Elf Help is a new app created by a Georgia mother who was in search of assistance with one of the most hectic times of the year. Remembering the coined phrase, “There is an app for that” Jennifer Symmes searched and searched to no avail so decided to create the app she needed and came up with Elf Help. This app includes a daily reminder, shopping list, planner and photo sharing from the wildly popular Christmas elf tradition.
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition derived from The Elf on the Shelf story which was created by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell in 2004 about a tradition admired within their family. Each Christmas season the parents had their children believe that Santa sent an elf from the North Pole to watch over them, the kids loved it and looked forward to it every year so Bell suggested the two of them write a book about it.
Once the book was completed the duo enlisted Christa Pitts, Aebersold’s other daughter, to join them and share her expertise in marketing and sales. The three of them devoted the next few years to the promotion of their newly self-published book. They attended numerous book signings and trade shows to get the word out about their new project and how their family looked forward to the tradition each year.
The tradition which has become extremely popular includes a special elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa manage his “naughty or nice” lists. The family accesses the Elf on the Shelf website and enters their location in order to find a Santa-approved Scout Elf Adoption Center. Once they have located the center nearest to their home, they schedule a visit to make sure the requested scout elf is available for them to pick up.
Once the family has adopted a scout elf, they name it and the elf receives its Christmas magic which empowers it to fly back and forth to the North Pole nightly to report the day’s adventures. The scout elf returns to the family’s home each morning but is stationed in a different part of the house to watch over the children. The kids enjoy waking up each morning and racing around the house to find the elf’s new location.
According to the book, the scout elf has one rule that must be followed and if not adhered to the elf may not return. The elf is never to be touched. The children are told if the elf is handled it might lose its magic and Santa will not be able to receive the elf’s report. Although the elf should not be touched, families can talk to it so the elf can accurately report their Christmas wishes to Santa. On Christmas day the story ends with the elf having returned to Santa to stay until the following Thanksgiving.
While this tradition has proven to be great fun for the children and the parents, the idea of keeping up with the nightly “magic” can become overwhelming for parents. This can turn the excitement into an added chore as opposed to actual fun. Symmes found herself in a place where it was not as fun as it should have been due to the extra responsibility required to properly manage the tradition.
There are other elf-related tools in the app market but what makes Elf Help unique is the daily planner which is customizable. The app is not simply a resource for locating ideas; inspiration can be found on thousands of other online resources like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and other apps. Symmes said when speaking of her self-created app:
Elf Help is different. It’s extremely handy because it allows parents to choose their favorite ideas from all that they see online. Then, they can easily organize those ideas into a daily planner with the option to enter simple descriptions, upload photos, and enter supplies that are automatically added to an easy check-off shopping list.
Once parents have organized their daily planner within the Elf Help app they can create a custom message to set as a reminder so they do not forget to prepare for the next morning when the elf returns from the North Pole. There are several ambiguous alerts parents can use to remind them to handle their “elfing” responsibilities before turning in for the night. A secret parent personal identification code can also easily be set so the elf’s magic is always protected from the eyes of curious children.
Jennifer Symmes created Elf Help as a practical and modern-day solution to accomplishing a simple but magically memorable holiday season with the Christmas elf. She believes every family who “elfs” deserved it. The Elf Help app works with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and can be downloaded for the low price of 99 cents.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)