This Scarborough Condo Has a Secret Santa Who Delivers to All 238 Units in Her Building

A heartwarming story about a Christmas elf who’d prefer to remain anonymous among her neighbours.

On Christmas Eve for many years now, I’ve been hanging little home-made decorations on the door handles of all 238 units in my condo. I received permission from the board members for this as I began retirement, and it’s been going on for 24 years. At first, I started with just two mini candy canes, which went on for a few years. After that, I began placing the two canes into stockings, to act as angel wings and antlers for reindeers. It was my attempt at sprucing up the Christmas spirit around the building.

I then switched to using the two canes as a ‘hanger’ on which to dangle the decoration. By taping the bases together and spreading the curved heads downward, you get a good hanger hook, which I drape over the door handles via a wire loop threaded between the canes.

This opened up more possibilities such as trees, toboggans, tuques, wrapped gifts, various angel and Santa designs and much more. Thanks to my hanger design, they could all be suspended from the canes. The decorations are small products from my imagination, suitable for any sized tree, and are made mainly from scraps and donated materials.

For several years, few people knew who made and delivered these and I was dubbed “the Christmas Elf.” I try to avoid being seen as I make my way along the corridors but now and then I’m caught before I can duck into the stairwell.

To make things easier, I craft the decorations ahead of time and then get them out of storage boxes in batches of 12—the number of units on each floor. After dealing with tangled canes on many occasions, I now use cookie sheets or trays to lay out the 12 needed. I put these in the bathtub enclosure, on high shelves, or in the closet until Christmas Eve as I have a curious cat eager to help!

I start at the top of the building and carry four or five trays up on the elevator, put them in the stairwell and work my way down. When I need a new set, I go back to my unit to reload. It takes about two hours to complete the task, but I enjoy the challenge of trying to go unseen and the pleasure of creating the decorations. It’s a surprise for new residents and something to look forward to for long-timers—smiles for all!

I make similar decorations for the Christmas luncheon, the seniors’ choir and of course, the hospital volunteers’ gathering. The leftovers usually find their way to the crafting table at our church bazaar, except for one sample that sits in the trophy case in our condo games room, as a little piece of history.

This elf may wear a mask this year but I will continue delivering decorations now that I’ve “got the hang of it!”

Next, find out what a country Christmas was like in the 1950s.

Originally Published in Our Canada