Christmas

The Elf Week Lumberjack Jamboree

In a season so heavily perfumed with pumpkin-spice-this and cinnamon-scented-that, today, we take a moment to stop and smell the sawdust. We of course, refer to the Elf Week Lumberjack Jamboree!

In celebration of all things “dude”, today we hold an event so manly, so swaggering, that the only price for admission is a well-articulated grunt. But be forewarned… The Lumberjack Jamboree is no hayride!

If all this “He-Elf” talk has got you just the teensiest bit intimidated, you might want to read-up on how to beef-up your Christmas holiday. To put some hair on your chin, we recommend a heaping helping of these hearty Elfster blog articles:

Man-Up at the Mall: A Guy’s Holiday Game Plan

Left-Brain Tips for the Right “Guy” Gift

DIY for Dads

Now, back to our live coverage of the Lumberjack Jamboree…

Current Standings

Splitting a Sequoia-sized candy cane with a single swing of the axe put Elf Ed in an early lead this morning.

[read more]

Christmas

The Elf Week Wrapping Paper Relay

Roll out the transparent tape, and get your elf-friendly scissors into cutting position. Today is Day 2 of Elf Week 2010, and the Wrapping Paper Relay is well underway! If you haven’t been training for this strenuous sporting event, we won’t lie… You’re at risk for some serious hand cramps. So before you get “wrappy happy” on an unsuspecting Hula Hoop, read our official Elf Help Gift Wrapping articles for a helpful series of holiday how-to’s!

Shopping Bag Chic
The No-Wrap Gift Guide

Now, back to the Relay…

Current Wrapping Paper Relay Standings
Running on top of a giant roll of wrapping paper is no small feat…and it’s especially challenging while crossing a swimming pool full of hot eggnog! Still, in Fifth Place, Elf David is managing to keep his balance rather nicely. David caused a stir earlier this morning when he entered the arena wearing some fancy footwear (pointy elf clogs with separated toes!) But David swears by them, and seems to think they’ll give him and extra leg-up in the competition. We’ll have to wait and see…

In Fourth Place, Elf Shannon has now advanced to the paper-sizing portion of the relay.
[read more]

Christmas

Elf Week Kick-off: The Rookies n’ Milk Marathon!

We’ve gone Macadamia Nuts these past few weeks in preparation for Elf Week’s opening event, The Rookies n’ Milk Marathon. From stretching our stomachs at the All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Palace, to growing our milk mustaches just the way we like them, we haven’t worked this hard since Rudolph got stuck in the doggie door!

Well, it’s now officially “crunch time” and we’ve got all the delicious details of the Rookies n’ Milk events, right here on the Elfster Blog!

Remember, if you’re following the Elf Week competitions at home, be sure to keep an eye out for our updates this week. Check out these official Rookies n’ Milk “Elf-Help” articles in the meantime!

Current Standings

Elf Julie is presently in the lead, having successfully scarfed the North Pole’s entire population of gingerbread men. She is now speed-skating over Lake Freeze-Pop with the finish line in sight. But don’t count your turtledoves before they hatch! Julie is recovering from a brain freeze injury last week, and only time will tell how she holds up for the final moments of the race.

Buttered Rum is no match for Elf Peter who is chugging for Second at the Sleigh Bell Saloon.
[read more]

Christmas

Shopping Bag Chic: DIY Holiday Gift Wrap

Is it just us, or does holiday gift wrap seem to be disappearing faster than a snowman in a sauna?

At many stores, all that’s left of your wrapping paper options are birthday and baby shower themes, which, you have to admit, you momentarily considered buying in a pinch. Though there are several ways to rationalize this thinking, the truth of the matter is, adorning your gifts with the announcement “It’s a Boy” will only cause confusion at the Christmas tree.

Don’t let the seasonal shortage in wrapping paper be your unraveling! We’re here to tell you, a simple, cost-effective solution is already in the bag…

Retailers are really stepping up their game when it comes to decorative shopping bags this season. Pretty ribbon drawstrings and glossy, eye-catching designs mean consumers look more chic than ever toting around their holiday purchases. So why not use these pre-made packages as your own wrapping material when you get home? With this solution, design and color scheme are already chosen for you, serving as a stylish, semi-subtle hint to the contents within.

A Few Tips:

• Keep the bag as flat and wrinkle-free as possible when transporting your goods.

• After emptying its contents, cut the bag vertically along one corner creases, stopping at the base.

[read more]

Gift Giving

Gifts for the Dog Who’s Naughty and Nice

If your dog had a laptop, chances are, he’d be working on his Elfster Wishlist right now…

It would be mighty convenient to know just what present your pooch had his nose on this Christmas, but let’s not fool ourselves. He’d probably ask for a lifetime membership to the “Fire Hydrant of the Month Club”, or a provocative AKC Championship pin-up calendar for his dog house. (Typical.)

So to help you choose a more sensible gift, we compiled a list of traditional pet presents based on what’s new on the market today. Now, we know that most pups are pretty eager to please, so we say every dog deserves a present. That’s why we’re including a few “Naughty Dog” options, too. Either way, your pup won’t be able to keep his paws off of these great gift ideas!
Treats

For the Nice Dog…

Premier Liver Biscotti Treats

For the Naughty Dog…

Isle of Dogs Breath-Sweetening Treats [read more]

Christmas

Man-Up at the Mall: A Guy’s Holiday Game Plan

Three words: Extended Holiday Hours. If you’re a guy, the acronym probably sums up your opinion of seasonal shopping pretty well (“EHH…”). But unfortunately, this disinterest does little to shield you from the mall-time mayhem. One way or another, you invariably end up accompanying your wife or girlfriend to her yearend retail pilgrimage. And it doesn’t even matter if you’ve been naughty or nice!

“Sure, I’ll meet you in Sporting Goods in an hour,” she claims. But by lunch, you’re still waiting, and ready to take a candy cane to the gut just to feel alive.

At Elfster, we think the secret to avoiding the doldrums in a situation like this is to have a game plan. So to reach out to dudes the world over, we stepped away from our workbench and designed a detailed agenda to help whittle away those “extended hours” at the mall. We know it’s no trip to the lumber yard, but compared to twelve hours of world-class thumb-twiddling, we think it’ll suffice.

1:00 pm-

Find a bench, read-up on your Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and bask in your newfound popularity among single moms.

2:00 pm-

Lay low in the Men’s Room after the unexpected influx of marriage proposals.
[read more]

Christmas

Eggcelent Eggnog Alternatives

Like the great debate of “glass half empty or glass half full”, eggnog, too, can be a divisive subject. We elves happen to love the holiday staple even in our breakfast cereal, but we also understand that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. That’s why we compiled a short list of eggnog alternatives for you to try at your next holiday party… Okay, so our motives aren’t pure as the driven snow (more eggnog for us), but that’s not to say we don’t think these recipes are every bit as delicious. Try them, and if you care to add a little “holiday spirit” to the recipes, we won’t tell Santa, either!

Cinnamon Apple Shakes

3 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 tsp. rum extract (optional)
[read more]

Christmas

Sweet Smelling Ornaments for a Natural Noel

This year, finding eye-catching, affordable Christmas ornaments doesn’t have to feel like searching for the Eternal Fountain of Eggnog. (Oh, it’s out there…) But an easy, natural solution to tree trimming is as close as nearest the produce section!

We admit, sometimes the “smell of Christmas” can be about as subtle as a dip in a vat of aftershave, and the hunt for a more muted fragrance can be equally daunting.

That’s why when we came across this project from younghouselove.com, we couldn’t wait to show you their simple solution!

If you’re as excited about the Elf Week Glitter Gala as we are, you’re probably spinning garland in anticipation at this very moment. But with homemade dried citrus ornaments, you’ll get the added benefit of aromatically accenting that Christmas tree smell without overpowering it. [read more]

Christmas

Shopping Therapy: Mall Stress-Busters

By now, we all know Santa’s stance on pouting, shouting and crying. (Apparently, we “better not!”) But we also know that one bad trip to a seasonal shopping mall is enough to make even Tiny Tim go postal. So what’s an elf to do when the stress boils over like a hot chocolate gone wrong? Use these simple relaxation tricks, of course!

At Elfster, we’ve been through enough holiday shopping seasons to know that deep, cleansing breaths simply won’t cut it when someone cuts in line. And there’s no mantra in the world that’ll make parking a delight. So you can chant a soothing “ho ho ho” if it’s any fun for you, but for the best stress management at the mall, here’s what we suggest:

Wheezey Does It

Losing your breath in the retail race can have your chest feeling tighter than Santa’s tummy in a man girdle. But when you start to hyperventilate, don’t panic! Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bagdoubles as a pretty nice respiratory aid. A few puffs in and out, and you’ll be back on your pointed little feet again in no time!
[read more]

Gift Giving

The Elfster Guide to First-Class Teacher Gifts

We elves are no strangers to tall pointy hats, but we’re no “dunces” when it comes to holiday teacher appreciation, either! We know that a great gift can ensure “pet” status for even the rowdiest of rough-housers, but it can also be surprisingly difficult to choose an appropriate, yet personal way to thank the instructor.

Luckily, the answer to this holiday brain-teaser might be as close as your refrigerator door! That’s right, your child’s latest report card can serve as an excellent jumping-off point for selecting a primo present for the teacher.

Today, we’re giving you a few examples of how to decipher those cryptic comments, turning them into A+ gift ideas! All it takes is a little reading between the lines…

Social Studies: “I applaud Aiden’s budding interest in archeology. But unfortunately, his most prolific excavation thus far has been of his own nose.”
This is desperate cry for help. While there is no known cure for childhood nose-picking, the best you can do is try to help your son’s instructor encourage sanitary practices. These humorous tissue box covers are a good-natured and practical way to address the issue. [read more]

Gift Giving

Left-Brain Tips for the Right "Guy" Gift

We believe in order to shop for a guy, you have to think like a guy. This means using your “Left Brain”, ladies… Getting downright analytical! This week, we took it upon ourselves to design a few simple, pseudo-scientific experiments to help Elfettes discover what their husbands and boyfriends really want this holiday season… whether they know it or not! In the immortal words of Queen Victoria… “Men are hard to shop for!”

Okay, okay. There’s really no way to prove that one. But like every other wife or girlfriend in the history of holidays, we’re sure it crossed her mind at one point or another. The Strong-Silent-Type isn’t one to gush over his wish list, and even Mr. Sensitive tends to clam up when pressed for what he really wants. Still, ladies typically approach the task of guy- gifting with an emotional, intuitive philosophy, believing their male counterparts secretly pine away for the neckties of their dreams. [read more]

Gift Giving

The No-Wrap Gift Guide

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this week you’ve probably stocked up on more loot than a chipmunk with a hoarding complex. But if the idea of wrapping one more present has your packing peanuts in a jumble, you might want to consider these nifty no-wrap solutions! Elf Week rookies, these tips won’t help you much on the Wrapping Paper Relay, but they’re sure to save you a bundle of time and energy this holiday season…

1.) Let Pretty Packaging Pull Its Weight

Festively designed products not only look spiffy under the Spruce, they practically do the work for you when it comes to presentation. We love this adorable package of Pancake Mix from Chasing Fireflies, and these Scented Candle Tins from Voluspa. With not a stitch of Scotch Tape in sight, they’ll be the prettiest gifts ever to grace your tree skirt.

[read more]

Christmas

Santa’s Choice: World Cookie Recipes

This Christmas, don’t be caught with your oven mitts off… We’re giving you a list of Santa’s all-time favorite cookie recipes from around the globe. With these international favorites on the plate, Santa is sure to stop by your place first this year!

Crumb roll, please…

Raspberry, Olive Oil and Thyme Shortbread (Great Britain)
Meringue and Raspberry Baskets “Korzinki” (Ukraine)
Ma’moul Cookies (Lebanon)
Chocolate-Dipped Palmieres (France)
Almond Cookies (China)

[read more]

DIY + Handmade

Easy-as-Pie Thanksgiving Placemats

History unfolds right before your pies, with this precious pop-up placemat idea! We love how PubliQue Living transforms plain sheets of recycled paper into charming table pieces for every occasion. But in the Pilgrim spirit of “making do,” this Thanksgiving, we just had to try the idea ourselves… DIY-style!

We armed Intern Steph with some Bristol Paper and an X-Acto knife, and told her to re-create the Mayflower for our Thanksgiving table… After a good cry, she got right to work and this was the result! Say what you will of her historical accuracy (or the judiciousness of giving an intern a knife), we think Stephanie did the pilgrims proud on this one, and here’s how you can create your own!

Materials:

• Large sheet of bristol paper or poster board
• X-acto knife
• Pencil

[read more]

Holidays

Ye Olde Thanksgiving Small-Talk

“Stick a fork in it.” This might be a top-notch tip for preparing a turkey, but we think it should generally be avoided in Thanksgiving dinner conversation. We know that families are under a lot of pressure to amp-up their suppertime small-talk, especially on this nationally sanctioned day of quality time. So to better prepare for a lull in the conversation, Elfster suggests you inject a splash of humor, and history, into this year’s festivities. You can get the Butterball rolling by using these pilgrim-approved words of thanks:

• Father, I am most mightily beholden to you for the generous portion of slaw.

• Mother, I see the lima bean casserole has not returned for this year’s festivities, and I give you many thanks.

• Grandpa, I am very much obliged to you for your tips on the art of turkey-basting, but please stand aside.

• Thanks with a bowed heart for sparing us the details of your last trip to the podiatrist, Uncle Jim.

• Aunt Midge, a thousand times I thank you for hinting at the parsley betwixt my teeth.

[read more]

Christmas

Announcing “Elf Week” 2010!

With the holidays closing in faster than Rudolph on a sugar rush, we’ve now officially entered what the reindeer call “Mush-Time”… and the Claus has got no room for error on his team! That’s why the week of December 20th, we’ll be devoting our entire agenda to the training and initiation of Santa’s most promising, up-and-coming little helpers. It’s called “Elf Week”… and it isn’t for the feeble-footed! As the name implies, it separates the Oafs from the Elves, building character and moral fiber with each event!

So how does one train for such a rigorous week? You could practice by bobbing for halibut, or birthing a set of reindeer twins. You might even try brushing up on your coal-mining skills for Santa’s Naughty List. But you’ll be glad to know, as a loyal Elfster blog reader, you’ll get an extra leg up in the competition.

In honor of Elf Week, we’ll be showing you a slew of helpful tips, tricks and holiday advice right here on Wish Fulfillment, the Elfster blog! As the event approaches, keep your eyes peeled for our fun and informative series of posts called “Elf-Help”.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at Elf Week 2010’s calendar of events:
[read more]

DIY + Handmade

DIY Fall Fridge-scape

A freezer-burned chicken cutlet is no reason to give your fridge the “cold shoulder” this fall! Here’s a simple way to clear the shelves and show your icebox some well-deserved appreciation. For a fabulously fanciful fridge, try this pretty new eco-friendly craft!
[read more]

Holidays

Something’s Afoot…

Here in the North Pole, our idea of a “good scare” is when Rudolph comes down with a case of the sniffles! But this week, one Elfster intern found herself smack dab in the middle of a Halloween horror flick. With a flashlight poised eerily under-chin, today we tell her tale! [Cue clap of thunder.]
[read more]

DIY + Handmade

Garden Ghouls for the Docile Decorator

Step away from the carving knife! We know that the spirit of Halloween might not feel the same without going Friday-the-13th on an unsuspecting pumpkin. But this year, make good with the gourds! We’re talking a little less violence, and a little more ingenuity… [read more]

Little Pumpkin with Fallen Orange Autumn Leaves
DIY + Handmade

A Taste of Fall

We elves may make a mean cup of eggnog, but by the time autumn rolls around, we’ve only got pumpkin on the brain…That’s why we love this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins! [read more]