A new “Elf on the Shelf” Christmas experience promises to bring magic to this growing tradition


Photo Credit: Annette Deming

Pixie the Scout Elf arrives to the Deming Home in a quarantine box. At the Deming’s, Pixie arrived the day after Thanksgiving. “I was surprised that traveling from the North Pole would mean a 14 day quarantine, but you know, Covid,” said Mrs. Deming.

Kyla Rose, Features Editor

The holidays are here. A sense of cheerfulness begins to saturate the air. It’s time to pull out those Christmas lights, fluff those stalkings, and start decorating the tree! We can finally celebrate all those nostalgic traditions and maybe even introduce some new ones… “Elf on the Shelf” anyone?

Founded back in 2005, the Elf on the Shelf merrymaking ritual began when a woman by the name of Carol Aebersold and her twin daughters, Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts, came up with a unique, funny, and almost objectionable method for spying on kids at Christmas. Nonetheless, the tradition continues to grow.

“The Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas tradition centered around Scout Elves who fly to the North Pole each night. Scout Elves arrive at homes in a keepsake box set that features a storybook. The book explains that elves love to report to Santa to tell him about each day’s activities! The best part? Kids love to maintain their best behavior when their Scout Elf is around. This way they are sure to be on Santa’s nice list!”, according to the official Elf on the Shelf website. 

Pixie the scout elf is fishing. Typically found misbehaving or getting into trouble, Pixie’s elf antics happened almost daily. “My kids love when she gets into trouble,” said Mrs. Deming

The excitement begins when you purchase an official Elf on the Shelf Scout Elf from the North Pole. You read the book so you understand what the tradition is and the rules that come with adopting an elf. Then, you choose his or her name, and the fun begins. Scout Elves typically take on the personalities of their families. From creative to fun, Scout Elves return each night in a different position and place in a family’s home.

My favorite part of this tradition is helping my little brother find our elf, Coco. I love seeing how excited he gets each morning, and it gives him something to look forward to as soon as he wakes up,” said junior, Jazmine Coto. “This tradition helps make the holidays more alive in our home and it increases the anticipation to Christmas even more.”  

Sophomore, Anisa Guerrero, says, “I believe we started the tradition about 3 years ago. I actually have 2 elves. One is named Mistletoe, which is a girl, and the other one is named Herman, which is a boy. My favorite part is when it leaves little notes around the house.”

Posing in her box, is a Scout Elf performer from the Elf on the Shelf magical journey experience at the Pomona Fairplex. Cars drove by and were able to take photos of a variety of elf performers along the route.

The Elf on the Shelf tradition now includes clothing accessories, tons of elf idea boards on Pinterest, elf pets, plush dolls, t-shirts, mugs, wrapping paper, ornaments, and all sorts of other merchandise. As the popularity of this Christmas tradition gains traction, the Pomona Fairplex has built a one-of-a-kind drive-thru experience during this year’s COVID-19 pandemic for Elf on the Shelf fans this Christmas season.

David Kornis, creative director and set designer of the original Broadway productions of “Hamilton”, “Beetlejuice”, and “Dear Evan Hansen”, is responsible for helping to create this immersive experience that includes a magical wonderland while incorporating social distancing rules and demonstrating mask-wearing responsibility. From the comfort and safety of guests’ vehicles, the experience tasks patrons on an hour-long adventure to save Christmas.

A snowy wonderland set for families to enjoy. Cars drove by and took pictures of each experience along the route. “They were pumping out snow as we drove through. I couldn’t keep my kids from rolling down the windows to see if they could catch some in their hands,” explained Deming.

Tickets are selling out quickly but this unique and fun event is a nice break from being inside most evenings and really generates the kind of Christmas spirit and happiness we all long for.

“The Elf on the Shelf tradition is a long-standing one at my house,” said English teacher Mrs. Deming. “When I heard about the Fairplex experience and that David Kornis had designed it, I immediately bought tickets for my family. I’m a huge Hamilton fan, and Pixie brings so much magic and happiness to my home, I had to make sure our Scout Elf, Pixie found a fun and creative way to tell them they were going.”

Cars line up at the Fairplex and prepare to be whisked away to an imaginary elf world where cars are shrunk down to elf size. Their mission: help Santa find the Christmas bells and generate enough Christmas spirit to get Santa flying again. Throughout the drive-thru experience, families are instructed to drive at 1 fun mile per hour, keep their windows up, and remain in their cars. 

The route is partnered with an elf story narrative and music. Each chapter can be accessed through a special QR code obtained at the gate. With Bluetooth capabilities in your car and a smartphone, the story can be played and heard by the whole family. It’s like a drive-in theatre meets a car wash. Throughout the route, families are instructed to play the next chapter so the drive-thru narrative can continue. 

The Elf on the Shelf Holiday experience narrative was powered by a unique app. Families downloaded the app before they entered the gates.

It’s so cute! The Fairplex thought of everything! My kids picked up right away that the narration was driven by signs that lead them through each chapter. I was a bit skeptical but pleasantly surprised

— Mrs. Deming

While on your magical journey, elves are constantly checking families level of Christmas Spirit. Remember, the goal is to generate enough Christmas spirit to get Santa back on his route to the North Pole. Apparently, the CA winds have interfered with his flight pattern. Car by car, elf dancers, jugglers, and mischief-making elves greet and wave to families. 

Towards the end of the route, families have generated enough Christmas Spirit for Santa to be on his way, but the fun and magic of Christmas doesn’t end there.  Before you leave, letters that were written to Santa at the beginning of the journey are returned to kids, but guess what? Their letters have been shrunk to elf size, and kids receive an ornament version of their letters to Santa. How cool is that? Almost as cool as greeting the big guy himself–Santa! 

In the end, families wave goodbye to Santa, Mrs. Clause, and the elves, and have gotten an opportunity to experience a cute, and much-needed break from the house, to engage in a little Christmas magic.