2004 Overview

It wasn’t until 30 years after Fisbee’s first flight to and from the Aebersold home that Chanda Bell (formerly Aebersold) proposed the idea of immortalizing the family tradition in print while having a cup of tea with her mother. For months, Carol and Chanda brainstormed and recounted their own personal memories of Fisbee before pouring them out on paper in a draft that would eventually become The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition. Next, the pair sought out a literary agent. Although they quickly garnered the attention of an agent, she could not convince established publishers to take a chance on the project and, one by one the story of their long-standing family tradition was turned down. Many publishers suggested that someone else should write the book, and another even noted that the book was “destined for the damaged goods bin.” Undeterred, the family members turned their efforts towards self-publishing and enlisted the help of local watercolor artist Coë Steinwart. Without any business or manufacturing experience to rely on, and not a single extra penny in the bank, it would take sheer determination and a lot of faith to launch what would eventually become a national best seller.