hornsea elf trail blog info post image showing several green and red elf on the shelf characters

Hornsea Elf Trail: All The Details!

The Hornsea Elf Trail is a communal indie small business marketing project for December 2023. It has been designed to highlight Hornsea as a fabulous shopping destination full of unique independent businesses who have gathered together to form The Hornsea Collective. This is intended to be a fun way to market our businesses, whether we have premises, make beautiful things or provide a service.

We are using our version of Elf On A Shelf as the focus!

By creating a 'treasure hunt' of our specially created Elves, our goals are:

  •  to encourage footfall into our shops and premises. 
  • tie in with The Hornsea Collective Christmas shopping events
  • drive traffic to our online local business profiles 
  • provide a fun activity for families that doesn't cost anything
  • and which offers a brilliant range of prizes too.
  • everything about this project is a marketing opportunity.

This blog post will evolve over time, but all the essential info for Collective members is here!

It's a long one 'cos there are lots of moving parts, lots of people helping out and a ton of things to do and plan to get this off the ground!

Please take 5 minutes to read it through and make note of the important dates.

Cheers! Sue Weeks xxx


UPDATE: We have 25 FAB ELVES and 21 FAB  VENUES who want to host an ELF. Some venues are hosting 2 elves (don't blame me if they cause chaos whilst you are not there...)

The Elves will be distributed amongst the venues.

Visitors will travel around the venues, spotting Elves and collecting WORDs.

Each ELF will be given a label with a QR code on it.

That QR code will link back to the elf makers Google Business Profile.

On that profile will be a post with an image which contains a WORD.

The word goes on the entry form and will form a phrase.

Each VENUE which hosts an elf will also be given a printed Elf 'postcard' with a QR code which will go to their Google Business Profile. Again there will be a post with an image and a word.

So the Venue gets a QR code and the Elf gets a QR code.

2 traffic opportunities from 1 elf and the venue.

Please don't just put your elf in the window... you want people to come into your premises and look around, don't you?

Visitors collect their words, make their phrase and drop off their entry form at one of 4 collection boxes.


The Elf Trail will run from 1st December and CLOSE at NOON on the 20th December.

The boxes will be collected, the correct entries gathered together.

At 6pm on Thursday 21st December in

Bemora, we will pick the winners, as many as we have prizes - for example, 10 prizes, 10 winners. We will 'go live' and make an event of it, so people can see the winners being picked.

PRIZES UPDATE: wow we have 17 prizes - including amazing vouchers for all sorts of stuff, meals, cafes, cut & blow dry, head and shoulder massage, a hamper, jewellery, gifts.

It's defo worth the effort of finding those pesky elves this December!

Winners collect their prize on the 22nd from Bemora before 2pm before it closes for Christmas holidays.


All of these dates are crucial to this getting off the ground.
Everything is dependent upon these dates for the next step.

I'm moving dates as they pass to the bottom of this post so I still have a record of how this was planned!

Without the information available at each date - the next tasks won't be possible.

Most of these dates are DEADLINES so please don't leave your task or contribution until the very last minute... we all know that 'life happens'.  
We've all got enough to do at this time of year, business and life - and last minute rush and chaos is awful and unnecessary.
We have enough time to get everything done, smoothly, when we stick to these dates.

30th November

I decided it was easier for me to visit each venue and deliver their Elf to ensure everything was provided, and answer any questions. Just been waiting for the entry forms to be printed. We went with a folded card to be more useful / durable since it will be taken to 20 venues!

So each VENUE will receive: 

  • their ELF - some are hosting two (haha good luck with that!)
  • a pile of entry forms for visitors, 
  • the ELF's QR code label 
  • and their venue QR code postcard.
  • PLUS an Elf Trail Window Sticker too!

29th November

DEADLINE for COLLECTION VENUES to prepare a collection box

  • big enough for the A4 forms
  • a sealed box with a slot in the top
  • decorated as you want.
  • Sue will drop off an a4 laminated poster to display in your window that you are an elf trail entry form collection point. (on the 30th)



Cafe Eden,

Green Owl

Hopfrog (at Hornsea Freeport)

30th November 

Sue will also EMAIL the elf and word images for the  ELF MAKERS & ELF VENUES to create their WORD IMAGE post on their Google Business Profile. A few have organised to use their Instagram profile instead, those word posts MUST BE PINNED TO THE TOP OF THEIR PROFILES so they are easily found.

You might also want to create an OFFER post too, to highlight your offers, promos etc?

(NB I was going to do this earlier but it took a while to get all the details from everyone so I thought it easier to allocate the 30th to 'Elf Stuff' and deal with it all on one day.

I also thought that it was likely the emails and images would 'get lost' in inboxes if they went out too early!)  

1st December 

LAUNCH DAY the Elf Trail is LIVE

1st to 20th December 

ACTION keep posting to encourage visitors into your venues,
or to go find your elf if you are an elf maker.

20th December 

ACTION at NOON the trail CLOSES.
Someone from Bemora will go round the COLLECTION VENUES and collect up the boxes of entry forms

21st December

ACTION   At Bemora: check the entries, collect the correct entries, ready for the prize draw. Some helpers would be gratefully welcomed to make this a quick job not a time-sucking nightmare

21st December 6pm

ACTION  At Bemora - time to draw the prize winners.
We will go live, and make the prize draw into an event.
Notify prize winners.

22nd December 

ACTION prize winners collect their prize from Bemora.

PHEW! we did it! have a massive glass of wine and collapse into an exhausted heap!

In January

After the holidays... check your analytics on your google pages, your website, your social media profiles - have you seen an increase in online traffic, increase in social engagement & reach, did you see an increase in venue footfall and business, was it worth doing, your thoughts and feedback.


ELF MAKERS & ELF VENUES - what details Sue needs from you

1. your specific Google Business Profile name
2. a square photo of you / your venue / your products ... something that represents your business, and that preferably you haven't used before. We don't want Google to think it's duplicate content and not allow your post!
3. EMAIL THESE please to Sue

Sue will then add your WORD onto that image, add elf trail 'branding' and send it back to you, so you can create your 'word post' with it on your google business profile.

Note - very few businesses actually sent an image of their business or products.  And not everyone had a Google business profile which was 'claimed' or recently updated. So I created images with a different cartoon Christmas elf.


31st October
DEADLINE for taking your ELF to Bemora - WeiWei is chief elf controller!
DEADLINE for venues saying they want to host an elf - check WeiWei has you on her list.

We will allocate elves to venues.

ACTION Sher (might have already done this) to give Scott at print shop a 'heads up' that we want order forms printing. 

Details provided on 20th November and forms needed by 28th November

Anytime from now to 10th November
ELF MAKERS & ELF VENUES to email Sue your details so she can start her tasks.
Use this time to get your Google Business Profile fully filled in, up-to-date and ready for action! (you will find those at the bottom of this post)

4th November

DEADLINE for offering a PRIZE.
Sara at Bemora is chief prize collector!
Please check Sara has you and your prize details on her list.
We need specific prize details for marketing, and inclusion in the Community news article.

10th November

DEADLINE for ELF MAKERS and ELF VENUES to EMAIL your details to Sue
so she can make the QR codes, print labels, print venue elf postcards etc

DEADLINE Sue (+ others) to co-ordinate the content of our article for Hornsea Community News and send to Andrea.

20th November

Sue to finish creation of the ENTRY FORM 
ACTION Sue to email entry form for printing to Scott at HMP Hull print shop

17th November

This won't happen by the 17th November 'cos I am still chasing up basic details from elf makers and elf venues.

ACTION Sue to send via email, to each ELF MAKER and each ELF VENUE their WORD IMAGE which they will use to create a post on their Google Business Profile, nearer the launch date.

22nd November

December edition of Hornsea Community News comes out.
It would be great if everyone started making social media posts from this point onwards about looking forward to the Elf Trail, your involvement etc.

27th November

ACTION Sue to take QR codes, labels, postcards to Bemora

decided not to do this - I will distribute the elves and stuff myself on the 30th.