News

Duo gets creative with Elf on Shelf popularity

By Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor

Each Christmas for the past four years, Alexis VanDerMaelen of Simcoe has become a real Elf on a Shelf. She has donned a red elf costume and posed on a variety of surprising and comical perches. Her mother, Connie Forsyth, has snapped photos and then posted a different one each day on Facebook for thousands of admirers to view. (Michael-Allan Marion/Postmedia News)

Each Christmas for the past four years, Alexis VanDerMaelen of Simcoe has become a real Elf on a Shelf. She has donned a red elf costume and posed on a variety of surprising and comical perches. Her mother, Connie Forsyth, has snapped photos and then posted a different one each day on Facebook for thousands of admirers to view. (Michael-Allan Marion/Postmedia News)

SIMCOE - 

Alexis VanDerMaelen and her mother Connie Forsyth never thought their Elf on a Shelf escapade on Facebook would get so popular, and now that they’ve been doing it for four years, they find it hard to stop.

According to VanDerMaelen the comical obsession began close to eight years ago, when the Elf on a Shelf craze first hit. She bought an elf for her sister and saw that it magically moved to different places every night during the holiday season.

Unable to stand idly by anymore, she decided to acquire a crimson red and white costume and play the elf herself. Her mom would take one photo each day and post it on her Facebook page between Dec. 1 and Dec. 24.

The elf could be seen in various locations and in improbable contortions in their McCall Crescent home.

Perched on top of a china a cabinet.

Hanging upside down in a door frame.

Lying in a dentist’s chair for a checkup. Or lying on the floor with arms and legs akimbo, making “flour angels.”

Or on a beach while taking a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Or on a buffalo at the University of Buffalo.

“This elf has been every place,” said Forsyth.

Over the years, VanDerMaelen did her half in keeping the mystery going, all the while serving as director of recreation at Charlotte Villa by Revera in Brantford and teaching dance at Lisa Naves Dance Company in Simcoe.

They developed a following over the years on Forsyth’s Facebook page as people liked, commented or shared the image.

“Now people are saying ‘I want to see more,’” said VanDerMaelen, “and most of them are adults. They just love it.”

But they have been carrying it on for four years.

“This elf wants to retire,” said VanDerMaelen.

“It’s too cold and I’m getting too old.”

But it seems ending it all is proving as difficult as Arthur Conan Doyle ending Sherlock Holmes.

“I say, if you want to retire, we’ll have to go to a funeral home and put you in a coffin,” mom said.

“No way! That’s going too far,” daughter retorted.

“I’m not doing that.”

It seems everyone will have to keep watching that Facebook page. There’s still less than a week till Christmas Eve.

Brantford Expositor

MMarion@postmedia.com