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12 Things You Didn't Know About Elf on the Shelf

Fact: More than 10 million elves have been adopted since 2005.

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During the holidays, seeing is believing. So the much-buzzed about Elf on the Shelf modern tradition helps parents and children do just that: believe. The Elf on the Shelf, also known as "scout elves" flee The North Pole to watch over little boys and girls. It is up to the elf to report on the children's behavior each night leading up to Christmas Eve. Family members of all ages participate in the fun of hunting for their returned elf each morning as the scout elf will be found in a different area of the home. (Have you ever spotted your elf taking a bubble bath or whipping up a batch of Christmas cookies in the kitchen? Point taken.)


The magic of began about 15 years ago. In 2001, mother and daughter, Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell wrote the best-selling book set The Elf on the Shelf: Christmas Tradition. And as the holiday season looms near, thousands of elves will journey from the North Pole back to their Christmas foster homes to watch over the good girls and boys. While the children may be on their best behavior surely their elf will have a few tricks up their peppermint-colored sleeves. Speaking of peppermint, below are a few off the top of Santa's hat fun facts, unknown stories, and little holiday facts pertaining to Elf on the Shelf.


1. The Book was Written by a Mother-Daughter Duo

In 2004, Chanda Bell, a mother, and a teacher was eager to re-connect with her mother, Carol Aebersold. Based on their love for the holidays, family, and their shared family memories, they decide to write a book together.


2. It faced a lot of initial rejection

In the book's early stages, Chanda and Carol pitched their book to publishers, but were sadly rejected. It was Chanda's persistent perspective that propelled her and Carol to keep trying which led to the duo to self-publish their book.


3. Members of the family make cameo appearances  

In the book, The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, the names of Chanda's children are hidden in Santa's book of names.


4. And they appear in the movie too

The main characters in An Elf's Story, The Elf on the Shelf's animated Christmas tale, are named after Carol's grandchildren.


[LEARN MORE: The Surprising True Story Behind "The Elf on the Shelf"]

5. It's been published in three languages

The Elf on the Shelf books have been translated into French, Spanish, and Japanese.


6. Elf on the Shelf appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Since the arrival of The Elf on the Shelf float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade back in 2011 Chanda and her twin sister, Christa Pitts have been balloon handlers. The sisters and the giant elf balloon will once again be present at the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


7. They receive letters — a lot of them 

Each year, The Elf on the Shelf receive a ton of letters from children across the world. Last year, Santa and his workshop receive 120k letters from children around the world. Santa and his Scout Elves make it a point to respond to every question.


8. Elf on the Shelf is loved worldwide

Santa has officially approved global adoption centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Australia, and Japan.


9. You can buy outfits and accessories for your elf

Mrs. Claus is now a fashion designer designing elf fashions for the Claus Couture Collection. Mrs. Claus was inspired by her first design, a jersey jacket that was drawn by Chanda's son.


10. There are Millions of Elves

More than 10 million elves have been adopted since 2005.


11. There are now elf pets too

With all the busy workload that Scout Elves juggle, they can now have some help from the assistance of Elf Pets. Today, Elf Pets such as Santa's Saint Bernard puppies (Elf Pets: A Saint Bernard Tradition) and the magical reindeer (Elf Pets: Reindeer) together lift holiday spirits and help out the elves in any way they can.


12. Elf on the Shelf was inspired by a childhood tradition

Fisbee was the name of Carol's childhood Elf — the one that inspired the tradition.


True, The Elf on The Shelf is Santa's friendly little helper, but during the holidays, your little elf is your best friend. Remember, to preserve the magic of your elf each year by allowing him to do what elves do best: watch, listen, love, and above all, spread a bit of seasonal cheer.


Want more Elf on the Shelf ideas? We have a few seasonal scenarios to inspire you: