Chanukah

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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Holiday Gifts For Teachers

20121206-235044.jpgBecoming a parent made me appreciate two distinct contributors to a child’s life like never before: the mother and the teacher. As a younger-self, I had teachers who made me look at life differently and encouraged me to pursue passions–I also had ones who taught me how to overcome criticism, but that’s another post. When you’re a parent though and your child has a teacher who has directly impacted how they related to the world in a positive way you want to dedicate a shrine to them and have a parade in their honor.

I’ve been abundantly blessed in that department. My children have the incredible fortune of having had unbelievable educators who loved and supported them, and some of them are still in their lives today. Additionally, because my brother-in-law (also my daughters’ godfather) is a teacher, these heroes are near and dear to our family.

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10 Films About Love: Movie Gifts


This video made me incredibly happy when I saw it posted on Facebook, so I had to share, but it also got me thinking about my all-time favorite movies about love… and not storybook love.  Love as it really is–unpolished, messy, often tragic, doesn’t always end perfectly, but sometimes is better than you could have planned it.  In the spirit of the holidays, here are ten films that celebrate love in it’s many forms and make greats gifts–stocking stuffers, anyone–or great movie nights with the one(s) you love.
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Totally Awesome Gifts for Babies, Kids and Teens

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This Holiday season I have a total of ten kids to buy for (one is still in-uterero), and that’s before I get to my own two. I love shopping for kids…no really, I do. What I don’t always love–but actually do appreciate in a weird kind of way–is how brutally honest kids can be about whether a gift truly is cool or not. They have no filter at all and don’t feel the need to pretend to love those argyle socks and brown braided belt. Why should they…psst: don’t get a kid a belt and socks from Crewcuts when they want a Transformer from Target. Anyway, I went on a search for some cool kid-picks that could pass-muster with even the most brutally honest recipient and I have to say I think there might even be one or two adult cross-overs in contention, (does that make them automatically uncool though??). *Sigh*

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One For Them, One For You: Book Gifts

Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Call me old-fashioned but there’s something about a reading a text with a cover and a spine that can be folded back and dog-eared that is so comforting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a number of books on my iPad and that was a great experience, but sometimes I need a real tactile read–I guess I’m book-polar. These books are some new and new-ish picks that make great gifts, and–as the title of this post suggests–ones you may also want to get for yourself: one for them and one for you.

Happy reading!

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Black Friday Weekend Deals

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

UPDATED 12:30PM 11/24. The turkey is eaten and the guests have gone home, now it’s time to focus on the time honored tradition of trying to help retailers meet their fourth quarter numbers. To be honest, I prefer to shop in the solace of my living room…on my laptop or iPad, but every once in a while I will venture into mallville on Black Friday and go for broke (pardon the pun). Below are some online sales to check out this Black Friday weekend–and I’m continuing to update them, so check back if you like and feel free to post your own in the Comments section below.

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Holiday Hostess Gifts

Image courtesy of Ron Bird / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despite my passion for gift-giving and shopping (it’s kind of the whole premise for this blog) when it comes to the holidays, hosting and feeding my family and friends takes the cake–literally and figuatively. I love preparing the menu, decorating our house with my husband and kids–well, he watches and directs while we decorate but it’s still really fun–finding a fun activity for guests to break the ice and then pulling it all together. That said, I also visiting family and friends: our annual tradition of going to my aunt’s for Christmas Day, celebrating New Years Eve with my husband at “our” restaurant where we had our wedding reception, watching all the kids and grown-up men get sweaty and hungry playing soccer (or maybe it’s football) on Thanksgiving at my in-law’s.

Whether it’s an established tradition or a new invitation that finds you celebrating in someone else’s home, it’s customary to bring a token of thanks. I’ve written about hostess gifts before, and my “rules of the road” (a bunch of them will work for the holidays too so feel free to check them out again, particularly this one and this one) but these gift ideas focus on unexpected and holiday specific ideas to warm the hearts and homes of your hosts.

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10 Ideas For Holiday Cards

20121103-212712.jpgGetting my first holiday card usually does one of two things depending on how organized I have managed to get myself:
1. Makes me so excited that the holiday season is in full-swing
2. Gets me panic-stricken that I am already behind in getting my cards out the door (or in some cases ordered at all).

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What I’m Giving: Electronics & Appliances

gift_boxes.jpgOne of my very favorite parts of the holidays is (no surprise) the gift shopping. I like to start picking and choosing few months in advance and I’m happy to say I’ve already got a few socked away. Most gifts I purchase are things I already have, love or want…things I can get behind, so to speak. The following are some electronic and appliance items I’m thinking about for this holiday season and I’d love to hear about what you’re pondering in the comments below.

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