You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf, but for $100 per hour, you can rent your very own living local version, available for ugly sweater crawls, office holiday parties, charity events or any other reason you’d want a grown man from Southie to do the following: “For $100/hour I will come to your holiday party dressed as the Elf on the Shelf and sit in any location you assign me while I stare emptily at your guests for the duration of the event.”
“Bringing laughter to people during the holidays is important; a lot of folks feel overwhelmed around the holidays so I like to take the edge off.”
Yes, Living Elf on the Shelf is available for appearances in the Boston Area, and assures me via an email conversation that this is not a joke, but an opportunity for him to spread holiday cheer that began as a prank years ago.
According to his Craigslist posting, his services are in high demand this season, so bookings must be made at least 48 hours in advance.
For some reason, he won’t disclose his identity. Before answering any of my questions, he responded with this: “I am happy to answer any questions you might have, I just ask that you please do not expose my identity.” He signed each email as Chris N. Kringle. In fact, when I pushed further, asking for proof that this is a real thing, he kept at it:
To conceal my identity I used a photo of somebody else that I found on Google when I made the ad; it represents what I do, but does not spoil my anonymity. I really don’t have any way to prove my existence, so I guess you could simply say that I am a piece of the Christmas magic here in Boston 🙂
For some reason, I want to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but a little part of me wonders whether he’s just making the whole thing up. Why would anyone do that? I don’t know. But for someone who likes spreading holiday cheer like he says he does, I don’t get the whole “concealing my identity” thing.
Anyway, if you’re curious what makes this guy dress up in a red jump suit and sit silently at other people’s holiday parties, like I was, read on.
Alex Weaver: What can you tell me about yourself? Age, where you live, where you’re from?
Living Elf on the Shelf: I do not want to divulge a whole lot about myself, but I’m born and raised in Southie. I am in my late 30s, and I truly enjoy bringing holiday cheer to folks in the form of weird, dry holiday themed humor.
AW: Is this a real thing? Have you actually appeared at holiday parties as a living Elf on the Shelf? How many?
LES: I have been asked to attend ugly sweater parties and other people’s random holiday events, however I have yet to be booked for a corporate gathering … my ultimate goal.
AW: When did you first start doing this?
LES: I started doing this as a favor to a friend who asked me to troll their company’s Christmas party after they were let go the day before. The CEO had no clue what was going on and even considered calling the police, but oddly enjoyed the prank after realizing it was harmless and let me stay. They even ended up sharing the open bar with me that night, and I had so much fun doing it I figured I would advertise the services for others. It has slowly picked up steam over the years.
AW: Why do you do this?
LES: It’s fun, and I really enjoy people watching; this is an extremely funny way to do so. I sit wherever I am assigned, and remain in character throughout the duration of the event. Creeping [sic] staring definitely adds to the character, but I’m not interested in creeping people out so I feel out each situation before fully diving in. Bringing laughter to people during the holidays is important; a lot of folks feel overwhelmed around the holidays so I like to take the edge off.
AW: What’s the most you’ve made in a day?
LES: I can’t do more than a 5-hour day; I charge $100 an hour, so the most I’m willing to make in a day is $500. I am also willing to donate my services for anything charitable, however so far nobody has approached me on this end of things.
AW: How many appearances will you have this holiday season?
LES: As many as I can; events range from 1-5 hours, and as long as I am available I will accept as many bookings as I can take on.
AW: Anything else our readers should know?
LES: A lot of folks tell me that this is creepy; everyone is entitled to their opinions, however I do want to stress that this is simply an innocent way to make people laugh and that I am not a criminal or sex offender. I’m just a fun-loving guy from Southie who loves to make people’s Christmas this much more fun!
Screenshot via Craigslist.