VITAC, ACB, and the Parent Company of ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ Make the Holidays Jolly with More Accessible Programming

By: David Titmus
Cover to Elf Pets: A Fox Cub's Christmas Tale showing two foxes playing in the North Pole
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The Elf on the Shelf and Elf Pets have fast become holiday mainstays, appearing in a wide variety of popular books, toys, and videos, and loved by children of all ages all around the world.

Cover to Elf Pets: A Fox Cub's Christmas Tale showing an elf grooming a foxThis year, The Lumistella Company, the American Council of the Blind (ACB), and VITAC are proud to offer a special radio broadcast of the animated holiday special, “Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale,” on ACB Radio to make holiday cheer more widely available to all this season. The Christmas Eve special, hosted by audio description project leader Joel Snyder, will feature an audio described production of the “Elf Pets” program, live phone calls from listeners, and a visit from Santa himself.

“The holidays are a wonderful time for gathering with family,” said Dan Spoone, president of the American Council of the Blind. “And even if you can’t be together physically, we can all join each other in our respective homes and listen to the sounds of the season. We’re grateful to the creators of The Elf on the Shelf series, musician Rory Hoffman, and VITAC for the chance to share audio described versions of classic holiday entertainment. And Santa will be with us, too! What could be better?”

Audio description makes video programming more accessible by inserting narrated descriptions of a television program’s key visual elements during natural pauses in the program’s dialogue, ensuring that individuals who are blind or with low vision can better understand and appreciate a program. The description track can be found on a secondary audio channel available on most television sets and accessible through the television’s menu.

As an example, the audio described broadcast of “Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale” opens with a narration of the credits and description of the background imagery: “Scout Elf Productions Presents… blue sky with light snow and white clouds…in text “Elf Pets, a Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale”…a snowy owl swoops by…”

“Santa cares about all children and hopes they share a sense of connection to the North Pole and its magic,” said Chanda Bell, The Lumistella Company co-CEO and Santa’s chief storyteller. “As Santa’s partners, we are grateful to collaborate with these trusted partners to expand access to our animated stories.”

Since 2018, VITAC has worked with CCA and B, LLC d/b/a/ The Lumistella Company, the parent company of The Elf on the Shelf and its related brands and products, to provide accessible media services. VITAC has provided closed captioning, Spanish and French translation, and audio description services for multiple The Elf on the Shelf programs, making sure their messages of holiday cheer are accessible to everyone.

How to tune in:

  • ACB Radio is a non-profit, internet-only, audio-only live stream. You can listen at http://www.acbradio.org/.
  • “Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale” will air at 7 PM ET on December 24. The program also will feature musician Rory Hoffman, who is blind, playing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on 12 different instruments, a visit from Santa, and listener phone calls.
  • Check the ACB Radio website closer to the holidays for more details.