Top Elf

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Top Elf TV Poster Image
Lots of holiday spirit in fun building competition.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It celebrates creativity, giving, hard work, and team work. Problem solving, learning how to stay focused, and good sportsmanship are also themes. Hanukkah and non-secular holiday practices are also discussed. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Santa, Ms. Jingles, and the judges are all positive and encouraging, but gently offer constructive criticism when necessary. The elves assist and encourage, but allow the kids to do their own thing. The children are polite, respectful, and good sports.

Violence & Scariness

Occasional builds (and people) fall down, but no one gets hurt. Illnesses like cancer are referenced but not discussed. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Charities ranging from March of Dimes to The Ocean Conservancy are referenced. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Top Elf is a fun, Christmas holiday-themed competition that encourages its kid contenstants to be creative. The top prize includes $25K to be given to the winner's charity of choice. It’s energetic and family-friendly, and very young children will be drawn to the fact that Santa is in charge of the show. 

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What's the story?

TOP ELF is a reality series featuring a group of talented kid creators vying for the chance to donate to a charitable cause. Santa (Tommy Snider) transports seven kids with extraordinary creative talents to the North Pole, where they compete in a series of fun builder challenges. Helping them along are Santa’s elves, including Tinsel Turtledove (Ashley August), Merry Sparkleberry (Nataliz Jimenez), and Eggnog Shimmerhorn (David Magidoff). Santa’s right wing elf, Ms. Jingles (Samantha Turret), oversees the fray. At the end of each episode, the two contestants whose creations aren’t quite up to elf standards are put on the naughty list, and must face off in order to remain in the game. The kid creator who remains on the North Pole until the end wins the title of Top Elf, and $25K to donate to the charity on the top of her/his wish list.  

Is it any good?

This energetic series gets into the holiday spirit by encouraging kids to flex their creative muscles while also teaching them to stay focused on task requirements, problem solve, and have fun while doing it. While they are assisted by the adult elves (especially with power tools), it is the tween contestants who are responsible for coming up with the concepts, designing the builds, and making sure the work is completed. Throughout it all, Santa, Ms. Jingles, and guest judges like actress Peyton List, custom cake baker Amirah Kassem, rock singer Pete Wentz, and YouTube celebs Frankie Grande and Alex Wassabi, offer their assessments, which are both complementary and constructive. It’s hard not to get caught up in everyone’s enthusiasm, and even harder to watch the disappointment in a young contestant’s face when they're eliminated. Nonetheless,Top Elf is a festive, family-friendly series that delivers on lots of seasonal cheer. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about creativity. Why is it important to come up with new, original ideas to build something or solve a problem? What if they don’t work? 

  • How do Top Elf contestants include non-Christmas holidays or other points of view about the holiday season? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

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