Elf Louise project returns to full hustle and bustle this year

53-year-old nonprofit still needs Santa’s helpers

SAN ANTONIO – For a second-grader, Autumn Threlkeld has mad elf skills.

“You find the present, and you wrap the present,” she said while carefully cutting the wrapping paper.

She says the secret to superior elf-wrapping is in the tape.

Autumn and her mom are helping Elf Louise deliver Christmas magic to children whose families struggle to put much, if anything, under the tree.

“I know a lot of parents appreciate a little boost this year,” Elizabeth Threlkeld said. “It’s really hard.”

The Elf Louise Christmas Project is back to the full hustle and bustle this year.

“We had to take a step back for two years because of COVID, but we didn’t change the basics,” said Bill Harrison, executive director of the nonprofit. “The children still got presents.”

This year, instead of families picking up their bags, Santa will make home deliveries again.

The cavernous warehouse at Port San Antonio is filled with toys and volunteers wrapping presents. The group reservations for gift-wrapping sessions are filled, but individual families are welcome to show up to help.

Elf Louise needs some willing toy delivery people to put on the red Santa suit. This year, instead of using the plush suits that have to be cleaned, the volunteers can keep their “disposable” suits.

This is the 54th time Elf Louise will make the rounds. In the first year, back in 1969, Louise and her family managed to find and deliver gifts to 13 families. This year, they will provide toys to more than 5,100 families.

It’s a tradition that runs on donations, volunteers and the generosity of elves like Autumn.

“I feel I can make kids happy all around the world and make sure they feel loved like others,” she said.

Find more information about Elf Louise here.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.