Holiday Hangover and 2014’s Grateful Resolve

I was torn about writing this post. As this blog would suggest, I love shopping and gift-giving but I need to elaborate about what that actually means. I see shopping as an activity, a spectator sport of sorts.  I can spend a day “shopping” and not buy a single thing. I am passionate about gift-giving because of how great it feels when you show a recipient that you know who they are and what is important to them, but I also believe you can give things like your time and attention or your talents and skills. Generosity, creativity and thought when put altogether can be incredibly powerful.

I started this Black Friday doing what I normally do, tweeting Black Friday sales from my @Gift_Whisperer account and checking out what other bloggers and retailers were doing.  Then I saw something horribly disturbing.  But I’ll get to that…

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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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Baby Gifts for Office Mates

20120718-002947.jpg This last April I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen in a very long time. When last we spoke, he had been trying (with his partner) to have a child and because physically together they are unable to conceive, “trying” is really not the fun “trying” that some of us get to do. When I saw him in April, he told me they were finally expecting and then through the modern miracle that is Facebook, this last week I saw a beautiful picture surface of him as a proud Daddy cradling a precious newborn baby. I was so overjoyed for him I started to tear-up, all I could comment was “So beautiful!” And now…what to give?
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Tooth Fairy Gift Ideas

When the tooth fairy comes whether it’s for the first or the tenth time, you always want it to feel special…these moments are fleeting and before you know it they will be in braces and then a retainer which you’ll then be reminding them to pack for college and…oh, gosh I’m getting misty thinking about it.

Money is always an option and there’s lots of opinions on how to handle it: a larger amount for the first tooth (say $5), then a smaller, but consistent amount for the rest (like $1-$2); or always giving a special silver or gold coin.  The ideas I’m sharing below are if you decide not to go the cash route (I’ve always preferred not to give money as a gift).

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