105 – The Elves and the Shoemaker

“The Elves and the Shoemaker” was recorded by the Brothers Grimm and first published in their original 1812 book of folktales. It’s a story that tells of elves who choose to help a craftsman who is down on his luck despite his honest, hardworking ways. Economic hardship is, unfortunately, timeless. But on the bright side, so are kindness and generosity.

“The Elves and the Shoemaker” paints an ideal picture of charitable endeavors, showing that even good, hardworking people con sometimes be down on their luck, and that those who are able to offer help ought to. Once the shoemaker is back on his feet, he is then able to be the one who shows generosity. The story presents an encouraging cycle of kindness, with a subtle reminder that the Christmas season is a good time to revive our commitment to caring for one another.

Activity: Show Generosity

Around Christmastime, lots of people try to think of ways that they can be a “Secret Santa.” Have your kids plan a way to do what they can to provide help to someone who needs it. There may be someone you know in your community who needs direct aid, or perhaps a local charity is in need of money or resources. The most important thing the children should remember is that their acts of kindness should be performed anonymously and with no expectation of recognition or reward. If appropriate, have students write a reflection on why people should perform anonymous good deeds for one another.