Cobb County judge reinstates elves to shelves for holidays

Facts about Elf on the Shelf

The battle over a popular yuletide festivity flared up again this week in Cobb County and came to a peaceful conclusion.

Less than three weeks after a Superior Court judge issued a ban cracking down on “The Elf on the Shelf,” the Cobb County Bar Association lobbied to return Santa’s helpers to homes across the county.

Attorneys for the Bar Association hit the courtroom aiming to “re-secure the rights of elves” by proving to Cobb County Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Leonard that they’re essential workers.

Star witnesses including Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Jingles the Elf took the stand to convince Leonard to rescind his countywide ban and reinstate the elves’ right to work for the Bar Association’s holiday toy drive.

“The intervenors have persuasively argued that the Elves are essential front-line workers and without them many children suffer this holiday season,” Leonard wrote in his three-paragraph order to rescind Tuesday.

Leonard’s mock ban and the bar Association’s petition are not to be taken seriously. It’s part of a lighthearted battle the judge ignited Nov. 4 when he filed a playful order banishing the magical holiday creatures from Cobb County. It was a tongue-in-cheek gag order that Leonard wrote as a humorous way to ease the popular holiday pastime’s burden on parents.

In the original court order, Leonard jokingly described elves as “a risk to the emotional health and wellbeing of Cobb’s young children” and lamented the “extreme emotional distress” Elf on the Shelf can have on children if parents forget to move the elves at night.

The judge shared a real-life story from his household and detailed the traumatic effect it had on his three children.

Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas tradition born out of a popular children’s book written by Cobb County natives Chanda Bell and her mother Carol Aebersold. The book was rooted in the ritual of Aebersold placing an elf figurine around the family’s house during the holiday season to spy on Bell and her siblings.

She told her children the elf flew to the North Pole each night and reported whether they’d been naughty or nice. It returned by morning in time for the gleeful kids to find it hiding in a different spot around the house.

Aebersold, Bell and her twin sister Christa Pitts formed Lumistella Company, the parent corporation that has sold millions of Elf on a Shelf ornaments, making it a mainstream part of Christmas culture in many households.

The Cobb County Bar Association’s holiday toy drive continues through Dec. 14, benefitting the Cobb Christmas, Live Safe Resources and MUST Ministries volunteer programs.

Monetary donations of $10, $25, $50 and $100 can be made online at; and new unwrapped toys can be donated at the Bar Association’s office in Marietta, 70 Haynes St., Suite 2006.

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