A big part of the parenthood journey is finding the holiday traditions that fit with your family values.
Christmas, being both magical and also stressful, can be a tricky time of year. We (and our children) are not only bombarded with the commercial culture of materialism that can trigger our ‘not good enough’ buttons, but we are also juggling all the familial expectations. In two parent families there may be different expectations around what the ‘right amount’ of presents may be. In one parent families there may be guilt around not providing ‘enough’. In large extended or blended families there may be fears around comparison and also stress around dealing with the holiday season family dynamics.
Christmas can bring out the best and the worst in us. Finding and focusing on the traditions that bring out the best can help make for a smooth Christmas. However if you are not religious it can be hard to retain some meaning around the spirit of Christmas in amongst all the shopping and focus on gifts.
The Kindness Elves began as an alternative to the popular Elf on the Shelf. You have probably seen him, he reports back to Santa on your children’s behaviour in the lead up to Christmas. While he can be an effective behavioural control tactic and the R18 things he gets up to after hours are highly entertaining, he is not for everyone. The amazing Anna from The Imagaination Tree first started the Elves in 2013, their aim being she says “Teaching love, kindness and gratitude with a hope to raise kids who move away from the entitlement attitude which is creeping into our modern generation”.
The Kindness Elves appear a few weeks before Christmas with a letter explaining that they are there to share in the magic of Christmas and that they have heard how kind hearted your children are and they can’t wait to see this for themselves. Each morning the children find them with a note that encourages some kindness, often this can be a Christmas activity like baking some gingerbread for the neighbours, or making Christmas cards, or general random acts of kindness. The note may also mention some kindness from the previous day that they noticed in the children. Often the children write back to the Elves, with questions, or just their own words of kindness.
You can take the concept of the Kindness Elves and work with it in a way that fits your family, from a couple of simple dolls and handwritten notes, or purchasing a package with it all done for you. The Kindness Elves are a beautiful way to embrace the value of kindness and to incorporate this into celebrating the spirit of Christmas. Kindness is like a balm to the craziness that life can seem sometimes. In our world today of instant gratification and ‘moreism’ to encourage children to focus on others and to be kind is to make the world a better place.