The Elf on the Shelf empire

The Elf on the Shelf may be a bit creepy, but the kids love it.

According to “Elf on the Shelf” lore, Santa Claus sends an elf scout to spy on children from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Each morning, it appears in a new place in the home for kids to find. Each night, it reports naughty and nice behavior to the North Pole.

The Elf on the Shelf empire

The whole thing stems from a 2005 children’s book written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell, and illustrated by Coe Steinwart.

Bell told CNBC that Aebersold played a similar game with her and her twin sister Christa Pitts as kids, leading them to write and market the story with her as adults.

Today, the sisters are co-CEOs of The Lumistella Company, which houses…

The massive Elf brand

Despite criticism that the elf is creepy and normalizes surveillance, the glassy-eyed dolls have become a full-fledged empire.

Now, parents are being encouraged to also buy pets, clothes, accessories, “mates,” and a carrying case (since you’re not allowed to touch the Elf lest it lose its powers).

The Elf has also appeared via:

The company hasn’t released recent financial data, but Pitts told Fox Business that Lumistella employs 100+ people and has “adopted” out 22.9m+ elves, pets, and mates to date.

Pop culture loves Elf on the Shelf, too

It’s become a popular meme format and an SNL parody — not to mention inspo for the Mensch on a Bench, a Hanukkah version developed by Neal Hoffman and featured on “Shark Tank.”

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