Woods-Palsen Elves – Carlinville, IL


The Woods-Palsen Elves are three animated mechanical figures holding a saw, drill and hammer displayed in the front window of Tarrant & Harman Real Estate and Auction Co. at 252 South Side Square in Carlinville, Illinois.

First seen in the 1960s, the elves were originally on display at the Woods-Palsen Appliance Company window on West Main Street.

A tradition for years, the Woods-Palsen Elves were a sign to the citizens of Carlinville that the Christmas season had begun. As soon as the elves appeared in the window, local children pushed their noses and tiny fingers against the glass to watch the elves, cut, drill and hammer away in their workshop.

After the death of Dennis Palsen in 2000, the elves were packed away. In 2016, the elves were rediscovered and then completely restored by Diane Van Winkle, aka “The Elf Doctor” for another generation of family and kids to enjoy.

With the help of volunteers, Van Winkle, a graduate of Blackburn College, set about to getting the elves back in working condition by reinforcing their deteriorated bodies with fiberglass and then sanding, painting and clothing the figures. Parts replaced included worn gear motors, broken arms and hands.

The three elves’ workshop includes colorful Christmas cookies made of salt clay, a hammer handle painted like a candy cane, worktables, real sawdust and gold-painted eyeglass frames worn by the Drill Elf.

To supplement “A Carlinville Christmas” other animated holiday characters were added to storefronts in the area. Ron Young, owner of Cherry Tree Treasures & Gifts, 236 East Side Square, features an animated elf in his business’ window, holding a sign that says “Merry Christmas on Illinois US 66.”

Woods-Palsen Elves
Tarrant & Harman Real Estate and Auction Co.
252 South Side Square
Carlinville, IL

Google – Map


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Thomasville, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Props, Toys, Dolls & Puppets, Santa's Workshop, Santas and Santa Villages, Statues and Carvings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats
  • 631,630 hits
Our Other Websites



%d bloggers like this: