Homeschool Families Making Meaningful Connections with Simple Gifts

Homeschool Families Making Meaningful Connections with Simple Gifts

I saw the need in our community and was excited to think of something that would help – even a little. — Terry Yaceyko School-aged children have certainly been hit with challenges this past year, especially when it comes to connecting with the people they love the most. Not only have they been temporarily cut off from beloved grandparents and special family members, but when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit and schools closed their doors to in-person learning, their usual…

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Life’s short. Talk fast. (And Gift Often!)

Life’s short. Talk fast. (And Gift Often!)

Can you believe it’s been over 20 years since the world first fell in love with the mother-daughter duo of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore and their fast-talking, witty banter (ever-fueled by coffee)? The hit dramedy Gilmore Girls has certainly stood the test of time, and these Girls are not going anywhere, anytime soon. Stars Hollow: Still Our Happy Place The Gilmore Girls phenomenon seems to have only intensified since its debut in 2000. Love for the show is being passed…

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After a Month of Self-Sacrifice & Spiritual Growth, a Party is Certainly in Order

After a Month of Self-Sacrifice & Spiritual Growth, a Party is Certainly in Order

Eid al-Fitr falls on May 12 this year and celebrations will continue into the next day. As someone new to these traditions, I was eager to learn more about the festivities surrounding the celebration of Eid al-Fitr and the importance of gift giving, so I reached out to several members of Muslim families and communities who have trusted Elfster to help bring them together. They shared with me their own stories of how they are creating new traditions, not only…

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You’ve Been EGGED: A New Easter Tradition to Spread Joy to Your World

You’ve Been EGGED: A New Easter Tradition to Spread Joy to Your World

After the longest year any of us can remember — filled with challenges and uncertainty — the dawning of a new Spring is in the air. Snow is melting, birds are chirping and the sweetness of Easter is just around the corner. Even the elves are looking forward to some warm weather. Want to start an egg-citing new Easter tradition to spread joy to your world this Easter season? Reconnect with your peeps with a new way to celebrate that’s…

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How One Book Club is Amplifying the Voices of Black Culture

How One Book Club is Amplifying the Voices of Black Culture

Just as every book has its own story to tell, so too do the eyes that are cast upon their pages. Through the lens of an author of color, they share the diverse voices of Black culture from their perspective. As readers, this gives us the opportunity to learn from their life experiences and appreciate their story. But some stories have been harder to tell, through no fault of the author. Writers of color — especially women — are often…

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A Freilichen Purim! Gift Basket Ideas to Celebrate Spring, Community and Life’s Joys

A Freilichen Purim! Gift Basket Ideas to Celebrate Spring, Community and Life’s Joys

Late winter and early spring are, for everyone, imbued with a sense of rebirth and excitement. It’s a time to escape the long winter—and look forward to the light. For the Jewish people, though, it means something more. It is the time for Purim, to celebrate when they were saved from annihilation at the hands of the Persians. It’s more than a party for the rebirth of spring; it is celebrating the miracle of existence. And what a celebration it…

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Board Game Community Puts Spotlight on Generosity

Board Game Community Puts Spotlight on Generosity

When I was a kid, my family was really into playing board games. For my brothers, I’m sure it was all about the strategy and a little “friendly” competition. For me, it was all about the tiny game pieces. (I mean, who doesn’t love the adorable Scottie Dog of Monopoly fame?) Those family game nights spent sitting around the dining room table talking, laughing and conspiring over the game board hold fond memories. The lessons we learned from being challenged…

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Host a Galentine’s Gift Exchange to Connect with Your Besties

Host a Galentine’s Gift Exchange to Connect with Your Besties

I miss the “good old days” — the carefree days, pre-Covid 19, when social gatherings were still a thing. I miss my girlfriends A LOT. I miss our hugs. I miss our monthly Book Club get-togethers at our favorite watering hole where we’d sit for hours, chatting and laughing the night away, sans interruption from kids & significant others. I miss all the stuff! But we all realize the need to keep our distance to keep each other safe and…

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Cookie Exchange Raises the Bar on Holiday Baking

Cookie Exchange Raises the Bar on Holiday Baking

Here at Elfster, we consider ourselves experts on pretty much “all things holiday” — we are elves after all! Picking the perfect presents, keeping tabs on Santa’s nice & naughty lists and helping your holidays come off without a hitch. You name it, we’re you go-to elves! But when it comes to creating sweet treats, we’ve certainly met our match!  We are super impressed and inspired by a group of over 200 talented and creative ‘Secret Cookie Elves’ who have…

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Why I Hated Gift Exchanges Before Elfster

Why I Hated Gift Exchanges Before Elfster

The first time I ever participated in a gift exchange was in college. I’m not sure how I escaped my entire life before that point without having taken part in one, but when I heard the rules for my very first White Elephant gift exchange, I took them very seriously. I spent a lot of time thinking of a gift that would be worthy of being “stolen” per the rules of the game.  What’s A White Elephant Gift Exchange? If…

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Secret Santa: An Old Christmas Tradition With Some Modern Twists

Secret Santa: An Old Christmas Tradition With Some Modern Twists

Secret Santa is one of the most enduring Christmas traditions across the world. In its purest form, it is a game in which someone gives an anonymous gift to a pre-designated recipient, then the recipient tries to guess who the giver is. The tradition is popular at office holiday parties, among groups of friends, and within families, and online. The exchange is often held on or just before Christmas in America and during the earlier weeks of December in the…

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Don’t Let Distance Deter You From Celebrating the Holidays

Don’t Let Distance Deter You From Celebrating the Holidays

Event planning is my happy place. In fact, when my husband tried to throw me a birthday party for a milestone age that shall not be mentioned, I couldn’t let him. Well, actually I tried for about a week, but sitting on the sidelines was killing me. I appreciated and acknowledged his effort but then promptly shoved him aside because he was in my wheelhouse and throwing a party is my jam! It was one of the best birthdays I…

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How to Create Hair-Raising Halloween Fun: A You’ve Been Booed Neighborhood Gifting Game

How to Create Hair-Raising Halloween Fun: A You’ve Been Booed Neighborhood Gifting Game

A slight chill is in the air. Pumpkins are creatively perched on porches all over town. And though remaining socially distant, the neighborhood candy collectors will soon be dressed to thrill, safely hitting the streets on their sweet mission to fill their sacks all the way to the tippy top. From princess to pirate, minion to mermaid, as kids young and old eagerly anticipate the big night, the question of the season remains, “What are you going to be for…

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Good Secret Santa Gifts to Ask for When You Can’t Think of Anything

Good Secret Santa Gifts to Ask for When You Can’t Think of Anything

There are two very, very simple questions that always leave me stumped: 1) What kind of music do you like; and 2) what do you want for Christmas/birthday/etc.? I listen to music all day, dozens of albums a week, and have deep opinions on all of them, but can never remember a single one when asked. Similarly, there are a lot of things I know I want, but when it comes to making a list for Secret Santa, I draw…

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4 Secret Santa Party Themes to Up the Creativity

4 Secret Santa Party Themes to Up the Creativity

Getting into a festive party mood is rarely difficult if you’re a party planner like me. I’m always ready to see family, friends, neighbors, and college pals in person, online, or a combination of both. And I’m still particularly fond of Secret Santa parties especially when the theme is exciting and engaging for everyone involved. Sir Isaac Newton once said, “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” And I…

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LGBTQIA+ Podcast Fans Swap ‘Coming Out Boxes’ for Pride

LGBTQIA+ Podcast Fans Swap ‘Coming Out Boxes’ for Pride

As summer soon turns to fall, it’s hard to believe it has been over five months since we first heard the two words that would come to define 2020: social distancing. Way back when, as we abruptly hit pause on “normal,” our hearts grew heavy as we physically extracted ourselves from each others’ lives. Our minds looked for ways to connect while focusing on being vigilant about our health and safety. But here we are — our wiser selves —…

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3 Fun Gift Exchange Games for Family Gatherings

3 Fun Gift Exchange Games for Family Gatherings

My great-grandmother Irene set up games for us to play as a family during every birthday, anniversary, or holiday gift exchange. In the summer and fall, it was croquet in the backyard. The winner received their gift first, followed by those who came in second and third place. For birthdays, we’d play Dominoes or Uno. Only, she would pronounce it “You Know!” That winner would always be first for a white elephant gift exchange. She’d offer lemonade, cookies, and joy…

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How to Use a Pick Names Out of a Hat App

How to Use a Pick Names Out of a Hat App

As a lifelong Chicagoan, I have a lot of baseball hats that I’ve been wearing for a long time, showing off my love for the White Sox. I have hats I’ve been playing softball in for years. Running hats. Hats for just lounging on the deck and grilling in the heat of a sweltering August. You know what I don’t have a hat for? Reaching your hand in to pick names for a gift exchange. I mean, granted, any of…

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5 Children’s Gift Exchange Ideas to Get Everyone Involved

5 Children’s Gift Exchange Ideas to Get Everyone Involved

As an adult, you probably look back over your childhood and remember how you received so many gifts. Now, as a parent, you’re likely the one giving them. But, whether you’re on the receiving end or the one giving the gifts, there’s one thing that has likely remained the same: the excitement. Nothing beats the feeling of opening a gift or seeing the joy on your child’s face when they open a gift.   And, while you might be a pro…

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Secret Santa for Virtual Teams: Tips and Tricks

Secret Santa for Virtual Teams: Tips and Tricks

Before my office transitioned to all of us working remotely, we were planning our annual summer party. Each year, it’s always featured a competitive kickball game and a Secret Santa gift exchange—playing off the “Christmas in July” theme. Needless to say, this being 2020, our normal party isn’t going to happen. While there won’t be a chance to defend our kickball championship title, my team will still be able to participate in a Secret Santa for virtual teams.  As we…

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The Benefits of a Birthday Wish List App

The Benefits of a Birthday Wish List App

It always seems a little unfair that your birthday is only 24 hours long, doesn’t it? You wait a whole year for it, and even if you act all nonchalant, you know it’s coming. You’re waiting for it. And then by noon, it’s already half over! There should be a law making it at least 26 hours!  Well, even if they don’t pass that very reasonable and common-sense solution, you can still pack a lot into one day. You can…

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Top 10 Church Gift Exchange Ideas

Top 10 Church Gift Exchange Ideas

Church: it’s one of my favorite places to be. Over the years, I’ve realized more and more the importance of faith for my family. In the process, I’ve participated in many church social groups that still connect today, only sometimes on a virtual basis. From quilting ladies’ groups and Women of Hope to prayer teams and adoption ministry, I’ve enjoyed it. I can always rely on my connections to be there for me through thick and thin, without judgment. What…

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7 Great Secret Santa Gifts for the Boss

7 Great Secret Santa Gifts for the Boss

All right—Secret Santa time at the office! You’ve entered your name in the Secret Santa generator and are ready to see who you’re paired with this year. Will it be your friend in accounting? Your favorite lunch buddy? Or the new woman, who you’d love to get to know better? Oh, the endless exciting possibilities!  Oh, wait—you got your boss. Well, might as well quit and find a new job.  Okay, so you don’t have to be that dramatic, but…

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