The identity of the mother who was nicknamed ‘Elmswell Elf’ after secretly leaving Christmas presents on the doorsteps of 220 houses has been revealed.
Tanya Utting, 37, from Elmswell in Suffolk, bought presents and passed them around to ‘spread love and a bit of happiness’ in random acts of Christmas kindness.
She went out almost every night after 10 p.m. in December and left flowers, plant bulbs and chocolates as well as pictures of unsigned Christmas cards on the doorstep.
Tesco worker Tanya kept her identity a secret as locals guessed who was leaving the gifts in her home village of Elmswell.
Tanya Utting, 37, from Elmswell in Suffolk, pictured with her seven-year-old daughter Tilly, bought gifts and passed them around to ‘spread love and a bit of happiness’ in random acts christmas cuteness
She nearly scolded when a resident obtained footage of her on a doorbell camera and posted it to the local Facebook page.
But Tanya could not be recognized in the video except 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 gated bungalows near her home, after learning they had been plagued by anti-social behavior.
And on December 1, retirees were delighted to find their surprise gifts of bulbs and potted plants.
From then on, the idea snowballed and Tanya was joined by her supervisor at Tesco who helped her donate goods to give away anonymously.
She nearly scolded when a resident received this image 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 finished 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 receive a gift.
“I started at the beginning of the village and walked all the streets.
“I switched to chocolate as a treat for kids, and a couple of my friends who were in it let me know which houses had kids so I could visit them.
“I walked into the local co-op several times and heard people talking about the Elmswell Elf and wondering who she was, so I kept my mouth shut.
“Some of the doorbell footage showed me in my distinctive pom pom hat so I had to stop wearing it on the school run in case anyone 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 would remain a secret.
“I just wanted to cheer people up, especially the elderly residents.
“I wanted them to feel special.
“It was amazing to read all the comments on the village Facebook page.
“People were so touched that they had received a gift and didn’t know where it came from.
“I’ve decided to get myself out in time for Christmas and hope to deliver gifts again next year, although it won’t be in secret anymore.”
“If I could deliver a gift to every house in the village, I would, but that’s just impossible – there are so many houses in the village now.”
The 37-year-old added that her daughter, Tilly, has been “incredible”: “What a little helper.
“She never said a word to anyone even when I was waiting to go back to school and people were questioning me.
The 37-year-old mother pictured with her daughter, Tilly, seven, was revealed as ‘Elmswell Elf’, and during her time as Santa’s little helper she was asked to appear on ITV’s This Morning
“She just stood there, completely facing the poker and not hinting anything.”
Tanya’s welder husband, Richard, 43, said: “I just told Tanya she should just go if that’s what she wanted 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 Reindeers and Dairy Milk Snowmen.
She said she was shocked to receive a call inviting her to appear on ITV’s This Morning and thought it was a villager who had bothered her.
But she added: “They agreed I could wear a silver wig, have my back to the camera and disguise my voice.
“I never thought it would get to this level and I was a bit overwhelmed.
“After that, there was a lot of talk in the village about who the elf was. People at work also wondered why I was buying so many things.