“It warms my heart to think that other people are embracing our little family tradition the way they are,” Aebersold told the audience of about 20 people. “It started right here in Cobb/Marietta and we are eternally grateful to people here who embraced us.”
Aebersold recalled that she and her daughter were at home in Acworth in early 2004, when Aebersold mentioned that she would become an empty-nester soon and needed something to do. That’s when her daughter, Chandra Bell, proposed turning the family’s elf on a shelf tradition into a children’s book.
Aebersold and Bell wrote the story and sent it to various publishing companies — only to get rejected. In 2005, they hired an illustrator and paid a self-publisher to print 5,000 copies, which they then sold at Junior League markets and other small sales.
The book grew in popularity through word of mouth, and in 2005 she had her first book signing at the Marietta Museum of History, where her friend Jan Russell, is the director of the museum.
“We had over 200 people show up for their book-signing,” Russell said. The two became friends when both attended First United Methodist Church of Marietta.
Since then, the book has gone from a small family pasttime to a national best-seller. In 2011, CBS created a holiday television special based on the book. This year, her Elf will be a featured balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.