Ten Thoughtful Gifts for the Dad Who Wants Nothing

Ten Thoughtful Gifts for the Dad Who Wants Nothing

Soap on a rope. That’s what I got my dad for Christmas every year until I was well into my teens. I’ve always loved picking thoughtful and unique gifts, but when it came to my dad, I was stumped. The man, a minimalist at heart, wanted nothing. Every year, I’d listen intently to everything he said, looking for hints as to what he might like, but I never got so much as a clue. Come December, I would ask if…

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Emulsive Hosts Global Exchange of Gifts For Film Photographers Who Love Their Art

Emulsive Hosts Global Exchange of Gifts For Film Photographers Who Love Their Art

“The machine-gun approach to photography—by which many negatives are made with the hope that one will be good—is fatal to serious results.” – Ansel Adams Decades ago, master photographer and industry influencer Ansel Adams may have used a special lens to catch a glimpse of the future when he made this statement about film photography. But could he have ever predicted just how far his art would come in the Digital Age? It’s hard to imagine, but I think he…

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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 interacted after the…

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Hilarious Office Party Gift Exchange Ideas for Creative Coworkers

Hilarious Office Party Gift Exchange Ideas for Creative Coworkers

There were doughnuts everywhere. Garlands of paper doughnuts in festive colors hung from the ceiling, doughnut ornaments graced the boughs of the Christmas tree, and doughnut-themed cups and plates sat stacked at the snack station. The piece de resistance was the doughnut wall which is just what it sounds like—a wall with fresh, gourmet doughnuts hung all over it. I’d spent all November planning a office gift exchange party for my coworkers, and my vision had finally come to life….

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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 ask for anything,…

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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 last Christmas,…

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Gratitude-Inspired Thanksgiving Activities for Families

Gratitude-Inspired Thanksgiving Activities for Families

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  —Melody Beattie The house smells of turkey and sage as my family eagerly gathers around the table. Like every year before, we join hands and take turns sharing what we are grateful for before tucking into…

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How to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early: 5 Easy Tips and Tricks

How to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early: 5 Easy Tips and Tricks

T’was the night before Christmas, and I was incredibly unprepared for the following day’s festivities. Despite my best intentions to get my shopping done early and enjoy a quiet Christmas Eve in front of the fire, I found myself in a mall. I dashed from store to store in a frenzy, not at all sure what I was looking for. I needed something—anything—for my dad, brother, and sister-in-law. As I weaved my way through the Christmas Eve crowds and entered…

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Phish Chicks Group Hosts Music-Themed Gift Exchange To Celebrate Band

Phish Chicks Group Hosts Music-Themed Gift Exchange To Celebrate Band

It’s not just the music; it’s the lifestyle. And for the past three decades, the rock band Phish has created a community of devoted, and some might say obsessed, fans all over the world who can’t get enough of the band’s groovy jams. If you love them, it’s easy to get lost in the band’s music as you soak in the love and happiness they bring with them on tour. Over the course of the band’s time together (and a…

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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! It was…

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Enchanting Halloween Treat Bag Ideas for a School Classroom Party

Enchanting Halloween Treat Bag Ideas for a School Classroom Party

I haven’t always loved Halloween as much as I do now. I was a timid and sensitive kid so, naturally, Halloween was never my favorite holiday. It was too scary for me and all the candy gave me a tummy ache. But that all changed when my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Campbell, threw a Halloween classroom party. We bobbed for apples, drew faces on pumpkins, and danced to the monster mash. The best part, though, was the treat bags. Three parents…

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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 an arrow pointing…

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Personalized Gifts for a Wedding That Newlyweds Will Fall in Love With

Personalized Gifts for a Wedding That Newlyweds Will Fall in Love With

No gifts. That’s what my husband and I stated on our wedding invitations. We’d already been living together for a couple of years before we got married, so there wasn’t really anything we felt we needed once we tied the knot. Of course, our generous friends and family showered us with beautiful presents anyway. They weren’t your traditional gifts, though. There were no fine china sets, vases, or salad bowls. The gifts we received were personal and came straight from…

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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 gift registries…

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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 face! My…

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Surprise 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her New Decade

Surprise 40th Birthday Gift Ideas for Her New Decade

As I walked into the party and took in my surroundings, the first word that came to mind was “fabulous.” It was my friend Susan’s 40th birthday and her husband had thrown her a party to celebrate. There were fancy mocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres; everyone was dressed to the nines. In my twenties at the time, I had no idea that forty could be this fabulous! What impressed me most about the evening wasn’t the drinks or the food,…

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The Best Housewarming Gift Ideas for a First Home

The Best Housewarming Gift Ideas for a First Home

I remember feeling so proud as I stood in my 500-square-foot apartment in a run down three-story walk up, waiting for my guests to arrive. I didn’t care if it was small and a little sketchy because it was mine all mine. I’d just moved into my very first apartment—and it was time to celebrate. Of course, my new place didn’t really start feeling like a home until the night of my housewarming party. It was a little empty, and…

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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 much we…

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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 one that…

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Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Giving birth is one of the hardest, most terrifying, and most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. As a daddy, you’ll never really know just how tough and exhilarating it can be; I probably don’t have to tell you, but your lady is a super woman—not only because she will push through the pain of labor with grace, but also because she will give herself continuously—and unconditionally—to your newborn babe without asking for anything in return. This is why I…

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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 perform. Now,…

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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 justified ennui…

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Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

My wedding day felt like a dream. It was effortless, romantic, and filled with magical moments shared with my husband on our special day. What made it truly incredible, though, was having my nearest and dearest friends beside me, standing with me in their periwinkle bridesmaid dresses as I took my vows. Those wonderful women carried me through that day, just as they had so often in my life. They made me laugh when I was feeling nervous, fixed my…

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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 to hear:…

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