The Best Online Wish List Website for Making a Child’s Christmas List

The Best Online Wish List Website for Making a Child’s Christmas List

When I was a kid, my sister and I started checking the mailbox with excitement in early November to see if the gigantic Sears Christmas catalog had arrived. When it finally did, it was the start of the Christmas season for us. The catalog also served as a guide for our parents when they made the long journey to the nearest mall to buy our presents.  If they couldn’t find what we wanted there, they would mail…

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Quirky Christmas Party Games for Adults

Quirky Christmas Party Games for Adults

My mom and aunt were dancing the Macarena. The catch? They were doing the right dance moves but to the song “All I Want For Christmas is You,” all while wearing flashy elf hats.   Our family holiday party had been a bit dull, so we decided to split into teams and have a dance-off. We thought the kids would be most excited about the game, but to our surprise, they went into the other room to…

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Family-Friendly Christmas Online Wish List Ideas That Are Easy and Free

Family-Friendly Christmas Online Wish List Ideas That Are Easy and Free

“An igloo. Doll bunk beds for my cats. A cheese bead necklace,” my mom said, reading off my niece’s Christmas list. “And where am I supposed to buy a cheese bead necklace?” I asked, laughing. Luckily, in addition to the adorable hand-written letter, my mom had also helped my niece set up a wish list online, filled with toys I could actually purchase. When you’re dealing with small kids or a big family, juggling all your shopping…

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Manly Secret Santa Gifts for Guys

Manly Secret Santa Gifts for Guys

“Ah! Socks!” My father-in-law had just opened his present and was genuinely happy to see the gift inside. As a kid, I hated getting socks for Christmas, but my father-in-law, an avid outdoorsman, always needed thick wool socks to keep his feet warm and dry. As I’ve learned over the years of shopping for guys with traditionally masculine interests, it’s important to try to get inside their heads—just because socks seem boring to me doesn’t mean they…

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Fun Holiday Party Games for Work Office Parties

Fun Holiday Party Games for Work Office Parties

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” my boss called, while I trembled beneath the cleaning supplies in the janitor’s closet. As her footsteps drew nearer, I tried to hold my breath and remain as silent as possible when—BANG! The door flung open, and I saw my boss and my coworkers laughing. I was the last one found during our annual game of hide-and-seek, played during our Halloween party. As I crawled out of the closet, grinning…

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Funny Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas for Holiday Parties

Funny Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas for Holiday Parties

We’d been watching my father-in-law hack away at an enormous ball of duct tape for the better part of an hour. Each year, his niece gives him a present that’s as difficult to open as possible, and this year, he nearly gave up. That’s when Grandma brought out the saw. The whole family was laughing hysterically as my father-in-law sawed through layer after layer of tape. Finally, sweat pouring down his brow, he came upon a small…

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The Best Useful and Creative White Elephant Gifts Ever

The Best Useful and Creative White Elephant Gifts Ever

I wasn’t expecting to find a literal wrench in my stocking, but I was ecstatic. “How did you know?” I asked my mom, the de facto stocking-filler in our house, who usually defaulted to playing cards and candy. “I didn’t,” she replied, then explained how she’d decided to give us random home improvement supplies. And it just so happened I was building my first toolkit! In addition to my wrench, spread out among the family there was…

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Fun Thanksgiving Day Games For After Dinner

Fun Thanksgiving Day Games For After Dinner

A loud rumbling came from the living room. Then, suddenly, it stopped. My sister and I froze, terrified, until we heard a voice: “If you girls wanted more pie, you should have just asked!” While the grownups were taking their post-Thanksgiving naps, we decided to get that last slice of pie we assumed was off-limits. But when we woke my dad, he gladly served us another piece. It was a rare moment when the grownups and kids…

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Homemade Christmas Gifts For In-Laws Who Have Everything

Homemade Christmas Gifts For In-Laws Who Have Everything

Beatrix stared at us from behind my father-in-law’s desk, her webbed feet and orange bill standing out against the dark wood decor. For Christmas, I had painted a picture of my father-in-law’s pet duck, Bea. The painting now hung proudly in his office as we relaxed by the fireplace. I have the best in-laws, but the one time of year they drive me crazy is Christmas. They have pretty much everything they need and are hesitant to…

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A Guide to Buying Christmas Gifts Throughout the Year

A Guide to Buying Christmas Gifts Throughout the Year

My husband sat on my enormous suitcase, which bulged cartoonishly at the seams, while I struggled to close the zipper. The telltale crackle of wrapping paper and ribbons being crushed created a worrisome soundtrack. I was headed across the country to visit my family for Christmas, and I was determined to bring all the presents I had collected over the year. (Next Christmas, I bought more travel-friendly gifts .) As usual, I’d been hoarding gifts since the end of…

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Creative Gift Exchange Variations You Can Play Year Round

Creative Gift Exchange Variations You Can Play Year Round

The swan glided toward me moving to the beat of the music. Jingle Bells blared through the gymnasium speakers as I eagerly awaited my turn to hold the swan, made of white chocolate, of course. It was the yearly Red Stocking Carnival, a holiday charity event held at my school, and I had entered the cakewalk. If the music stopped while I held the life-sized candy swan, it would be mine. Much to my shock, I actually won!…

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The 3 Most Spooktacular Halloween Party Games for Adults

The 3 Most Spooktacular Halloween Party Games for Adults

“Is that your cat?” I asked as I scooped handfuls of candy into the younger boy’s trick-or-treat bag. The older boy, holding the cat, said, “Yup! He loves Halloween just as much as we do.” I had been waiting all night for trick-or-treaters, but most seemed reluctant to approach my apartment which is, not kidding, behind a funeral home. But these kids had seen my lights from the street; I had orange lights in the shape of…

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Housewarming Gift Registry Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of a New Home Wish List

Housewarming Gift Registry Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of a New Home Wish List

I was totally lost and had only been out of my car for 10 minutes—everything looked the same. The blinding white light overhead only made my head hurt more as I scanned the horizon for a familiar landmark. I was at a big box home goods store trying to pick out a housewarming gift for a family friend, but I was ready to just sit down in the middle of the aisle and call it a day. Housewarming…

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Hilariously Funny 40th Birthday Gag Gifts for Guys

Hilariously Funny 40th Birthday Gag Gifts for Guys

We couldn’t find the cake. Somehow, while we were at dinner, the entire three-layer banana cake had completely disappeared. It was my dad’s 40th birthday and, even though the rest of the night had been great, the missing cake put a damper on the evening. It wasn’t until later that night that we discovered what had happened—when I woke up to my dog Judy sitting next to my bed, breathing hot banana cake dog breath right into my…

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The Best Wedding Registry Sites 2017-2018

The Best Wedding Registry Sites 2017-2018

There was watercolor paint everywhere, dripping from our new kitchen table and onto my feet. My husband and I were trying to make homemade thank you cards to send to our friends and family after our wedding, but the process was a little messier than we had bargained for. But, we had received such generosity from our loved ones that we wanted to put a heartfelt touch on our thank yous, to try to convey to them how…

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How to Give Sentimental Bride and Groom Gifts to Each Other

How to Give Sentimental Bride and Groom Gifts to Each Other

When I woke up on the morning of my wedding, I saw a dinosaur looming above me. Well, a plesiosaur, technically. It sat on the night table next to my bed and, as soon as I saw it, I squealed with excitement. Sitting up, I admired the carved wooden elasmosaurus, flushing with happiness; I knew instinctively that it was a gift from my soon-to-be husband. He and I share a love of dinosaurs, a strange passion, true, but…

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Rockin’ Ideas for How to Give Concert Tickets as a Gift

Rockin’ Ideas for How to Give Concert Tickets as a Gift

The first time I saw my favorite band in concert, I had to drive all the way to Canada. Arcade Fire was headlining the outdoor Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal, meaning they weren’t playing until late at night. But, wanting that front row view, my best friend and I lined up outside the venue early in the morning, then sprinted to the front of the stage the moment the gates opened—10 hours before the band was slated to…

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The Best Handmade Over the Hill Gag Gift DIYs

The Best Handmade Over the Hill Gag Gift DIYs

The morning of my 30th birthday I got up, took one look in the mirror, and went straight back to bed. I know 30 isn’t that old, but I figured I had finally been around long enough to really deserve that extra 10 minutes of snoozing. I wasn’t over the hill, but I was definitely nearing the peak, and that made me feel just a little more fatigued than usual. Luckily, I was broken out of my barely…

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How to Pick out a Perfect Birthday Present for Anyone: 3 Easy Steps

How to Pick out a Perfect Birthday Present for Anyone: 3 Easy Steps

The table was covered with a rich blue cloth and gold confetti, a gigantic cake in the shape of a yellow sunflower sitting in the middle. We gathered around in hushed tones, waiting for the telltale sound of the key in the doorknob. Then—finally—“SURPRISE!” It was my mom’s 50th birthday, and we had struggled for weeks to figure out how to celebrate. When asked what she wanted, she said the eight little words that no prospective gift-giver wants…

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3 Seriously Silly Gift Exchange Game Ideas for Large Groups

3 Seriously Silly Gift Exchange Game Ideas for Large Groups

I opened my front door and warmly greeted John Travolta—straight out of Hairspray John Travolta. He entered the room, saying hello to Grease-era John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever John Travolta, and, of course, the angelic Michael John Travolta before heading for the chips and dip. I love throwing silly parties, and the John Travolta Halloween party I hosted a few years back is now infamous amongst my friends (seeing that many people in one room dressed as…

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DIY Fall Wedding Centerpieces on a Budget

DIY Fall Wedding Centerpieces on a Budget

The aisle of the church was covered with fall leaves, pumpkins were at the altar. But this wasn’t some rustic, abandoned chapel in a field somewhere—it was the location of my wedding. We had done everything we could to bring nature’s autumn artwork inside: the flower girl tossed maple leaves instead of flower petals and my bouquet was filled with deeply colored dried flowers and radiant sheafs of golden wheat. Fall is my favorite season so it made…

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Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Spaghetti was dripping from the ceiling. I looked up, watching the mass of beige noodles and bright red sauce slowly unsticking from the plaster, dropping to the table with a soft, wet splashing sound. I looked over at my mom, expecting her to be apoplectic with rage over the fact that I had just tossed a lovingly made dinner into the sky, but, instead, she was shaking with laughter. “You still have to go to school tomorrow,” she…

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Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

The warm and woodsy smell of pencil shavings, the feel of a waxy crayon between my fingers, the spirited squeal of a guinea pig in the corner of the classroom—this is what I remember from my first day of kindergarten. I loved kindergarten. It was a whole day of playing: singing songs to teach us the letters of the alphabet, counting and sorting dried beans (math was so fun back then), or feeding the class pet, a guinea…

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How to Keep in Touch With Friends Over the Summer Vacation

How to Keep in Touch With Friends Over the Summer Vacation

Growing up in a touristy vacation spot, my summer friends were a totally different group than my winter friends. Summer Nina (not to be confused with year-round Nina), Meghan O., and other kids would suddenly move into the neighborhood temporarily, becoming much easier friends to get together with than the ones from school who didn’t live a literal hop, skip, and jump from my front door. But when school started up again, I would inevitably be shocked to…

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