By now, you've probably heard about and seen plenty of pictures of the elf on the shelf. But what is the story behind the tradition? I'll help explain.
Elf on the Shelf Story
Recently, the Elf on the Shelf's popularity soared when it was adapted into a book and elf doll set by Carol Aebersold and her daughter, Chanda Bell, in 2004. They wrote about their own family tradition of how their elf came to watch over the kids and report back to santa Claus during the holiday season. The story goes like this: Kids are not to touch the elf, or he loses his magical powers and will go back to the North Pole to tell Santa who has been naughty and has been nice. The book was also adapted into a holiday special (and subsequent Elf on the Shelf DVD) in 2011.
Elf on the Shelf History
If you're of a certain age (like me,) the elf may look familiar to you. When I first saw the Elf re-emerge in the past few years, it reminded me of having similar elves growing up in the 1970s. It turns out there were “knee hugging” elves back in the 60s and 70s. You can still find vintage elves on eBay. My parents didn't use the story or the legend to “bribe” me to be good. They were simply decorations we pulled out around Christmas time.
My elf looked like this:
Photo Credit: Senior Musings Moments
The lesson here is that you can use your elf to make your own tradition, just as the authors of the Elf on the Shelf book did. I personally prefer the kindness elf – an elf on the shelf alternative. Some people find this type of elf “magic” is a bit off-putting (or even creepy). Kindness Elves are kinder, gentler alternative. This Kindness Elf Tradition combines both the fun and magic of the Elf on the Shelf with the spirit of the season. Plus, it gets whole family involved in doing nice things for friends, family and others.
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