Checkout the updated letter and mission on the new Life as a Field Trip website: http://lifeasafieldtrip.com/how-to-use-your-elf-on-the-shelf-to-spread-the-christmas-spirit-and-still-have-fun/
This year is the first year we’ve had an elf come to our home. While I love, love, love the idea of Elf on the Shelf, I don’t really like the “Santa’s watching you so you’d better behave” part. We don’t do threats…well, we don’t do threats that involve imaginary characters anyway. I like the silliness, the creativity, and watching his eyes light up when he discovers the crazy things his elf has been up to. But I wanted to do something more positive, still silly, but with a purpose (and we all know every activity needs to be educational in our house). So his elf arrived with a letter stating he and Paolo will be taking part in “Operation Cheer”.
Each day his elf, Elf-vis, will give him a Christmas Cheer Mission in order to spread the Christmas spirit. His first mission was to make handmade Christmas cards for someone he thinks might not get one. He thought of three people right away who might really appreciate a handmade card. My heart melted.
To adapt it for your family, hand write or adapt my arrival letter. (Feel free to send me a message for the pdf files). Make up and print out your OPERATION CHEER missions. Possible missions might include calling someone and wishing them a Merry Christmas, making homemade ornaments to give away, helping someone with chores to make their day, stopping by to surprise Grandma and sing Christmas carols, baking something with mom to give to the neighbors, doing something to make his mom’s day easier, do something to make his dad smile, something for his overworked and underpaid teacher.
I’m working on more ideas, but the main thing I want Paolo to understand is Christmas is about thinking of other people, not Santa and his list.