School Leaders Make Kindness Count for Summer Gift Exchange

School Leaders Make Kindness Count for Summer Gift Exchange

Show of hands — who was afraid of the “big, bad Principal” when you were a kid? Growing up, I think we all had an innate fear of being sent to the dreaded Principal’s Office (and even worse, being singled out over the loudspeaker for our misdeeds in the process). Like a scene straight out of the classic tale of The Principal from the Black Lagoon, we contemplated horrifying rumors about the “monster” behind that office door. Just saying, but I think…

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Popular Podcast Fans Host True Crime Book Exchange

Popular Podcast Fans Host True Crime Book Exchange

Every True Crime Has A Story To Tell Professor Plum. In the Conservatory. With the Candlestick. Or was it Miss Scarlet who may have had a motive? Hmm. When we were kids, my siblings and I always loved to gather around our kitchen table for family game night, which most of the time meant breaking out one of our favorite board games — Classic Clue. After all, what kid doesn’t love to solve a great murder mystery? We all loved…

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UK Artisans Host Gift Exchange to Support Colorful Community

UK Artisans Host Gift Exchange to Support Colorful Community

When you love what you do, you bring out the best in yourself. And by putting your best self forward and standing out from the crowd, you can inspire the world. Throw in a spark of creativity, a splash of color, a whole lot of Girl Power, and the world will listen. Colorful. Bold. Playful. Driven. Each and every day, independent artists, makers and designers learn to cast aside inner doubt and insecurities to bring their cutting edge style and…

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The History and Origins Of New Years Eve Celebrations

The History and Origins Of New Years Eve Celebrations

Saying farewell to the old year and welcoming in the new is a celebration observed around the world. In most countries it takes place on January 1. The festivities usually begin on December 31, which we call New Year’s Eve, and continue into the wee hours of January 1, New Year’s Day. The most popular traditions include attending parties, preparing and eating special New Year’s foods, watching fireworks displays and making resolutions for the coming year. The History Of New…

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How To Be Happy During The Christmas Holidays

How To Be Happy During The Christmas Holidays

Putting the “Me” Back in Merry: 15 Self-Serve Holiday Hacks What have you done for you lately? Don’t worry, Elfster is here to help. Somewhere between the age of childlike wonder, and getting all excited about car insurance, the holiday ritual loses its luster of revolving completely around you. We’ve all watched this scene play out: One day, Little Starry-Eyed You outgrows your finest pair of footie pajamas, and what happens next? The grown-ups suddenly buck! At the first sign of…

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10 Secret Santa Strategies To Keep Your Giftee Guessing

10 Secret Santa Strategies To Keep Your Giftee Guessing

Playing dirty? Perhaps. Totally worth it? Oh, yeah! So you think Secret Santa is just a quaint little yuletide pastime, something akin to fireside chats and a merry jaunt around the mall in a tiny Victorian train? Don’t fall into the trap, folks. Secret Santa is, and always will be, a GAME. That’s right, a GAME. And in games, as in life, there are winners and there are losers in this game of strategy. A Riddle: At the end of…

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Get into the Spirit of Christmas Without Spending a Dime

Get into the Spirit of Christmas Without Spending a Dime

Christmas is the season of giving, but it doesn’t have to be the season of spending. If you’re ready to jump into the spirit of Christmas but don’t want to break your bank, try these fun ideas from Lauren Goldberg, founder and principal planner of New York-based Electric Celebrations. Get fancy… Dressing up instantly changes your mood and makes a regular trip out feel like a special occasion. Whether it’s your family shindig or brunch with friends, put on that…

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How To Host A Tree Trimming Party | Tips, Ideas and More

How To Host A Tree Trimming Party | Tips, Ideas and More

This year, kick off the holiday season a little differently by inviting friends and family to help decorate your tree. Tree trimming parties are a great chance to get into the Christmas spirit together, before the whirlwind of shopping, travel, office parties, and kid-related holiday programs takes over. How to Host a Festive Tree Trimming Party Check out these tips from expert party planners on hosting a festive tree trimming party—from a relaxed family-friendly brunch to a more sophisticated evening…

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Sparking Controversy: White Christmas Lights or Multi-Colored?

Sparking Controversy: White Christmas Lights or Multi-Colored?

Reflections on the only RIGHT answer. For all this talk of love and joy, nothing flips a switch in the hearts and minds of merry-makers like the same old holiday showdown that sets-off every season. We’re not talking about “Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?” Not “Eggnog or apple cider?” Not even “Harmless mall Santa or creepy old dude in a leisure suit?” (That’s a separate blog post.) The question in question is, of course: “White Christmas tree lights or multi-colored…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 the next four…

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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…

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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…

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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 Etiquette of Japanese…

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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 just tell him…

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