Mysterious ‘Elmswell Elf’ who left Christmas presents at the gates of 220 homes is unmasked
The identity of the mother who was dubbed “Elmswell Elf” after secretly leaving Christmas presents on the doorstep of 220 homes has been revealed.
Tanya Utting, 37, of Elmswell, Suffolk, bought gifts and handed them out to “spread love and a little bit of happiness” in random acts of Christmas kindness.
She crept in almost every night after 10 p.m. in December and left flowers, plant bulbs and chocolates as well as images of unsigned Christmas cards on the doorstep.
Tesco employee Tanya kept her identity a secret as residents had to guess who left the gifts in her home village of Elmswell.
Tanya Utting, 37, of Elmswell, Suffolk, pictured with her seven-year-old daughter, Tilly, bought gifts and handed them out to “spread love and a little bit of happiness” in random acts of kindness of Christmas
She almost scolded when a resident took pictures of her on a doorbell camera and posted them on the local Facebook page.
But Tanya could only be recognized in the video by a handful of close friends who agreed to share her secret.
Last week, she even appeared on ITV’s This Morning where she was interviewed by Vernon Kay and Rochelle Humes while wearing a wig and keeping her back to the camera so no one knew who she was.
At first, the idea was to leave gifts for elderly residents in sheltered bungalows near her home, after learning they had been plagued by antisocial behavior.
And on December 1, retirees were delighted to find their surprise gifts of bulbs and potted plants.
From that point on, the idea snowballed and Tanya was joined by her supervisor at Tesco who helped her donate goods for distribution anonymously.
She almost scolded when a local got this footage of her on a doorbell camera and posted it on the village’s Facebook page.
She was also helped by her seven year old daughter, Tilly.
Tanya, who completed her deliveries on December 23, said, “I would just pick a street and park somewhere where I couldn’t be seen.
“I choose houses at random and they will receive a gift.
“I started at the beginning of the village and walked through all the streets.
“I switched to chocolate as a kid’s treat, and a few of my friends who attended let me know which houses had children so I could visit them.
“I walked into the local co-op several times and could hear people talking about Elmswell’s elf and wondering who she was, so I kept my mouth shut.
“Some of the images on the doorbell showed me my distinctive pom pom hat, so I had to stop wearing it during the school run in case someone recognized it.
Thankfully, Tanya couldn’t be recognized in the video except by a handful of close friends who agreed to share her secret so her identity was kept a secret.
“I just wanted to brighten up people, especially the elderly residents.
“I wanted them to feel special.
“It was amazing to read all the comments on the village’s Facebook page.
“People felt so touched that they had received a gift and did not know where it came from.
“I have decided to go out on my own in time for Christmas and hope to deliver presents again next year, although it will no longer be in secret.
“If I could give every house in the village a gift, I would, but it’s just impossible – there are so many houses in the village now.”
The 37-year-old added that her daughter, Tilly, had been “amazing”: “What a little help.
“She never said a word to anyone, even when I was waiting to drop off at school and people questioning me.
The 37-year-old mother pictured with her daughter, Tilly, seven, was revealed as “Elmswell Elf”, and during her stint as Santa’s little assistant she was invited to appear on the show ITV’s This Morning.
“She was standing there completely facing the poker and said nothing.”
Tanya’s welder husband Richard, 43, said: “I just told Tanya she should just go if that’s what she wants to do.”
Surprise gifts included poinsettias, amaryllis, hyacinth bulbs, potted plants, and ceramic houses with plants inside.
Tanya’s chocolate gifts included Kit Kat Santas, Malteser reindeer, and dairy milk snowmen.
She said she was shocked to receive a call inviting her to appear on ITV’s This Morning and that she believed it was a villager who liquidated her.
But she added: “They agreed that I could wear a silver wig, turn my back to the camera and disguise my voice.
“I never thought it would happen at this level and I was a bit overwhelmed.
‘There was a lot of talk in the village after that about who the elf was. People at work also wondered why I bought so many things.