One of my favorite Christmas movies is Santa Claus is coming to town. Aside from the Burgermeister Meisterburgers, I love how all the things associated with Christmas are explained. In the movie, a family of elven toymakers called the Kringles find a baby and name his Chris.
But where did elves get tied to the Santa Claus stories?
In the 1870’s Godey’s Ladies Journel showed the pointy-eared folks gathered around Santa making toys for Christmas. Just like the magazine had popularized the Christmas tree in the 1850’s, this single image attached the elves to Santa in Americans consciousness.
Except this wasn’t the first association of elves to Christmas.
Louisa May Alcott wrote an book called Christmas Elves in 1852 (it wasn’t published). And that famous poem The Night Before Christmas (really titled, A Visit from Saint Nicholas) referred to Santa as an elf in 1823.
Obviously, the elves themselves have been around in many Eurorean cultures for a lot longer than that but it was in the 1800’s that the Scandanavians were the first to associate them with the holiday. Read more here.
Now I just have to figure out what a sugar plum fairy is and she came from.