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Category: Christmas

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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A Gift in Itself: Easy Eco-Friendly Christmas Wrapping Ideas

A Gift in Itself: Easy Eco-Friendly Christmas Wrapping Ideas

As a child, Christmas was full of magic. I loved the gifts, the food, being with family—and collecting leftover wrapping paper at the end of all the festivities. I always asked my family and friends to unwrap their presents carefully so I could save the paper. Then, I’d spend long, winter hours indoors turning the sparkly, colorful, crinkly scraps into art projects. Years later, I still love crafts and DIY, but I’m also more conscious about how wrapping paper affects…

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A Sneaky Elf’s Guide to Hosting an Anonymous Secret Santa Office Gift Exchange with Coworkers

A Sneaky Elf’s Guide to Hosting an Anonymous Secret Santa Office Gift Exchange with Coworkers

This time last year, I had just started in a new department at work. Along with my orientation package came an invitation to participate in the office Secret Santa gift exchange. I was hesitant because I didn’t actually know anyone in my new office, but my boss encouraged me to take part—and I’m so glad I did! This fun office tradition truly helped me become a part of the team. On the day of the gift exchange, I arrived at…

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Christmas Wrapping Party Ideas to Get Organized While Getting in the Spirit

Christmas Wrapping Party Ideas to Get Organized While Getting in the Spirit

Gifts are my favorite Christmas decoration. Each present is its own story—mysterious and offering the promise of joy—and the wrapping paper is the prologue. Watching as they are opened, and the heartfelt gifts inside discovered, is the beautiful conclusion. Each box or bag is filled with potential, symbols of upcoming happiness that embody the giddy anticipation of the holiday season. So, yeah, I love wrapped gifts. But actually wrapping them, that’s a whole other story. Wrapping a Christmas’ worth of…

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Christmas Shopping Tips to Help Soothe Sensory Overload in Special Needs Kids

Christmas Shopping Tips to Help Soothe Sensory Overload in Special Needs Kids

Christmas music chimes through overhead speakers, brightly colored lights gleam in window displays, and vast aisles of decor offer an assortment of musical novelty toys all belting out carols like a dissonant choir. Rushed shoppers are out in droves, lined up at check-out counters. As their treasures beep across the scanners, I hear them chatting on cellphones, or yelling to a spouse to make a run for a forgotten item while they hold down a coveted place in line. The…

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Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Seniors, from the Inexpensive to the Unexpected

Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Seniors, from the Inexpensive to the Unexpected

Buying gifts for seniors, whether your parents or another special person in your life, always seems strangely difficult, even as it feels more vital and urgent—and I think I’ve figured out why. They’ve had a lifetime to accumulate things. More than that, though, I’m always worried about getting something that seems too common, too basic, and not weighted with the thoughtfulness they deserve. There is so much I want to express with my gifts—love, appreciation, respect, a quiet thanks for…

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Elfster, Toys for Tots, and You: Conjuring up Christmas Magic on Giving Tuesday

Elfster, Toys for Tots, and You: Conjuring up Christmas Magic on Giving Tuesday

There’s a special magic that wells up in children everywhere this time of year—their hearts are filled with hope at just the thought of twinkling lights, happy carols, and the possibility of snow flurries to turn the world into a dreamy greeting card. Every kid delights in Christmas morning surprises wrapped in colorful paper and tied with a bow, under the fragrant bough of an evergreen tree delicately laced with sparkling garlands. Elfster and Toys for Tots make those childish…

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Sorority Sisters Send Holiday Cheer with Worldwide Ornament Exchanges

Sorority Sisters Send Holiday Cheer with Worldwide Ornament Exchanges

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. — Author Unknown Ready or not, the holidays are here. Time to finish up the shopping and the wrapping. Time to deck the halls and trim the tree. But it’s also a great time of year to pause and remember what is most important as you go about your busy day, like spending time with the ones we love or spreading some holiday cheer to a…

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Let’s Get Gifting: Helpful Tips to Get Started With Your Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Let’s Get Gifting: Helpful Tips to Get Started With Your Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Well, business has sure picked up for the elves over the past few weeks and that means the much-anticipated holidays are just around the corner! Time to get your wish lists in order and start inviting friends and family to join you in the fun of a Secret Santa Gift Exchange.  Here are a few pointers to help you get started with organizing your own gift exchange. Getting Started: Secret Santa Generator Elfster is the Web’s top-rated online Secret Santa…

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Celebrating the Season Through The Eye’s of a Child

Celebrating the Season Through The Eye’s of a Child

There’s something so magical about baby’s first Christmas — a holiday season filled with wonder and awe. Curious eyes gaze at twinkling lights. Carols sung softly drift into baby’s sweet ears. Christmas card photos proudly capture that perfect moment and new family traditions are just taking shape. It’s a holiday worth celebrating through the eyes of a child. As they reflect on a year filled with happiness for already receiving the greatest gift of all, several groups of Elfster moms…

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Secret Santa Exchange Gives Back To Community Kids in Need

Secret Santa Exchange Gives Back To Community Kids in Need

The holiday season has arrived quickly yet again this year – so much to do, so little time. But in the hustle and bustle of these crazy days, it’s also time to give thanks and give back. Elfster is proud to help bring together a generous grassroots group that is using social media to mobilize a community making a difference for children in need. Secret Santa Guelph (#secretsantaguelph) is a fundraising gift exchange started four years ago by Elfster user…

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Comics enthusiasts fete the holidays

Comics enthusiasts fete the holidays

Comics Therapy  is a weekly podcast that promises, “No Reviews, Just Analysis. Comics, our lives, and the big issues we all deal with.”  The show is the work of two creators, Andrea Shockling and Aaron Meyers.  What sets their show apart from some others is that they do not do reviews or cover other industry news; they prefer to discuss the recent works, and host creator interviews. According to Andrea, the comics community is a relatively small one but filled…

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Handmade gift exchange connects Irish crafters

Handmade gift exchange connects Irish crafters

Who doesn’t love and appreciate receiving a special handmade gift?  For people who enjoy making crafts, sometimes they are more often on the giving side of handmade gifts, and less frequently receiving them.  One group of crafters decided to start a gift exchange group as a way to ensure that their members will receive something made just for them! The group is known as Knitmas, and includes knitters and other crafty folks.  All of the members have lived in Ireland…

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The most wonderful time of the year!

The most wonderful time of the year!

  As you can imagine, this time of year is very busy for all of us at Elfster.  We love it.  We wait all year for this, and we get so excited when our site gets super busy!  We are inspired by all the groups that use Elfster, and love to hear their stories and find out more about the groups. One group that caught our eye, is the gift exchange for the followers of the wildly popular Australian blog,…

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Music Fans celebrate the season of giving

Music Fans celebrate the season of giving

The Zac Brown Band enjoys phenomenal success. They have twelve hit singles, two platinum records, and a very loyal fan club, known as the Zamily. Currently over 13,000 members strong, they are leveraging the power of numbers to make good things happen. In this season, it is great to share a story about a group dedicated to giving to others in need. They have taken their common love of music, and turned it into a way to give back to…

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Last Minute Gifts

Last Minute Gifts

We’ve all been busy elves over the last few weeks. No matter which holiday you’re celebrating, it’s a time for family, goodwill, and renewal of relationships. Then all of a sudden, a knock comes at the door, the phone rings, or an email arrives. Last minute visitor, party, or family member has been dropped on you, and you don’t have a present! Not to worry, Elfster has you covered with some simple ideas. 1. Grab a Gift Card Many gift…

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Cyber Week Deals

Cyber Week Deals

  Thanksgiving is now one for the memory books, and the hectic weekend is over. If you are tired from visiting all your favorite stores, or you just have not gotten started on your holiday shopping, fear not. Elfster has rounded up some of the best deals from the top retailers.   Let your fingers do the shopping, and take advantage of great Cyber Week specials. Click on the links below, and soon you’ll be saying, Ho! Ho! Ho! as you…

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Those Crazy Christmas Toys

Those Crazy Christmas Toys

Remember how when you were little, there was always that one thing you wanted to see under the tree?  Whether you were into the most obscure items or frantic for the most popular trinket of the season, it was up to Mom, Dad, Grandparents, or Santa to fight the insanity and get it for you!  Here’s an Elfster look back at a few of the craziest fads from the 1990s. TOY #1: TICKLE ME ELMO (1996) The fad began as…

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Military moms support each other with Elfster ornament exchange

Military moms support each other with Elfster ornament exchange

Sending your child off to college can be one of the most bittersweet moments for any parent. There is joy to see the success and independence that your child has achieved, as well as worry and sadness at the thought of your “little one” being out there on their own. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you are sending your child off to not just college, but to a career in the military. Elfster is humbled to host a…

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Scheduling For The Holidays: 3 Months And Counting

Scheduling For The Holidays: 3 Months And Counting

It sneaks up on us so fast…one minute the kids are going back to school.  Suddenly, it’s time for Halloween.  Soon, you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving.  Then it’s just a short month until Christmas.     Before it’s time to trim the tree and deck the halls, we suggest these tips to make your holiday life a little less frantic :) 1. Plan for sales Black Friday?  Cyber Monday?  While these sales are rooted in American holiday tradition, they’ve expanded to…

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Holidays 101: Thinking Ahead

Holidays 101: Thinking Ahead

You may not be thinking of the holiday season yet; after all, it’s still three months until Christmas.  But the holidays can be a frantic, if amazing, time of the year when you don’t want to lose out on any memories.  A bit of head-start planning can save you heartache and headache in December.  So here’s a list of Elfster tips for things you can start thinking about and plan ahead of time:   1. Create and gather wish lists…

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Secret Santa : Getting the Family Onboard

Secret Santa : Getting the Family Onboard

Every family’s heard it: “You don’t have to buy me anything this year!” Or, “I’ve got all the gifts I need, seriously.” And let’s not forget the old favorite, “Please don’t buy me a present.” These are some of the more nauseating bluffs that seem to spike in popularity during the holiday gifting season. In our opinion, talk like that has no place in the home, and it’ll cost you a pretty penny in the Swear Jar if uttered in…

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