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Elf Mother Jill DeChello of Winc Promotions of North Haven rounds up some final touches to bring to the shoreline’s Magical Elf House in Guilford. (Photo courtesy of Jill DeChello )
Christmas fairies Judi Granucci, Jennifer Napolitano, and Ramona Eldridge of Design House Interiors are preparing Magical Elf House for its big weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Once upon a time, there were three very creative Christmas Fairies—let’s call them Judi, Jennifer, and Ramona—and one very busy Elf Mother—let’s call her Jill. For two years, they’ve been planning a very special event, and now, it’s nearly time for the big reveal.
True to their generous spirit, to benefit two worthy local causes, they will make The Magical Elf House appear in Guilford for two days, on Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9. This will be the first time in Christmas history The Magical Elf House door will open for area kids of all ages. All proceeds will benefit Shoreline Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund (serving Branford, North Branford and Guilford) and Guilford Center for Children.
Adults can register online now ($10 per adult, kids under 13 free) to snag a 30-minute tour from the elves themselves. From the shuttle trip up the wooded lane to the sights, sounds, and magic inside and outside, the fairies and a small (what else?) army of shoreline elves will be ready to show guests the magical house where Santa’s elves play while Santa sleeps to prep for the big day.
To get The Magical Elf House party ready, Christmas fairies Judi Granucci, Jennifer Napolitano, and Ramona Eldridge of Design House Interiors of Wallingford have been taking their signature style of creating luxurious personal spaces to the next level, for what Elf Mother Jill DeChello, principal and owner of Winc Promotions in North Haven, says is “their toughest clients yet—Santa and his shoreline elves.”
“What does ‘party ready’ mean to the Design House Interiors ladies?” Jill asks. “An experience that will begin in a room where hot chocolate is served, Santa’s letters can be written, and pictures can be colored. Then, a shuttle ride to the house, led by an elf who tells the story of the shoreline elves. In the house, there is an Elf Disco Party for you to join, Mrs. Claus baking up some gingerbread cookies for you to decorate, storytelling by the fireplace, singing Christmas princesses, strolling carolers, dancers in the pool, and a chance to see how Santa’s elves really live. You can even see Santa’s bedroom, but don’t wake him if he’s sleeping!”
Set up in the Granite Lodge (264 Granite Road) and reached only by special shuttle (guests waiting for their ride will enjoy hot cocoa and can color pictures and write letters to Santa in the community room at the nearby Solstice Senior Living at Guilford, 201 Granite Road), The Magical Elf House is a picture-perfect, small-scale cabin packed with the stuff of Christmas dreams and elf-efforts.
Just a few vignettes to expect: tapped out from a typewriter below, the Nice List will float in the air throughout the house; giant balls of yarn suspended from the ceiling as they craft skeins of stockings; presents packing a room so full they’ll spill out the door; and a kitchen filled with Christmas cookies and candy. Kids can dance with the elves at their Holiday Disco Party, hunt for hidden elves on the shelf, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, see the Christmas Village, and hear the voices of the singing Christmas princesses. And, if they can be as stealthy as their elf guide, they can even peek in on Santa sleeping, says Jill, who is perhaps more excited than anyone to be sharing The Magical Elf House.
The North Haven resident grew up with the story of Santa’s elves watching over her and her sister, all the way from the North Pole.
As a kid, “I questioned everything, especially the elves, because I could not comprehend how they could know that far away,” says Jill. “And in the old days, we didn’t have Elf on the Shelf, so I would question it and question it, until my mother finally said, ‘I’m going to tell you the secret. The elves live everywhere. There’s elves here in North Haven.’”
A few creative twists (the elves look like regular folks during the year—that could be one next to you in the grocery store) and even a minuscule elf door in a baseboard at her parent’s house (how else would the elves get inside?) helped little Jill become a believer.
From that day until this one, “Honestly, I’ve never really grown up. I still believe, and I love the holidays,” says Jill. “So when I meet these women from Design House Interiors, and they wanted to break into the shoreline area, I said, ‘What about doing a Magical Elf House?’” and giving the proceeds to local causes. “And one of the three fairies, who’s the stager of the group, explained how we would have to take all the furniture out, put it in a pod, and bring in our staging furniture. So I looked for a house for two years to do this promotion. And I finally ran into Granite Lodge, and I said, ‘That’s the Elf House.’”
Since then, Jill’s worked to line up donations to help make The Magic Elf House not only magical for guests, but profitable for the two causes that will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from all ticket sales (she’s also written an illustrated book on the shoreline elves that will be sold at the event to help boost fundraising).
Jill thanks the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce and Guilford Center for Children for helping to spread the word about this special event. She also has a list almost as long as Santa’s of local businesses, including those in Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, and many in her hometown of North Haven, for contributing time, talent, and creativity to this effort.
“I think that what happened was when I pitched it to anyone, I get very enthusiastic, because to me, it means a lot and it truly is alive,” says Jill, who will be dressed in Christmas elf red and ready to play her role as Elf Mother (think den mother) throughout the weekend of The Magical Elf House.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the creative work of Judi, Jennifer, and Ramona, who will be decked out in their own special Christmas fairy dresses and there to share the joy on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, says Jill.
“For them to step into this role, they’ve had to retrain the way they think and think like elves, because they’re high-end decorators and this is a totally different environment. It’s whimsical and it’s exactly what you’d dream an Elf House would be,” says Jill. “I really feel so blessed. Other people have fairy godmothers, I have Christmas fairies.”
The Magical Elf House will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for visits of 30-minute tours Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 264 Granite Road (parking at 201 Granite Road). Registration and available time slots can be found at www.shorelinechamberct.com. Tickets are $10 for adults, free for children 13 and under. Proceeds benefit Shoreline Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund and Guilford Center for Children. For more information, contact Jill DeChello 203-248-0076.
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