Elf on the Shelf visits Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital to spread Christmas cheer

Posted at 5:58 AM, Dec 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 14:39:50-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Elf on the Shelf visited children at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt two weeks before Christmas to bring some magic back for kids staying in the hospital this Christmas.

"We know there are elves all over this hospital, watching and reporting for Santa. Some have flown from their home to be here with their family. But this—this just simply brings joy, and if that's something we can help do, help Santa a little bit before he gets here on Christmas Eve, that's literally the greatest gift we can give people at Christmas time, especially those that aren't experiencing sort of a normal Christmas," explained Chanda Bell, author of "The Elf on the Shelf's Night Before Christmas."

Bell grew up with an elf at her house and together with her sister founded The Lumistella Company.

"My mom had an elf growing up, and when we were all born, she told us that it was watching and reporting for Santa Claus. And so I grew up with this best friend from the North Pole," recounted Bell. "I remember telling him what I wanted for Christmas and apologizing for bad behavior. Just to make sure I got exactly what I was hoping for on Christmas morning! So it really is a special family tradition that comes from our own experience."

The Lumistella Company Founder and Co-CEO Chanda Bell

"I think the Elf on the Shelf embodies tradition. It's the best of what the Christmas season has to offer. It's about tradition. It's about spending time together as a family, finding the elf, reading the book together, laughing, having fun," said Bell. "So I think it really just brings joy and I love the fact that what we offer is a tradition in a box. So any age can participate in the tradition, and it really is a whole family affair. I just don't think we have enough of that in the world."

Bell said she never would have imagined her family tradition would grow to become a fabric of Christmas for families.

"I just wanted to share our own family tradition with the world and I really had no idea even what that meant," Bell explained.

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt 8-year-old patient Ezekiel McCandless

On Wednesday inside Seacrest Studio at the children's hospital, children had the chance to hear Bell read her book "The Elf on the Shelf's Night Before Christmas." They also received a huggable elf and spent time with the mascot-sized Elf on the Shelf.

One mother of a 4-year-old patient said seeing the Elf on the Shelf in person brought out her daughter's biggest smile.

"I have always told my babies — the holidays are always about magic and love. Not about what you get, not about what you can give, not about all the superficial marketing techniques. Which as long as you believe in the magic, the magic comes back to you," said Sasha Albright.

Mother Sasha Albright and patient Kai’Lani Simmons

For those "elf keepers" who keep the magic alive, the founder reminded them not to grow weary and remember there are all kinds of elves.

"In our home, our elf literally flies back talks to Santa and then just lands on a different spot every night. Some elves are very creative and crafty and silly. We embrace all types of elves!" Bell said.

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Author Chanda Bell wrote The Elf on the Shelf's Night Before Christmas alongside her mother whose family began the Elf on the Shelf tradition.