From the North Pole, where Santa prepares for another Christmas, the elves’ manufacturing machine churns out toys 364 days in the year. That fateful day, Christmas Day, the elves receive a few hours of rest as their reward for a year well done. From there, they begin the cycle again, pressing toward another tight deadline, another joyous Christmas with all its splendor intact.
What better way to usher in another Season’s Greetings than to focus attention on Buddy (Will Ferrell), the holiday warrior in the film Elf who sees things differently than the rest of us?
Buddy isn’t a normal Santa little elf. In fact, he isn’t little at all. At the height of well over six feet, he’s got his brothers and sisters beat. His feet are too big for his bed. His appetite is even larger, consuming a vast amount of candy that would choke anyone into an early grave. And his spirit for the season is equal to that of Santa’s.
Buddy is a warrior for Christmas.
However, one day Buddy realizes he’s not like the other elves. Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) tells him he’s not an elf at all. That’s when he sets out to find his true parents across the northern tundra, through the great Canadian Rockies, traveling to New York where he finds clues that lead him to his real father.
Only, his real father, Walter (James Caan), is not who he imagined him to be. As a big publishing executive, Walter’s goal with his book company is to make as much money in the industry, despite if he has to cut a few corners—or throats—to get there. The spirit of Christmas definitely does not live within Walter.
Once Buddy meets his real father, he doesn’t let his dad’s preoccupation with his job get to him. Determination sets in for him to show his dad what a wonderful time of year it is instead. Selfless acts of kindness, like staying up all night to decorate the apartment, comes easy to Buddy. Hauling a tree into the apartment and decking it from from top to bottom with homemade decorations is what Buddy’s good at.
Yet, Walter doesn’t appreciate his son’s passion for the day. He wants nothing to do with his son other than for his son to disappear from his life.
Unaffected by his dad’s rejection, Buddy carries forward to bring back the spirit of the season to shoppers everywhere. His sudden interest with a department store and the endless possibilities he has at his disposal to create a Christmas wonderland excites Buddy to pull another all-nighter. The next morning, the entire children’s department becomes a wonderful destination for parents and kids everywhere.
The story doesn’t end there. Buddy’s unwavering belief in the spirit of Christmas, and its effect on those it comes in contact, to change them, provides him the inspiration to spread cheer toward everyone, including his father.
Buddy is more than a two-dimensional character. Buddy represents someone with absolute faith in the power to move crowds into a call for action. As lighthearted as the film Elf is, the underlying message it delivers, that of tolerance and forgiveness, makes for fun moments of entertainment laced with a few lessons for those in need of a positive role model.
The film is correct in saying Buddy isn’t an elf. He’s more than an elf. He’s a character filled with hope—hope for the future, and hope for a time when the spirit of the season will flow year-round.
What do you think of the film Elf? What do you think of Buddy’s positive attitude?