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Category: Christmas

What are the Best Christmas Party Games for High School Students?

What are the Best Christmas Party Games for High School Students?

Being a teenager means living in a strange middle ground between childhood and adulthood. That manifests in a lot of ways, but it’s especially acute around Christmas. You’re a little too old for the childhood magic to swirl into your mind but don’t quite have the sweet nostalgia that makes the season so achingly beautiful for adults.  This isn’t to stereotype teens as too cool for school, or thinking something is “lame,” or whatever people my age like to say…

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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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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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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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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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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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A Twist on the Secret Santa Game for Last Minute Christmas Fun

A Twist on the Secret Santa Game for Last Minute Christmas Fun

We gathered around my mom, anxiously shifting from foot to foot as she shook a red and green bag filled with slips of paper. On each slip was written a name—the name of the person we would need to buy a present for as part of our annual Secret Santa game. Finding out who I was assigned to was always my favorite part (other than opening my present, that is!). But after we drew names, my mom unleashed a surprise:…

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Funny and Festive Secret Santa Game Reveal Ideas

Funny and Festive Secret Santa Game Reveal Ideas

“Please tell me! Pleeeease!” my niece begged over the phone. We were two weeks away from Christmas, and she was dying to know who drew her name for our family’s big Secret Santa game. “The surprise is part of the fun,” I explained, knowing full well that hearing such words was agony to a seven-year-old. I remembered how, when I was a kid, my sister and I would conspire with our cousins to trade gift recipients and try to figure…

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Six Stress-Free Last Minute Christmas Shopping Tips

Six Stress-Free Last Minute Christmas Shopping Tips

“Rockin’ around/the Christmas tree,” crooned Brenda Lee. I was making circles in the mall parking lot, and this was the third or fourth rendition of my favorite holiday song I’d heard in the time it was taking me to find a spot. Usually, I try to Christmas shop throughout the year to avoid these eleventh hour journeys, but I’d been traveling for work a lot that year. Now I needed to get gifts for everyone in the family—on the last…

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Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Projects You Can Gift or Keep

Make Your Own Christmas Ornament Projects You Can Gift or Keep

There’s nothing I love more about Christmas than decorating the tree. When I was little, my family and I would turn on our favorite Mel Torme Christmas cassette, fill a tray with Christmas cookies my mom had baked, pass around the eggnog, and begin merrily untangling the lights and hanging ornaments. The best part was opening the box of ornaments and being reminded of all the wonderful memories attached to each one. And while they all had a special place…

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Homemade Edible Christmas Food Gifts You Can Make in Advance

Homemade Edible Christmas Food Gifts You Can Make in Advance

I’m not the craftiest person in the world, so it goes without saying that DIY Christmas gifts are not my forte. Give me a glue gun or a needle and I’ll probably end up hurting myself rather than creating something impressive. What I can do, however, is cook. One Christmas, fresh out of pastry school with very little money to spend on Christmas gifts, I used my new confectionary skills to make nougatine with rosewater, pistachios, and dried cherries for…

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Easy Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

Easy Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

“They’re here! They’re here!” my kids squealed, running between the just knocked-upon front door and the kitchen, where I was elbow-deep in sugar cookie dough. My sister was slated to arrive for a Christmas visit that night, but she was two hours early. Not to worry! I thought, remembering all the time we spent meticulously cutting out and decorating cookies when we were kids. I wiped the dough off my hands and ran to the door, flinging it open to…

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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 “new” Barbie, and…

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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 in the order…

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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 watch a movie…

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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 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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