Who Are Santa's Magic Elves?

santa-s-magic-elves Credit: Per Breiehagen/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

According to legend, Santa's magic elves are diminutive magical creatures that assist Santa Claus with his preparations for Christmas every year. The elves live with Santa at the North Pole and help him make toys, train reindeer and load his sleigh.

Santa's elves were introduced into American literature by author Louisa May Alcott in 1856. Alcott wrote a book entitled "Christmas Elves," but the book was never published. The idea of Santa's workshop, fully employed by elves, originated from illustrations in the "Godey's Lady's Book," published in the 1860s.

The mythology of elves truly began in Scandinavia where it was a pagan belief that elves guarded places of residence from evil. This legend, and the fact that there are no reindeer at the North Pole but plenty in Scandinavia, caused some to believe that Santa's home and workshop are really in Lapland, Finland.

Elf Magic is a company that created a line of children's toys based on the legend of Santa's elves. The company creates 36-inch, 10-inch and 6-inch elf dolls. Additionally, Elf Magic makes elf pets, games and party items. The company's website encourages parents to position the elves in silly and creative ways while the child is sleeping to add a sense of "Christmas magic" that children may enjoy.