It’s been just over a decade since Aebersold and her twin daughters, Chanda Bell and Christa Pitts, first shared their family tradition involving an elf named Fisbee with the world. "The idea really just came out of a moment when Chanda was at my house,’’ said Aebersold, 69. "She looked up at our elf that we have had for years, and she said, ‘Mom, we should write a book and share our elf tradition with the world.’ All of a sudden, I said, ‘Okay.’ I don’t think she or I knew it would become what it has, but I think my other daughter knew we had something people would want, a ready-made tradition.’’
In 2017, that book, The Elf on the Shelf, has reached more than 11 million in sales, and the women’s publishing company, Creatively Classic Activities and Books, has grown into a well-known, Atlanta-based publishing, product development and marketing firm geared toward the holidays. It has 85 employees.
We caught up with Aebersold, who holds a degree in music education from the University of Tennessee, by phone on Dec. 13 from Atlanta. Aebersold is scheduled to visit Tampa in February as the keynote speaker for the Clearwater Alumnae Panhellenic’s Tri-City Luncheon. For information, visit clearwaterpanhellenic.org.
What’s on your nighstand?
First and foremost on my nightstand is my Bible, and secondly, I’m reading Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I was inspired of course when I saw the Broadway production. It is a thick book. Also, I have just finished The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg, and then when I’m feeling bad about myself, I read Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck. And one of my favorite books of all times is John Adams by David McCullough.
Why is that your favorite?
First, I really like biographies. John Adams seemed to be so disliked, and I wondered why that was, so I got the book, but what happened was that by the end of the book I liked him and became a big fan. I love the way McCullough writes and the rhythm of his writing.
When your three kids were small, what was your favorite Christmas story to read them?
The Night Before Christmas was always a big hit, and I always love reading the Nativity story. I also loved reading them C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia. I think possibly my favorite children’s book of all time, not just at Christmas, is Cinnabar by Marguerite Henry. I love it. I had foxes in my backyard, and I think they are really beautiful.
Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.