OK, so once upon a time they were maybe cute and kitchy—but not everyone is into the, um, message of the Elf on the Shelf.
One of those people is blogger Anna Ranson of The Imagination Tree, who started the Kindness Elves tradition with her kids and has since seen it go on to become a global phenomenon.
Rather than making mischief, these cute elfin figurines seek to instill a sense of gratitude in kiddos, as well as a love for helping others—you know, staying away from the whole Christmas consumerism thing.
How? These little elves (with the help of moms and dads and pen and paper) suggest kind acts for kids to partake in that celebrate the true spirit of Christmas. Think baking cookies to share with friends or donating toys to the local children's hospital.