Christmas 2015: Let’s get ready!

We’re ramping up for an all new 100-day countdown to Christmas! Lots of great ideas and hot items to discover this year!

This list is hand-picked by me. Every day will feature quality content, not a bunch of spammy links, so bookmark this site and share with your friends!

What’s hot this year? Star Wars, LEGO, board games, Frozen, robots, quadcopters, science, gender neutral, cooking, knitting, and general geekery!

I love to read your comments, so please feel free to add what you like about an activity or item and give your recommendations!

If we start preparing for Christmas now, we will be able to relax and enjoy the festivities with our friends and family instead of out shopping or in the kitchen.

30: The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition

We’ve all seen this little guy and wondered, “What’s the deal with The Elf on the Shelf?”

I’ve had a lot of friends adopt this new Christmas tradition and they all seem to be having a lot of fun with it! Some family members take turns hiding the elf around the house each day during Advent and letting the others find it, then hide it, again. If you have time, another hilarious activity is to pose the elf getting into Christmas mischief and mishaps around the house or classroom every day!

There is a whole line of related products and a variety of elves available:

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Blue Eyed North Pole
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition with Brown Eyed North Pole Elf,brown skin, black hair
The Elf on the Shelf – Girl Elf Edition with North Pole Blue Eyed Girl Elf and Girl-character themed Storybook

The Claus Couture Elf on the Shelf Skirt Collector’s Edition 2012
The Claus Couture Scout Elf Skirt
The Elf on the Shelf Girl Plushee Pal – Light
Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story Elf Figurines, Set of 4
Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story Santa Figurine
Elf on the Shelf: An Elf’s Story Sound Book

Baby Elf on the Shelf in Bag
The Elf on the Shelf: Activity Book – Great for teachers!
An Elf’s Story DVD

76: BEST Holiday Lights – LED changes color!

 

 

 

 

 

These color-changing LED lights are the most interesting lights I’ve seen available! Each light changes color, they are cool to the touch, and you can use them indoors or out. If you’re looking for something to spruce up your tree this year, try these lights! Your family, friends, and other guests will be talking about them all year! Enjoy!

Color Changing LED RGB Ball String Christmas Xmas Lights Belt Light, 2063rgb

Set of 100 Round Red Green Blue Color Changing Ball LED Christmas, Chanukah and Holiday lights for home and store fronts. Approx. ¾” (1.75CM) 1.5M long Power Cord. FEATURES: High quality, High efficiency, Indoor or Outdoor. The epoxy plastic that encapsulates the LED bulbs is cool to the touch solving hot bulbs that cause Christmas tree fires. Bulb Type: Approx. Diameter of ball: ¾” (1.75cm) Bulb Life: Up to 50,000 Hours Power source:120V Dementions:Cable Length 1.5 M

99: To host or not to host

If you are hosting Christmas, do everyone a favor and give them some direction, but not too much direction. I can only imagine what situations might have caused Thanksgiving hostess Marney to pen this letter! With a little planning, you should avoid most of those and do it gracefully.

People appreciate knowing your expectations ahead of time. Invitations don’t have to be fancy, but they do need to be informational.

Guests want to know:

  • Arrival time
  • What to bring (ex. green vegetable side dish for 12, BYOB, etc.)
  • If there be a gift exchange, and  house rules
  • Time food will be served
  • Where they can park
  • What time the event ends
  • What to wear – is this a formal dinner, or are we eating off paper plates and swimming?
You should ask:
  • Does anyone in your guest’s party have life threatening food allergies or other dietary requirements. Let them know in advance if you can or cannot accommodate them, so they can plan ahead.
  • Ask for an RSVP and give them a deadline.
Most of the time, people are willing to go the extra mile if you have something very specific in mind. If you are planning to get a coordinated extended family photo during the gathering and you want everyone to wear black and red, let everyone know in plenty of time so they can pull their wardrobe together.  If you don’t mind that Uncle Eddie will show up in his plaid pants, then don’t worry about advance notice.
All of this knowledge before the event helps everyone with kids plan a successful and enjoyable day for their families, which in turn, is enjoyable for everyone else.
If you’re not a host, but are a guest, I think it’s reasonable to call you host and get all of your questions answered, especially if you have kids. I hate showing up to something that I think is obviously kid-friendly or family-friendly in my mind, and the reality of it is that everyone has gotten a babysitter and it’s an adult-only sit-down dinner. That is a incredibly awkward for everyone involved. Nobody intended it, but there it is.

100 Days Until Christmas!

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year to start thinking about Christmas. Check back with us every day for useful information on planning, shopping, and celebrating the most wonderful time of the year!

Where will you be spending Christmas this year? Will you be at home? Traveling? With family, or friends? Now is the time to make your travel plans or send invitations if you’re planning to host the big event this year.

 

39: Christmas Caroling Party Action Plan

I asked my sister about her favorite Christmas tradition and she replied very quickly:

“My favorite tradition is caroling (Are you surprised?). I have done it every year with the kids and other friends on the Sunday before Christmas. We take the guitar, jingle bells, any other instruments on hand, and friends who can harmonize – what fun! I am getting in the Christmas spirit just thinking about it!”

Christmas caroling is really fun and with very little planning it can be transformed from a last-minute idea into a memorable occasion for family and friends. Here are a few simple steps to get you started.

  1. Get out your calendar and find a convenient early evening to have friends over. A great option is to limit yourself to 2 or 3 other families with kids, making sure to have buddies for your kids.
  2. Invitations can be as simple or elaborate as you like. For something very informal, a phone call is acceptable. I like to use Evite. You can always mail or hand deliver the printed or handmade variety of invitation.
  3. One week before the event, touch base with everyone and get a head count (RSVP).
  4. For the party, your house will hopefully be all decorated before then. For your menu, have plenty of cookies, hot chocolate, cider, etc.
  5. ALLERGY NOTE: Please find out from your guests if anyone has a peanut or nut allergy. Do your best to keep peanuts and nuts out of areas where allergic children will be. Enlist your allergy mom to provide a safe alternative for her child. She knows best.
  6. The focus of caroling is fellowship and spreading joy, not musical perfection!
  7. Make your own caroling booklets with the song lyrics printed in a booklet form. This is easy to do in Publisher or Word. Lyrics can be found for just about any song using Google.
  8. Have extra mittens/scarves/hats available. One fun thing to do, if you like giving party favors, would be to make matching fleece scarves for everyone. This is very simple to do without any sewing!

Photo courtesy of Doug Floyd.