Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Elf on the Shelf (copy)

When I was little, my mother had a set of ornaments I could not figure out. For one thing, they were metallic-colored in blue, green, red, and purple. They did not fit in with the standard reds, whites and greens of our other tree adornments. They were huge in comparison to the other decorations, too; so much that the tree limbs sagged once attached. Plus, I thought them ugly.

I would ask my mother (more than once - on a yearly basis) why she hung such ugly things. She never answered my rude questions, but kept with the tradition until we moved to a new home in 1974. Of course, once we moved I wanted to know why we did not display them anymore.

What I am referring to are a set of elves. Sneaky stuffed elves suspended from their satiny caps, they sat in a perpetual crouch with their arms hugging their knees on a pillow. Their plastic faces forever frozen in a know-it-all grin. Can you tell? Even today, I do not like those hideous things.

Low-n-behold, these little imps have a story behind them. Apparently, I am not the only child of the 70s that had elves in the home. Carol V. Aebersold, according to the website, grew up with a special elf to watch her during the Christmas season.

Later, when Carol had children of her own, she brought the elf to her house and they named him Fisbee. A tradition in the making, Fisbee was there to answer the age-old question, “How does Santa really know if we are being ‘naughty or nice?’” Well, the elves keep him informed. They watch throughout the day and report back to Santa at night. All it takes is a little Christmas magic and they fly back-and-forth in the wink of an eye.

Chanda Bell, Carol’s daughter collaborated with her to bring this tradition to the world through a children’s book titled The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. Inside, young readers will find full-page spreads of watercolor illustrations by CoĆ« Steinwart. The text is short and sweet and meant for the youngest of children ensuring the tradition in place as they grow older.

The toy that accompanies the book is almost exactly like those ornaments of my childhood except less sinister. The faces have a sweet kewpie doll look and they come in both black and white. They are sure to please children and may even keep them “in-check” during the holiday season. Make these elves your personal "Santa spy cam" for generations to come.

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