A doll and accompanying book called The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is rapidly becoming a seasonal favorite among American families. The rub goes: moms and dads shell out US$30 for the package, and hide the infant-sized elf in a different part of the house each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas for their children to find. The elf keeps careful watch over the little ones throughout the season, supposedly reporting any naughty behavior directly to Santa Claus.
The Elf on the Shelf is the brainchild of Carol Aebersold and her two daughters, who self-published the book locally in Kennesaw, Georgia in 2005 under the label, Creatively Classic Activities and Books. Word slowly spread, and by December 2009, it reached the top spot on Barnes and Noble‘s online bestseller list. It was reported last year that Aebersold and company had sold about 1.5 million Elf on the Shelf units in total.
But some are skeptical of the message The Elf on the Shelf presents to children. Kids might be less likely to “be good for goodness sake” and more apt to behave solely for the purpose of scoring presents under the tree. Not to mention the product’s jingle, “The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, each and every Christmas”, might be a little too Orwellian for some parent’s comfort.
Still, there are likely to be many elves on shelves this Christmas season, whether you think they’re encouraging, cute, or just plain creepy.
- Carol Aebersold “The Elf on the Shelf” (eyeonbooks.com)
- Elf on the Shelf (enjoyingourlittlefamily.wordpress.com)
- Chris Colfer is ‘Elf on the Shelf’ at a Glee cast Christmas party (examiner.com)
- POD: Elf on the Shelf (geekwithkids.com)
- ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ becoming new holiday tradition (ctv.ca)