Christmas

Last Minute Gift Ideas That Are Totally Awesome

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Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s just a few more days before Christmas and I’ve got most of my shopping done, my cards are sent (we went digital this year), but I do have a few odds and ends to pick up still. Even though its kind of the last minute, that’s no reason to run to the nearest drugstore and get a Whitman’s sampler. I’ve come across some awesome ideas you should totally consider if you have anyone left on your list.

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Creating Holiday Hope: Some Assembly Required

Despair Or Hope Directions  courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despair Or Hope Directions courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whatever emotional riptide I am going through, the holiday season always seems to amplify it–if I’m happy and grateful I feel 100x more so and if I’m sad and lonely the same is true.

The most difficult holiday season I ever experienced was also the one that helped me realize how strong I was. It was my first Christmas as a single mom. My ex-husband and I had separated in May and we had done Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinner together at my mother’s house (like always) for the kids, but Christmas Eve where wrapping and assembling toys to go under the tree was now my responsibility alone and I had under estimated this task–not so much the wrapping, I loved that, but the assembling. I had a 3.5 year-old-boy and a 6 year-old-girl and when they get a present on Christmas from Santa, it’s not just a box in pretty paper. It’s put together so they can play with it right away. And Santa went to town this year. He got a pirate ship and an easel and some Barbie contraption–all “Assembly Required.” And while this probably isn’t an issue for an elf at the North Pole, as a newly single mom who just got fed another dose of reality at 11pm alone in my living room on Christmas Eve, it felt like my Everest.
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Celebrating the Holidays at Work

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Female Santa Claus Presenting In Business Meeting
courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Celebrating the holiday season in a professional environment can get complicated. Not everyone does it the same way and nor do they all have the same financial circumstances. Sometimes in these situations the natural instinct is to procrastinate, further limiting the options, so what is ultimately available is either unappealing or cost prohibitive. Here’s some good news–with a bit of creativity, it’s still possible to get your festive hat on with colleagues in the spirit of inclusiveness. Also, the term “Holiday” can be interchangeable with “Winter” or “New Year” if you’d like to make it a bit more generic.
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Taxi Cab Confessions: Holiday Edition

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Old Typewriter courtesy of thaikrit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday I was Christmas shopping, my daughter joined me later in the day. I had a list of people to buy for–her and her brother among them–so I had to be careful about my packages and such. At the end of our excursion we got into a cab and as we were driving she looked at me and said: “Mom, can you still sign our packages ‘From Santa‘?” You see, as of last year, there aren’t any “believers” in our house anymore. Of course I said sure, but I was reminded of something from long ago.

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Sharing Gift Lists: What’s Easiest for Family and Friends

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Red Gift Box by courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As the mother of two children, every year I encounter the same question from family and friends: “what do the kids want this year?” Of course my kids make lists. Professionally, in a former life, I even worked on a holiday gift list solution for moms because from the moment I gave birth, this has always been a conundrum–what is the right answer and how do you coordinate who is getting and giving what? Unfortunately the service I mentioned is no longer available, but these are some websites and apps you should check out if you’re looking to make list sharing with family and friends painless and simple this season…and beyond.

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Tips To Beat The Holiday Blues

20131201-234455.jpgIts always fun to write about the parties and joy that come with the holidays, but all those festivities come with a fair amount of pressure. While it’s easy to discount those stresses as “luxury problems” they are real and can be triggered unexpectedly. Here are a few thoughts on combating/coping with the holiday blues–perhaps before it even strikes.

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Holiday Parties: Getting In On The Food Deconstruction Trend

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Gingerbread House Against A Background Of Christmas Tree Lights, courtesy of digidreamgrafix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Looking at the second half of November always makes me excited for the upcoming holiday season. In our family we celebrate Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas but no matter what celebrations you may have in store, food is usually the common denominator we all share.

I really enjoy food deconstruction–taking well-known food concepts and constructs and presenting them in new, delightful and, of course, delicious ways–especially when you want to surprise your guests. I’m not a chef but I love to entertain and I love to cook and when there is a trend I like to mull it over and see if it’s right for me (I do the same thing with fashion–not every fad works for my shape and frame). Usually that means starting slowly, taking a toe-in-the-water approach. Here are the ways I tried to tackle the deconstructed food trend this year that will likely end up on my table this holiday season.

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Two Finished Lists

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Yesterday was a landmark day, I did two things:
1. I finished my getting all my holiday decorations up when I purchased an extension cord, this allowing us to turn on the lights (see lead image) and yes, we did correct the slanted star (see second image below)
2. I finished my gift shopping

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Last Minute Gifts

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Even the best laid plans can fall flat. My holiday shopping hit a major snafu this year and I had to recalibrate a bit. This lead to my not starting until last week so I’m scrambling now. Luckily my kids are into a few big gifts as opposed to lots of little things…but I digress (gee, I say that an awful lot).

Anyway… planning and writing task lists then scheduling and organizing those tasks can sometimes lead to one, ok maybe five dropped balls. So when that happens here are some ideas to add to your gifting arsenal that don’t lack for style, substance, thoughtfulness or originality. Enjoy!

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