What Is Elf on a Shelf?


Quick Answer

Based on a 2005 children's book, Elf on a Shelf is a small elf who has been sent by Santa to ensure good behavior and report back between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. There are several books in circulation that include instructions, props and an elf figurine.

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Full Answer

The tradition encourages children to name the elf, as that is where the elf derives its power, which enables it to fly to the North Pole and provide information to Santa. Many parents involve the elf in funny scenarios for their children to find when they wake up each morning, and while touching the elf is discouraged, children are encouraged to tell him or her all their Christmas hopes and dreams.

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