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From My Family to Yours,

My earliest memories of this charming tradition began when my brother and I asked the all-too-familiar question, "How does Santa really know if we are being 'naughty or nice?'" The answer came in the form of a small pixie elf. Our mother told us how special this elf was. We learned the elf acted as Santa's eyes and ears, reported our behavior to St. Nick himself, and was our very own friend from the North Pole. Each year the elf returned to perform its assigned task.

To my delight, the elf continued its yearly visits as I married and started a family of my own. The children fell in love with the little red elf that arrived every holiday season to watch and listen. "Fisbee," as he had come to be known, became a treasured member of our family. Two of their favorite memories are racing each other out of bed to see where Fisbee had landed after his long return flight from the North Pole, and telling him their treasured Christmas secrets.

There was only one simple rule, and the kids had no problem sticking to it: They were not allowed to touch Fisbee for fear his Christmas magic might disappear. No one wanted to take a chance that Santa wouldn't get to hear how good they had been!

Fisbee, like all scout elves, was under orders not to speak to the children, but grown-ups have been known to send and receive occasional messages through the elf to Santa. One message I sent to Santa was to request his permission to write our story so others could share in this fun tradition. After hours of persuasive negotiation (with a good word from Fisbee and Mrs. Claus,) Santa granted his blessing to the project. To insure only families who wanted a scout elf received one, he arranged for each elf coming from the North Pole to hibernate in its box until it was adopted by its new human family. Being given a name would cause the elf to receive its Christmas magic.

Unwittingly, the tradition provided an added benefit. It helped the children to better control themselves. All it took was a gentle reminder that "the elf is watching," for errant behavior to be quickly modified.

I never dreamed this simple tradition would lead to so many treasured memories for our entire family. It is my earnest desire that The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition® will bring as much joy to your family as it has to mine.

Enjoy this tradition, and MAKE IT YOUR OWN!

Elf on the Shelf In A Red Velvet Bag

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