Is The Elf On The Shelf Really Worth It?

Is The Elf On The Shelf Really Worth It?

Is it just a money making scheme mooching off of the beliefs of young children, or is it really meant to increase the Christmas spirit?
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When Christmas rolls around each year, it seems as if parents have a lot to deal with. Presents to choose, cookies to bake, homes to decorate, but it seems as if there's one thing in particular that causes a little more stress: Elf on the Shelf.

If you aren't familiar with what it is, this 'magical elf' that watches the children of the house and reports back to Santa each night. It's a great way to keep children in check while increasing the overall magic of Christmas. The kit comes with your own elf, along with a story on how he came to be and what his job is. The elf arrives sometime in December and leaves when Christmas arrives. This sounds great, right?

The elf that lives in my home, Jingles, moves each night. My six-year-old brother absolutely loves him and looks forward to where he'll be hiding each morning. Jingles arrives when my family purchases a Christmas tree and leaves the night of Christmas Eve.

The first year we had him, it was easy to find places to hide him late each night especially with the help of Pinterest. After a few years have passed, finding places to hide him seems to stress out my parents more than it does help. Now that I'm home from college, it's become more of my job.

So far, I've learned that whoever created this magical elf is making a lot of money. The amount of people that purchase elves for their home is mind-boggling.

It's also become a competition between parents (or older siblings in my case) as to who can come up with the most creative set up for their family's elf.

Many parent's post on Facebook to show off what they came up with the night before either to inspire other's or in hopes it is better than their friends. There's also only so many things you can do with the elf before you run out of ideas.

Pinterest is a great backup, but they also run out of appropriate ideas for young kids. Recently, my mom ran into this problem and started researching new ideas. She found another piece to the elf, a magical elf pet reindeer.

This set also comes with a stuffed animal along with a book about how the reindeer arrived and what is his purpose. Unlike the elf, children are allowed to touch and play with him. The more they snuggle him, the more magic he brings. My brother also loves this, however, it is just another money maker for the product.

The real question of this article is if the Elf on the Shelf is really worth it. Is it just a money making scheme mooching off of the beliefs of young children, or is it really meant to increase the Christmas spirit?

The answer is up to you, and whether or not you choose to purchase your own Elf on the Shelf for your home.

Cover Image Credit: Regina Speech Centre

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22 Of The Best Beauty Product Dupes Of All Time

I love buying new make up, and I love saving money -- dupes are the best way to have the best of both worlds!
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I am a make-up and beauty product junkie. I always have been, and probably always will be. My heart yearns for the high end, and raved about products. Unfortunately for me, my wallet cannot support these desires. So, if you're looking for a way to keep your make-up game on 'fleek,' but you're on a college girl budget -- check out these amazing dupes of name brand products:

1. NYX Lingerie in 'Bedtime Flirt' for Kylie Lip Kit in 'Candy K'

You won't get a matching lip liner with this one, but they are pretty much the exact same color. NYX does have a line of very affordable lip liners as well. So, finding one to match shouldn't be too hard, and will still save you money.

NYX 'Bedtime Flirt': $7.00

Kylie Lip Kit 'Candy K': $29.00

2. NYX Liquid Suede in 'Vintage' for Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in 'Trust Issues'

While ABH's liquid lipstick has a little more of a matte finish than NYX's Liquid Suede, the color swatches are almost a perfect match. The top lip, pictured above, is 'Trust Issues.' The bottom lip is 'Vintage.' Can you spot a noticeable difference? Me neither.

NYX 'Vintage': $7.00

ABH 'Trust Issues': $20.00

3. L'Oreal eyeshadow in 'Iced Latte' for Stila's 'Kitten' eyeshadow


Stila's 'Kitten' eyeshadow is perfect for every day eye wear. This L'Oreal eyeshadow is the perfect dupe for it. You won't be able to tell the difference!

L'Oreal 'Iced Latte': $7.00

Stila's 'Kitten': $18.00

4. L'Oreal True Match blush in 'Baby Blossom' for Benefit's Luminizer in 'Dandelion'

The 'Dandelion' luminizer is one of my favorite cheek products. L'areal True Match is the best drugstore dupe for it, and let me tell you -- it's a dang near perfect match. The packaging isn't as cute, but if it saves you money? Why not!

L'Oreal 'Baby Blossom': $10.95

Benefit 'Dandelion': $29.00

5. NYX Born to Glow liquid illuminator in Gleam for NARS illuminator in 'Orgasm'

This is a perfect dupe, and a must have for anyone who loves that glow-y illuminated look. This stuff is a steal!

NYX 'Born To Glow': $7.50

NARS 'Orgasm': $30.00

6. City Color 'White Gold' highlight mousse for Pat Mcgrath Labs highlighter in 'Golden'

Pat McGrath Labs' highlighters are to die for. While City Color provides the perfect color dupe, there are some differences -- you won't receive it in an adorable package filled with gold sequins, and you will miss out on the make up brush and Skin Fetish Balm. 'White Gold' is also a cream versus 'Golden' being a pressed powder. If you're like me, and are in awe of the glow this gives, but can't afford to dish out the cold hard cash for it...this is for you!

City Color 'White Gold': $5.99

Pat Mcgrath Labs 'Golden': $72.00

7. NYX 'Matte Bronzer' for NARS bronzer in 'Laguna'


'Laguna' is one of my favorite bronzers! It's matte, perfect for everyday use, and can be used for contouring. Unfortunately, it's a little on the pricier side. So, go with NYX 'Matte Bronzer' for a drugstore dupe!

NYX 'Matte Bronzer': $9.00

NARS 'Laguna': $30.00

8. Makeup Revolution's 'Lip Lava' for Too Faced's 'Melted'

Too Faced Definitely wins on the packaging, but with prices like these? Who cares. You can count me in.

Your dupe cheat sheet: Shockwave = Melted Violet, Forgiven = Melted Nude, Tremor = Melted Peony, Unleash = Melted Coral, and Firestorm = Melted Ruby.

'Lip Lava': $5.00

'Melted': $21.00

9. Elf dupes for NARS blush:

'Pink Passion' is a little less pigmented than 'Desire,' and 'Peachy Keen' is not quite as deep in tone as 'Luster,' but other than that -- these dupes are spot on.

Elf blushes: $3.00

NARS blushes: $30.00

10. NYX 'Photo-Loving Primer' for Smashbox's 'Photo Finish' Primer

The trick to long lasting make-up? Primer and a good setting spray.

NYX 'Photo-Loving Primer': $13.00

Smashbox 'Photo Finish': $36.00

11. L'Oreal Infallible 'Pro-Spray & Set' for Urban Decay 'All Nighter' make up setting spray

Speaking of setting spray, 'All Nighter' is one of the best out there. If you're looking for a cheaper option, this is it. I use this stuff every day!

L'Oreal Infallible 'Pro-Spray & Set': $13.79

Urban Decay 'All Nighter': $30

12. Rimmel London blush in 'Pink Sorbet' for Benefit's 'Coralista'

Coral-y blushes are my personal fav for achieving a pink cheek. Benefit is known for their cheek products, but if you're looking for a cheaper option, this is it!

Rimmel's 'Pink Sorbet': $4.00

Benefit's 'Coralista': $28.00

13. Elf Radiance Enhancer in 'Spotlight' for NARS illuminator in 'Copacabana'


You obviously do not get nearly as much product, and the Elf product has more of a pinky tone to it, but this stuff is a very close match for the price! (If you want something less pink, and want to spring a few extra dollars for a closer dupe, try NYX 'Born To Glow' liquid illuminator in the lighter shade! It's only $7.50 and a closer fit)

Elf 'Spotlight': $3.00

Nars 'Copacabana': $30.00

14. Colour Pop's 'Chilly Chili' for Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick in 'Veronica'

I think the color swatches pretty much speak for themselves here! I am a huge Colour Pop fan. They have decent quality products for low end prices. Their color varieties are out of this world, too! If you ever are looking for a dupe, you can probably find one through them. You're welcome.

Colour Pop 'Chilly Chili': $6.00


ABH 'Veronica': $20.00


15. Elf's baked eyeshadow in 'Enchanted' for Becca X Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in 'Champagne Pop'

Now, to clarify, this is in no way a perfect dupe for this amazing product. Obviously, the consistency is far less creamy and smooth (it is a drugstore eyeshadow after all), but color wise? It's an almost perfect match. Don't be afraid to use products in the "wrong places."

Elf 'Enchanted': $3.00

Becca 'Champagne Pop': $38.00

16. Colour Pop Ultra Matte Lip in 'Rooch' for Kylie Matte liquid Lipstick in 'Leo'

If you are anything like me, you were extremely disappointed to find out that Kylie's Birthday Collection was only available for a limited time. If you missed out on the 'Leo' shade, Colour Pop's 'Rooch' is the perfect dupe! Not to mention, it's much cheaper.

Colour Pop 'Rooch': $6.00

Kylie's 'Leo': No Longer Available

17. Colour Pop Ultra Matte Lip in 'Chi' for Kylie's Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Dolce K'

Another Colour Pop steal! I told you this brand was amazing, and I wasn't kidding. This is the perfect dupe for one of my favorite Kylie lip shades. A must have in, in my humble opinion. Again, you won't receive the corresponding lip liner with this one, but you can probably find one that's pretty close and still be able to save a few bucks in the process.

Colour Pop 'Chi': $6.00

Kylie's 'Dolce K': $29.00

18. Maybelline Fit Me 'Matte And Poreless' for MAC 'Studio Fix' foundation

Seriously, this is my go-to for every day foundation. I am in love with this stuff. I actually had been using this foundation for over a year before I found out it was even considered a dupe for MAC 'Studio Fix.' A high quality find for a low price is always a win in my book!

Maybelline 'Matte and Poreless': $8.00

MAC 'Studio Fix': $30.00

19. NYX 'Radiant Finishing Powder' for Bobbi Brown Brightening Finish in 'Porcelain Pearl'

Bobbi Brown's version has a little more of a glow-y look when applied than NYX's version, but as you can see, they are pretty dang close. This dupe is definitely worth the investment.

NYX 'Radiant Finishing Powder': $8.99

Bobbi Brown 'Porcelain Pearl': $57.00

20. BH Cosmetics 'shaaanxo' palette for Kylie Jenner's 'Kyshadow' palette


There was some controversy over this one, but none-the-less it's nearly the perfect dupe. Not to mention, 'Kyshadow' is not an easy thing to get your hands on -- this is a much easier route.

BH Cosmetics 'shaaanxo': $14.50

Kylie Jenner's 'Kyshadow': $42.00

21. Milani's Baked Blush in 'Rose D' Oro' for MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Cheeky Bronze'

I love Milani products when shopping the drug store make up aisles. Plus, I love the cute gold packaging, and actually really prefer it over the MAC plain black packaging. I suggest checking out their other products as well if you're an avid drugstore shopper for your beauty products.

Milani 'Rose D'Oro': $7.99

MAC 'Cheeky Bronze': $33.00

22. Colour Pop Ultra Matte Lips for Jeffree Star's Velour Liquid Lipsticks

Yet again, another Colour Pop steal for the win! Pictured above are a few examples, but there are many more! Including the more exotic shades of blues, purples, and greens. These liquid lipsticks are the bomb dot com, and are on this list so many times for a reason. There is a dupe for almost every high end lip product your little heart could desire.


Colour Pop Ultra Matte Lips:
$6.00

Jeffree Star's Velour Liquid Lipsticks: $18.00


I love buying new make up, and I love saving money -- dupes are the best way to have the best of both worlds!

All prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualified sales.

Cover Image Credit: tumblr.com

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6 Eco-Friendly Gifts For The Ones Who’ve Already Stopped Using Plastic Straws

Give a gift that will not be wasted.

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Christmas and the surrounding months are for some people synonymous with shopping and stress over gift giving. If you want to avoid stress, I recommend considering giving practical gifts this season that everyone can use. Personally, I have been trying to be more green and reduce my ecological footprint on the planet by reducing my amount of plastic and waste. This holiday season, I want to encourage my friends and family to also be more green by giving them useful gifts that will also help them reduce their ecological footprint and waste. (You can see what your ecological footprint is here)

1. Stainless steel straws

SENHAI set of 8 stainless steel straws

We heard earlier this year about the high among of plastic, especially plastic straws, in the world's oceans that are harming ocean wildlife. I now carry around a set of steel straws in my purse to use instead of plastic straws. These straws are even dishwasher safe!

Find on Amazon for $8.99

2. Travel coffee mugs

Travel coffee mugs are so much better to use than single use cups because they are sustainable. Plus they keep your coffee warmer longer and don't spill as much. If you bring in your own mug to most coffee places, they will be more than willing to fill it and may even give you a discount. At Starbucks, bring in any reusable coffee mug or tumbler and you will save 10¢!

Find on Amazon for $10.49

3. Reusable water bottles

S'well 15 oz S'ip stainless steel water bottle

Many people worldwide use plastic water bottles with a million bought per minute of which 91% are not recycled. By buying a reusable water bottle, your gift will help save the planet as well as their wallet "with the average American spending over $100 per year / per person."

(S'well water bottles and tumbler not only look good, they also do good with S'well giving back to their partners UNICEF USA, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and RED.)

Amazon for $19.99

4. Reusable shopping bags

BeeGreen foldable reusable grocery bags

Worldwide about one trillion plastic bags are used annually which contributes to the approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic waste that are found in the oceans. Consider helping to cut down on plastic grocery bags by giving reusable shopping bags. (These bags come in packs of 5 with cute prints and even fold up!)

Amazon for $14.55

5. Reusable produce bags

Purifyou reusable mesh produce bags

Another way to cut down on plastic bags is to use reusable produce bags when getting groceries at the store.

Find on Amazon for $14.97

6. Reusable snack bags

Stasher reusable silicone food bag

These not only cut down on plastic bags but are great for students and coworkers who have to pack their lunch!

Find on Amazon for $11.99

My recommendation is to gift several of these as a set or to include one as part of you. You can consider putting your gifts in the reusable bags or even using newspaper (especially the comics section) as gift wrapping to make your gift more unique and reduce waste!

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