These entertaining Sugarplum Elves mix the creativity of its members with the craftiness of Portland and the usefulness of TeamSnap to spread the holiday cheer in fun ways.
They are avid TeamSnap users who make up a performance group that hails from the North Pole… also known as Portland, Oregon, a city inspired with the creativity of its city-dwellers and its, well, Christmas elves.
Since the holiday season is a time for story telling, we’ll tell the Sugarplum Elves’ story of what they do and how they came to be, beginning on the West Coast rather than the North Pole.
Fiona, also known as Nutmeg Elf, cofounded the Portland Sugarplum Elves along with the current leader Peppermint Elf in September 2009. The ladies were encouraged by their friends from the Sugarplum Elves group in Seattle to start their own in Portland. The original Sugarplum Elves of San Francisco, a group of creative women who wanted to have fun in new ways, inspired both West Coast groups. Nutmeg is now behind the scenes in an administrative role for the current Elves who are working hard in the workshop rehearsals preparing for their performances at parks, malls, parties and big events.
The goal of the group is simple yet one-of-a kind: they use their elfiness to cheer people up through creative performances and explore other fun events and street avenues to do so (perhaps down Candy Cane Lane). One of the group’s favorite events was when they became a part of Santa’s sleigh and marched into Pioneer Place, a downtown Portland mall, decked out in elf attire handmade from costume-making parties organized through TeamSnap.
“The Santa’s Arrival experience was memorable,” said Nutmeg Elf. “With the band marching behind us and Santa Clause in front of us, we’ll be excited to return this season.”
Through caroling, dancing, charity events, and intermissions, Portland-goers can find these elves at any festive occasion during the holidays and even throughout the year. One of the more interesting performances, according to Nutmeg Elf, was receiving a call to sing at a St. Patrick’s Day bar. No one pinched them that day since they had enough of the color green to go around!
The group also gives performance greeting cards throughout the year in the form of singing telegrams. Someone orders the telegram, the Elves show up at his or her doorstep, and when the surprised lucky person opens their door, the Sugarplum Elves often are singing an “I love you” melody to show the receiver they are appreciated.
Even their costumes are a hit. They make all of their own gear during costume-making sessions, including green skirts and festive reds and whites during the season and different attire through the year – anything from St. Patrick’s Day attire to camping elves gear.
So who are these Sugarplum Elves? They are great friends in their 20s and 30s who have varied backgrounds in theater and dance. Some elves are more gifted in a capella singing and others are professional and former dancers. Marzipan is an international clogger who dances year round and teaches the other members moves for upcoming performances. Peppermint Elf keeps the group together through good planning and is a real leader as the founder of the group. A comedian elf comes up with many of the jokes and rhymes. There’s always a time to rhyme in their performances and even their online presence since, after all, “It’s the nature of being an elf!” said Nutmeg.
TeamSnap has also brought loads of cheer for the Sugarplum elves in helping them manage their group. Before discovering TeamSnap, the women were tired of using so many ways to organize. Facebook, email, Google docs, phone calls, and texts became overwhelming and it was hard to know everyone’s availability. Thankfully, one of the elves was in a dragon boat racing team and introduced the group to TeamSnap. Now, said Nutmeg, everything is in one place.
The Elves meet for rehearsal every Sunday, particularly a few months before their busy season in December, and said that TeamSnap has pretty much made that work. Last year, the group had rehearsals through dinner and would organize through the TeamSnap Availability tab and Refreshments tab to know who was providing what food.
“The email function and the phone messaging function are also awesome,” she said with a sincere laugh. “They are really helpful – we can look last minute and find out everything we need to know – like this person canceled, or this person is coming, and so on.”
At their performances this year, the Sugarplum Elves have made it clear they want to endear; they’re enjoying the costume parties, rehearsals, and performances to spread their elfiness and bring joy to all who see and hear their holiday cheer.