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Idaho dad picks daughter up from school in full 'Elf' costume

A Meridian father surprised his daughter at her high school dressed like Buddy the Elf from the classic holiday movie, 'Elf'.
Credit: Greg Sumison

MIDDLETON, Idaho — Whether you're a young child, a teenager, or a full-grown adult, you can probably recall a time when your parents embarrassed you.

What seemed humiliating to you, however, may have been parenting goals for other parents.

A perfect example comes from a Meridian father and his high school daughter, whose humorous shenanigans went viral on TikTok.

Greg Sumsion picked up his daughter Alayna from Middleton High School on a day her mother was supposed to pick her up. Rather than waiting in the car, Sumsion decided to go the extra mile to make his daughter laugh.

'What is wrong with you?': those were my first words because I know this is something that he would do, but I knew that my mom would pick me up. I wasn't aware that my dad would be joining her," Alayna said. "And so I was like, 'That looks a lot like my dad.' As I walked out the school doors, and then all of a sudden he comes running over and I'm like, 'That is definitely with my dad,' and it was so funny."

Unaware of what it would later be used for, Alayna helped her dad pick out the Buddy the Elf costume, from the green shirt to the curly hair.

"It was on Amazon and I just found the one that was the closest that I could find," Sumsion said. "And so that's the one I bought. The hair, Alayna actually helped me pick it out. She didn't know that she was picking out a costume to potentially embarrass her."

After an unprecedented and challenging year, Sumsion's children knew this holiday season would be much different than in previous years. The idea for the school visit came after Sumsion's children told him what they wanted to do for Christmas: give back to others.

"My kids' hearts are a giant, and the first thing they thought about was other people. So I wanted to make sure that it was memorable for them. That's kind of where the idea came from," Sumsion said. "I wanted to go around giving these little elves that Alayna had found, I wanted to give those out to little kids to make them smile and everything else and I thought, 'How is the best way to make anybody smile?', so I figured I'd do it in character."

When Sumsion arrived at his daughter's school, he asked a nearby student to videotape the surprise. After all was said and done, he decided to post the video on his TikTok account, unsuspecting how much attention it would gain.

"One of my best friends' older sister is in my gym class, and she texted me 'You've gone viral'," Alayna said. 

"I don't mind putting on a show for a few people here and there, and I basically just posted the video thinking 'This will be fun in four or five years to go back and look at it," Sumsion added. "I literally made my TikTok account about two weeks ago. So I posted it thinking maybe I'll get a couple of my friends to like it. At that time I had 60 followers, and now I'm way over almost 30,000 followers. It's just crazy."

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