Behind the Scenes: Elf on the Shelf

Behind the Scenes: Elf on the Shelf

The phenomenon Elf on the Shelf has taken over Christmas in many houses since 2005. The Elf on the Shelf instituted a worldwide demand when the children’s picture book ‘The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition’ was published by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. This book inspired families all around the world to start their own traditions and have an individual Elf on the Shelf for their family. While the well-admired marionette has not been around for long, many families see it as a custom every Christmas. 

“It’s more of a tradition now, to move the Elf on the Shelf around the house each year,” sophomore Callie Vance said.

Due to the Elf on the Shelf’s ongoing popularity, many rules have been made in order for parents to keep the spirit alive as long as possible. Many parents forbid their children from touching the elf, otherwise the magic he holds will disappear. Tradition states that the elf returns to Santa every night to report back if children have been naughty or nice, but the elf cannot move or speak while the children are awake. As a mother of three, Emily Gantt has trouble finding time for their elf traditions. 

“I forget all the time. We would wake up in the middle of the night and gasp because we forgot. [The kids] would sometimes find it in the same place it was the previous day too,” Gantt said.  

Spirits rise in children when the Elf on the Shelf makes its big annual debut, however, parents often find it difficult to keep up with propping up the Elf on the Shelf daily. Every night, the elf needs to be hidden in a new clever hiding spot, far out of reach from their clamorous children.

“Sometimes [the kids] couldn’t find it, and we realized we’d forgotten to hide it in the first place,” Gantt said.

In some homes, the Elf on the Shelf is allowed to be handled by the kids and is more like a toy to them. In others, the kids find ways to rival over the Elf on the Shelf.  

“When we were younger, we would compete on who could find the Elf on the Shelf the quickest, and my mom would set up special Elf on the Shelf activities too, especially on Christmas Eve,” sophomore Sofia Calabrese said.

The Elf on the Shelf is and will continue to be a happy annual festivity that families worldwide look forward to every year. If you haven’t already, send a letter to Santa and ask him to deliver you an Elf on the Shelf this holiday season.  

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Harper Kois
Harper Kois, Reporter
Harper Kois is a junior at Yorktown and in her second year reporting for The Yorktown Sentry. She is passionate about youth advocacy and is one of the head co-chairs for the Arlington Teen Network Board. Outside of school, Kois loves to travel to new places and enjoys watching her favorite TV shows including New Girl and Community.

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