Elf Pets is a spin-off franchise to the popular Elf on the Shelf picture book, which focuses on magical North Pole animals that help Santa Claus with his yearly duties in preparing for the Christmas season. Similar to the Elf on the Shelf, the animals come in special, keep-sake boxes and include a hardcover book, which explains to young readers how each animal helps throughout the year. Three animals have been represented in the franchise as of 2021, and include reindeer; who help guide Santa's sleigh, saint bernards; who gather Christmas cheer to keep the North Pole magical, and artic foxes; who create the snow that softens Santa’s landing on rooftops all over the world.
History with the Macy's Parade
The Elf Pets made their Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debut in the 2018 Parade, represented by an all-new fantasy float. Entitled "Santa's Saint Bernards Save Christmas", the festive scene debuted to promote the release of the straight-to-video film of the same name.
The float depicts Santa's most-trusted scout elves, Chippey and Snowflake, celebrating the Christmas season with the help of their artic animal friends, Santa's reindeer and saint bernards, under an illuminated Christmas tree. Together, the Christmastime companions remind Parade spectators that Christmas spirit is ultimately found through faith, hope, and love. Following closely behind the float was the 64-foot long balloon likeness of The Elf on the Shelf.
In 2019, the float's name was changed to "Christmas Cheer is Near", and depicted the Artic Foxes from the film A Fox Cub's Christmas Tale, who helped in spread holiday cheer down the Parade route.
The Elf Pets float was originally scheduled to make an appearance in the reimagined 2020 Parade, and was to be sponsored by The Lumistella Company. Rising cases of COVID-19 in New York City throughout November 2020, however, caused several Parade elements to be pulled from the line of march mere days before filming for the event began. Among these was the Elf Pets float, and the live appearance of the Elf on the Shelf balloon, who was able to make an appearance through archival footage.