by Hallie Underwood ’20

Official Elf Trailer courtesy Movie Clips Trailer Vault

Our family friend, Paul Whybrew, always seems to find himself an entertainer at every party he attends. Towering over other guests, he impersonates anyone from Saturday Night Live characters to his teenage daughter, Gwynnie. It must have been two Christmases ago, though, that Whybrew’s uproarious personality brought him to my mother’s annual Christmas party dressed as Buddy the Elf. The morning after, I snacked on leftover gingerbread cookies and giggled as my mom scrolled through her camera roll, presenting Whybrew posing with nearly every one of my mom’s friends. I think we still have the curly-haired wig somewhere in our basement.

Buddy the Elf is a household name. To the Whybrews and to my family alike, Elf brings so much positivity into our lives. When the movie is recorded on our DVR again, it means that frost should be tinting our windows, hot chocolate will once again be our typical after-school snack, lights of red and green and blue dancing to the familiar tune of “Winter Wonderland”, as the new year approaches. Elf continues to be a favorite each December because of its distinct sense of humor, use of holiday hidden gems and memorable quotes.

Will Ferrell, who found his comedic start on Saturday Night Live, is a favorite of many. With a distinct sense of humor, the right look (the bulging eyes and goofy smile) on Ferrell’s face can cause a room to erupt in laughter. While SNL and other comedies like Anchorman combined Ferrell’s persona with dirty jokes and swear words, Elf is a family film. The man in the lime green tights strolling down the streets of New York City utters only clean quotes, but even the famous line “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” will cause my teenage sister, the kids I babysit next door, and my dad to chuckle.

Speaking of memorable lines, the energetic words of Buddy the Elf are seen on tee shirts and social media platforms year-round, especially during the holiday season. “Don’t be a cotton headed ninny muggins” and “I like to smile; smiling’s my favorite” have become much more than naivety after an extensive trip from the North Pole to the Big Apple, but a staple of the playfulness of Ferrell’s beloved character and the innocent spirit of the Christmas season.

What brings us back to this film time after time is the nostalgia it brings upon us. The polar bear, penguin and walrus bidding Buddy a safe journey to meet his dad channeling a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation feel. The buzz of New York City and the sparks of true love to the tune of “Baby it’s Cold Outside”.  The sounds of silver bells and the amusement of whirling through revolving doors. Elf brings back a simple time of joy and ambiguity our childhood selves can relate to, so we’re holding on for December so we can make a bowl of popcorn and relive the uplifting tale once again.

As frost begins to tint the windows and Christmas music begins to fill stores, Elf will inevitably begin to be played on television. And just I have year after year, I’ll be snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa and will watch it to my heart’s content.