“ElfYourself” 2011: A Review by Lachy Larmour

Posted on November 30, 2011


With the annual tirade of commercially-driven interests vying for our each and every holiday-intended dollar, it’s not hard to go numb and succumb to the pain that is the Christmas holiday season. Department stores, e-tailers, handymen, and even fast food companies all chase our attention and ask us to ask them to help us out during the silly season. Three Christmas references (now four) already, you may think you know where I’m headed with this.

Seldom do we hear an organisation saying “Here—have a laugh—on us!” Especially during this time of year, when puddings, baubles, trees, and cuts of meat are of the forefront of everyone’s mind. Stationery—not so much. Cue OfficeMax.

Launched in 2007, ElfYourself was a first-of-its-kind partnership between online e-card conglomerate JibJab and global stationery supplier OfficeMax. Spunky. The whole idea is as follows: get users to upload pictures of their faces, and the faces of their friends, put them on the bodies of dancing elves, and we all sit round and watch them go nuts. More fun than any family gathering could cater for! Four years on (a respectable timeframe in any advertising campaign), ElfYourself is back with more dances than ever to choose for your elfselves to scat out to. It is here I feel it appropriate to review a few of my favourites from what’s on offer:


The newest offering, “Funk” once again gives users the opportunity to pinpoint their elves’ mouths so they can sing along to the background music. Charismatically ensuring a South Park black hole effect when a mouth moves, it is a welcomed addition to the line up of singing dances following the groundbreaking “Singing” execution in 2010.

The track, Charles W. Wright’s “Express Yourself” is a solid choice, adding black groove to a potentially disturbing seventies-white-quasi-Studio54-inspired LED lit backdrop. The track gives ample opportunities for elves to belt out the deep tones of Wright, and also to move around the spaces with ease.

Dancing "YDElves", L-R: Eliza, Patrick, Rory, Lachy and (slightly hidden) Antonia.

Dance moves are above average, a highpoint for me being at 0:16 when one elf opportunistically seizes the moment of being the only one in shot and goes right up to the camera, as if to shamelessly promote themselves. Un-Christmas-like some may say, smart and forward-thinking say I.

"Cosmo-topia! 2011" contributor AntoniaElf, rockin' out.

Note also the attention to detail given by proppers, who have installed lights which change, randomly, from icicles to dots.

Hip Hop

YDElves, hip-hop style!

Introduced along with “Singing” in 2010, “Hip Hop” is a fusion of Pierpont’s “Jingle Bells” with Latino-inspired hip-hop, and it does not fail to please.

Bringing in great dance classics such as the worm,

PatrickElf and ElizaElf doing "The Worm"

the one-limb breakdance,

PatrickElf and the "One-limb Breakdance"

and the *NSYNC-driven team-empowering group skip.

ElizaElf is especially enjoying the "Group Skip".

The dances prove to be a hit in “Hip Hop” and allow viewers to concentrate on the athleticism and agility which is purely dominated by the elves.


Aloha! In “Surf”, viewers are taken on a whirlwind tour of Hawaii and once again offered a cultural buffet of music. John Ddall’s “Deck The Halls” gets smashed together with a Waikiki-inspired surf track in an experience one could describe as not dissimilar to a trip to the local Cold Rock ice creamery; violent and cruel, but conducive to a good outcome for all.

YDElves getting a super tan in "Surfing".

Viewers are given an unobtrusive insight into Hawaiian culture in scenes such as the twin-skip, where the ancient totem poles draw our attention to the fact that not everyone lives in a culture which celebrates Christmas:

It's YDElf Admin: RoryElf and LachyElf celebrate cultural differences, with totem poles!

Cinematography takes centre stage as we are introduced to innovative ideas such as the three-way angle,

Not quite sure about the Hawaiian significance of the "Three-way Angle".

The ski-cam,

The classic "Ski Cam", reminiscent perhaps of "Gidget" or "A Very Brady Sequel".

And my personal favourite, tree-top cam.

ElizaElf loves it up on the "Tree-top Cam".

“Surf” is a welcome addition, along with “Funk” to this year’s lineup and showcases the extraordinary rehearsal and training both the production team and elf team have rigorously gone through in the lead up to this Christmas.

ElfYourself is one of those ideas which never stops evolving. The commitment shown by all involved, including the elves (whom I hear were specially selected from Santa’s dark halls), who outdo themselves in 2011, is astounding.

I wholeheartedly and proudly give ElfYourself 8/10.

Lachy Larmour is (apparently) You’re Dripping Egg’s Director of External Communications. To read more from Lachy, check out 341 to 474: Lachy Larmour Reviews a Morning Bike Ride. For more of the YDE contributors’ thoughts on the festive season, have a read of Tom Carmody’s Christmas – a review in one parts.

To make your own elves, much like LachyElf and the rest of the YDElf gang, check out www.elfyourself.com.

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