Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Pop In Kins Elf Pop-In-Kins Christopher Bookset
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on November 20, 2011
We had the other popular Christmas elf and found that, frankly, he was creepy. This elf is most certainly NOT creepy! I love that he's bendy, so he can get into lots of shenanigans, and he's a lot bigger than I'd anticipated!

My only word of caution is that if you have a child who still believes and can read, be sure to cut out the dedication page in the book, which essentially gives the secret away. I almost didn't catch it and I know my voracious reader would have seen it right away... and honestly, as short as childhood is these days, I want her to hang on to the magic and wonder of Christmas for as long as she can. :)

All in all, I love this to pieces and *highly* recommend adding this Christmas tradition to your holiday season!
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on September 18, 2013
I have a 3-year-old and considered entering the insanity that is "Elf on a Shelf." In reading reviews, I discovered an alternative: "Christopher Pop-In-Kins" Our local library had a complete gift set of both mischievous elf stories and companion elves. Here is a comparison..

THE STORIES ARE INCREDIBLY SIMILAR
I am utterly stunned by the similarities in the two stories. In fact, I am amazed that the author of the "Christopher" book (written in 1985) hasn't sued the "Elf" author (written in 2005) for plagiarism.
* Both elves have been sent by Santa to keep an eye on their assigned child/children and report back to Santa
* Both elves relocate within their assigned home each evening
* Both elves are not to be touched by the children in the home
* Consequences for touching either elf is the same--he/she will have to go back to Santa for awhile
* Both elves are to return to Santa on Christmas eve
* Size of books are almost identical

"CHRISTOPHER POP-IN-KINS"
* Illustrations are more vivid with a lot of primary colors
* The story is narrative in fashion
* The book spends most of the time explaining why Santa sent him to your home
(Christopher was sad and wanted to see the children who the elves had been making toys for, so Santa decided to use Christopher as a spy, of sorts.)

"ELF ON A SHELF"
* Illustrations are more subdued and resemble dry water colors with a lot of peach/orange/rust
* The story is told in a rhyming fashion
* The book spends most of the time telling the reader about the actual process of hiding each day

COMPARING THE ELF FIGURES
* For something that is to be a family heirloom and last year after year, both elves are remarkably lacking in substance, quality and design. If I saw these sold as Christmas decorations in a store, I would never even consider buying either one. It's a shame because elves and Christmas figures can be so cute.
* Both elves are of passible quality
* "Elf" is about 10-inches tall and quite lanky; "Christopher is about 8-inches tall, but much more substantial
* Both elves arms and legs are very very thin and wiry
* "Elf" has very long, very thin legs; "Christopher" has shorter thin legs with more substantial body and large boots
* Both elves have a soft plastic head/face/hair
* "Christopher" also has soft plastic boots, hat & scarf
* "Christopher" looks a bit more cute and cartoon-like
* "Elf" has more of a sophisticated pixie look
* I find both elves to be pitiful and would like to find an alternative somewhere else

PROS
* "Elf" - You get to name your elf
* "Elf" - Elf comes in a variety of eye/hair/skin colors and choice of gender
* "Elf" - I found the relaying of the story a bit more cleaver and engaging because of the rhyming

CONS
* "Christopher" - I find his name (Christopher Pop-In-Kins) to be rather hokey
* "Elf" - You can now purchase a number of accessories for you elf (skirt, apron, etc.) While some may find this to be a positive, I find it to be a great example of marketing vultures. (Dear Company: Put some more time and money into making a decent-looking elf in the first place so people don't have to pay even more for a half-inch semi-circle skirt to try and jazz up a sorry looking felt figure.)
* "Elf" - I am pretty disgusted by the blatant plagiarism of story and idea. I mean, could they have at least made him a reindeer or snowman?

BOTTOM LINE: I really Really REALLY wanted to like the "Christopher Pop-In-Kins" book and elf better. I really did. This author would seem to be the initial person behind the idea, and I tend to go for the little guy. However, I found myself more interested in the "Elf on a Shelf" book--probably due to the cleaver rhyming. I also liked the idea of being able to name your own elf. I would probably give the illustrations in the "Christopher" book a slight edge due to the colorful pictures.

As far as the elf figures go, it is really a matter of personal preference. Their length and quality are quite similar, and I think either one would work well in different hiding places and poses. They have such different looks that one is bound to appeal to a person more than the other.

I will probably go for "Christopher," simply because he looks different than every other elf in everyone else's house. Not to mention, I would like to support the camp of the person who came up with this idea so long ago but didn't seem to have the marketing power behind her.

Let the Insanity Begin...

Merry Christmas!
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on January 1, 2010
So happy I found out about this. It was fun for the whole family. My son really enjoyed looking for him everyday. Our elf came out the day after thankgiving. Along with playing hide n seek the elf would do things. On days our son was very naughty the elf would be naughty too... One night the elf threw my son's clean undies in the x-mas tree and around the room... another night the elf TP-ed his room.... we had a blast with ideas. When he was good he got something some mornings. Like a christmas book or movie. On christms eve the elf left reindeer food (oats and cookies sprinkles) to throw on the lawn before he went to bed. Now I have to come up with more ideas for next year!
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on December 20, 2011
I agree with a previous review---which said "My only word of caution is that if you have a child who still believes and can read, be sure to cut out the dedication page in the book, which essentially gives the secret away. I almost didn't catch it and I know my voracious reader would have seen it right away... and honestly, as short as childhood is these days, I want her to hang on to the magic and wonder of Christmas for as long as she can. :)" So because I read that I tore it out...
well.... my daughter was so excited about christopher when he arrived today! so excited, then when she started questioning it and reading the box outload....I nearly jumped out of my seat when she started reading "how to play", which apparently was what the elf is attached to when he arrived....ugh so bummed. She said so its a game and YOU hide the elf....luckily my husband tried to talk it down and said no its that the adults can help guide him to find good hiding places....not sure if she bought it....
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on December 8, 2011
We love Mr. Popinkins, as we've grown accustom to calling him. The concept is that we move our elf every night while our son is asleep. The next day he looks for him. It has actually gotten to be quite a lot fun for us parents too. Here are some things we've done with our elf so far:

** He showed up (from Santa of course) and we read the accompanying story to our son (who's 4) and we put Mr. Popinkins on our mantle. The next day he was found in the fruit bowl surrounded by orange peels. He was very hungry from his journey from the North Pole.

** Then he showed up on my son's book shelf playing with his legos.

** Then he really got into mischief and we found a trail of candy wrappers across the floor, into the pantry and up to the leftover halloween candy and there he was holding his tummy with both hands and chocolate all over his face.

** Next he was found hanging from the chandelier putting up decorations.

** It got very cold the next night and we was snuggled up in our son's stocking. But then when my son go home from school Mr. Popinkins was gone? Where did he go?

** He returned and was found sound asleep in the guest bed holding a small present that he went to the North Pole to get - for my son because he was being exceptionally good and listening.

We (the parents) have been having a great time finding new and creative things for Mr. Popinkins to get in to. And of course our son is enjoying him too. :-)

He has posable limbs so we are able to stand him up, have him hang on things and pose for action shots (like hanging decorations). I don't know if the elf on a shelf has this, but we love it.

Enjoy the elf! We certainly.
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on December 17, 2012
If you're here, you're no doubt trying to decided between the Elf on the Shelf and Christopher Popinkins. First of all, understand that in concept they're both meant to hide in your house and leave to report back to Santa every night, then return in a new hiding spot. Children aren't techincally allowed to touch either of them or they have to go back to the North Pole early. Neither book mentions the pranks you see on Pinterest, blogs, and maybe your Facebook newsfeed, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it. So what are the differences? Here are my pros and cons:

Pro - Cuteness factor. I get a bit of a sly-vibe from EotS, but that could just be me. Christopher is all cuteness.
Con - He comes already named, and since the book calls him Christopher, it would be hard to change. There's no good explanation for why someone else would have this *exact* elf with the same name in their house. With EotS all the identical elves have unique names.
Pro - He has a little sister named Pop In Kins Elf Pop-In-Kins Christina Marie Bookset, who I'm sure will visit us next year, and unlike the EotS "girl", Christina Marie is very girly looking. Two elves!
Con - Both books are hardcover and of comparable quality, but I think the EotS box is nicer. Christopher's box is nice, and it also comes with a nice sleeve for the book, but the EotS version is more durable.
Pro - Chistopher is secular, while there is a mention of 'say your prayers' in the EotS book.
Con - Christopher's book does not rhyme. I like rhyming. Christopher has a poem, but his book isn't written in rhyme.
Pro - I think Christopher has a nicer story, the emphasis is less on "watching" and more on "visiting". He was sad that he made toys for children he never got to meet. He really wanted to meet the children so Santa sent him to watch the kids as a lookout.
Pro - Christopher is posable. To pose EotS parents have to resort to rubber bands and bits of wire, but Christopher has bendy arms and legs, much easier.

Also it's worth noting that Christopher's story is a lot longer than EotS, if that's a pro or a con depends on your point of view.

I ordered Christopher and I wasn't sure if I'd regret it once he arrived. Let me tell you, I'm glad I did. For our family I think Christopher is a better fit. We love our elf.
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on December 19, 2009
Santa sent Christopher to us in late November. The kids (9,5,3) LOVE him!! He comes with a book explaining why he is here. The kids wake up every morning looking to see where Christopher has moved to. Rooms have been clean, toys picked up and the fighting in the house has been limited. If you are looking for some additional fun to add to your holiday season...I highly recommend a visit from Christopher ;)
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on January 2, 2011
I looked an many other elves to start the shelf elf tradition with my child, but this elf was the cutest by far. He is highly posable and very well made. We had a blast moving him around day and finding where he moved. The book was very cute too. Amazon shipped it so fast and I am very pleased. The price is the best too. This is the cutest, most well made elf and it is the cheapest! Excellent!!!
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on January 8, 2010
This would have been fun to start with my own children, but they're getting older now. We gave it to our baby niece instead.

Much cuter and friendlier looking than the "Elf on the Shelf" doll. Same idea, just a different doll and a slightly different story. The "Elf on the Shelf" doll reminds me of a clown from a fun-house horror movie.
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on May 3, 2016
Christopher Pop-In-Kins is probably one of my favorite purchases of all time! When we first bought Christopher, I was thoroughly impressed with him! He has wires in his arms and legs and this makes moving him around MUCH easier! (It also allows you to be way more creative.) Because of this, I would never purchase one of those limp "Elf on the Shelf"s. Haha. Check out some of the pictures and ways we've been able to manipulate him - no sewing/stitching/taping needed. He is a hoot and we love that time of year specifically for this tradition!

So, here's a little back story... we bought this when my, then 9 year old son was still an only child. He fell in LOVE with Christopher and would write him letters all year long. I even bought him a little mailbox to put the letters in for Christopher throughout the year, and he would get responses back from the "North Pole". He would write Christopher letters when he was excited, sad, or just plain bored. Let's just say that he was more upset when he found out the truth about Christopher than he was about Santa. HOWEVER... when he realized that I was the one behind the letters, he was more willing to share that information with me during those times. He's now 13, and to this day, he still writes letters to Christopher. I've saved every one of them and one day, I'm going to give them back to him. It was beautiful to see this openness with Christopher, and to inherit that openness later on, makes it even more beautiful.

Now we have more kids...much younger, but at the age where they are just getting excited about Christopher. My oldest son still gets to participate in the excitement. Sometimes he wants to watch the magic, other times he wants to be the magician. If you are on the fence about starting this tradition, just know that the "lie" is only as bad as you allow it to be. You have the choice to show them the fun and excitement when they believe, and allow them to be the magician later on. Personally speaking, I came from a family that did not believe in Santa/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny, etc... and I chose this route for my children and have not regretted it for a second.

I know this is going to be a tradition that lasts for generations. We have only had him for 4 years now, and he is TOTALLY worth it!!
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