Sophie’s Adventures With ElfCon

Sophie: “Dad, wouldn’t it be great if there were an ElfCon? You know, an event like Santacon but where kids can be a part of it.” 

Dad: “That sounds terrific.  Why don’t you create it?”

Sophie, thinking later that night before bed: “Yeah, that would be pretty cool.”


That’s how I imagine the exchange to have gone about the seeds to the fun family-friendly event, ElfCon,  that happened on 12.12.21 in New York City.  I cannot guarantee the exact words, as I was not there with the Chief Elf, Sophie, and her dad.  This is a story on how one young adventuress dared to dream, followed her passions, and created joy for many boys and girls.  Additionally, I am excited be a small part of her story.

ElfCon’s backstory

TimeOut NY story on Sophie and Elfcon

Sophie was 13 years old when she and her family were reminiscing about the adventures they had at past Santacons.  Years earlier, at one of the Santacons in NYC, another attendee gave them a bag of Santa hats to hand out.  Sophie has happy memories from those outings.  However, Sophie was nowhere near old enough to participate in the bar crawl part of Santacon!  

During the winter of 2018, Sophie, her dad, and her family joined me on a hot cocoa tour I had created.  At the time, all I knew was that we all had fun taking chances and discovering how many hot chocolates one can enjoy drinking in a day.  Later, I learned this adventure inspired Sophie to make ElfCon a hot chocolate crawl. 

Steve, the Chief Elf’s dad, knew some of the behind-the-scenes organizers of Santacon.  After connecting with them, they agreed to consider helping if Sophie gave them a proposal.  She took that big step in going after her dream and created one.  The team loved it, and the work to make her vision come true began.  She mapped out a website, and with help, brought it to life. With support, she signed up four venues.  Along with a graphic artist, she created passports, stamps and prizes.  Sophie, a typical teen with many activities and school, logged many elf-hours doing all the things needed for a public happening.  With the Santacon team’s connections, ElfCon received some amazing pre-event press coverage, with several major media channels interviewing Sophie!  Pretty impressive for a 15 year old!

Adventures inspire more adventure

Sophie, Steve and family with Jaques Torres

During the hot chocolate adventure in 2018, we met Jaques Torres, master chocolatier and host of “Nailed It!” in his now-closed SoHo shop.

As you may know, my mission is to inspire others to take chances, have adventures and discover what they find fun.  When I learned Sophie was taking on the big project of creating ElfCon, I was so proud of her and wanted to help however I could.  She was taking some big risks to make her daydreams become reality.  I shared my map of chocolate places, and she shared her updated one.  I attempted to help her with a website issue – I enjoyed knowing she was reaching out for help.  

While I was helping her, and learning about all the things going on to create her event – what I didn’t know was how I inspired her, back in 2018.  Her dad sent me the article in Time Out NY  where she mentioned me and our time on the hot cocoa tour as the reason she wanted ElfCon to be a hot chocolate crawl.  I am incredibly pleased she gave me shoutouts in her interviews.  However, it gives me inner joy to see how my mantra of “adventures inspire more adventures” can be connected so clearly in this case. Sophie connected her adventures at Santacon with our adventures exploring hot cocoa to create her concept of ElfCon!

Daily Provisions hot chocolate

One of the stops on my hot cocoa tour, Daily Provisions, became one of the four locations of Elfcon.

Elfcon Success!

For me, that Sophie learned quite a bit about what it takes to create and hold a big event like this is success.  For the Chief Elf, seeing so many people dress as elves, drinking hot cocoa, and having fun meant ElfCon was a big success. ElfCon raised donations for two charities: The Trevor Project and The Making Headway Foundation.

Don’t take their word for ElfCon being a success – merry elves posting on social media agree: “Can’t wait for ElfCon 2022!” “A great event! So nice to meet new people from all over (even from South Africa!!) while sipping hot chocolate.  What a NY day.  Can’t wait until next year.” Will it become an annual event? Why not? Sophie now has this adventure under her elf belt, and can use to for further adventures.

Chief Elf Sophie, the Executive Director or Making Headway Foundation, and Steve

Chief Elf Sophie with the Executive Director of the Making Headway Foundation, and her dad, Steve. Photo by Stefan Spins

ElfCon goers showing off the passport

EflCon hot chocolate crawlers show off their stamped passports. Photo by Stefan Spins

More ElfCon attendees

Decked out elves enjoying the day! Photo by Stefan Spins

Elfcon in the News

Because I am so proud of Sophie and her efforts, I thought I would share some of the PR:

TIMEOUT NY: “This hot chocolate crawl is a local high schooler’s answer to SantaCon”

1010 WINS Radio: Move over Santacon, ElfCon, a family friendly hot-chocolate tour”

NY POST: NYC’s first-ever ElfCon is a kid-friendly alternative to boozy SantaCon”

The Atlantic: “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” (image 10)

FOX 5 NY: ElfCon video 

PIX11 News: SantaCon NYC is coming to town and so are some hot chocolate-obsessed elves”

Mommy Poppins:  “Best Things to do in NYC This Weekend Dec 11/12” 

The Sun: “Santacon 2021 latest updates”

Irish Business NY twitter post

Where will your adventures take you?

What adventures have you been on which created happy memories?  Could any of these be the base for future adventures? Or maybe the start of a passion project?  Share your ideas!

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