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An Errant Knight via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0
An Errant Knight via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

34 Creative Ideas for Your Elf On The Shelf

An Errant Knight via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0
An Errant Knight via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

He sees you when you're sleeping; he knows when you're awake. We're talking about Elf On The Shelf, of course, the little guy (or girl) who plays Santa's proxy in the days leading up to Christmas to make sure kids are being good. The problem is, Elf On The Shelf is supposed to move around the house every single day. That's 24 days of original and creative poses. Before you give up and just start sticking Elfie in different spots on your tree every day, here are 34 ideas to try.

1. ELF ON THE SHELF ENCOUNTERS ELSA.

2. ELF ON THE SHELF MESSES WITH THE COPIER AT WORK.

3. ELF ON THE SHELF TAKES A BATH.

4. ELF ON THE SHELF CELEBRATES THE FORCE AWAKENS ...

Dexter made some Star Wars paper snowflakes!

A photo posted by Mara Smith (@maramagdalena) on Dec 10, 2015 at 6:55am PST

5. ... BUT DARTH DOESN'T APPRECIATE IT.

6. ELF ON THE SHELF GOES FISHING.

7. ELF ON THE SHELF GOES BOW HUNTING. (OH, DEER.)

#goodkill #elfonashelf

A photo posted by dropkickdave (@deltaecho77) on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:49am PST

8. ELF ON THE SHELF PULLS A CHRIS PRATT.

#Buddy is in trouble now. . #NaughtyElfOnAShelf #ElfOnAShelf

A photo posted by #MVILPHOTOGRAPHY (@amy_alamo) on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:46am PST

9. ELF ON THE SHELF GETS INTO A SNOWBALL FIGHT.

Tonight our #elfonashelf decided to challenge Mr. Potato Head to a #snowballfight #lovingthis #xmas

A photo posted by Sam Hamilton (@samanthah210) on Dec 9, 2015 at 7:14pm PST

10. ELF ON THE SHELF MESSES WITH THE BABY.

This elf....🎄 #unibrow #elfonashelf

A photo posted by Monika Marie (@monimarie79) on Dec 9, 2015 at 6:54pm PST

11. ELF ON THE SHELF WORKS ON HIS FITNESS.

#doyouevenliftbro #gettingpumpedforchristmas #elfonashelf

A photo posted by @irishrugger_22 on Dec 9, 2015 at 6:22pm PST

12. ELF ON THE SHELF IS IN A BAND.

13. ELF ON A SHELF GIVES THE FRUIT BOWL SOME PERSONALITY.

#elfonashelf #bobbystocking #freakyfruit #feelingfruity #gogglyeyes

A photo posted by @jrookey on Dec 9, 2015 at 1:43pm PST

14. ELF ON THE SHELF NEEDS CAFFEINE.

Someone is in BIG trouble. Ya don't mess with the coffee pot around here. #daisydidit #elfonashelf #christmas2015🎄

A photo posted by Darla 'Carrington' Callaway (@darlamarmie) on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:29am PST

15. ELF ON THE SHELF MAKES CHOCOLATE CHIP ANGELS ...

Mornin IG!!! #425 #cannamom #kids #love #family #elfonashelf #naughty #elf #christmastime #spirit⛄❄

A photo posted by Mofunna (@iamvintage23) on Dec 9, 2015 at 7:12am PST

16. ... AND RAINBOW SPRINKLE ANGELS ...

Frosty is making sprinkle Angels tonight #elfontheshelf #elfonashelf #frostytheelf

A photo posted by flyingblupig (@flyingblupig) on Dec 9, 2015 at 7:04am PST

17. ... AND FLOUR ANGELS.

Our #elfonashelf think he funny tho.

A photo posted by Mo' Bounce (@radiomobounce) on Dec 9, 2015 at 5:19am PST

18. ELF ON THE SHELF... UM... MAKES COOKIES.

19. ELF ON THE SHELF GETS ON SPIDEY’S BAD SIDE.

20. ELF ON THE SHELF CHANNELS ELF.

Buddy and Jovi eating a NASTY breakfast of noodles, candy and syrup. #elfonashelf #buddytheelf

A photo posted by Shannan Cunniffe (@merciblahblah) on Dec 9, 2015 at 5:57am PST

21. ELF ON THE SHELF HAS SEEN TOO MANY HORROR MOVIES.

22. ELF ON THE SHELF IS THAT JERK WHO EATS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE PEANUT BUTTER JAR.

23. ELF ON THE SHELF HAS A SIDE GIG AS A MECHANIC.

24. ELF ON A SHELF TOILET PAPERS THE TREE.

Jingle is up to no good. #Jingle #elfontheshelf #elfonashelf

A photo posted by Elizabeth (@lizzie.larose) on Dec 8, 2015 at 6:43pm PST

25. ELF ON A SHELF FINDS HIS INNER JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.

26. ELF ON THE SHELF CREEPS ON BARBIE.

Day 8 Kissing booth 💋 #elfonashelf #Christmas #tradition #elf #hesgotgame

A photo posted by Melissa (@mellie16_85) on Dec 7, 2015 at 10:02pm PST

27. ELF ON THE SHELF IS THAT GUY AT THE PARTY WITH A GUITAR.

Stealing hearts since 2015. #fizzletheelf #elfonashelf

A photo posted by Melanie Ridge (@melanie_arielle) on Dec 7, 2015 at 9:47pm PST

28. ELF ON THE SHELF EATS THE LEFTOVERS YOU WERE PLANNING ON HAVING FOR LUNCH TODAY.

Oh no , first night after we adopted our new elf "Sam-wise elfinshelf" he got into the left over pizza! Lol #elfonashelf

A photo posted by Asheton Silvers (@ashetonsilvers) on Dec 7, 2015 at 9:31pm PST

29. ELF ON THE SHELF STEALS FROM KIDS.

Night 9! BAD ELF!! I'm sure he's going to something nice with it though ;) #cane #christmas2015 #elfonashelf

A photo posted by Heather Allen (@haallen1025) on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:11pm PST

30. ELF ON THE SHELF DOES NETFLIX AND CHILL.

Late night moves ❤️👫

A photo posted by Melissa M.💋🇵🇷 (@thebeautycarnival) on Dec 7, 2015 at 10:28pm PST

31. ELF ON THE SHELF IS GETTING UP IN YOUR CEREAL.

32. ELF ON THE SHELF MESSED WITH THE WRONG GUY.

#batman and #elfontheshelf

A photo posted by Jean Gomez (@jean_gomez_cosplay) on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:55am PST

33. ELF ON THE SHELF BROKE HIS LEG, AND THAT’S WHY HE HASN’T MOVED IN TWO WEEKS.

#Lmfaooo #elfontheshelf #solvingthepuzzle

A photo posted by just DM me (@solvingthepuzzle) on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:51am PST

34. ELF ON THE SHELF IS AN OVERACHIEVER.

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Animals
Want to Recycle Your Christmas Tree? Feed It to an Elephant
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When the holiday season finally comes to a close, people get creative with the surplus of dead Christmas trees. One San Francisco-based artist transformed brittle shrubs into hanging installation pieces. Others use pine needles for mulch, or repurpose trees into bird sanctuaries. For the average person, sticking it into a wood chipper or "treecycling" it as part of a community program are all eco-friendly ways to say goodbye to this year's Douglas fir. None of these solutions, however, are as cute as the waste-cutting strategy employed by some zoos around the world: giving them to elephants.

Each year, zookeepers at Tierpark Berlin—a facility that bills itself as “Europe’s largest adventure animal park”—feed the elephants unsold pine trees. The plants are reportedly pesticide-free, and they serve as a good (albeit prickly) supplement to the pachyderms' usual winter diets.

A bit closer to home, the residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee rely on local residents to take part in their annual Christmas Tree Drive. In addition to being nutrient-rich, the tree's needles are said to help aid in an elephant's digestion. But beyond all that, it's pretty adorable to watch.

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Live Smarter
5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree
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iStock

What’s the environmentally safest way to dispose of your Christmas tree? It’s hard to say. Grown, managed, transported, and recycled efficiently, a real Christmas tree’s environmental impact should be near neutral. Unfortunately, not all Christmas tree plantations are equal in their environmental impact.

The most eco-friendly way is to leave the tree in the ground, where it belongs, so you never have to dispose of it. But then you don't have a Christmas tree in your house to bring festive cheer. One thing you can do is be environmentally smart when it comes to the tree's disposal. After this festive season, why not try one of these eco-friendly methods.

1. CHIP IT.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a big wood-chipper, you may be able to chip the entire tree. Wood-chip is great as a decorative landscaping material. But if you really want to do great things for the environment (and if you have access to a lot of Christmas trees), you could make a bioreactor to denitrify water. Nitrates are put on farms across the world to help increase crop output, but a considerable amount is washed away into lakes and rivers where it’s disastrous for fish and potentially toxic for people. A wood chip bioreactor encourages the growth of bacteria that break down the nitrates in the drainage water, reducing the amount that gets into the water supply. It's not a simple project, however. To make one, you have to dig a big trench, get the water to flow through said trench, and fill it with wood chips. More info can be found here [PDF].

2. CRAFT IT.


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If your tree hasn’t yet let go of its needles—and you haven’t yet let go of Christmas, get crafty with it. Cut off small branches and bind them around a circle of wire to make an attractive wreath. This looks even better if some of the cones are still attached. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could set up an essential oil extractor to get a supercharged Christmas scent. If you are already distilling alcohol, you have everything you need (here's how to do it). With a little less effort and equipment, you can make a weaker liquid called hydrosol, which is a fragrant condensate water containing water-soluble parts of the needles.

3. STICK IT.

Many legumes, such as garden peas, are thigmotropic, meaning that they respond to objects they touch, growing in coils along or up them. Needle-free Christmas tree branches have lots of twigs, texture, and knobby protrusions for peas and beans to get a grip on. This allows them to grow upwards strongly toward light. Simply stick a small tree branch in the soil next to each new shoot for a free, effective legume-climbing frame. Another advantage of this technique is that it makes grazing animals less likely to munch those tender green shoots, as they tend to avoid getting Christmas tree twigs spiked up their noses.

4. TREECYCLE IT.


Getty Images

Come January, it’s cold, the festivities are over, work looms, and you’ve got too much on your mind to be thinking about dead Christmas tree horticulture or crafts. Fortunately, a simple solution is at hand: Most counties and municipalities now provide Christmas tree recycling points where you can take your tree for chipping. Some “TreeCycle” points will even exchange your tree for a bag of wood-chip or chip mulch. OK, this probably means that you’ll have to jam that Christmas tree into your car once more, but as long as you don’t have to drive too many miles out of your way, Christmas tree recycling is a quick and easy environmentally-friendly option.

5. DONATE IT.

After you’ve had your Christmas cheer, why shouldn’t fish have some fun? Several communities have programs in place where they’ll take your old Christmas tree, drill a hole in the base, tie a brick to it, and throw it in a lake. When humans create artificial lakes, they tend to be relatively featureless on the bottom for easy dredging. That’s great for us, but it means baby fish have nowhere to escape predators. Christmas trees provide a nice, temporary place for the fish to hide out and explore.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to see your Christmas tree mauled by a pride of lions, that’s OK too! Some zoos around the world take Christmas tree donations (but please remove all the tinsel first) and allow the animals to play with them.

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