The Elf on a Shelf – A mischievous beginning

Published 5:54 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

A Christmas tradition that has swept the nation and the world, the Elf on the Shelf, is bringing families together and giving parents a fun and creative way to interact with their children during the holidays. 

Though, what I was wondering, and perhaps you are too, is how this little elf’s story began, and how did he win the hearts of so many?

I personally did not grow up with Elf on the Shelf. That tradition became popular after “my time” you could say. I would have enjoyed experiencing this little elf’s mischief, and I think my parents would have had just as much fun. 

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“The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” originally was a children’s illustrated book written in 2005 by the mother-daughter duo Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. The book comes packaged with a “Scout Elf” that a family adopts, an elf who has the job of being Santa’s eyes and ears during the Christmas season. 

The elf travels back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa about the children’s behavior, then returns in the morning where he will perch in a new spot in the home. 

This is where the parents get to have a little fun of their own. While many children wake up to find their elf moved to a new location in the house, some catch him frozen in an act of mischief or in a funny scenario. Social media accounts inspire parents to level-up in their creations of the elf’s morning position.

The rules for The Elf on the Shelf are simple. Once families adopt a Scout Elf, they must give it a name then make sure everyone knows the most important rule: don’t touch the Scout Elf. If you do, he will lose his magic! Next, know that Scout Elves can’t talk, but they are great listeners, which means they hear everything. Finally, families should know that the Scout Elf is with them for a short time. Come Dec. 24, he’ll head back to the North Pole until next year.

Elves now come in a variety of skin tones and both genders, which have made the tradition even more popular. Families have shared that they feel The Elf on the Shelf is a way to keep the Christmas spirit alive, and a way to connect children and parents during the holiday for longer than just one day on Christmas morning, as the Elf traditionally arrives by Dec. 1. 

I look forward to one day enjoying this tradition with my children, and giving them memories to cherish for a lifetime.