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The one place you should never put your Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf has shown up in all kinds of surprising places, but choose your spot unwisely and you could be putting your family in danger.

Chances are that the Elf on the Shelf does a full tour of your home in December—perching in the Christmas tree, relaxing (poolside) by the bathroom sink and sitting atop the kitchen counter surveying his freshly made cookies. But, as one family recently learned, there is one place Elfie should never go: He should never sit on any object that is a source of heat.

Recently, when a family from Dublin had their elf camped out on a lamp, they got a scary surprise: His bottom was burned, and he very nearly burned down the house. The Dublin Fire Brigade posted about the incident on Twitter, noting that despite the poor elf placement, the family had at least bought a more fire-resistant version of the toy: “The householder had done the right thing and purchased one with a CE mark.” CE refers to a European certification marking that denotes a product conforms with health, safety and environmental protection standards—such as being fire retardant.

Though Elfie was able to last 40 minutes without causing a fire, the takeaway lesson is that he (and any Christmas decorations) should be kept away from lamps, light fixtures, fireplaces, stovetops and any other source of heat. Aim to put at least one foot of distance between Elfie and anything hot.

This Irish elf isn’t the only one to run into a bit of fire danger. In past years, a mischievous elf in Alberta got too close to a light bulb and started a fire. And in Maryland, an elf taking a ride on a ceiling fan got too close to the light fixture and started another fire.

We’re happy this elf survived with just a toasty bottom, and that the family is safe. And we’re taking this as a great reminder to keep our own little elves safe!

Read more:
20 essential safety tips for the holidays 
10 fun Elf on the Shelf ideas