From the Super Mario Wiki
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An Elf (plural Elves) is a diminutive, pointy-eared, human-like species. Elves are employed by Santa Claus to work at his workshop. Their known duties are constructing toys and helping out with general chores. At the workshop the Elves have their own residences, as well as their own playground.
Elves are seen during the events of "Koopa Klaus", where they, along with the rest of Santa's entire workshop, are frozen over by Koopa Klaus' Ice Bombs, and are essentially helpless for almost the entire episode. However, once the warmth of Toad's Christmas spirit melts the ice, the Elves are thawed out, and are able to assist Santa Claus in getting ready to make his Christmas Eve run.