Elf on a Shelf – a more recent tradition

Elf on the Shelf is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun.

Wildly popular, these elves are assigned to homes – sometimes classrooms, with the explicit charge of observing children’s actions all day on behalf of Santa Claus, who is referred to as “the boss”.

These industrious elves perched high on shelves are managers of Santa’s “naughty” and “nice” lists with a central aim of ensuring that the children who have adopted them remain on the “nice” list. As the story goes, at night the elves step away from their shelves to return to the North Pole so they can report their observations to Santa Claus.

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