On the 1st of December, a small intruder enters most of our homes. You might find him or her grinning from ear to ear on the fireplace mantle, in the Christmas tree, or sitting atop your fridge. Some mornings he or she might get into mischief in the kitchen or the bathroom, and other mornings…that little smiling creature might forget to move altogether. (Ooops!)I am of course talking about Elf on the Shelf – returning to households across the nation for another holiday season. For most of us, we love how happy our children get when they see their elf arrive. We love watching them search for their little friend each morning, and we love how much they love the magic of it all. But a couple years ago I thought to myself…
“What is the big deal with this elf that just sits around the house with his creepy smile?”
Then it occurred to me; what if this little guy could also teach our boys about the spirit of giving? About helping people less fortunate? About showing them that even Santa thinks Christmas is about more than just presents?
Enter Skittles. (Our boys named our elf after their favourite candy. And mine!)
For the past two years, when Skittles arrives on December 1st, he brings a little note with him. On that note, he gives the boys a challenge for the coming week.
It could be for them to go through their clothes and donate what doesn’t fit them anymore. It could be to check the pantry and find items to donate to the food bank. It could be to go through their playroom and pick out toys and books they no longer play with that another little boy or girl might like. And since our guys love animals, dropping off donations to the local humane society is likely going to be one of this year’s challenges.
Each week, they are both so excited and so eager to complete these challenges for 3 reasons;
#1 – If they complete the challenge, Skittles will tell Santa wonderful things about them.
#2 – If they complete the challenge, Skittles brings them a new challenge for the next week…and usually a little treat too. (candy, piggy bank money)
#3 – If they complete the challenge, they feel GOOD about themselves for being helpful and generous.
The look on their faces when they know they’re helping a child or a family that really needs it…is priceless. We’re trying to teach them that while we may spend the holiday season with family and friends eating delicious food and opening wonderful gifts, not everyone is as lucky as we are.
Sometimes it’s hard to make sure your kids understand that Christmas isn’t all about presents. Especially in the world we live in today. Sometimes you wonder if you’re even getting through to them as they sit and drool over some new toy they see on TV.
My youngest told me the other day that Christmas is all about giving and family. I smiled and told him I completely agree. He smiled proudly and said… “Skittles our elf told us that and he knows Santa, so I know it’s true.”
So, sometimes…you might just need a magical little elf on your side to help show them what the holiday season is all about.
Welcome back, elves! We’ve missed you.