Advertisement

Oak Ridge native goes on to create nationwide brand ‘Elf on the Shelf’

The Oak Ridge native took her daughter’s advice and created Elf on a Shelf, debuting the product back in 2005.
More than 11 million elves and books have been sold with the global company Elf on a Shelf, but it all started in East Tennessee.
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 10:25 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2021 at 10:44 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - More than 11 million elves and books have been sold with the global company Elf on a Shelf, but it all started in East Tennessee.

Carol Aebersold moved to Oak Ridge as a little girl and by her side always had and elf called Fisbee that stayed with her through her childhood and tough times as an adult. A graduate of Oak Ridge High School and University of Tennessee, Aebersold grew up going to the Smokies and enjoying the beauty the region had to offer.

“I had relatives that lived in Oliver Springs they had a farm so going there was always a big treat. Going to Norris Dam was always lots of fun my grandfather helped pour that dam so there’s a little family history there”, said Aebersold.

After college, Aebersold got married and moved to Atlanta to start a family. At a dark point in her life, Aebersold said one of her two daughters looked at Fisbee still sitting in the home and posed a question.

“She goes, ‘Mom why don’t you write a book about our elf tradition and share it with the world’,” said Aebersold.

The Oak Ridge native took her daughter’s advice and created Elf on a Shelf, debuting the product back in 2005.

Aebersold said at first nobody wanted to publish the book because they thought a toy and book combination would be too confusing for people. Ultimately, they decided to self publish, and start selling their products in the parking lots of high school football games. Now, the elf and book can be found in many major retailers across the globe.

What started as a childhood toy, would turn into a tradition shared by families every year. Aebersold got her degree in music education from Tennessee, and said it helped her with presentations as the company grew.

Alongside her two daughters, Aebersold helps run the company. While not in Tennessee anymore, she said there are still family members in Oak Ridge that she enjoys visiting form time to time.

To this day, Aebersold remains an active member on the UT Alumni board.

Copyright 2021 WVLT. All rights reserved.