Fun Games to Play at Christmas with the Whole Family

Fun Games to Play at Christmas with the Whole Family

Last Christmas, I got together with my wife’s family. It was a great Christmas. One night, though, someone suggested we play a game, and some of the younger attendees immediately declared, “Cards Against Humanity!” Now, I like that game. With the right crowd, it can be a blast. This wasn’t it, though. Too many in-laws, too many people being uncomfortable, too many people not feeling like they could play at their highest (er, lowest?) level. A girl who just married…

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Can I Make a Wish List Using Multiple Websites?

Can I Make a Wish List Using Multiple Websites?

Nobody is into just one thing. Everyone has a lot of hobbies, passions, and interests. A woman in our building loves our local football team—like, to the point where I’m worried about structural damage. But she’s also a huge outdoors fan and knows more about wild mushrooms than anyone I’ve ever talked to.  That’s part of the joy and diversity of life, but it doesn’t always make shopping for someone easy. After all, if they’re putting together a list, it…

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7 Secret Santa Yoga Gifts for the Yogi in Your Life

7 Secret Santa Yoga Gifts for the Yogi in Your Life

One of the cool things about getting older is seeing things change. The other day, my wife and I were having sushi, and I thought about how so many comedies from the 80s had sushi as a signifier of laughable snobbery. Now that’s unimaginable. We scarf it down while watching football. It’s a normal (and delicious) thing to eat.  It’s the same with yoga. Not too long ago, people thought yoga was weird and just for crunchy granola types. That…

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Types of Gift Exchanges that’ll Spice Up Any Event

Types of Gift Exchanges that’ll Spice Up Any Event

This summer, we hosted a BBQ, and the invitation said we were going to do a gift exchange. A friend texted to ask what the occasion was, and I had to explain that there wasn’t an occasion. It was just that 1) people like getting gifts, and 2) gift exchanges are fun.  Those, to me, are universal truths. You don’t need it to be a holiday to have a gift exchange, and no matter what kind of event you’re having,…

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How to Create a Christmas Wish List that will Simplify Your Shopping

How to Create a Christmas Wish List that will Simplify Your Shopping

If you’re like me, then your excitement about Christmas shopping looks like one of those stock market charts from the 1920s. It starts out going up because you’re excited about getting things for people and embracing the festivities. Then, eventually, it kind of crashes. The stress of trying to get everything done can become overwhelming.  You probably don’t want your loved ones to experience that kind of stress when shopping for you, so you’re always looking to simplify your list….

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5 Unique Gift Exchange Themes for Adults

5 Unique Gift Exchange Themes for Adults

One of the great joys in life is having old friends. Knowing people for years—or decades—gives you a perspective on life that gets richer as you age. One of the other great joys of life is making new friends. Creating friendships as an adult gives you a whole new shared language to develop.  Friendships are as important for adults as they are for children, and one of my life philosophies is that they should be celebrated. One way to do…

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Why You Should Use an Electronic Way to Draw Names from a Hat

Why You Should Use an Electronic Way to Draw Names from a Hat

Recently, we hosted a barbeque and decided to play horseshoes. We were going to divide teams by drawing names out of a hat, so I volunteered my old trusty White Sox cap. My wife looked at me for a full two seconds before declaring that maybe we’d use a “less comprehensively sweaty” way of picking teams.  That made sense. And it illuminated something important: when you’re drawing names from an actual hat, you need an actual hat, with all its…

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7 Secret Santa Gifts Under $20 that Anyone will Love

7 Secret Santa Gifts Under $20 that Anyone will Love

Just about everyone who has run a Secret Santa has had a variation of this conversation:  “Want to do a Secret Santa?” “Heck yes! I love those. Just… is there a, um… ” “Price limit?” “Yes!”  A lot of Secret Santa exchanges have a price limit of some sort. We’ve had ones that are as low as $10 and others that go significantly higher. It makes sense. You don’t want to overspend, and you don’t want to seem cheap. Maybe…

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8 Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Games to Play with Large Groups

8 Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Games to Play with Large Groups

When we throw parties, I want to make sure that everyone is having a good time at all times. So, I rotate between rooms and ping back-and-forth between groups. It’s pretty hard to keep up (“Were you guys just talking about Stranger Things? Oh, right, tax policy.”) and even harder to enjoy myself.  That’s why we now make sure there are games at the party, especially around the holidays, when parties get larger and more frequent. Games are really helpful…

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Dinner Party Christmas Games for a Holly Jolly Good Time

Dinner Party Christmas Games for a Holly Jolly Good Time

If there’s one thing my wife and I love, it’s hosting a dinner party around Christmas. We enjoy gathering loved ones around us during some of the longest and darkest nights of the year, bringing warmth to the table, clinking glasses, and raising spirits. It’s a burst of brightness.  Still, hosting a dinner party can be a high-wire act. You need the right combination of great food, lively guests who get along, and stuff to do. Once the plates are…

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9 Office-Safe Secret Santa Theme Ideas for Work Parties

9 Office-Safe Secret Santa Theme Ideas for Work Parties

When I was fresh out of college, a few years ago (ok, more than a few), I had a job at a consulting company. To make things more fun, they had a party committee. One holiday season, they set up a Secret Santa gift exchange and decided to do a theme. Fun, right? Absolutely. They were fun people!  But the theme they chose was British TV dramas of the 1980’s. Needless to say, not everyone knew what this theme encapsulated,…

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4 Ways to Draw Names from a Virtual Hat

4 Ways to Draw Names from a Virtual Hat

A few years ago, my wife and I hosted a tree trimming party. We had never done one before, so we looked up how to make our tree trimming party fun and memorable. Our guests were excited because we were one of the few in our circle of friends who had a real tree. So, perhaps carried away by the scent of pine (okay, and the egg nog), we expanded the party by adding a Secret Santa gift exchange.  What…

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7 Virtual Christmas Games for Remote Office Parties

7 Virtual Christmas Games for Remote Office Parties

I’ve worked two remote jobs. One was pretty isolated. There were emails and some video meetings, but I was pretty much on an island. I honestly can’t remember the names of the people I “worked” with. Needless to say, my motivation was not particularly high.  The other one? Constant chatting. Lots of video meetings. Regular check-ins. Weekly Fun Friday questions to get to know each other. I made life-lasting friendships there, even with people I’ve only met once or twice…

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The 5 Best Christmas Wish List Makers

The 5 Best Christmas Wish List Makers

I remember the joy of making a Christmas wish list when I was a kid. I’d think about what books I wanted, what toys I needed (needed!), which video game commercials had spoken directly to my soul. I’d give the list to my parents, who, as far as I knew, personally delivered it to Santa.  But after it was signed, sealed, and transported northward, there was always that gut-clenching moment when I realized I forgot something. Or I saw a…

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5 Tips for a Gift Exchange with an Odd Number of People

5 Tips for a Gift Exchange with an Odd Number of People

There’s nothing wrong with being odd.  For whatever reason, we tend to think “odd” numbers are, well, off. Even numbers are solid and divide easily. They have a graceful symmetry. Odd numbers? They’re weird and quirky. It’s right there in the name! I don’t know about you, though, but I like things being odd. It makes life more interesting. Odd numbers can be like Alice in Wonderland, taking you to weird and fun places.  And contrary to popular belief, having…

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How to Play Secret Santa with a Techy Twist

How to Play Secret Santa with a Techy Twist

My uncle sat there staring at us, like he did every Christmas, glancing at every upturned face with the suspicion of a trained detective. One by one, he’d look at us, trying to spot a clue: a twitching smile, a glance away, a tell-tale blush. He was trying to figure out his Secret Santa.  He never got it right.  Eventually, someone would just confess. Other people had gifts to open. That was our ritual: watching a person guess every name…

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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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