elf on the shelf
Courtesy Caitlin Berk

By Jill Fox

The holidays are a stressful time, and the addition of the Elf on the Shelf fad, which involves moving the little guy to a new place each morning in inventive poses, can add to other time-consuming obligations.

For busy mothers and fathers who lack the extra time each night, a Parkland mom found a way to help relieve some of that creative pressure.

MiraLago resident Caitlin Berk enjoys getting in touch with that creative side. A former Park Trails Elementary School kindergarten teacher, she loved scrapbooking and likes doing crafts with her children — Brayden, 9, Kayla, 8, and Parker, 2.

For the past three years, she has been creating elf boxes for her and her sister’s families during the holiday season.

These consist of 25 pre-made bags of elf-inspired activities – one for each night, ready to use before the little ones wake up.

Her sister, Colleen, who lives in Cascata and has three kids of her own, is not nearly as crafty.

“That’s my forte — I always make the boxes for both of us,” said Berk, who tries to make the activities interactive.

A necklace made of Christmas lights accompanies a scavenger hunt, a jar can be used to carry him around, and a DIY craft for the Christmas tree is included.

“We write the year on it, and it becomes a memory to go on the tree,” she said.

After putting the elf boxes together, Berk frequently had items remaining.

She said the packages would come with a dozen little hats or extra craft kits, and she ended up giving them away. So this year, she decided to put those leftovers to good use.

elf on the shelf
The Berk Family. Courtesy Caitlin Berk

Berk made elf boxes to sell to other families in the community. Each box cost $100 and contained activities to last from December 1 through 24. She posted a picture on Facebook and sold ten within 30 minutes.

As interest continued, Berk placed another order for supplies and sold an additional 30 boxes.

“I just wanted to make moms lives easier and make it fun for the kids,” said Berk. “When my kids wake up and see what the elf is doing, it’s magical.”

Her goal is for the elf to bring a little more magic this season since families can’t do that much outside of the home.

Berk is finished selling boxes for now but said she would be open to providing smaller two-week kits if parents are interested. Her Instagram handle is @kindergartensmiles.

elf on the shelf
Elf Box

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Jill Fox
Jill Fox
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.