For most parents, one of the first indications that the "most wonderful time of year" has arrived is digging through the Christmas bins in the garage to find "The Elf on a Shelf."

This pesky toy elf has become a holiday tradition over the last several years and pictures of the elf in playful and sometime inappropriate settings have probably filled your social media pages. As the story goes, the elf reports to Santa Claus each night when the house is asleep to let him know who has been naughty or nice. Children eagerly wake up excited each morning to find the elf in a different location and situation from the day before.

In actuality, it's the parents who are waiting for their kids to fell asleep so they move the toy elf to a new location every night until Christmas morning. Of course, remembering to move the elf every night can be a challenge, especially after a long day of work.

The struggle is real. Real lame. The elf is a commitment.

Military families have exercised their creativity to come up with some clever, military-themed Elf-on-a-Shelf ideas to honor the military lifestyle in the spirit of the season. After searching several sites and forums, we've put together 5 cool military inspired Elf-on-the-Shelf ideas you can use this holiday season:

1. Elf zip lining.

Get your Elf ready for Ranger School by having him zip line down the tree.

Earn that tab, Elf.

2. Salute.

Make your Elf the All-American patriot by saluting our nation's colors under the tree.

"At ease, GI Joe."

3. On Guard.

Get all the military toys in your child's toy box and have your Elf on a Shelf perform guard duty at a combat post.

Complacency kills, Elf.

4. PT, Elf-on-a-Shelf-style.

Put your Elf in the front leaning rest and have him do some push-ups. It's good for him.

1! 2! 3! 3! 3! 3! (Elf can't do a proper push-up, I guess...)

5. Band of Brothers.

Place your Elf on a Shelf among some other military theme figures for the ultimate band of brothers. What's not to love about this theme?!

"Don't do anything stupid? Who the hell is he talking to? A bunch of morons who volunteered to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Can you get any more stupid that that?"

Have any other military-themed Elf-on-a-Shelf ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Follow Alex Licea on Twitter @alexlicea82