A little girl from Wrexham has been chosen as the first ever Champion Elf of Wales.
Katie Jones, three, was chosen by a panel of judges headed by the man of the moment, Santa Claus.
The Welsh National Elf Service Championships were held at the Debenhams store at the Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham.
Apart from Santa, the other guests of honour included the Mayor and Mayoress of Wrexham, Cllr Jim Kelly, and his wife Elizabeth, and the children were entertained by award-winning magician Jay Gatling.
It’s hoped the Elf Championships will now become an annual event.
Appropriately, winning elf Katie will be celebrating her fourth birthday on Christmas Eve.
Mum Angela said: “It’s been brilliant and the kids have been excited all day. I spent all morning doing her hair and getting her make-up right.
“I couldn’t believe that she is the first ever Champion Elf of Wales – and she’s an angel in her nursery school nativity play this year.”
Two other Elves, Noah Murray Jones, four and half, from Holywell, and Abbie Jones, from Wrexham, were chosen as Highly Commended Elves.
Noah’s mum, Emma, said: “I think it’s very well organised and it was great and the magician show topped it all off nicely. Noah is thrilled.”
Equally delighted was Abbie’s mum, Rachel, who added “She loves this kind of thing, she was so excited. She couldn’t wait and she’s had a whale of a time. It’s a very exciting time of year – kids love it and so do the mums.”
The proceedings were hosted by former children’s television presenter Nia Ceidiog, who hails from Wrexham.
These days she’s the boss of an independent television production company and will be attending a very different event next Sunday.
Her documentary series for pre-school children, Y Diwrnod Mawr (Big Day), has been shortlisted for a Children’s BAFTA and she will be attending the ceremony at London’s Park Lane Hilton next Sunday evening.
She said: “I love working with children and the Elf Championships are a lovely idea. Let’s face it, Santa is going to be extremely busy between now and Christmas and he can do with all the help he can get. We had some really fantastic elves here today. They’ve all done Santa proud.”
Cllr Jim Kelly said: “I have really enjoyed myself here today, it’s been tremendous. A big part of my role is to be out in the community, being the civic face of Wrexham and saying thank you to everybody and it’s lovely to see the children here, it brings their families in and it’s the start of the festive season.
“The effort that they’ve made is fantastic. We need more events like this and let’s not forget this is a historic occasion, we have the first ever Elf Champion of Wales. Wrexham is setting the trend as usual.”
Head Judge Santa was delighted with the standards of Elves who came forward to take part.
He said: “I can see that Wrexham is the perfect venue for the Welsh National Elf Service Championships and I’m planning to be back next year.”
Father Christmas was assisted on the judging panel by Rob Mannix, the Manager of Debenhams, and Kevin Critchley, the Manager of the Eagles Meadow shopping centre.
Rob said: “It was a magical occasion. I think this will become an annual event and hopefully next year we’ll have even more young children vying for the opportunity to help Santa.”
Kevin added: “I absolutely loved it. It was great to see the smiling faces of the children and the real apprehension on the faces of the parents.
“I’m not sure who took it more seriously, the children or the parent – but everybody enjoyed it.
“There were some remarkably good elves here and I think Santa can take quite a few of them to help him pack the presents and making toys for the children.
“They were very enthusiastic about the idea of working hard, they’ve put a lot of effort into it and one little girl pointed out that working hard was the most important thing an elf had to do.”