Elf on the Shelf


Rhys Tucker, Writer

Elf on the shelf – many kids love it. Many parents hate it. Regardless of what side you are on, these magical elves have become a very popular holiday tradition. You might be packing up this special tradition or already packed it away, but have you wondered where the idea originated? Why is it still so popular today?

It all started in the home of one family: Carol Aebersold and her daughters Chanda and Christa created this beloved holiday tradition. When the kids were growing up, they had an elf that would report to Santa during the night and come back to their house, which is why the elf was always in a different position. The kids loved having the elf; it gave them a chance to talk to Santa directly and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

Their mom came up with a rule not to touch the elf, so it wouldn’t lose its “magical powers.” In retrospect, Chanda and Christa believe this rule was created to protect the elf because they were fairly wild as kids.

To the children, the elf on the shelf tradition was fun and magical, and it had them excited to get out of bed early in the morning to see where the elf had gone. Eventually, Carol and her daughters decided to share their whimsical family tradition by writing a story about it. They self-published the book together and it slowly formed into the elf on the shelf we know today.

In 2007, two years after the initial release, elf on the shelf started becoming more popular. Today, it is still around and is one of the most well known holiday traditions, but why is it still so popular?

The idea of elf on the shelf is very magical to younger kids. Chanda and Christa work hard to keep their childhood experience alive; they always say that the elves have been adopted, and that they work for Santa in the North Pole. Today, there are many sites dedicated to creative ideas for the elf on the shelf, which can make the tradition a much more fun experience for almost any child. It brings joy to many children and is a tradition that represents the true spirit of the holidays, which is why it is still so popular today.