed for This Month’s Campaign

  1. Kindness Elf (or elves), or an “Elf on the Shelf” if you already have one. For super easy DIY Kindness Elves, check out this guide.
  2. A list of kindness activities for the month. You can make up your own or get some inspiration from this great list or our Pintrest
  3. A pen and paper for the elves to write notes and for children to write back (learn more about the Kindness Elf notes here) .
  4. Any supplies you may need for your kindness challenges. Remember, these don’t need to be super involved activities. Some of the suggested activities are as simple as “smiling at everyone you pass by for the day.”


How to do This Month’s Campaign

  1. Introduce your elves to your family/children with a letter from the elves explaining that they’ve arrived because of your child’s commitment to kindness and the acts of kindness that child has already shown. This is an important step in acknowledging a child’s philanthropy and will keep the momentum going through the process.
  2. Surprise children with challenges from the above kindness list or our Pintrest and set up elves at night to be doing something related to each challenge. Children love the magic of glimpses into what toys do while no one is looking. It’s also a great way to stimulate learning and imagination.
  3. Some mornings, children may wake up to find the elves have lined up their shoes, tidied their coats, got the breakfast things ready or fixed a broken toy. Modeling direct ways to be kind and helpful as a prompt for the children in the day can count as a challenge towards your family’s decided goal.
  4. Encourage children to write letters back to the elves explaining why they enjoyed doing certain challenges and what they learned. The kindness elves you can buy come with intricate mailboxes and add-ons, but they’re not necessarily mandatory to participate. Make your own mailbox from an old matchbox or such and make it an exciting part of your child’s day to check their elf mail.
  5. Check out our Pinterest for additional visual inspiration.


Reflection Questions 

  1. Why do you think the Kindness Elves came to your house for the holiday season?
  2. What did you learn from the elves this holiday?
  3. How did it feel to do acts of kindness for others? Did it feel different than getting a present?
  4. What are some of the acts of kindness you think you could easily do all year long for people?
  5. When would you like the kindness elves to come back to your house and why?
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