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What is Elf on the Shelf?

Elf on the Shelf

A new tradition gaining ground in the last few years, the Elf on the Shelf is a charming concept that can bring new joy into any child’s holiday activities. Simple yet effective, all it takes is a bit of creativity, some good storytelling, and an elf.

The story of the Elf on the Shelf is simple. Santa is unable to watch every child on his own, even with all the holiday power he possesses. So, much like how he has elves helping to create all the toys for children, he has another group of elves whose job is to watch children and report on their behavior, naughty or nice. These are the Elves on the shelf. As it goes, some Elves are automatically assigned to houses, while others wait in adoption centers in stores for families to bring them home. Children are encouraged to name the elf, and to watch out for it in their home, for it will be always on the lookout for their behavior, good or bad.

As Santa's agent, the elf is flying home every night to the North Pole to report on the behavior of the children, so that in the morning, when it returns it is in a new spot. Kids are encouraged to find it each day, but also to remember not to touch the elf. If the elf is touched, he may lose his magic, and then be unable to get back home and give his reports, which would have all sorts of terrible results for the Christmas celebration.

This recent tradition was inspired by a book written by a mother and daughter duo back in 2005. Since then, families all over the country and world have discovered the charm of the Elf on the Shelf idea. Kids will be reminded that if they want to be good, to work at it harder, as there are those who will know if they’re just trying to skate by. Others will love the idea that there is more than just a single part to Christmas, and love every new piece that is revealed to them as the years go by.

Many families have elves that do more than just sit on different shelves, instead getting into mischief rearranging items or spends times with his favorite activities. Either way, his role is always the same, to remind children that Santa expects them to do their best every year, and to keep the joy in every part of their lives.