-- Many use the beloved holiday tradition of dressing their kids up as an Elf on the Shelf just for laughs. But one Nashville, Indiana, mom is dressing her son up to raise money to buy toys for kids in need.
Megan Schott started dressing up her 18-month-old son Forest as an Elf on the Shelf last year.
"It was a lot," the mother of one recalled to ABC News.
Schott, 30, noted that she takes anywhere between 80 to 100 photos just to get a single silly shot of her son as an Elf on the Shelf. The process usually takes an hour. But it became so taxing, she didn't want to do it again this year.
"But everyone kept asking, 'Hey! Are we going to see Forest as an Elf on the Shelf?' So I said, 'Let's do a fundraiser out of it,'" she explained. "In order for me to post a nightly picture of Forest, someone would have to donate in the past 24 hours. It's kind of like a pay-per-view."
Schott had an initial goal of $500. But she was blown away by the response, meeting that goal in a matter of days. So she bumped up her goal to $1,000, but she blew past that goal too. She's now raised more than $2,000, which she'll split and donate to the Salvation Army and the Columbus Fireman’s Cheer Fund.
Cheer Fund co-chairman Jarrad Mullis told ABC News that the Schott's donations will help the approximately 1,300 kids they serve each holiday season.
A spokesperson for the fund added in a statement, "Having the community be so involved like Forest and his family is what makes the Cheer Fund succeed each year. Without the generosity of volunteers and donations, it wouldn't be possible. Forest's donation will go toward purchasing new toys, bikes and stuffed animals for the over 1,200 children we will help this year."
For Schott, who works in administration at an automobile engine company, she just wants to teach her son how to live a great life.
"I really want to teach my son to be a caring and compassionate person and to be there for others," she said. "When you promote compassion for others, the others will show their compassion too. That’s what our community has done."