ME FFA gives back with ‘Elf on Shelf’ kits

CASSTOWN — With masks on and social distance compliant, 2020 Elf on the Shelf traditions will continue amid the global pandemic thanks to the hard work of Miami Valley CTC-Miami East FFA chapter.

The Elf on the Shelf tradition first took off in 2005, after author Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell wrote a children’s picture book starring the mischievous elf.

The Elf serves as Santa’s daily surveillance to catch kids in the act of being naughty or nice until Christmas Eve. Even the most creative of parents can have difficulty coming up with new and clever ways Elf is discovered each morning leading up to Christmas Day—that’s where this FFA passion project comes into play.

Vice-President Emma Sutherly, 17, shared her passion project of the Elf on the Shelf kits, fully assembled with 24 daily activities for the watchful Elf. Sutherly said similar kits sell for $60 on sites such as Etsy, but she found ways to cut costs and still have creative ways for Elf to show up to play for 24 days—and help a local charity. The chapter sold out of the kits quickly, capping the kits at 60.

“Mrs. Carity found it and gave me the idea to make it cheaper than what people buy online,” Sutherly said. “We Googled some ideas and came up with some of our own.”

The profits from the $30 per kit sale will be donated to Partners in Hope, with the total estimated at approximately $1,300. Sutherly said they chose the organization because it serves families in need in Troy, Casstown, and Fletcher.

“We tried to think of organizations that we could help at Christmas time and we found that one because they help families in need,” she said.

Once Buddy quarantines himself for two weeks inside the discreet boxes, the mayhem can safely ensue. Sutherly’s kits are complete with a calendar and directions for 24 days of activities. Elf also comes with a tape measure to ensure the social distance of six-feet is maintained throughout his holiday surveillance beginning Dec. 1.

Some examples of activities include a bubble bath, car wash, and popcorn day. The kits also come with a roll of toilet paper — a coveted item of the pandemic—but this TP is for Buddy to paper the home or Christmas tree. For example, the bubble bath activity includes cotton balls and miniature rubber duck and parents simply add a bowl as a tub.

One of Sutherly’s favorite days is Buddy’s own Christmas Bow climbing wall.

“They get little Christmas bows and they tape the bows to his hands and feet and it makes it look like he’s climbing the wall—that’s my favorite one,” she said.

Sutherly said she had the help of her fellow officers and students in Marie Carity’s agriculture classes. Students helped fill the sandwich bags, assemble materials, and pack boxes. The chapter’s officers held a drive-through for parents as they picked up the kits at school this weekend.