-- While most “Elf on the Shelf” elves are seen hanging from unlikely places or caught with syrup in the kitchen, an elf belonging to a San Francisco family is experiencing the world’s biggest pop culture moments right in the family's home.
Alfie the Elf has sung “Hello” with Adele, celebrated Festivus with the “Seinfeld” crew, danced with the Radio City Rockettes and, most recently, even saw himself caught up in this week’s Miss Universe controversy.
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The fun is all courtesy of Alfie’s owner, Michele Bell, who styles Alfie every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas in a scene more elaborate than the next, each posted on Instagram.
“I started out like every other sane person just moving, it from the shelf to a mantel or window,” Bell, a mother-of-three, told ABC News. “Then I started doing stuff that you see on Pinterest, like hanging from the vase or ‘roasting’ marshmallows.”
“About three years ago, when the kids were older and got more out of it, I started doing more interesting stuff,” said Bell, whose three children are now ages 9, 7 and 4.
Bell, a stay-at-home mom who graduated from the Parsons School of Design and once worked as a first-grade teacher, says she uses felt to create the outfits for Alfie and his friends, usually her daughter’s Barbie dolls, and doesn't plan ahead, instead coming up with each idea usually on the spot.
“I do it when they go to bed, so 9:30 or 10 at night, and if we have a holiday party I come home and do it after,” Bell said. “I know I will not miss it. I know I’ll get it done.”
Bell said each scene can take from as little as 15 minutes to as long as three hours to complete. Each year she tries to create at least one scene that is personal to each of her kids.
She once put Alfie in the presence of Jane Goodall because the British anthropologist had visited her daughter’s school, for example, and created a “Star Wars” scene because her son dressed up as Darth Vader for Halloween.
“I also like to do stuff that’s timely, like Miss Universe,” Bell said, referring to the viral moment Sunday night when host Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner of the beauty pageant. “I was like, ‘Thank you Steve Harvey.’”
Bell says the only downside of the “Elf on the Shelf” fun is that her kids don’t catch any extra sleep when they know Alfie is waiting for them each morning.
“There’s no sleeping in during the holiday season,” she said. “They jump out of bed at 6 or 6:30 a.m. and have to find Alfie.”
Bell plans to put Alfie into the family’s Christmas card for tonight's scene but does not yet have one planned for her big Christmas Eve finale.
“I’m hoping I will have a light bulb moment,” she said.