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 lists can be…

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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 seemed amused with…

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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 box. We all…

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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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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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Keep Them Tied up with Laughter by Disguising Christmas Gifts in Prank Wrapping

Keep Them Tied up with Laughter by Disguising Christmas Gifts in Prank Wrapping

“Let me guess… Peanut M&Ms?!?,” my dad says, squishing the wrapped gift in his hands and shaking it ever so slightly. While they’re still his favorite treat, and a longstanding tradition I always include with his holiday gifts, I’ve had to learn the stealthy art of prank gift wrapping in order to stop dad from another year of, “Oh, I bet this is my candy,” as he tears into the paper. The sneaky gifting tricks I’ve developed over the years,…

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Honoring Diverse Cultural Traditions for a Christmas Around the World Party

Honoring Diverse Cultural Traditions for a Christmas Around the World Party

Sometimes, the best gift is simply being appreciated for who you are and where you come from. My alma mater, in the Bay Area, attracted a diverse student population—the racial makeup of our student body was like a youthful United Nations. Come Christmas, there was no right or wrong way to celebrate, as long as we all came together in peace, friendship, and joy. My dormmates and I started a tradition of celebrating an eclectic Christmas together and, while each…

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Easy Projects to Transform Reclaimed Scrap Wood into Rustic DIY Christmas Gifts

Easy Projects to Transform Reclaimed Scrap Wood into Rustic DIY Christmas Gifts

Fall is my favorite time of year—the leaves change colors, the weather starts to cool, and there’s always a lovely autumn breeze. But every once in awhile, in my little Texas town surrounded by nothing but wide open plains, that lovely autumn breeze turns into a gust of destruction.   About two weeks ago, we were bombarded with winds that were just too much for our old weather-beaten fence to stand up to. A section broke free from the support…

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A Carry-On Christmas: Travel-Friendly Gifts That Pack a Punch, Not Your Luggage

A Carry-On Christmas: Travel-Friendly Gifts That Pack a Punch, Not Your Luggage

“Above the river and over the woods, to Grandmother’s house I’ll fly…” I can’t help but laugh at my own goofy rendition of the familiar holiday tune, all the while puzzling on how I can possibly fit everything I’d love to gift my family into my carry-on suitcase—without needing to oust my favorite outfit of worn-in jeans and a cozy flannel top. Then it dawns on me. I don’t need to forgo my fireside comfies, nor will I have to…

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