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The history of 'The Elf on the Shelf'

The first rule of The Elf on the Shelf is that you can't touch the elf. The second rule of The Elf on the Shelf is that the elf will not speak or move while you are awake.

The Elf on the Shelf at the Macy's Parade

So where did this popular elf come from? The North Pole, of course, but he was popularized by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell.

In 2005, the children's picture book 'The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition' was released by Aebersold and Bell. The premise was simple - this little elf was sent from the North Pole to watch over children. At night, the elf would return to Santa to tell him about the children's behavior and return home to take up a new position in the house.

In the last decade, this elf has collected numerous accolades, including Learning Express' Best Toy Award in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

For those of us that were not children of the new millennium, the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon is still fairly new but you can find photos of this watchful elf in all kinds of places and getting up to lots of mischief of his own.
Take a look at some of our favorite Elf on the Shelf moments from 2013 so far in the gallery below!


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lizahorvath February 02 2014 at 3:47 AM

Hi

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arenadood December 24 2013 at 4:39 PM

Ours just keeps moving from one bathroon to the other bathroom. does this mean we are going to get Poop for Christmas?

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lizahorvath February 02 2014 at 3:45 AM

I heard it was evil. what if it get mad from the smell of your poop. lol

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Debbie December 24 2013 at 9:30 AM

This is the first time I've herd of the elf...and I'm going on 60....thanks you all for the beautiful stories about yours. Merry Christmas

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fun4holly December 14 2013 at 6:09 PM

They elf is definitely not new - they originally came on cheap dish soap bottles during the holidays sometime in the 1960's. Like so many people that have commented, I too have one of the old elves which looks amazingly like the new elf on the shelf. You can find old one on E-Bay to prove this out. I think this author got creative and capitalized on something that already existed. Wish I would have done it ! I wonder who the real creator is/was!!!!!

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Bonnie December 24 2013 at 5:04 AM

I have a very old one also, was my Mom's and she died 20 years ago...

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funnygirrl35 December 14 2013 at 4:55 PM

We had 3 (2 reg size and a small one) when I was growing up but like some of the other posters stated, it didn't do tricks. I'm lucky enough that I still have them to this day (I'm 46) and I put them up every year. Since I don't have kids, my elves on the shelf just sit and look cute.

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terri December 14 2013 at 1:19 PM

i remember we had a green and red one when i was little. i am 49 now! lol...... of course it didnt do tricks.lol wish i new where they are now!!!

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Debbie December 24 2013 at 9:28 AM

Your elves probably went and checked out other kids :)

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jaluty December 14 2013 at 9:53 AM

I've had one of these "elves" for over 40 years and is now doing it's job for my granddaughter and it's been doing exactly the same thing. It flies away nightly to report the days activities back to the north pole and has been producing "good" little boys and girls for now going on 4 generations.

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rweaver912 December 14 2013 at 9:15 AM

It has been around for 50+ years. My Grandmother made my family one at least 60 years ago. She just stole someone else's idea and add a modern commerical twist. Lying for profit...SHAME!

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cathi December 14 2013 at 8:15 AM

My grandmother gave me one more than 50 years ago - so the tradition dates back much further than 2005. And I still have it and put it out at Christmas each year even if he is a little worn.

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Hi Bob and Rose December 12 2013 at 3:52 AM

my grandsons look to see if they can find it each morning. They know he hides LOL and each day he is moved before they get up, Lots of fun for a change.

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