Show Us Your Elf on the Shelf

Photo courtesy: The TODAY Show

Creepy or cute? That’s what parents tend to ask themselves when they think about the Elf of the Shelf: Christmas Tradition that has flown across the country since it’s debut 12 years ago.

For those who may not be familiar, the Elf on the Shelf is a figurine that comes with a self-titled book, detailing the origin and purpose of the elf. The idea is that the Elf on the Shelf is in your home to help Santa watch over the children and, according to the book, he flies back up to the North Pole at night to give a report on their behavior. Each night he returns to a different location in your home.

There are some rules associated with the Elf on the Shelf. You have to give it a special name. There isn’t a specific return date, but most families bring back the Elf the week of Thanksgiving or Dec. 1. It does, however, have to leave before Christmas. The children can’t touch the Elf or it will loose it’s magic and disappear., but there is a special ceremony they can do to restore it’s magic.

The idea behind ‘santa’s little helper’ came from one family’s personal tradition. The TODAY show reported that Carol Aebersold and her daughter, Chanda Bell, self-published the book after being turned down by multiple editors and publishers. Now, the Elf on the Shelf is a holiday sensation.

The book has sold over 11 million copies. The elf debuted its own half-hour animated special, “An Elf’s Story,” in 2011, joined the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2012, and now has an extensive wardrobe, a female counterpart and a pet reindeer, according to the TODAY show. The Elf on the Shelf has 850K+ fans on Facebook, 640K+ Twitter followers, 150K Instagram followers, and even an app. 

The Elf has become an internet star with parents posting pictures of the elaborate scenes they created for the Elf’s ‘return’ each night. Although these elaborate scenes aren’t necessary, it’s become a common thread on several social media sites to inspire other parents to do the same.

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If your family cherishes the tradition of the Elf on the Shelf, we want to see! Send your photos to to be featured on our site.