No one can get away from elves. Elves bake our cookies in trees, elves cobble our shoes when the cobbler’s too sleepy, elves even watch over our wizarding money in our Gringotts vaults—no, wait—those are goblins. But just because you’ve met one elf doesn’t mean you’ve met them all. Sure, Legolas showed us that elves can be blonde, tall, and quick, but Dobby the House Elf is undoubtedly the favorite, even if he tends to wear too many pairs of socks. How does an elf know that she’s really made it in the elf world? Papa Elf says that making it to the North Pole and building toys in Santa’s workshop is the quintessential elf job, the “big dance,” if you will, that puts the jingle in Santa’s sleigh. But do you know what will really turn your snow globe upside down? Seeing Buddy the Elf in ELF: THE MUSICAL at the Long Center to kick off the candy cane season!
How did Santa’s elves reach the North Pole to begin with? Through the sea of swirly, twirly gumdrops, of course. No, but really, elves just kind of showed up there one day. They’ve been residing in the lore of lots of other countries for centuries, but especially as Scandinavian pranksters that like to scare children and sometimes leave gifts. But only cats can see them, duh. American Christmas elves supposedly first showed up in a short story by Louisa May Alcott—yes, author of Little Women—that never got printed. Mistake on the publisher’s part? Probably. Clearly the tradition stuck, though, because not long after Alcott’s missed opportunity Harper’s Weekly published an anonymous poem that prominently featured elves as Santa’s helpers. Coincidentally, Santa himself was called an elf once as early as 1822. The poem, tritely named “The Wonders of Santa Claus,” wasn’t published until 1857, but it does say that Santa
“[k]eeps a great many elves at work,
All working with all their might,
To make a million of pretty things,
Cakes, sugar-plums, and toys,
To fill the stockings, hung up you know,
By the little girls and boys.”
A little unimaginative, but it was the first real classic mention of elves at work. So don’t take all that hard work for granted! Santa’s elves might just disappear “off in a frosty mist.”
“Sounds like somebody needs to sing a Christmas carol.”
Does Buddy the Elf remind you of anyone? How about a similar toymaking misfit who decides to run away from Santa’s workshop with a reindeer whose nose lights up? Granted, Hermey was a dentist and Buddy wasn’t actually an elf at all, but the two do have some similarities. The 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a significant influence on Elf, the movie, especially in the way that Buddy and Papa Elf dress, right down to their little hats. You can see it most in those Claymation scenes, though the filmmakers opted to include Arctic Puffin and Mr. Narwhal to wish Buddy well on his adventure, instead of the mustachioed prospector Yukon Cornelius. Even Ralphie from A Christmas Story makes a cameo as an elf in Santa’s workshop!
If Buddy has infected you with Christmas cheer, then obviously you should sing loud for all to hear. Don’t worry; you don’t have to go all the way to New York City, like Buddy, to hone your craft. Just remember, singing is just like talking, except longer and louder, and you move your voice up and down.
Don’t get caught being a cotton-headed ninny muggins.
To whet your appetite for Elf: The Musical, or just to remind you of all your favorite Elf moments, you need a little of this video in your life:
We know that the North Pole is kind of far away, but you also don’t have to go all the way to New York City and risk eating gum off the street—remember, Santa says it’s not free candy—to see Buddy the Elf in person. Avoid the Seven Levels of the Candy Cane Forest, and visit the Long Center instead! So go bake some gingerbread, visit your Gringotts vault, and put that elf on the shelf because Santa’s coming to town – to Austin (this Friday)!
P.S. Be sure to bring Artic Puffin and Mr. Narwhal along. They’re good company.
Don’t miss Elf: The Musical this Thanksgiving weekend — the perfect event for the whole family! Friday, November 28 through Sunday, November 30 at the Long Center.