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How The Elf On The Shelf Started

Emma Wilkinson


The Elf on the Shelf has become a big phenomenon that takes place throughout the month of December. Instagram and Facebook fill up with clever over-the-top Elf on the Shelf ideas, and kids enjoy the tradition of discovering their elf each morning. This tradition began in 2005 when Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell self-published the book “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” which comes packaged with a Scout Elf (there’s a boy and girl elf version, as well as different skin tones). Since then, the elf business has grown to include apparel, accessories, pets, movies, and more. Millions of kits have been sold. The tradition is like a simple game of hide and seek. In an interview with “The News with Shepard Smith,” Bell said “The elf will watch us during the day, report to Santa at night, and in the morning before kids wake up, the elf flies back from the North Pole and lands on a different spot in the house,” Bell said. “They move around the house, they engage with families, and hopefully, they bring lots of joy and lots of fun.” Bell also dispelled some of the myths surrounding the well-known Scout Elf, the first of which is that elves are not naughty. Second, they cannot communicate with humans. They can only talk at the North Pole. Third, Bell said that families adopt Scout Elves as opposed to purchasing them. Since 2005, more than 14.5 million Scout Elves have found new homes worldwide. Lastly, Elves are magical beings like Santa and cannot get human illnesses. They only have one weakness, and that is that they cannot be touched by humans; they'll lose their Christmas magic, which is very bad for them. Bell is co-CEO of the Lumistella Company with her sister, Christa Pitts. In order to create unique stories from The Lumistella Company's entire catalog, Netflix just purchased the AV rights from the company. Additionally, their business forged new alliances with names including Honey Baked Ham, Hoover Vacuum, Kellogg's, and Allstate. Bell expressed the hope that other people may be motivated by her experience to realize their own dreams. “I tell people you’ve got to take that leap of faith, it’s one step in front of the other, and it is hard, owning your own business, running your own business, self-publishing, those things require a lot of dedication, and a lot of patience and a lot of faith, and a lot of risks, but in the end, working hard really pays off, and it is worth it,” said Bell.


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