We’ve all seen the funny pictures in our news feeds depicting the small dolls dressed as elves doing clever or mischievous things around our loved ones’ homes, but where, do you ask, did this hilarious Christmas tradition come from?
In 2005, american author Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell wrote the children’s book, Elf on the Shelf, and published it themselves (with illustrations done by Coë Steinwart). The story was created by the two in 2004 while having a cup of tea reminiscing about their own family tradition of an elf sent from Santa coming to watch over them at Christmas time. In 2008, the Elf on the Shelf received the Best Toy Award by Learning Express, the Book of the Year Award from Creative Child Awards, and the National Best Books Award sponsored by USA Book News. Today, the Elf on the Shelf hit the #1 spot on the USA Today Bestsellers List.
As the story goes, Santa has little helpers called “scout elves” that go into people homes every year for a certain amount of time to watch over the home and the events that take place. Once everyone goes to bed, the “scout elf” flies back to the North Pole and reports to Santa the children’s behavior–both good and bad. The scout elf then flies back before anyone wakes up and hides. Each time the elf leaves and comes back, it hides in a new place creating a fun game of hide-and-seek for kids.
The book goes on to explain how the elf receives it’s magic to fly and all the rules that come with having the elf in the house so it doesn’t lose it’s magical powers.
Of course, like any other parenting method, the Elf on the Shelf has received much criticism and is a controversial topic for parents–should we tell our children that an elf is watching them to make them behave, or not? Regardless of the answer, the elf has become a huge part of Christmas traditions today. With all the clever ways to hide the elf and hilarious ways to pose him–sites like Pinterest and Facebook are filled with these ideas–the small toy has become an entertaining game for adults as well!
As a fun contest, the guys here in the office joined in on the Elf on the Shelf fun and took pictures of their elves in their “hiding places”. Whoever gets the most “likes” on their elf photo on our Facebook page will receive $100! To check out who the lucky winner is, click on the link below!
Whether or not you agree with using the elf as a parenting tactic, it can certainly be a fun Christmas game or a way to kill time by looking at all the hilarious ways other people have used it! For more fun facts about the Elf on the Shelf, click on the link below!