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Lisadh on Squidoo: Christopher Pop-In-Kins, a Classic Christmas Shelf Elf

December 26, 2013

Before Elf on the Shelf, there was another Christmas Shelf Elf  A couple years ago I bought my kids the Elf on the Shelf gift set because I thought the idea of an elf who had to report to Santa about the kids' behavior was a clever idea. But I didn't realize that another Christmas shelf elf had popularized this tradition about two decades earlier.  Read More.

Santa Hollywood: News from the 2011 Toy Fair

February 23, 2011  

Did you know that before there was “Elf on the Shelf,” there were two other Elves on the Market?  Well all three were at the Toy Fair and I will give you updates on what they are all about. Read More.

The Elves Have It - Toy Fair News   April 1, 2011  Read More.

In the Know Mom: Christopher Pop-In-Kins

December 7, 2009

I just love the story about Christopher Pop-In-Kins.  I was looking for this very thing last year to start in our family, but only found another elf that really freaked me out.  This year on a trip to Colorado Springs in October, I ventured into a little Christmas shop and found Christopher Pop-In-Kins on their shelf.  Read More

In the Know Mom: Christina Marie and the Little Tree

December 25, 2010

We have a new elf to introduce to you, Christina Marie, Christopher’s little sister. Christina comes with an adorable book...It’s a heart warming story about how no matter what you do, if you try you’re hardest, you’ll be the best without even realizing how well you’re succeeding.  Read More

Just a mom's take on things:  Christopher Pop-In-Kins 

December 8, 2008

I don’t know how long my girls will continue to believe in the magic of Christopher Pop-In-Kins, but it really doesn’t even matter. The tradition is one that I plan to keep going as long as the girls are still at home during the Christmas season – and probably even beyond.  Read More

Nature Mom's Blog: Christopher Pop-In-Kins

December 5, 2008

I recently discovered a CUTE new toy for the holiday season…only this toy isn’t so much a gift but a fun new holiday tradition. It is the Christopher Pop-In-Kins doll and book. As we read in the adorable book that comes with this doll, Christopher is one of Santa’s little elves and even though he loves making toys for boys and girls he desperately wants to visit the children in their homes the way Santa does.  Read More

Inspiration Made Easy: 27 Fun and Easy Shelf Elf Ideas

December 3, 2014

As a house that has an Elf on the Shelf, or technically a Popinkins Elf, I am already planning things for our elf, Christina Marie to do.  I try to make them super easy and fun, and certainly nothing that requires mom (that's me!) to pick up a huge mess.  Read More


No More Believers in the House: Why We Still Do Elf on the Shelf

November 27, 2015

That’s right. Our last believer found out about the Elf on the Shelf two weeks ago, and we were all sad. We loved sneaking around the house every night trying to find the perfect spot for our elf to hide.  But we decided to keep our elf tradition going strong even after our youngest figured out the truth. Here’s why.  Read More

Veater Family: Fun Finds: Christopher Pop-In-Kins!

December 21, 2011

I have always loved the Elf on the Shelf idea, with one major problem...he's CREEPY!  He has that old-fashioned doll look that really scares the hebejebes out of me.... A few of my friends told me thay had a different elf named Christopher Pop-In-Kins who was actually cute and not creepy.  And as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted one for my kids!  Read More

It's Gravy, Baby: The Adventures of Christopher Pop-In-Kins - Elf Fun

December 9, 2011

We started a new tradition this year.  A special little elf dropped in to keep us company for a few weeks.  Isn't he just adorable?  We love Christopher Pop-In-Kins but man is he sneaky!  Read More

Momma4Life: Review: Christopher Pop-In-Kins

November 30, 2011

This Book and doll set is the perfect thing to add to your Christmas Decor. Santa's First Elf based on the 1960's family tradition, Christopher Pop-In-Kins is one of the oldest Christmas Elf's available today. Read More

Christopher Pop-In-Kins a Classic Christmas Shelf Elf

Christopher Pop-in-Kins, a Classic Christmas Shelf Elf

by Lisadh     Posted 12-26-2013

Before Elf on the Shelf, there was another Christmas Shelf Elf

A couple years ago I bought my kids the Elf on the Shelf gift set because I thought the idea of an elf who had to report to Santa about the kids' behavior was a clever idea. But I didn't realize that another Christmas shelf elf had popularized this tradition about two decades earlier.

Flora Johnson created her "hide and seek" elf known as Christopher Pop-In-Kins (because he "pops" in and out) back in 1984. Her handmade elves and self-published book sold well but were never a nationwide trend. Then along came Elf on the Shelf in 2005, popularizing the Christmas elf tradition. With the increased interest in elves who report on who's been naughty and who's been nice, Flora Johnson's Christopher Pop-In-Kins got an updated look and was joined by his sister Christina Marie Pop-In-Kins. This is how the Christmas shelf elf got started.

The Original Christmas Shelf Elf Was Self-Published and Handmade

Over 10,000 Christopher Pop-in-Kins Sold
Back in the 1960s, Flora Johnson of Ohio created a Christmas elf who used to visit her children during the holiday season and report back to Santa Claus on their behavior. The elf liked to play hide and seek, and each day the kids would have to look around to see where the elf had moved while they were sleeping. It became a family tradition. Then Flora's kids grew up and had kids of their own. One day she got a call from a very excited grandson who said one of Santa's elves had just "popped" into his home. That's when Flora decided to share her family's elf tradition with others.

In 1984, she self-published a book called "Christopher Pop-in-Kins Pops In." In the story, Christoper tells Santa he wants to visit little girls and boys during the holiday season. Santa grants the elf's request by making him the very first "Children's Elf," who must watch who's being Naughty or Nice and report back to Santa Claus each night. To make sure the handmade elves would last for generations, the story also provided these special instructions:

1) The elf could only visit from Thanksgiving to Christmas and then would return to the North Pole on Christmas Eve for the rest of the year.

2) Christopher could play hide-and-seek with the kids, but he could only move to a new location when the children were asleep or doing other things.

3) The children could not touch the elf or he would have to "pop" back to the North Pole for Santa Claus to restore his magic.

From 1984 - 2000, Flora created over 10,000 handmade Christopher Pop-in-Kins elves at her kitchen table and sold them with the book through specialty stores.

In 2000, Flora's son Rick joined the business and began expanding the Pop-in-Kins line of products. The second book, "Christopher Pop-In-Kins Goes Home" and a sing-along CD, "The Christmas Surprise", were soon available online.

Flora and her husband died in 2005, leaving the business to their son. He continued to build on the tradition his mom had created, and in 2008, a redesigned Christopher Pop-in-Kins was released with a re-illustrated version of the original story. The elf is no longer handmade by Flora Johnson, but the Christmas shelf elf tradition lives on.

I like the Christopher Pop-In-Kins elf doll because I think he's much cuter than the dolls that come with the Elf on the Shelf gift set.

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