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Published November 09, 2013, 05:44 PM

Elf on the Shelf not just a Christmas Tradition

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - They call it a "Christmas Tradition," but it is actually a new parenting concept that is gaining popularity.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - They call it a "Christmas Tradition," but it is actually a new parenting concept that is gaining popularity.

"Elf on the Shelf" is a special scout elf that teaches children good behavior by watching over the family and reporting back to Santa Claus each night.

Santa has a new little helper that has been catching on in families with young children.

Michael Ratajczak brought his daughter Isabella to Barnes and Noble to pick out her very first "Elf on the Shelf."

Michael Ratajcak/Adopting First Family Elf: "Get the kids ready for Christmas and make sure they behave."

Kids adopt an elf, give it a name, and read the story, which explains that this special elf filled with Christmas magic reports back to the big man in red every night.

Then appears in a different spot in the house each morning.

Michael: "Every night he flies back. Or, SHE flies back, right, you got a girl? She reports to make sure you're behaving."

Courtney Bothun says she started Elf on a Shelf last year.

Courtney Bothun Second Year with an Elf: "I wanted to start a family tradition."

With her now four-year-old daughter Ava.

Bothun: "It was good. She really got into it, she woke up right away to try to find it, we would try to find it before her."

Elf on a shelf was originally published in 2005 but has really taken off in the last couple of years. In fact, last year copies were completely sold out in a few local stores.

There are even Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts with ideas for where the elf might show up each morning.

Parents say it's a fun way to encourage good behavior.

Bothun: "Promoting a better attitude and that it's ok to do nice things and it's ok to also say you're sorry for things that you do, forgiveness."

This is the first year Barnes & Noble has hosted an elf adoption.

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