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A NEW ‘Elf On The Shelf’ Tradition You Will Actually Love

Elf on the Shelf Letter TML logo

By Vicki Little

Stop groaning — I am not going to load a bunch of mommy-guilt on you about the latest fun little capers the “cool” elves have been up to. The Elf On The Shelf is likely at your house anyway, so you may as well get something out of it. Think fewer toys underfoot, party goodies that finally disappear, maybe even a chocolate or two to enjoy after the kids go to bed — if you can get the elf to share. An added benefit is that there just may be a reason why little Elfie didn’t move last night.

Everyone knows that elves are Santa’s little helpers. They make, collect, and wrap the toys. The special Scout Elves get to hang out with our families and make sure we are all being good. Then, he or she can report back to Santa that we get to skip the coal this year. But what, until recently, few people know is that the elves don’t actually make all of the toys (I mean seriously, the population has grown MUCH bigger than when we were kids).

Some toys are taken back to the workshop to be fixed up and then Santa brings them to sweet little boys and girls who don’t have many toys of their own. Santa loves to see little kids sharing toys — it may even score a few extra points and keep kids on the nice list! The elves can’t just take the old toys, though, because that would be stealing of course!

Instead, good little boys and girls around the world share their gently used toys so another child can get just as much love from those toys as they did. Kids leave their small toys (nothing too heavy because it is a long flight) for the Scout Elf to take back to Santa. If it is easier for children to only give toys once a week, I am sure you can include a letter asking for this arrangement. It might make things easier on your elf because there will be less flying!

The Scout Elf (and Santa) absolutely love win-win situations and life lessons. This new tradition teaches children to let go of things and give to others who aren’t as fortunate. It saves a glass of wine from being guzzled in the tug-o-war that is getting a child to get rid of toys they no longer play with, and it helps Santa make some less-fortunate child’s life a little brighter this season.

If your Scout Elf is participating in this tradition, we would love to see a picture! Join the fun by posting your picture on Instagram and tag us @TheMotherList and we might throw a little something your elf’s way!

Download the letter here.

Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.

 

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63 Comments

  1. Krista
    December 9, 2015 @ 11:24 am

    Just wondering is you can forward this letter to me via email…. signed Lazy Momma!

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 9, 2015 @ 3:50 pm

      Your comment made me laugh. I will have to check on this 🙂

      Reply

      • Nicole
        December 13, 2015 @ 11:55 pm

        Could I have it sent to me as well? Thank you!

        Reply

    • Vicki
      December 9, 2015 @ 3:59 pm

      You are in luck, Krista! I am sending you the letter minus the name! Please share your pic with us when you do it! We are on Instagram, just tag us @themotherlist. Have fun!

      Reply

      • Aisha
        December 9, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

        Could you send me the letter as well? Signed Tired and lazy mom 🙂

        Reply

        • Vicki
          December 9, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

          Sent! Thanks, be sure to tag us @themotherlist if you post it on Instagram! We would love to see all the elf pictures!

          Reply

      • Steph
        December 10, 2015 @ 9:48 am

        Where do you really bring the toys so they can go to needy kids? Local church?

        Reply

        • Vicki
          December 10, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

          Hi Steph! Yes, I do take our toys to the church, except for a few I sent to a local school because they were asking for gently used toys for the very same reason! If you have any other places that accept them, I would love to hear about them!

          Reply

  2. Heather Gregg
    December 9, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

    This makes me mad. Why are we tricking kids with magic into being kind and generous? Or bribing them? Why can’t they share out of the goodness of their hearts?

    I tell my kids: we are lucky to be able to buy all the things we want and need. Some kids don’t have any toys, or parents, or money. Let’s gather up some of your toys to give to those kids. Let’s share our luck and wealth.

    Reply

    • HeyaMeyer
      December 9, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

      I think the letter is a step in the right direction, but I agree… Every couple of months, we have our 5 year old gather toys he doesn’t play with and we go and give them to the “poor kids”. We don’t have a lot of money, but our child is extremely fortunate and never without. We make sure he understands that.

      Reply

      • Vicki
        December 9, 2015 @ 3:57 pm

        I love that! My kids have gotten so used to it that when I am doing a spring cleaning of their rooms and moving toys about they help me sort which they would like to give. We are personally giving less gifts this year and focusing more spending time together this year. My kids think of these gifts as something extra special.

        Reply

      • Casieopea
        December 11, 2015 @ 6:40 am

        wellllll tricking children with “magic” is the whole christmas thing – as well as the whole elf thing…so I guess I look at it as just continuing down that road, Heather. I cant see a real difference in ethics between making believe that an elf from the north pole is sitting around my house making reports to an imaginary benefactor who will bring gifts if your child is “good enough” and saying that this imaginary person thinks it’s a good idea to tidy up and give away your toys to the needy, in all honesty.

        Reply

    • Vicki
      December 9, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

      I’m sorry it made you mad, I do understand your point. We do practice giving all year long and my children participate in Operation Christmas Child every Christmas. But we have an Elf on The Shelf and we wanted it to be something more than just a sneaky elf that is watching them.

      I also feel this is a good way to tell them that not every family is given a ton of gifts and also gives the kids a way to help Santa. For families that do have Scout Elves, it turns it from the Scout Elf just being a spy for Santa into being a part of the family enjoying giving and sharing with others.

      I think it is awesome that your kids share their luck and wealth with others. In our family we have told our kids it is just an extra special thing we are giving, and they tend to take a little more time and care with picking out a toy that has given them lots of love and good memories.

      Reply

    • Melanie
      December 10, 2015 @ 11:05 am

      I’m right there with you Heather.

      Reply

      • Melanie
        December 10, 2015 @ 11:09 am

        Agree with Heather Gregg

        Reply

  3. Patti
    December 9, 2015 @ 7:14 pm

    Could you also send me the letter?
    Thanks
    Patti

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 9, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

      Done! Thanks!

      Reply

      • Yany
        December 10, 2015 @ 7:44 am

        I would love a copy of the letter as well. I think this is a great start in the right direction.

        Reply

  4. Jennifer
    December 9, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

    I would also love a copy of this letter!!! Great job!!!! This actually brought me to tears, so sweet!!! I cannot wait to do this with my little love. She loves her “Trixie”!
    Thanks so much!!!

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:10 pm

      What a cute name, Trixie! We named ours Family Stanley. Each of my children chose one word and that is what they combined into! I sent the letter, I hope you and your daughter enjoy!

      Reply

  5. Laura nichols
    December 9, 2015 @ 9:58 pm

    Please send me the letter….this is a really great idea

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

      Thank you! The letter has been sent!

      Reply

  6. Michele Downard
    December 9, 2015 @ 10:32 pm

    Could I please get a copy of this letter? I would love to do this with my son! Great idea! Thank you!!!

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

      Sent! You are welcome and enjoy!

      Reply

  7. Bernard McKeon
    December 10, 2015 @ 3:59 am

    Could you also send me the letter, please.
    Thanks,
    Bernard

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

      It has been sent! Enjoy!

      Reply

  8. Heather
    December 10, 2015 @ 6:36 am

    Vicky,

    I so love this, such a great idea! I see everyone’s side and while my child gets great enjoyment out of giving many things to children that are less fortunate, I can understand too that this can be difficult for younger children to completely comprehend. My little guy and I have been donating to a local food pantry as well as donating to various other organizations since he was about 2, so he is very aware that there are many people in need…..not just during the holidays, but every day of the year. I love this letter as you said, because “it is a step in the right direction” and I think it really does provoke and reinforce “sharing” in a positive way. I can still hear the sound of the bell as the magic still exists for me :-)…….bravo to you!!! Would you mind sending me a copy?

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

      I love love love this comment and will treasure it! That particular movie/book is one of my absolute favorites this time of year! I have sent the letter to you, I hope you and your family enjoy! And thank you!

      Reply

  9. Valerie
    December 10, 2015 @ 7:45 am

    Love this idea! ! Please send me a copy to if you can. As for the negative comment I read. REALLY here it’s an idea to help (kids have new perspective, and help the moms out ) if you don’t agree that’s fine but please don’t put the negative out there especially when you don’t hs be to read it, do it, or like it. Just saying.

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

      Sent Valerie! I hope you enjoy!

      Reply

  10. Eva
    December 10, 2015 @ 8:23 am

    Good idea….

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

      Thank you! It has been fun!

      Reply

  11. Maya
    December 10, 2015 @ 8:52 am

    Can you please email me this letter too please? Thanks so much! And happy holidays.

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

      Sent! You are welcome and Happy Holidays to you as well!

      Reply

  12. Beth
    December 10, 2015 @ 9:45 am

    Can you send to me via email as well? Such a great idea.

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

      Sent Beth! Enjoy and thank you!

      Reply

  13. Katrina
    December 10, 2015 @ 10:21 am

    I think this a wonderful idea, I took my kids this year to pick names from the Angel Tree at Walmart to help them understand that not all kids have as much as they do. We are not rich by no means but he doesn’t go without ever. Would you be willing to send me the letter please? I work night shift and never really have time to do much besides work & take care of my Turkeys

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

      I love the Angel Tree! The letter has been sent, enjoy!

      Reply

  14. Alyson Ramsey
    December 10, 2015 @ 10:47 am

    I love this idea! I would love the letter via email too, if you are sending it out!

    Thank you for sharing this!!

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

      Sent for you!

      Reply

  15. susan
    December 10, 2015 @ 11:02 am

    Can you kindly send me the letter as well?
    Thank you and wish you and yours amazing blessings.

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

      It has been sent! Than you and blessings to you and yours as well!

      Reply

  16. Tina
    December 10, 2015 @ 11:17 am

    I would LOVE a copy of the letter 😉 Please and thank you!!!!

    Reply

    • Vicki
      December 10, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

      Sent and you are welcome!

      Reply

  17. Laura
    December 10, 2015 @ 2:35 pm

    Could you please send me the letter as well!
    Thanks –
    “A full mom!” (I set a goal to avoid the word “busy” this year and remind myself that life is full, which is a good thing!

    Reply

  18. Jenni
    December 10, 2015 @ 3:24 pm

    Hello! This is such a wonderful idea I love it! If you could send me a copy of your letter it would be so much appreciated!

    Thanks again for coming up with such a wonderful idea!

    Merry Christmas to you 🙂

    Reply

  19. Angela
    December 10, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

    Could you please send me a copy as well?
    I love this idea!

    Reply

  20. Kelly OFarrell
    December 10, 2015 @ 6:13 pm

    Hello! This is such a wonderful idea I love it! If you could send me a copy of your letter it would be so much appreciated!

    Thanks again for coming up with such a wonderful idea!

    Merry Christmas to you 🙂

    Thank you again!

    Reply

  21. Kim
    December 10, 2015 @ 6:58 pm

    I would love a copy of the letter. Merry Christmas!

    Reply

  22. Dana
    December 10, 2015 @ 11:00 pm

    Could I get a copy of the letter as well please?

    Reply

  23. Trevor Coombe
    December 11, 2015 @ 4:56 am

    Another request to send please?

    Many thanks! 🙂

    Reply

  24. DJ
    December 11, 2015 @ 11:03 am

    I’d love to get this via email…but you should actually just post the text so you don’t have all these emails to send out… 😉

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Mel
      December 14, 2015 @ 7:54 pm

      Hey DJ, I was just going to post the same thing!
      I too would love a copy, but could just copy and paste off of these replies…
      But I will happily type it out myself too 🙂
      Love this idea

      Reply

  25. Jo
    December 12, 2015 @ 7:58 am

    Hi Viki!

    Love this letter, would you please send me a copy ?

    Thanks,
    Jo

    Reply

  26. Amanda
    December 12, 2015 @ 10:40 am

    Can you please send me the letter too? Thank you!! 🙂

    Reply

  27. Shawna
    December 12, 2015 @ 11:41 am

    Hi Vicki,
    Can I also get a copy of the letter? Thanks so much!

    Reply

  28. Tami
    December 12, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

    I would love a copy of this letter.

    Reply

  29. Suzi
    December 12, 2015 @ 7:12 pm

    Could you please email the letter to me? My three year old son and I donated a bunch of toys and clothes in October to flood victims in Columbia, SC. He understood that his items were going to a boy his age, who had lost everything. He has been asking to give him more, so this will tie our elf in perfectly. Thank you!

    Reply

  30. Angela
    December 12, 2015 @ 10:40 pm

    Could you also send me a copy as well. Thank you so much!

    Reply

  31. Amanda Giles
    December 13, 2015 @ 8:17 am

    I would love a copy too…please send me the email. 🙂

    Reply

  32. Cindy A
    November 30, 2018 @ 10:37 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog when looking for ideas. I love this as I have been trying to get my daughters to get rid of some older toys. Can you email this to me please?

    Reply

  33. slbno1
    December 8, 2018 @ 11:06 am

    WoW! I ♥, ♥, ♥, this! So doggone creative! The Elf on the Shelf thing, has come to light, since my babies were young enough to enjoy the enigma of it all..28,25, & 19. This wold have been fun for them though! I guess I had very generous kids, because when they grew uninterested in an item they had in their arsenal, they always let me know. My kids didn’t have an overabundance of toys and clutter though. Not because we couldn’t buy for them..more because there were more fun things to do outside. Also lots of yard work and various things to do outside. No! They never got paid for helping. I feel by not paying them for their labour, they learned many more lessons, than money. My children also donated beautiful clothes, they had outgrown. We were also helpers at the food mission on holidays, and sometimes for breakfast, when they weren’t in school.

    Reply

  34. Kristen
    December 9, 2018 @ 7:46 am

    Is there a link to get this letter or could you send it to me?
    Thanks!!

    Reply

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