BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Elves — a group of anonymous do-gooders who have spent the last three years secretly spreading holiday cheer each Christmas season — provided their version of the “12 Days of Christmas” to eight local people this month.
One, an octogenarian from Sixth Street named Rosemary, was so moved by the daily gifts that she contacted the Bangor Daily News last week in an effort to send a “thank-you” to the secret group.
“It’s one of the nicest things that has ever happened,” the mother and grandmother said.
She read in the paper that the Bangor Elves had stopped by the Phillip-Strickland House on Dec. 15 as part of their “Day of Good Deeds” and delivered gifts to a woman there. She thought that maybe she and her husband, Carl, were recipients, too, when they found a gift on their porch one day.
“I think it’s Elves,” said the longtime Bangor resident, who didn’t want her last name used. “We just found it on the porch. We don’t know who delivered it. We’re not supposed to know.”
All of the 12 gift bags that went to each recipient had limericks inside with funny explanations about each of the 12 verses in the holiday song. Each verse describes a gift given, and on Day 2, the gift is two turtle doves.
“On the day it was turtle doves, it was little chocolate turtles and then a Dove candy bar,” the Sixth Street grandmother said.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “I cried. It was just such a wonderful thing to have happen.”
It just so happens that the “12 Days of Christmas” deliveries turned out to be the most rewarding part of the good deeds done this year, the Head Elf said Wednesday.
“I would say the favorite memory from this year is when one of the new elves in training — she is around 6 years old — was delivering for the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ says, ‘This is warming my heart,’” said the Head Elf, who didn’t want to be identified. “This little girl was having a great time delivering, but most importantly understood why she was doing it — to help others.”
The Bangor Elves doled out about $5,000 in cash, gift cards and other items collected from “Elf Canisters” placed at 13 downtown businesses during the first few weeks of December. They also cut firewood for a veteran, shopped for a family with five children, and set up a holiday giving tree outside the Metropolitan Soul gift shop on Hammond Street downtown that was decorated with folded $1 bills that those in need could take. Others, who are more fortunate, could decorate the tree with dollars for their needy neighbors, the Head Elf said.
“If we can encourage people to help others that need it, then we have done our job,” she said.
The limericks and the daily gifts did the job and lifted the spirits of Carl and Rosemary, who was involved in an accident and now gets around using two canes. All the cards were blank, except for the last one, which had a salutation from the Bangor Elves.
“It was so heartwarming,” she said. “You just don’t understand. They’ve helped so much.”