Re-Think Your Christmas Newsletter | Ideas, Tips and Insights

Re-Think Your Christmas Newsletter | Ideas, Tips and Insights

Oh, look at that. Little Preston landed himself on the Honor Roll this year. What mirth, what joy!  And what a load of self-serving humbug. Maybe you’ve noticed, or maybe you’ve skated by on the assumption that your life is that interesting, but Christmas card correspondence has reached peak redundancy in this age of constant communication. Social media gives us a platform to share, and over-share, life’s most moderately impressive moments. And yet, the barrage of bragging rights continues every…

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How To Give The Best Thanksgiving Toast

How To Give The Best Thanksgiving Toast

The tradition of giving thanks for bountiful harvests has been around for thousands of years, probably from the dawn of agriculture. Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations have been recorded by peoples such as the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Chinese, Greeks and Romans. The Etiquette Scholar tells us the practice of friends toasting one another dates back to the Middle Ages. It resulted from people’s distrust of each other. Poisoning was so common that, as a cautionary measure, drinkers poured a bit of wine into each…

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Fun Facts About Thanksgiving and Its History

Fun Facts About Thanksgiving and Its History

  Thanksgiving isn’t just about Native Americans, turkeys and watching football. In fact, turkey was not even served at the first Thanksgiving dinner. According to Charles C. Mann in his book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus , the first meeting between the Pilgrims and the natives was a public relations affair. John Carver, the first governor of the Massachusetts colony, and Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag Nation, negotiated a treaty. In it, the Wampanoag Nation agreed to allow the Pilgrims to stay there and to…

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How To Practice Gratitude For Greater Health and Happiness

How To Practice Gratitude For Greater Health and Happiness

‘Tis the season to give thanks , and it turns out counting your blessings is actually good for you. Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a California-based psychotherapist and author of  It Ends with You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction , tells us,  “Happy people have an easier life, bounce back from problems, and generate love. Research demonstrates we are hard-wired to focus on problems, which creates physically and emotionally damaging stress.” But Dr. Tessina has seen clients improve their well-being by changing their behavior. “Practicing gratitude helps you notice good things, reduce…

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Halloween Candy Trivia, Fun Facts and History

Halloween Candy Trivia, Fun Facts and History

According to History.com, Halloween , an American holiday celebrated every year on October 31, originated in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Over 2,000 years ago the Celts occupied what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and parts of France and Spain. November 1 was the beginning of the Celtic New Year. They believed that on the night before the New Year, the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. The Celtic priests, or Druids, built huge sacred bonfires…

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Fall Hostess Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back

Fall Hostess Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back

The weather is getting crisp and the days are getting shorter. It’s time for the new school year, new football season and Halloween. With all of the social gatherings on the calendar this time of year, we’ve rounded up some ideas for what to bring the host or hostess to make sure you get invited back year after year! Tailgate Supplies It’s football season, and that means it’s tailgating time ! Don’t show up empty-handed to your next big tailgate. Instead bring something to…

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Books to Hook Your Middle Schooler on Reading

Books to Hook Your Middle Schooler on Reading

I’m a life-long reader. I was that kid who couldn’t put a book down. In sixth grade alone, I tore through every book Agatha Christie ever wrote. When I had kids, I just assumed I’d given birth to fellow readers. Imagine my surprise when, as my boys entered elementary school, they preferred (gasp!) playing at the park with friends to being holed up with a book. When my oldest was in third grade, I was so grateful when Harry Potter fever hit…

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The History, Traditions, Beers & Fun Of Oktoberfest

The History, Traditions, Beers & Fun Of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is much more than an almost 200-year-old party tradition. In 1809, Princess Therese Charlotte Luise von Sachsen-Hildburghausen was on the short list to become the bride of Napoleon Bonaparte. Crown Prince Ludwig, destined to become King Ludwig I of Bavaria, however, fearing that Napoleon would force him to marry a French princess, quickly chose Princess Therese as his German bride. On December 21 through 24, 1809, he visited Hildburghausen and chose Therese over her younger sister, Luise, who was…

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How To Beat The End Of Summer Blues

How To Beat The End Of Summer Blues

Sure, summer fun is over, but no need to get down-hearted. September is a month full of possibilities—the start of new school year, the beginning of fall, with our favorite holidays just around the corner, a time when a hint of promise floats in on cool evening breezes. We asked a few experts why they love September and how we can make the most of it. Here’s what they told us: Set a goal. Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at…

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Useful Gifts For College Students: Creating the Ultimate Care Package

Useful Gifts For College Students: Creating the Ultimate Care Package

While it might not be as exciting to focus on useful gifts for college students over entertaining ones, in the long run, your college student will thank you. After all, when college students are off on their own for the first time, they’ll likely forget about those little things that used to be available as needed, like salt and pepper shakers or a fridge to hold perishables. Parents who don’t want their kids living off Ramen for…

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The History of Labor Day

The History of Labor Day

What’s Labor Day really all about? It’s the first Monday in September and the last hurrah of summer. The last BBQ , last camping trip, last pool party before the kids are back to school and work gets busy again. But what is Labor Day and why do we celebrate it? The History of Labor Day Labor Day is rooted in the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s. Laborers worldwide found steady work in factories and mines—but worker…

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How to Make Back to School More Fun

How to Make Back to School More Fun

It’s hard to think of anything more universally loved by kids than summer vacation. Camp, swimming , long, unscheduled days with friends—and, let’s be honest, parents who are a little bit more relaxed about screen time for a couple of months. As we say goodbye to the lazy days of summer, how can we help make back to school more fun for the whole family? Get Your School-Year Groove Back Amanda Carman, a teacher and owner of Excited2Learn suggests planning fun activities…

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How to Beat the Summer’s Almost Over Blues

How to Beat the Summer’s Almost Over Blues

Summer is not over yet, there’s still a few weeks left to lounge in your unicorn pool float or spend the day munching on nothing but ice cream and rosé. Enjoy every moment you can of these last few weeks, but know that the end is in sight. To ease the pain we all feel this time of year, we’ve come up with a few ways to beat the summer’s (almost) over blues. Plan a Staycation Vacations are an amazing end-of-summer tradition, but…

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The Art Of Japanese Gift Giving

The Art Of Japanese Gift Giving

I met my husband while teaching English in Japan many years ago. Last summer, we took our sons to Tokyo and Kyoto to see the country we’d fallen in love with. Before we’d even left Shinjuku Station, my boys were fascinated by the world’s greatest vending machines—and the mountains of beautifully wrapped treats and souvenirs on display at every train station and department store. The gorgeous boxes made even simple mochi treats seem like something special. The…

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Gift Ideas for a Long-Distance Relationship: So Close Yet So Far Away

Gift Ideas for a Long-Distance Relationship: So Close Yet So Far Away

Any couple who has tried it knows how challenging long-distance relationships can be, and sharing thoughtful presents is a good way to keep the spark alive. Some of my best gift ideas for a long-distance relationship occurred when I was in the military. It used to take a lot to keep my relationship going with my significant other, and I was constantly looking for clever ways to stay connected. I wanted to find a way to not…

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Summer Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

Summer Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

  It’s wedding season and for many of us, that also means it’s anniversary season. It’s time to celebrate the one you cherish most and show them how much you care, today and everyday. For many of us anniversaries can creep up, so plan ahead, set a yearly reminder in that calendar and make this time of year a time you focus on you and your special someone. From a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon ride to a personalized game with…

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10 Best Science Fiction Classics – An Anytime Gift Guide

10 Best Science Fiction Classics – An Anytime Gift Guide

Almost everyone loves a good book. Here at Elfster , books are some of our favorite gifts. So, without further ado, here is our guide to the top 10 classic science fiction novels of all time, suitable for giving year round. First, what qualifies a science fiction book to be considered among the “best?” Ideally it uses a great story and well-developed characters to explore concepts about, well, everything: society, race relations, religion, technological advancement, space, time, humanity’s place in space…

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Bday Gift Ideas For Your Best Friend: Make Her Birthday Special

Bday Gift Ideas For Your Best Friend: Make Her Birthday Special

I gave one of my greatest birthday gifts for my best friend when I was just a kid. On her 8th birthday, I got her a “best friends” necklace. You might remember the kind. It was actually two necklaces, connected by one heart, that you could split in half and share. To this day, we both still have our halves, even if they are a bit weathered from time. That’s the great thing about bday gift ideas for your best friend —even if what…

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How to Make Baby’s First Birthday Gift Registry

How to Make Baby’s First Birthday Gift Registry

Preparing for your baby’s first birthday party also creates another first for your baby: a first birthday gift registry. When you’re planning a first birthday party for your kid, I can’t recommend using an online registry highly enough. My first birthday party for my son went the way most first birthdays go; it wasn’t so much a party for my baby as it was a party about him. As a one-year-old, he had very little idea of what was going on—including…

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Celebrate Christmas in July with a Summer Gift Exchange

Celebrate Christmas in July with a Summer Gift Exchange

Christmas in July is the perfect excuse to plan a festive summer soiree and give guests all the holiday feels smack dab in the middle of the summer.  It’s also the perfect time to do a summer gift exchange since July is prime time for retailers to offer major deals on seasonal goodies. There are a few key elements you need to successfully pull off a Christmas in July gift exchange party. Planning A Christmas in July Party First off, you need some…

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The Best Fourth of July Gift Basket Ideas for a Patriotic Celebration

The Best Fourth of July Gift Basket Ideas for a Patriotic Celebration

If you’re looking for Fourth of July gift basket ideas, then your goal should be creating something patriotic, exciting, and useful. That’s what I focus on when I make favors for my annual Fourth of July barbecue to ensure my gift baskets will be a hit. I also look for items that are economical, as I’m buying a lot of baskets for a lot of people. Plus, Independence Day isn’t a time when you usually shell out…

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The History Of Father’s Day

The History Of Father’s Day

LiveScience.com tells us that one Sunday in May, 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd sat in a church in Spokane, Washington listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. She had never known a mother. Hers had died in childbirth, leaving her dad to raise the newborn Sonora and her five siblings by himself. On that day she decided that her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War Veteran, should have a day established to honor him. The next year Sonora petitioned the city to recognize…

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Must-Have Wedding Registry Items: Creating the Perfect Wedding Wish List

Must-Have Wedding Registry Items: Creating the Perfect Wedding Wish List

It’s easy to miss the must-have wedding registry items that you’ll need to build a cohesive home for you and your partner when you’re in the midst of wedding planning. After all, there’s a lot to keep track of! When I was first married, I didn’t realize quite how much stuff I’d need. It was a bit of a learning curve when I discovered that my new husband lived a bare bones existence while everything I had…

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Celebrity Book Club Hosts Book Exchange to Express Love of Reading

Celebrity Book Club Hosts Book Exchange to Express Love of Reading

Read any good books lately? As I stare at the stack of unread books that has accumulated on my bedside table, I’m overwhelmed by my options. Like many folks, my favorite indulgence is curling up with a really good book to soothe my mind, but let’s face it, with our busy lifestyles these days, we don’t have much time to spare. So when it comes to how to spend my “me” time, I need a little help converting that “to-read” pile into my “best…

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