For over 30 years Pop-In-Kins has been receiving letters from families who have made Christopher Pop-In-Kins a part of their Christmas traditions. Here is just a sample of the letters addressed to Flora Johnson, creator of Christopher Pop-In-Kins, and other members of Pop-In-Kins Ltd.
Our family loves Christopher. Our tradition started 7 years ago when my Aunt Karen sent him to me. Her family had always participated in the tradition. We have the cloth version. My girls look forward for when Christopher makes his arrival. They freaked out one year when our Christmas tree fell over and Christopher was hiding in the tree. They were more worried about him than the tree and the presents under the tree. He is a great family tradition. - Kris Johnson, Castlerock, CO
[Christopher Pop-In-Kins] has appeared at our home on Dec. 1 for almost 20 years. Each morning thru Dec. “Elf” is mysteriously found in a new location in our home. On Christmas Eve morning, Elf is found on our Christmas tree. The children were strickly forbiden to touch the Elf or he would return early to Santa. …Even as young adults the first thing they ask me when Dec. arrives is “Elf here yet?” This year my daughter Sarah is 24 and in her first home. My boys are John 22 and David 19 both in college. It’s time I passed the tradition to Sarah but I can’t part with my Elf so I am ordering three! Christopher is such a part of our family’s holiday tradition — I am so glad that I found this site so that the tradition can continue in my children’s homes ” – Joy Schumacher, Cambridge, OH
My mom started the tradition for me when I was in third grade. My sisters and I were always so excited for December to roll around so we could see him. This is such a great idea. I can’t wait to have a family of my own to share the tradition! ” – G. Costa, Wheaton, IL
Christopher Pop-in-kins is the best elf ever. He watches us if we are good and then reports to Santa. We will always love our little Christopher and he wiil sit on his little hiding spot and watch us every day until Christmas. And we will always believe in Santa!” - Nick, Ohio
My kids and I have enjoyed Christopher Popinkins for many years (they are now 21 and 19) and this year, when I took him out of the Christmas box, they both exclaimed that he should go to a new home, our wonderful friends with 4 year old twins.” – H.B., Golden, Colorado
We have one of the original “Christophers and…we used it for all of our grandchildren. Most of the granchildren are grown but Christopher still appears each year and the “big kids” look for him. Now it is time to get one for each of the 18 grandchildren… Such memories and memories are the only thing that lasts forever. – A.B. Hartville, OH
He’s back & even cuter! Christopher Pop-In-Kins originally came out in the mid 80’s! I remember my mom would place him around the house in different spots & each day I couldn’t wait to try & find him. I was so excited to see he’s back this year as we lost the original Christopher that was hand-made by the creator herself, Flora Johnson. I can’t wait to share this Christmas tradition with my children! by Rachaleee December 13, 2009
Below is a comment sent to us from Phillip Dyer on June 27, 2008. A response from Elf Fun with Pop-In-Kins follows.
For shame! I just can’t believe that people who say they are so caring about familes and children and traditions would be so cut throat. It is obvious you are a cheap copy of The Elf on the Shelf. The least you could do was change the packaging! What an example to kids everywhere. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Get an original idea.
by Phillip Dyer — June 27, 2008
Thank you for taking the time to send us a comment. I hope you will also take a few minutes to read the following. Our book’s story is the same story as written by Flora Johnson in 1985. She typed the story, and created a hand-sewn doll, that she named Christopher Pop-In-Kins. Within her first year she sold the packaged book and doll in a local gift store. As that first Christmas approached, she made a batch of Christophers and had a kiosk in the local mall. And word of mouth spread from there. The original story that she wrote in 1985 is the same story today. Flora’s son, Rick Johnson, helped by her side, and was always encouraged by the kind letters that they received, describing the memories and traditions that Christopher Pop-In-Kins was creating among local families. In 2002, Rick set up a web site to offer the product, and within the first three years it was sold to individuals in 38 different states. In 2004, Rick took Christopher to Toy Fair in NYC, and to the Gift Mart in Chicago where he received an award. Rick started looking into mass production of the product; his mother and family had created thousands all by hand, and could not keep up with the demand. But that all changed in 2005 when Flora became ill and passed away. Rick was unsure of the future of “Christopher” but he knew he wanted to carry on his mother’s dream. By the end of 2005, Rick started assembling a team of creative individuals to take the story to the next level.
The book has changed from a small booklet to a hard-bound book; the rough drawings have evolved over the years and is now illustrated by an award winning artist, but the story has remained the same. The original cloth, hand-sewn doll has been replaced by a cloth and vinyl, pose-able doll, but it has the same characteristics as the doll Flora created: a big floppy hat, one large ear showing, the color and design of his clothes.
My understanding is that The Elf on the Shelf began its marketing in 2005. Twenty years before that date, Flora was creating and selling her original story and doll, describing Christopher’s “popping into” the children’s homes, playing a game of hide-and-seek, and reporting back to Santa on Christmas Eve. If you would like to see a copy of the story in the “booklet” form, please send me your address; I’d be more than happy to give you one. If you are looking for more evidence of our timing, please use some of the “time-travel” web site searches to locate the old web sites from 2002-2005.
Thank you for your time.
Dave Kuntzman, President