Parents (and children) have been writing letters to us since Christopher Pop-In-Kins first appeared in 1985.
Here are a few of the comments Flora Johnson and the staff of Pop-In-Kins have received over the years.
I purchased my elf in 1988 and my young children and their friends absolutely loved him. They are now grown but we have a little great nephew that we would love to share this experience with. I also want to give each of my children their own elves/books for safe keeping ‘when the time comes.’ You have given such joy to so many children and parents!” – B.T., South Portland, ME
Christopher joined our family in 2008, and my 8 year twin boys eagerly awaited his return Thanksgiving 2009. We shared his story this year with our nephews. Their Christopher arrived yesterday! We are so happy that Christopher has truly become a “family” tradition! He gives so much holiday magic and joy, to the kids and grown-ups alike!!– Jennifer A., Manhattan, IL
I cannot thank you enough for continuing the wonderful tradition that your mother started. My husband has told me about him for years! I am so glad to be able to give him the gift of starting the same tradition of Christopher that he enjoyed as a child, with our daughter. I know they will cherish Christopher together!– J.S., Oklahoma City, OK
[Christopher Pop-In-Kins] has appeared at our home on Dec. 1 for almost 20 years. Each morning thru Dec. “Elf” is mysteriously found in a new location in our home. On Christmas Eve morning, Elf is found on our Christmas tree. The children were strickly forbiden to touch the Elf or he would return early to Santa. …Even as young adults the first thing they ask me when Dec. arrives is “Elf here yet?” This year my daughter Sarah is 24 and in her first home. My boys are John 22 and David 19 both in college. It’s time I passed the tradition to Sarah but I can’t part with my Elf so I am ordering three! Christopher is such a part of our family’s holiday tradition — I am so glad that I found this site so that the tradition can continue in my children’s homes ” – Joy Schumacher, Cambridge, OH
My mom started the tradition for me when I was in third grade. My sisters and I were always so excited for December to roll around so we could see him. This is such a great idea. I can’t wait to have a family of my own to share the tradition! ” – G. Costa, Wheaton, IL
I cannot thank you enough for continuing the wonderful tradition that your mother started. My husband has told me about him for years! I am so glad to be able to give him the gift of starting the same tradition of Christopher that he enjoyed as a child, with our daughter. I know they will cherish Christopher together!” – J.S., Oklahoma City, OK
My kids and I have enjoyed Christopher Popinkins for many years (they are now 21 and 19) and this year, when I took him out of the Christmas box, they both exclaimed that he should go to a new home, our wonderful friends with 4 year old twins.” – H.B., Golden, Colorado
We have one of the original “Christophers and…we used it for all of our grandchildren. Most of the granchildren are grown but Christopher still appears each year and the “big kids” look for him. Now it is time to get one for each of the 18 grandchildren… Such memories and memories are the only thing that lasts forever. ” – A.B. Hartville, OH
He’s back & even cuter! Christopher Pop-In-Kins originally came out in the mid 80’s! I remember my mom would place him around the house in different spots & each day I couldn’t wait to try & find him. I was so excited to see he’s back this year as we lost the original Christopher that was hand-made by the creator herself, Flora Johnson. I can’t wait to share this Christmas tradition with my children! by Rachaleee December 13, 2009
Below is a comment sent to us from Phillip Dyer on June 27, 2008. A response from Elf Fun with Pop-In-Kins follows.
For shame! I just can’t believe that people who say they are so caring about familes and children and traditions would be so cut throat. It is obvious you are a cheap copy of The Elf on the Shelf. The least you could do was change the packaging! What an example to kids everywhere. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Get an original idea.
by Phillip Dyer — June 27, 2008
Dear Phillip Dyer,
Thank you for taking the time to send us a comment. I hope you will also take a few minutes to read the following. Our book’s story is the same story as written by Flora Johnson in 1985. She typed the story, and created a hand-sewn doll, that she named Christopher Pop-In-Kins. Within her first year she sold the packaged book and doll in a local gift store. As that first Christmas approached, she made a batch of Christophers and had a kiosk in the local mall. And word of mouth spread from there. The original story that she wrote in 1985 is the same story today. Flora’s son, Rick Johnson, helped by her side, and was always encouraged by the kind letters that they received, describing the memories and traditions that Christopher Pop-In-Kins was creating among local families. In 2002, Rick set up a web site to offer the product, and within the first three years it was sold to individuals in 38 different states. In 2004, Rick took Christopher to Toy Fair in NYC, and to the Gift Mart in Chicago where he received an award. Rick started looking into mass production of the product; his mother and family had created thousands all by hand, and could not keep up with the demand. But that all changed in 2005 when Flora became ill and passed away. Rick was unsure of the future of “Christopher” but he knew he wanted to carry on his mother’s dream. By the end of 2005, Rick started assembling a team of creative individuals to take the story to the next level.
The book has changed from a small booklet to a hard-bound book; the rough drawings have evolved over the years and is now illustrated by an award winning artist, but the story has remained the same. The original cloth, hand-sewn doll has been replaced by a cloth and vinyl, pose-able doll, but it has the same characteristics as the doll Flora created: a big floppy hat, one large ear showing, the color and design of his clothes.
My understanding is that The Elf on the Shelf began its marketing in 2005. Twenty years before that date, Flora was creating and selling her original story and doll, describing Christopher’s “popping into” the children’s homes, playing a game of hide-and-seek, and reporting back to Santa on Christmas Eve. If you would like to see a copy of the story in the “booklet” form, please send me your address; I’d be more than happy to give you one. If you are looking for more evidence of our timing, please use some of the “time-travel” web site searches to locate the old web sites from 2002-2005.
Thank you for your time.
Dave Kuntzman, President