The Story Behind The Elf On The Self

The Story Behind The Elf On The Self

Katie Lavelle

It’s the holiday season and Christmas traditions are back in full swing. All around the world, Santa’s helpers are flying from the North Pole to their December homes. Elves on the Shelves reunite with their families and begin to watch out for who is naughty and who is nice. While many see the Elf on the Shelf as a holiday staple the house guest is a relatively new addition to the Christmas season. 

In 2005 The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition was written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell. Together they created the story about Santa’s flying helpers who come down from the north pole to watch kids and report if they are being naughty or nice. 

The idea behind the story came from one of Carol’s childhood traditions. Growing up in Georgia, it was not snow that rang in the Christmas season, instead, it was the appearance of her family’s holiday elf. The doll would appear every morning in a different part of the house and she was told it was sent by Santa to see if she was being good or bad. 

Together she and her daughter wrote a story that would go on to popularize the idea of a holiday elf watching you from all over your house. When you purchase the book you also get a small elf doll. It is understood that when children are asleep the doll flies back to report to Santa at the North Pole. When the elf returns he places himself somewhere new to view a new part of life and make sure the children are being nice. The doll comes with only one rule and we know it well, children can’t touch it or it will lose its magic. 

For over 15 years the Elf on the Shelf has grown and now millions of elves countdown to Christmas with families all around the world.