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OTHER ITA SITES:
The Story of Santa's Helpers
We all know about Santa’s helpers today. They are the merry elves who work building the Jolly One’s toys for boys and girls around the globe. But did you know that these Christmas elves got their start in Scandinavia? If you didn’t know that, you’re in for one heck of a story.
This tale starts long ago in German folklore. These elves were pranksters that caused diseases and gave people nightmares. As the notion of elves spread across Europe, countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden believed every house in the neighborhood had tiny little elves, or gnomes, guarding them from evil spirits. These gnomes were generally very trustworthy and kind creatures, but beware if you ever mistreated one of them! These elves could act absolutely spiteful and teach you a lesson. Some stories indicate children in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark often gave the elves a bowel of porridge on Christmas Eve to stop their pranks.
When Christmas again became popular in Scandinavia in the middle of the 19th century, these gnomes got out of the house-protection business and found their way into Santa’s good graces. After all, Norway, Sweden, and Finland are a stones throw away from Santa’s home in the North Pole. In fact, the folks in Finland say that Santa and his elves even live in Lapland in the off season. People of Scandinavia began talking less about house gnomes and more about Santa’s elves. It is here that Elves transitioned into Santa’s helpers.
Some experts say that there are now 13 main elves that help Santa to make his toys, some say 6, and some take the middle road and say 9 elves help Santa at one time. While some of these elves help with the day to day duties in the toy shop, some other elves have very special jobs that Santa relies on. For instance, one elf is a well-known inventor who is credited with building Santa’s machines that construct many of the toys. Another elf is very handy with wood and tools, and built Santa’s sleigh. He continues to take care of it and does any necessary repairs to make sure Santa has no problems on Christmas Eve.
Another elf is Mrs. Claus’ personal helper, and also the head chef of the North Pole. She comes up with some of the cookie recipes and treats that we Christmas lovers enjoy every year. There are also the elves that are in charge of keeping the secret of where exactly Santa and his helpers live! These elves act like the mayor of the town, making sure the town stays clean and its streets are swept clear of the snow.
Last but not least, there is an elf that is personally in charge of the naughty and nice list. He is, perhaps, the most important elf of all. It is because of this elf and his list that Santa decides who has been naughty and who has been nice. So, this Christmas Eve, you may decide to leave a bowl of porridge sitting out beside Santa’s cookies and milk.
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