The Christmas elf has become a popular part of the holiday tradition. How did this occur, and what brought elves to the Christmas limelight?
Like many other holiday traditions, a mixture of cultures brought about the holiday tradition of elves. They began in the traditions of multiple cultures such as old English and Scandinavian mythology. One of the dark races of the Norse mythology, the elves were seen as mysterious creatures apart from humanity. The English and Germans saw elves as pranksters, causers of nightmares and disease. However, other views of them would include beings of great beauty, mystery, and power.
Today, elves exist in several forms around the world. On one end, there are the darker and scarier sorts, such as the German creature Krampus, who punished the wicked children. On the other end, there are also the fun and whimsical ones, like the Icelandic Yule Lads or Zwarte Piet of the Netherlands. Some of these are considered elves, and others different types of assistants, but Santa’s helpers exist in every form and land, helping make the Christmas season fun.