What is Elf on the Shelf?
The elf on the shelf is sent from the north pole to be Santa’s eyes and ears during the Christmas season. Every night, the elf flies back to report back to Santa about who’s being naughty, and who’s being nice.
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The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a 2005 children’s picture book, written and self-published by American author Carol Aebersold and daughter Chanda Bell and illustrated by Coë Steinwart, featuring a Christmas-themed tale, written in rhyme, that explains how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice.
In accordance with the traditional story, The Elf on the Shelf usually begins at Thanksgiving and continues until Christmas Eve when the elves return to the North Pole until the next holiday season. The Elf on the Shelf comes in a keepsake box that features a hardbound picture book and a small soft toy in form of a pixie scout elf.
On 26 November 2011, the book aired on CBS as a 30 minute animated TV show An Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf, directed by Chad Eikhoff. The Washington Post panned it, saying “CBS brings all this to computer-generated life, which is, of course, barely any life at all. The animation reminds you of the kind seen in allergy-relief commercials, and yet so much tender, loving care apparently went into “The Elf on the Shelf”: Hundreds of animators in India worked on it… The real failure here is that “The Elf on the Shelf’s” own cynicism — at its heart, it’s just a half-hour advertisement for a book and a toy — prevents it from joining the canon of prime-time animated Christmas specials that actually move the spirit.”
Elf on the Shelf Plot
The poetic story dictates that the elf’s main priority around the family’s household is to keep watch over the children’s behavior during the day and return to the North Pole overnight to report their behavior to Santa Claus, detailing any acts of obedience or misdeeds performed by a child during that particular day, returning home by the following morning. Starting from the day following Thanksgiving toChristmas Eve, the elf remains with its family to ensure that they behave properly throughout the holidays. However, the top policy regarding the Elf on the Shelf is to refrain from touching the creature, as doing so could permanently erase any Christmas magic with which the elf had been bestowed upon being named by the family. It is no longer capable of fulfilling its duties of recounting the events of the day to Santa Claus, cautioning that he may or may not learn about a child’s behavior should the Elf on the Shelf be stripped of its holiday enchantment. Every day, the elf’s position changes, providing the family with the responsibility of locating its current perch before its departure for the year on Christmas Eve.