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Gettin’ Twiggy With It: Twig The Elf a New Ross Christmas Sensation

(Illustration: South Shore Goblins)

During a torrential downpour and 80 kilometre an hour winds over the final Saturday in November, about a dozen New Rossers celebrated the opening of Twig The Elf’s Chalet.

It’s alright, he’s used to the weather at the North Pole.

Judy O’Leary, Chair of the New Ross Christmas Festival, says the festival – celebrating its 30th year over the final weekend of November – was a success.

The turkey dinners in the Forties served more than 800 people – they ran out of turkey and had to serve ham. More than 200 people attended the tree lighting, significant for a village of about 1,700. Along the way, a special new mascot, Twig, became an instant celebrity.

(The ribbon cutting for the opening of Twig’s chalet. Photo: @twigtheelf, Instagram)

Twig the Elf was sent by Santa Claus to care for the forests of Nova Scotia, so the story goes. In her first year as Chair of the festival, O’Leary brought Twig along to community events to stage photos.

“It was funny because I started ad hoc,” says O’Leary. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll take Twig around, take a picture of him at Ross Farm, take a picture of him here.’”

“Next thing I know, I’m getting a message from people out in the Forties, saying, ‘Hey – we have 30 volunteers here prepping for dinner, can you bring him out here?’’ And I’m like, ‘Sure.’

“So I took him out there and did a couple shots with some people cutting carrots and making it look like Twig was supervising, and people had fun with it. It was just a whole other level.” 

“If it was just me, going ‘click, click’ – ‘Look at Danny cutting carrots’ – it’s just not the same as Danny leaning over and Twig telling him, ‘Great job, Danny!’ It’s so much more fun.” 

(Judy posted this photo to the New Ross Christmas Festival page on Facebook with the caption: “Great carrot cutting, Danny. Keep up the good work!Photo: New Ross Christmas Festival, Facebook)

Twig first appeared two years ago in a video distributed by the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, “Bring Christmas Home – Blue Button Campaign”.

O’Leary says, “We all fell in love.”

Her notes from the brainstorming session for the video read – “Make a real Twig? Stage him around town, with carolers?”

“And I put, ‘Marty may build a Twig House on Ruby’s Trail,’” says O’Leary.

And like Christmas magic, it all came true. Twig’s Chalet was built by Wanda Murphy and Sterling Gates, with assistance from Marty Murphy.

A real A-frame chalet suitable for a wee elf, you can visit it at the top of Ruby’s Trail in New Ross.

O’Leary says on the kickoff night of the Christmas Festival, “Over 100 people made the trek to the top of the trail because the little kids were saying – ‘I want to see Twig’s chalet!’ They dragged their parents there.”

She brought Twig to the chalet after Santa Claus’ visit to the New Ross gazebo.

“It was dark, after eight, and I had a flashlight,” says O’Leary. “It took me more than 20 minutes to get to the top of the trail because I was getting mugged by kids – ‘Oh, mommy, mommy, it’s Twig!’”

“He stopped by the chalet, I put him in the doorway. I stuck him in the door to say, ‘Hi, kids!’ Next thing I know, he was gone.”

“The kids grabbed him, they put him in his little rocking chair and started talking to him. ‘Hey Twig, we’ve just done your colouring page and come up here to visit your chalet,’ rocking him in his chair. I wasn’t sure they were going to give him back to me!”

O’Leary is also Director of the New Ross Regional Development Society, whose members contributed donations for the chalet’s construction.

“There’s nothing like being in a small community, when you see everyone pull together like that,” she says.

What’s next for Twig? Follow him on Instagram at @twigtheelf, and wait until The Barnacle covers the crossover of the century when he meets the South Shore Lobster Crawl’s Lucy the Lobster in 2024.

(Twig with the crew at J & M Reeves Christmas Greens. Photo: @twigtheelf, Instagram)


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