Carol Aebersold (’70)

Category: Accomplished Alumni | Awards

2015 Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winner

When Carol Aebersold was a child, her family had a Christmas tradition that included a scout elf that would fly to the North Pole each night to report to Santa Claus about the children’s behavior. Aebersold passed that tradition on to her children. When her children were grown, her daughter Chanda suggested that her mother write a book about the tradition. Together, they completed the project and began The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.

They published 5,000 books along with Santa’s elves. They promoted their book at trade shows, church groups, and civic clubs. Eventually, sales exploded—topping $12 million internationally. The Elf had a TV special and flew in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Aebersold was named the Georgia Small Business Person of the Year. She’s appeared on the Today Show and The Rachael Ray Show and has been profiled in Good Housekeeping and Parents magazine. She’s also been named one of UT’s 100 Distinguished Alumni. Aebersold is co-founder of Creatively Classic Activities & Books LLC.

Aebersold’s heart has always been in serving others. After graduating from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences in 1970 with a degree in music education, her experiences teaching in economically deprived areas inspired in her a commitment to have an impact on the lives of students.

She and her late husband, Bob, created the Carol and Robert Aebersold Endowed Scholarship at the UT School of Music, which is making a difference for students who may not have had the opportunity to attend college otherwise. She served as grand marshal of the UT Homecoming parade in 2013 and was featured at an event for the Little Vols and their families. She is also a member of the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists and serves on the UT Alumni Board of Directors.