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Where did ‘Elf on the Shelf’ come from?

November 30, 2023

Ever wondered where ‘Elf on the Shelf’ came from?

The Magical Journey of Elf on the Shelf: From Family Tradition to Global Phenomenon

In the realm of holiday traditions, few figures have captured the hearts and imaginations of children quite like Elf on the Shelf. With his mischievous grin and penchant for unexpected appearances, Elf on the Shelf has become a beloved symbol of Christmas cheer for millions of families worldwide. But behind the adorable façade lies a heartwarming tale of family tradition turned global sensation.

Where did it start?

The origins of Elf on the Shelf can be traced back to the 1970s. Carol Aebersold, a stay-at-home mum from Atlanta, Georgia, introduced the concept of a scout elf to her twin daughters, Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts. Aebersold drew inspiration from Scandinavian folklore, which often features elves as helpers of Santa Claus. She named her family’s elf Fisbee, and he quickly became an integral part of their holiday celebrations.

As the years passed, the tradition of Fisbee’s visits evolved. Aebersold would hide Fisbee in different spots around the house each night, and her daughters would eagerly search for him in the morning. The anticipation and excitement surrounding Fisbee’s antics became a cherished part of their Christmas traditions.

The book

In 2004, Aebersold and Bell decided to share their family traditions with the world. They penned a children’s book titled “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition,” which recounted the story of Scout Elves. The elves were Santa’s helpers who watched over children during the day and reported back to the North Pole at night. The book was accompanied by a plush Scout Elf, and together they became an instant hit.

Word of the cheeky elf spread quickly, and soon families across the country were embracing the tradition. The book became a New York Times bestseller, and the Scout Elf became a coveted holiday gift. By 2009, Elf on the Shelf had sold over 10 million copies worldwide!

Christmas 2023

Today, Elf on the Shelf is a global phenomenon. Scout Elves bring joy to millions of children and families during the holiday season. The tradition has inspired countless creative and imaginative poses, shared through social media. These cement this Elf’s antics as a beloved part of modern Christmas celebrations.

The story of this famous elf is a testament to the power of family traditions and the enduring magic of imagination. From a simple act of creating joy for her own children, Carol Aebersold has sparked a global movement. This continues to spread Christmas cheer and foster a sense of wonder and excitement for generations to come. Will Elf on the Shelf be here for our children’s grandchildren? Only time will tell!


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