A Festive Christmas Wish List Maker for Kids That’s Online, Free, and Easy

A Festive Christmas Wish List Maker for Kids That’s Online, Free, and Easy

When my daughter told me she wanted “the new Barbie” for Christmas, I should have known there was more to the story than that. I arrived at my local big box retail emporium and asked an employee to direct me toward the “cool new Barbie.” She led me to the toy section, then down a hot-pink aisle lined floor-to-ceiling with dolls. “They’re pretty much all new this year,” she said. I bought (and eventually exchanged) the wrong…

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Traditional Kwanzaa Gift Ideas to Make Homemade

Traditional Kwanzaa Gift Ideas to Make Homemade

I was in college the first time I was invited to a Kwanzaa celebration . Some girls in my dorm were hosting a Kwanzaa feast in the common room and asked if I wanted to come. Honored that they wanted me to witness this special celebration, I said yes. But in the days leading up to the event, I realized I didn’t know much about the holiday and decided to do some research. Kwanzaa first began in the 1960s…

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Hanukkah Gift Giving Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Hanukkah Gift Giving Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

My best friend Sadie married the kindest, funniest, most thoughtful man. We always say she won the lottery with Evan! And while there are many things I admire about their relationship, what I find most interesting is their unique holiday traditions. Evan’s mom’s side of the family is Jewish, so Sadie celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas every year. As you can imagine, their December is jam-packed with celebration, gift-giving, and delicious feasts. A few years back, the two of…

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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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Inspiring New Year’s Eve Party Games for Adults

Inspiring New Year’s Eve Party Games for Adults

I’m not one for wild and crazy New Year’s parties. Instead, I like to slip on a cozy pair of slippers and spend the night at home with my husband, a few close friends, and a a bunch of yummy snacks. Every year, as the clock ticks closer and closer to midnight on December 31, we take some time to reflect on all the wonderful things the last year has brought. As we flip through photos of…

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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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How to Throw a Festive Christmas Ornament Gift Exchange Game Party

How to Throw a Festive Christmas Ornament Gift Exchange Game Party

“Every one of these has a story,” I explained to my husband as I pulled the gigantic box of holiday decor down from my closet shelf. Itty bitty snowmen, glittery snowflakes, and strands of tinsel spilled out the sides as I plopped it on the living room floor. We’d just bought our very first Christmas tree as a couple, and I wanted to impress him with my extensive collection of festive ornaments. Much to my delight, he…

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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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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…

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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…

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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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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…

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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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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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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….

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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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