In my house, it is not officially Christmas time until we watch “Elf”.

The 2003 movie follows Buddy the Elf (Will Farrell), a human raised by elves, as he tries to reconnect with his human father. Of course there is a culture clash between the elf life Buddy is used to and the seriousness of New York City. This leads to circumstances that are often embarrassing, and more often hilarious. And while he doesn’t seem to fit in, Buddy’s joyous spirit is contagious.

Buddy’s spirit is so endearing, the audience (or at least my family) gets irritated when the people around him refuse to not believe that he is a real elf. So I think one of the most charming aspects of this movie is that it suspends reality for me and I am ready to believe. And I think everyone else should too!

So this is the perfect movie to watch on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The day that many claim is the first official day of the Christmas season (personally, I think it starts November 1, but to each their own).

I consider this movie a classic, but for those that think it is not old school enough I offer these fun nods to the some other classics::

  • Ralphie from 1983’s “A Christmas Story” (Peter Billingsley) plays one of the head elves at Santa’s Workshop.
  • Many of the costumes seen in the North Pole scenes were modeled after the 1964 stop motion “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

Not only does Elf entertain us, but inspires a lot of great activities for an Elf-themed family movie night.


Paper Decorating

Wherever he goes, Buddy likes to decorate for Christmas. His go to crafts are easy ones for kids to do. He likes paper chains and paper snowflakes.

Paper chains were a staple in my home while I was growing up. We would make 25 links and remove a link each day to countdown to Christmas day. Ours were always red and white. Buddy likes to create a winter wonderland ambiance and makes them snow white. No matter what color paper you use, they are really easy. Here are the steps:

  1. Cut strips of paper about equal width.
  2. Loop one strip of paper and seal it with glue, tape or staples.
  3. Thread the next strip of paper though and make a loop (just like in step 1)
  4. Repeat until you think your chain is long enough!


Making snowflakes is an art with very little rules, so perfect . Start with a square and fold it in different ways and cut! This can get messy, so I suggest a work cloth on the floor or table to quickly pick up the paper scraps that will fly.

And then hang! What made Buddy’s decor so magical is that he hung so much from the ceiling, making it seem like it was snowing magic.

An Indoor Snowball Fight?!?

Buddy bonds with his brother Michael when he takes on some bullies at Central Park with his mad snowball skills. He makes it look like so much fun! If you don’t have enough snow outside, you can have an indoor snowball fight with DIY snowballs. They are easy to make, and won’t hurt as much as the real ones!

These “snowballs” are made with wool yarn and I found these easy to follow instructions at Parenting Production.

And wool snowballs won’t break any of the glass Christmas ornaments!


“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” 


We have been warned not to sing at all in groups right now, but if you stick with your family pod, you can spread Christmas cheer for all to hear.  You can go virtual Christmas Caroling, sending videos of your family singing to relatives that can’t get out of the house. My daughter and I often sing and play our ukuleles on the porch and life stream it on Facebook, which is another option.

If you have housebound neighbors, bring your family to their house. Someone can ring their doorbell and back up 10 feet to sing them a song. Even distanced carolers can bring joy!



Buddy is very clear about one thing: he loves syrup. He shocks his newfound family by pouring it on spaghetti.

So I wanted to find a recipe that honors Buddy's love of syrup without being as traditionally… repulsive. I also wanted to find a recipe that would be super easy yet delicious. I came across this recipe from the blog Mama Likes to Cook. I whipped them up in under 10 minutes and baked them for another 10.

And they were so good they were gone in another 10 minutes. Good thing they are so easy to make I can whip up another batch. So here it is:

Maple Syrup Pancake Mix Cookies

2 cups pancake mix (the type where you just add water)
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Butter, softened

Pre-heat Oven to 350° F

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients together. Form small balls with the dough and flatten as you place on the pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.


For proof that Santa is real, pick up one of our magical Santa Proof Kits.