Tag Archives: Christmas

My Gift to You

22 Dec

This is one of my family’s favorite Christmas presents, and this year Von got to enjoy it with us, too.

I know some of you out there who’ll enjoy it as much as we do. So, may I present my gift to you…

Sue’s voice, grandbabies, and spirit, all in one hilariously adorable little video… complete with, well, nose picking.

Happy holidays, friends.

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5 Holiday Traditions in Memory of a Loved One

15 Dec

Sue Shirley Cooking Kitchen HolidayThe holidays are an emotional time, full of joy, thankfulness, wonder … and, yes, often the resurgence of grief.

It’s okay to feel sorrow amid all the merriment. As a matter of fact, you can take the fuel of that emotion and use it to propel you toward something constructive for you and your kids: a  positive way to remember the person that you’re missing.

Included below are a few of my family’s favorite traditions in honor of Sue and Shirley. You certainly don’t have to do all of them, but maybe one will resonate and become a treasured annual remembrance for you and family. Continue reading

Hour Gifts

23 Dec

80s XmasMy mom came up with this when I was 12. At first I absolutely hated the idea. But with time, it’s grown to be one of my favorite holiday memories.

And now it’s a tradition for my own little family.

Maybe it could help slow down the Christmas craziness at your house, too. The question is:

Are you patient enough to give it a try?

Hour Gifts

The idea is, well, you can probably guess. Everyone opens one gift on the hour for as long as you have gifts to open.

You can start it at any time: when the kids get up, after breakfast, after they’ve opened gifts from the grandparents, etc.

Your kids might complain at first, but they’ll come around. Think about it:

Isn’t it better to have the anticipation and fun of opening gifts for perhaps half  a day, than just a half hour?

It makes the excitement of the day last that much longer!

More Gift Ideas:

And, by all means, if you have your own gift-giving ideas or traditions, please share!

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Free Seattle: Holiday Fun

19 Dec

Free Seattle Holiday FunReady to throw that list to the wind and enjoy the last few days of the holiday season?

Here are five ideas for some free Seattle holiday fun.

Bundle up, have a cocoa, and most of all, get out there and be merry! Life is too short to stress over cookie exchanges and finding a gift for that distant uncle who may or may not show up on Christmas Eve.

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Ideas for Everyone on Your List

16 Dec
Presents

Photo by DailyCraft, Flickr Creative Commons

No, really. Here’s a full list of affordable, wow-worthy ideas for everyone on your list.

It’s my gift to you, so you can put that research and shopping time toward a warm bath and good book.

Don’t believe me? This should about cover it, right?

  • Kids 3-8
  • Kids 9-12
  • Teenagers
  • Collegiates and Twenty-Somethings
  • Moms
  • Dads
  • Grandparents
  • Friends
  • Foodies and/or Party People
  • In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card (Teachers, Babysitters, Coworkers, etc.)

MagnaTilesKids 3-8

Every time I ask my toddler what she wants for Christmas, it’s always the same thing: Magna-Tiles. And that’s coming from a girl who’s downright princess crazy right now, mind you.

Magnetic building sets are one of the most-loved toys at her preschool, and for good reason, too. Just try to play with them and not have fun.

While Magna-Tiles are the premium budget-busting option, the following brands give you a lot more pieces for your money:

Bonuses!

  • They’re fantastic for travel. Just stack them up, stick them together, and throw them in your bag.
  • If the kids already have tiles, they can always build more with more!
  • The tiles are well-built and gender-neutral, making for great hand-me-down toys in the future.
Why are we all wearing those shirts? We're holiday crazy, and that's all you need to know.

Why are we all wearing those shirts? We’re Xmas crazy, and that’s all you need to know.

Kids 9-12

You know what’s been one the all-time favorite toys from us, according to my nieces and nephews?

Stilts.

Seriously. There’s nothing high-tech about them, but the circus-fun factor just can’t be denied.

I like this particular set because it has several height adjustments, plus beginner and advanced bottom attachment options.

Teenagers

Unless you really know they’re likes and dislikes (which could change daily), I recommend a gift card. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Gift them an experience:

  • Movie theater passes for two, plus maybe a restaurant gift card
  • Local amusement park pass
  • Climbing wall passes (check your local fitness centers and even outfitters, like REI, who also host outdoor sports classes across the U.S.)
  • A hot air balloon or helicopter ride (again, check online for local options)
  • A plane ticket voucher to visit an out-of-town relative or friend

Show Me HowCollegiates and Twenty-Somethings

They’re getting to the age where they need to do stuff… on their own.

This hilarious, graphically brilliant book will make it much less of a chore:

Show Me How by Lauren Smith

Moms

They hear it over and over again: “It goes so fast! Remember every precious little moment.”

Really, how feasible is that?

OneLineADayWhat’s much more likely is that they’ll mark important revelations and milestones in this little book that allows for just one line a day—and not even every day, if they don’t have the time for it.

I have one, and as I round over into year two of using it, it’s so fun to look at my entries from last year at this time.

Plus, it’s under $20, well made, and prettily compact.

Dads

Sure, the tie is a classic, but let’s kick it up a notch. How about some cuff links customized with a photo, logo, initials, or even a caricature of your family? Granted, you might need to buy a French cuff shirt to go with it (if he doesn’t have one), but what guy doesn’t need an nice shirt every once in awhile? If you get a more casual (not white) French-cuff shirt, he can even sport it to work.

My sister used this site a couple of years ago to give Halo cufflinks to my husband, and they’re conversation starters every time he wears them.

CustomComicBookArtAnd if dressing up isn’t your dad’s thing, how one of these custom comic-book-type art pieces made with a photo of him?

Really, the site is worth checking out for the example pictures alone.

They’re downright hilarious.

Grandparents

Get a digital photo frame and an SD card. But here’s the key:

Load it with pictures for them.

Chances are most pictures of their grandkids are on your computer or Facebook, where they can’t see them. Or if they do have them, they may not know how to (or want to) transfer them themselves.

This way, they can have and display those fond photos with no fuss. And when Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Grandparent’s Day rolls around, just send them a newly loaded SD card. Bam! Two gifts in one.

Friends

I have three words for you: Cards Against Humanity. Give it to them. Then play it will them, preferably with liquor involved. As a matter of fact, a nice bottle of wine would be the perfect accompaniment.

BeerInfuserFoodies and/or Party People

I saw this article earlier in the year and immediately saved the idea to my Creative Gifts board on Pinterest.

It’s a small affordable contraption that lets you experiment with flavoring your own beer. Have you seen how cumbersome and expensive the full beer-making kits can be? This is a nice option along those lines, so that can dabble. Then, if they have fun with it, they can invest in the real deal… and make you free, fine-crafted beers of course.

Cheers, all around!

In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card

Sure, a gift card for coffee and a sandwich is nice and all, but wouldn’t you rather give something fun and unexpected? Anything by Keri Smith will do the trick:

Bonuses!

  • Wrap the books in paper decorated by the kids, for a nice touch that also fights the doldrums.
  • Decorate strips of paper, cover them in contact paper, and insert in books as personalized bookmarks.

I hope this helps make your week easier. And if you have your own ideas, please share them in the comments!

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Countdown

5 Dec

Lampoon CarIt’s the holiday equivalent to the car chorus, “Are we there yet?”

Is it [insert special occasion] yet?

Let’s face it. Kids have a different sense of time than us, and understandably so. Think about how long one month is as a percentage of their entire existence, compared to ours as adults. Now perhaps you can see why it seems to stretch before them like infinity?

We solved this issue with our 3 year old by revisiting one of my favorite traditions growing up: Continue reading

A Feast of Holiday Ideas

25 Nov
Bonus Idea: Finger Print Tree!

Bonus Idea: Finger Print Tree!

As a thank you for your support and readership over the past three years, I’ve rounded up a feast of holiday ideas—crafts, dinner party fun, and hostess gifts—in one handy post.

You have plenty to take care of. Let me help check something off of your list.

Then, take that extra time to really be present for those you’re thankful for. That’s the best gift I could possibly give you.

Happy together time,
Angela

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