The first of several much-loved Christmas decorations that pop into my mind are these three vintage elves on skis. Among my parents’ first holiday trinkets, they’ve been a part of my Christmas as long as I can remember. Mama recalls buying them in the very early 60s during a rare, day-after-Thanksgiving shopping trip to the St. Matthews Mall near Louisville.
Produced in Japan in the 1950s, the elves have plastic heads with hand-painted, apple-cheeked faces and pointed, flocked-paper hats. Bodies are pinecones. In their pipe cleaner arms each holds a musical instrument: maracas, a paper accordion, or cymbals. Cardboard glitter-coated skis are glued to each pinecone, the elves have no feet. Apparently they don’t need feet; they’ve managed quite well without them for the past sixty years. It was comforting to see this merry elf trio displayed prominently on my parents’ tree again this year.