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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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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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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