2008-12-25 / Features

Naughty or Nice? Santa's Elf Is The Secret

Create a new holiday tradition with a clever story and interactive accessories that children and adults will enjoy. Visit www.elfontheshelf.com. Create a new holiday tradition with a clever story and interactive accessories that children and adults will enjoy. Visit www.elfontheshelf.com. Twinkling lights, brightly decorated cookies, and hearing Christmas songs in the store aisles means one thing to children — Christmas! Their excitement and wonder begins to grow with each passing day; and adults, however briefly, cast aside their work-a-day cares to relive memories and join in the excited anticipation.

Santa Claus is a familiar figure in Christmas celebrations and a person children hope will visit their homes with a bag full of presents. But as every child knows, Santa has a discerning selection process when it comes to gift recipients. His "naughty or nice" list is not to be taken lightly.

Generation upon generation of children (and their parents) have wondered how Santa is so spot-on when it comes to recognizing the children who have been well behaved all year and those who need improvement. It's almost as if he has a scout in each and every house relaying this important information.

According to the treasured book, "The Elf on the Shelf," by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, that's just how Santa gets his detailed reports — a scout elf watches over children's behavior. The elf gets his Christmas magic when the family gives him a name of his own. Each night, after the children are safely tucked into bed, the elf flies to the North Pole, where he informs Santa who has been naughty or nice that day. Before the children awaken, the elf has returned to their home, but he is observing them from a new post in the house. The children race out of bed to discover the elf's new hangout for the day. There is one important rule: Children should not touch the elf or he might lose his magic, thus jeopardizing any good reports he may have planned to give Santa. This rule ensures the children's interest in the elf won't wane, and it also teaches self-control.

There are so many enjoyable traditions to share as a family, and reading "The Elf on the Shelf" is one that will delight children of all ages. Sitting down and sharing the story also enables families to set aside the hustle and bustle of the holidays for a few minutes and spend quality time with the ones they love. Children acquire all the benefits from reading and story comprehension, imagination and role playing, as well as learn the important lesson that good behavior brings just rewards.

This beautifully illustrated, hardbound book is innovatively packaged and comes with its own pixie elf seated on a shelf in an attractive keepsake box. Children can register their elf's name at elfontheshelf.com and receive a special letter from Santa Claus.

There are also two new surprises in store to further spread elf magic — an interactive North Pole found at elfontheshelf.com and The Elf on the Shelf Christmas Activity Book.

The new North Pole feature gives families a sneak peak at Santa's headquarters with their elf as a guide. Families can catch a glimpse of Santa's busy workshop, look in on the stables to see the reindeer, take a stroll down Main Street, or even visit the gift shop to order presents. The activity book helps keep little hands and minds busy with activities, puzzles, crafts, a singa long music CD, coloring pages, and more.

Creating and reliving treasured memories and traditions, as well as new family activities, is only one elf away. For a list of store locations or to purchase The Elf on the Shelf online, visit www.elfontheshelf.com.

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