Tommy The Real Elf is the self-proclaimed head of Public Relations for the North Pole!This life-size Elf on the Shelf and cancer survivor is on a mission to spread Holiday cheer throughout Chicago. He is a contestant on truTV's new show Santas in the Barn where 10 Santas (Tommy being the only Elf) compete in hilarious festive challenges for a chance to win $100,000!
Tommy began to tell me how it all started....
"“In 2012 I was at a Friend’s Holiday party and one of my friends was joking around calling me the Elf on the shelf. I was like I don’t have kids what’s that? He shows me the picture and I see it, I get it....."
Then he explained he had an idea...
"Why not just do a silly Holiday card. I put the whole outfit together and he(his friend) shot the photo..... So now it's become this Christmas tradition every year. It keeps growing and now I do charity events and different things. I have therealelf.com and The Real Elf store.
It's my personality just heightened. I love the Holidays and now I am a cheerleader, the north pole ambassador. "
Was there a moment you enjoyed most about competing on the show?
"The experience itself was exciting. I never would have imagined that someone would be saying that you are basically going to Christmas camp and you are going to make toys, climb chimneys and sing Christmas carols in a red onesie. Sort of a crazy experience. Making toys was fun..... real kids judged them. I thought that was fun. The whole experience was just a dream I felt like I was in a Christmas book and I got to be one of the characters. I would do it all again in a heart beat. It was such a blessing. ….how random that something that I started doing a couple years ago would coincide with a reality show. "
Tommy travels around Chicagoland and takes "Elfies" with fans which have included a few famous faces.
Any famous celebs that you haven’t met yet that you would like to take an Elfie-Selfie with?
"I have the hashtag #Letstakeanelfie. Selfies are lonely why not take an elfie? I think Ellen Degeneres would be so much fun…Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Oprah would be awesome. …
There was a mom that came up and said “you really put me in the Holiday spirit we have been having a tough time and you really just brightened my day” that means so much more to me than a celebrity picture. "
What is your advice for kids to stay on Santa’s nice list?
"It’s funny how parents will use the elf as a parenting tool.When kids do something good when they are not told to do it. When there is a kid that opens the door for someone.. the kids that pay it forward and just want to do something good … for the younger kids doing what they are told, doing their homework, listening to their parents and just having good behavior. I always say we don’t look over just one thing we look over the whole year. There are stellar kids out there that are doing wonderful things. It’s paying it forward and going out of their way for someone. It’s the little things when you least expect it. "
Tune into the finale of truTV's Santas in the Barn on Christmas eve at 8/7C.
Tommy the next time I am in Chicago Let's take an Elfie!
Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship hosted by Bobby Deen features 10 bakers putting their skills to the test by facing Holiday themed challenges. Judges Lorraine Pascale, Nancy Fuller and Duff Goldman taste and critique the contender's decadent Holiday creations and one lucky winner will receive a $50,000 cash grand prize.
The show is in full swing airing Sundays at 9pm on Food Network. I had the pleasure of interviewing contestant Melody Larsen of Mesa, Arizona and owner of Sassy’s Café and Bakery.
What was your initial reaction when you received the news that you were cast for the show? “I was freaking out …. I was so excited that they chose me it was just that now I have to go and actually be there. Can I pull it off? Can I handle the pressure? All of the things that go through your mind of what you feel you are capable of doing. I was freaking out , I was excited.”
Was there anything prior to or while competing on the show that you feared? “I think it was just the unknown…. not knowing what to expect, not knowing who I was going to meet. The whole experience and not knowing anything about it….. It was just honestly the question of the unknown.”
Was there a particular judge that you found to be your favorite? “I love all of them! I think that they are amazing! I have watched Duff from the beginning when Ace of Cakes first started……I have watched a lot of the food network but it was really his show that got me watching more and more. Who doesn’t love Nancy? She is just the all-around loved grandma. She was so endearing during the judging.”
"The way that you see them on the TV is really in real life who they are. Duff is funny and that is how he is in reality.”
Was there a particular moment on the show that was your favorite? “The wonderful thing about the Food Network is everything that you do is inspired by something…. is like a walk down memory lane because I was able to do things like the pies for my grandmother and feeling like she was literally in the kitchen baking beside me. I felt like if I look over I would see her standing there. And that is why I got emotional on the actual episodes because I felt like she was there beside me and that she was so proud of me.”
Melody stated that the experience made her realize even more why this is her profession.
Do you have a favorite or signature Holiday dessert? “The pie you always remember your grandmother making and that is what she made every time you went to go see her. There are so many things how do you just choose one…… The pie episode is one of my favorites because I miss my grandma and I was just grateful because she is one of the reasons that I am where I am at……So that tribute to her is just because I owe so much to her.”
Do have a Holiday Tradition? “It has to go around pies. With my grandmother being my inspiration because it is also a family tradition that everyone gets their own pie at Thanksgiving. We let them choose what their pie is and I make it for everybody and last year I made 28 pies. And that doesn’t count the special orders for my bakery.”
If you could have a celebrity try one of your pies who would it be? “I have so much respect for so many Food Network stars. I love so many of them and I have been a fan of so many of them but I would have to say Guy. I love the way he describes food I would love to stand next to him and have him describe my pie.”
I asked her what particular pie and she said her famous Carmel Apple Pie. “I know he would love it.”
I agree Melody! Hey Guy Fieri next time you are in Mesa, Arizona stop by Sassy’s Café and Bakery and try her pies. You won’t be disappointed.
Be sure to tune into Food Network on Sundays at 9pm for the Holiday Baking Championship.
Follow Melody on twitter @Melody_Larsen
To learn more about the show visit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/holiday-baking-championship.html_