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Elf on The Shelf - What is Elf on the Shelf -Where to Buy Your Own Elf and How it Works

Updated on September 15, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf - A New Christmas Tradition

The Elf on the Shelf is quickly becoming as special a Christmas tradition as the reading of The Night Before Christmas.

The premise is so simple - yet also so much fun for the whole family.

What is The Elf on the Shelf?

Santa needs help keeping track of which children are being naughty or nice during the holiday season. Because he himself is so busy, he sends down adorable little elves to keep watch over the children and report back to him each night.

Every evening parents hide the elf in a different hiding spot for children to find in the morning. Then each morning, kids delightfully run around looking to find where the little elf landed after reporting to Santa at the North Pole the night before.

There is only one rule. Children are not supposed to touch the little elf (though they are allowed to tell him their Christmas secrets).

Each family gets to adopt their own little elf that is sent to them directly from Santa. The elf receives its "Christmas magic" as soon as the new human family gives him their own special name. Then their personal little elf returns year after year to make sure the children are behaving before Christmas arrives and reports back to Santa each evening.

The Elf on the Shelf is not only fun for children to find - but fun for parents to come up with creative places to hide the elf each evening (or at least come up with creative excuses about why the elf hasn't moved if parents forget to move him the night before). The general rule is the elf needs to be "hidden" in plain site so he can keep an eye on the kids to be sure they are behaving.

Parents are also receiving the benefit of better behaving children as they remind them that the elf is watching them and will give Santa a bad report if they act up.

After Christmas arrives the little elf goes back to the North Pole with Santa until the following year.

The Authors of the Elf on The Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf was released in 2005 by the mother/daughter team Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell.

When they could not find a publisher willing to publish The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition they decided to publish it themselves where it quickly climbed the charts to become a number one best seller at Barnes and Noble and other large distributors.

They have received numerous awards since then including:

  • 2010 Book of the Year Creative Child Award.
  • 2009 Stevie Award for Best Web Animation.
  • 2009 Hermes Creative Award for Web Design and Web Animation.
  • 2009 Communicator Award.
  • Top Seller for 2009.
  • National Best Books 2008 Award.
  • 2008 iParenting Media Award.
  • HOT iParenting Media Award 2008.

The Elf on the Shelf has also been featured in major media outlets such as:

  • USA Today
  • LIVE with Regis and Kelly
  • Boston Globe
  • Disney
  • The Today Show
  • Rachel Ray Blog

Where to Find The Elf on the Shelf

Thanks to the convenience of the internet, you can receive your own Elf on the Shelf hardcover book that includes your own personal elf in just a couple of days.

The Elf on the Shelf Book and the Elf have become so popular that you can now choose between a male elf or female elf - a blue eyed elf or brown eyed elf and even begin collecting items such as The Elf on the Shelf holiday ornaments.

Simply click on one of the Amazon links below to begin your own new wonderful Christmas Holiday Tradition.


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    • SpiffyD profile image


      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Another example of a tradition deviating from its roots. Now, even elves take centre stage in "the most wonderful time of the year." Nice hub though.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      7 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I haven't heard of this at all. I guess I have been missing out. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and Useful.” RJ

      Based upon this HUB, you might enjoy…


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