25 Activities to do with your Elf on the Shelf

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

Note: This page will get updated as I get new ideas.
What you'll need:
25 Activities to do with your Elf
  1. Make Christmas pancakes (include either food coloring or sprinkles)
  2. Draw the elf a picture
  3. Read a Christmas book Get $10 to buy a Christmas book and pass it to a friend when you’re done!
  4. Pick names for Secret Santa Buy ingredients to make slime
  5. Get 2 boxes of candy canes. Share one box with the neighbourhood.
  6. Write a Christmas story (include a handmade booklet)
  7. Write a letter to Santa
  8. Surprise kids with a puzzle
  9. Watch a Christmas movie
  10. Sort through old toys and donate 
  11. Decorate Christmas tree
  12. Make Christmas cookies and deliver to neighbours
  13. Christmas bath bombs
  14. Tickets to some trampoline place
  15. Make paper snowflakes
  16. Gift of Christmas socks
  17. Write a Christmas wish for the world and hang it on the tree
  18. Build a snowman (include a snowman kit with raisins, carrots, scarves and mitts)
  19. Walk around the neighbourhood and find the most festive house. Give them a card or homemade trophy.
  20. Family hot chocolate night (include a kit with marshmallows + whip cream)
  21. Make an ice cream snowman (include vanilla ice cream and stuff from previous snowman kit)
  22. Go skating
  23. Gift of Santa hats or antlers for the family
  24. Open one Christmas gift of your choosing
  25. Farewell gift from Elf - TBD
My kids weren't too enamoured with the Elf until she started delivering her notes in silly ways. Take the time to place the Elf in a funny way to elicit some giggles from your kids.
Or, you can just do this brilliant parenting win.
Read more →

Doing nothing may be your solution

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

the power of doing nothing

Image from a favorite illustration set on what love is.

I'm unapologetic about my inactivity - that's a first. I've been unintentionally studying the tension between how guilt and productivity play in my life.

I don't know about you, but I feel guilt when I'm not working towards something. It's like we've been taught to believe that action is everything. Have an active social life. Keep your house clean. Eat information like it's a daily meal. Be the best version of yourself. That's a lot of pressure.

In the Artist's Way, there was a week dedicated to reading deprivation. No phone, no Instagram, no fictional novels. I put myself on a strict diet of only work readings. By the second day, my partner irritably asked me to stop overcompensating by talking his ear off. After a few rounds of flaring my nostrils, the slow ticking of the clock started to feel natural. I re-arranged the bursting pantry. I leisurely facetimed my cousin in England. I watched my kids do kid stuff. 

The purpose of reading deprivation was to get comfortable with doing nothing. And that by letting myself be bored, I'd open myself up to new experiences.

TBH, I don't remember most of what I did that week. BUT - I do remember the feeling of calm and peacefulness that eventually permeated. 

Sometimes, there's a lesson in boredom if you let it come. What if it was the right thing to do to be bored and not use it as a productivity hack? What if puttering around the evenings and being idle was a valuable way to spend time?

Read more →

The Happiness Graph

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

Have you noticed that we're in an age of obsessive tracking? People track everything - the distance run that day, weight loss, # of followers. 

A few months ago, I was testing out the U-curve of emotions and everyday was feeling like a roller coaster. So many highs and lows within just a few hours. Then it occurred to me that this tracking trend mashed with my emotions research could solve all life problems. I mean, who doesn't heart a good graph!

So voila! A Happiness Graph was created and tested in my month of transitioning roles. Just visually seeing that I was experiencing more happy days than sad made me feel better.

Download a blank template here. I use the Paper by 53 app to track.
If you feel comfortable, send me what you capture!

Happiness graph

Note: this is applicable even if you're not changing roles. One could argue that life is a constant transition...

Read more →

Productivity Planner

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

I've been using Alex Ikonn's Productivity Planner for the last two months and it's blown my mind! My productivity at work has just skyrocketed. I attribute most of this to a combo of 1) seeing my to-do list laid out and 2) using the Pomodoro timer. They have a free PDF sample that I've been printing up. 

Give it a try and let me know how it's improved your workflow!

Read more →

Listicles on Creativity

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

Trying a new thing this week. Here are 3 articles that caught my eye...

1. 5 steps to a More Creative You

2. Insights into AHA moments.

3. Can boredom make you more creative?


Hope you enjoyed this week's post! I love hearing from you so let me know what caught your eye recently :)

Read more →