Charlie, Kit & C.J. Holiday Elves are a trio of novelty balloons from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They serve as one of the Parade's unofficial mascots, alongside Tom Turkey, Happy Hippo,Artie the Pirate and Freida the Dachshund.
History with the Macy's Parade
The first of the now-iconic Macy's holiday elves debuted in the 2000 Parade, under the name "The Holiday Elf". Drawing inspiration from the classic Goofy Gnome, the balloon was the third balloon to be a part of the Parade’s heritage balloon program that reinvents historic Macy’s characters for a new audience. This balloon's color scheme deviated from the original, as it now wore a blue hat and jacket with red accents, alongside green arms and legs. The balloon would be joined by two other balloons -- Kit the Red Elf and C.J. the Yellow Elf -- in 2004.
This trio of elves would continue to appear throughout the 2000s into the 2010s, rounding out the Parade lineup alongside Santa Claus himself. In the summer of 2010, Charlie the Blue Elf would be brought out of storage and placed upon the marquee of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre to promote the upcoming Broadway opening of Elf: The Musical. In 2013, Charlie and Kit would be given new balloons, as their previous incarnations had begun to wear out due to standard wear-and-tear. C.J. would follow suite, receiving a new balloon version of himself for the 2015 Parade.
That same year, cold-air inflatable costumes would be created based on the trio of elves, where they would appear aboard the Santaland Express float. These costumes were also used in Seattle's My Macy's Holiday Parade and the Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando Resort. After being in commission for over 17 years, the trio of elves would retire shortly after the 2017 Parade.
Since their retirement, Kit and C.J. have been used in various test flights, with Kit being used in a September 2018 test flight, and C.J. being used in a September 2018 and 2019 test flight, respectively. It is currently unknown if the balloons will return to the Parade in the near future.
- In 2005, C.J. was not seen for unknown reasons.
- In 2007, Charlie was not seen for unknown reasons.
- In 2011 and 2012, Charlie's legs were partially deflated, likely due to the aging of the balloon. This is also a possible reason why he was given a refreshed design for the 2013 Parade.