A holiday tradition is returning to Sudbury — and drivers will reap the benefits.

Parking elves – small sheets of paper with a cartoon elf – have begun appearing on expired parking metres around the city.

Each elf indicates an extra 15 minutes of parking for holiday shoppers whose parking meters have run out of time.

Parking elves ticket

In Sudbury, parking elves pay for another 15 minutes to give you more time to get back to your car — potentially helping you avoid a parking ticket. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

The initiative is run by the Sudbury Downtown Business Improvement Association and began in downtown Sudbury more than a decade ago.               

"We do get cards and letters from people that say, 'oh thank you so much. This is great. I just got delayed by 5 minutes, I was shopping',” said Maureen Luoma, who is with the Downtown Sudbury group.

“It is the season and we all know what it is like to have your list and you know you are going to go here and there, and you start chatting and it's 'oh my gosh, I only put enough money in for a half an hour'.”

Luoma warned that shoppers should still pay for the amount of time they anticipate they will need for shopping trips.