In the US, Canada and Britain, the modern folklore of Santa Claus typically includes diminutive elves at Christmas time; green-clad with pointy ears and pointy hats they work as Santa’s little helpers to make the toys in the North Pole workshop.

Now “The Elf of the shelf: A Christmas Tradition” is a 2005 children’s picture book written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter. 

The Christmas themed story tells of an elf that is sent to keep an eye on children on the run up to Christmas day after which he returns to notify Santa of who has been naughty and nice.

Now like anything with a Christmas label this has grown into a phenomenon and you all will have all seen across social media your friend’s antics of placing their elf up to mischief for their children to find each morning.

I want to tell you how this little red stuffed elf with his big ears and cute cheeky expression has changed the last two Christmas’ in our house, how he has brought with him the actual “magic” of Christmas.

My son has autism and apart from the presents, to him, Christmas was just another day, so much so that up until he was 8 he would get up Christmas morning and get back in his bed with the TV or iPad as if a regular day until we reminded him that Santa may have been.

Last year Cameron asked me if I had heard of elf on the shelf and if I thought he would visit our house as his friends had been saying theirs had arrived. 

Cue the mad dash online to try and source one of our own – thank the lord for Amazon Prime.

I decided on the catchy name “Tinsel McGingle” and I wrote up a letter to Cameron apologising for his late arrival but that the journey from the North Pole had been tricky and he got lost. He was so happy at Tinsels arrival and the treats he had brought with him, he made him a pride of place on his bedroom shelf.

Let the shenanigans begin!

We had the elf fishing from the fish tank, snow angels in flour, climbing the Christmas tree but Cameron’s favourite was the morning he found the elf pooping chocolate drops.

It was like I had a different child, my son was now conversing with me and expressing how happy he was and how he was wondering about things and he went to school and was engaging with other children more whilst they swapped stories about who’s elf had done what. 

My child that struggled in group situations had become this social butterfly and had found a common ground with the other children that made him feel like he belonged.

He spoke about Tinsel often throughout the year, reminiscing about what he had done and from November this year he had me create a countdown to December 1st for Tinsels annual arrival.

“Tinsel – YOU'RE BACK, I really did miss you!”

As Cameron, has grown this year and understands more, he now has a deeper understanding of care and has been asking me to leave Tinsel out some food and drink of an evening as he knows that he must get hungry. 

“Goodnight Tinsel – see you in the morning, I love you!!” – Cameron

“Thank you, Tinsel for helping my son to grow!!” - Me

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