September 29th—91 days until Christmas—Stocking Stuffers

Here are a few ideas for small stocking stuffer gifts for kids.

Everyone loves super bouncy balls.

small balls

These Plan Toy dollhouse people are fun to play with even if there is no dollhouse.

dollhousepeople

What young boy won’t love racing these Mattel Hot Wheels around the tree?hot wheels

Here are some darling animal erasers by Iwako.

ERASERS

And cute insects by Z Wind-ups.  wind ups

Even necessities like toothbrushes can be fun if they’re these Dora the Explorer brushes made by Colgate.

toothbrush

Anyone else want to share stocking stuffer ideas for kids?

Next post I’ll have suggestions of those adults on your list.  We can’t forget them, can we?

Ring in the Holidays with Good Deeds and Bells

      Let’s ring the bells first.  009 (2)  If you need a break from preparing for Thanksgiving, take a seat, grab knitting needles and Christmas colored yarn.  Follow these simple directions and in less than half an hour, you’ll complete a bell and return refreshed to your work.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are times we bask in the love of family and the blessings of our lives.  We also must think of others less fortunate.  Bob Hope said, “If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.”  He certainly didn’t suffer from heart problems,spending many of his holidays away from home, entertaining our troops.

                                       bobhopechristmas

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reach out to others, not only immediately, but also to plan ahead for Christmas. 

Call your local hospital and see what would cheer their patients.  A homeless shelter might appreciate your pitching in to help cook a meal.  A senior center might love to hear carols and you could organize a group to serenade them. 

Caroline-Kennedy

          Caroline Kennedy said, “You have to remind kids to stay connected to the meaning of Christmas. Sometimes it takes a little bit of effort, but it’s so worth it.”  

In that spirit, involve your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Invite your neighbors to participate.  The more the merrier. 

Christmas is the season of giving . . . not just to those who have, but to those who do not . . . not just to those we know, but to strangers.

Plan now to truly celebrate the holiday by opening up your world to others and treating your heart to medicine that doesn’t cost a thing.

I’d love to hear any special experiences you’ve had giving to others.

Hopefully you have already taken my suggestions and completed all, or at least the majority, of your shopping. You’ve have your cards.  So now forget about Christmas. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. In my next post we’ll discuss Christmas letters and address those cards.

Until then, let’s all strive for a stress-free, love-filled Christmas . . .

 

Party-Time Means Stress-Time

        Malcolm in the Middle’s Mom, Jane Kaczmarek stars in a great book trailer for ‘TWAS THE LATE NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS, that book I’ve mentioned starring me.  You’ll see fun pictures created by Nancy Hayashi and get an intro to the story.  Unfortunately to see my role, you’ll have to buy the book.

  Now let’s move on to the real business of this post.

Why does everyone and her cousin decide to have a party in December?  There are classroom parties, office parties, tree-decorating parties, and book club parties, just to name a few.

Do you have an urge to give a party this holiday season?

Want my advice? 

DON’T!

Long ago my dear Mr. Saint Nick and I moved our Elf Appreciation Party to March when no one has the pressure of Christmas hanging over his or her head. 

Delay your party.

Sit on your hands so you can’t address one invitation or send out a single Evite.  Keeping up with the responsibilities of family and the holidays you have more than enough on you platter.

Wait until January, or better yet February, when it’s gray and dreary and no one is sick at the thought of another gathering.  You’ll be the only celebration in town and believe me time everyone will be grateful for your invitation.

So it’s decided—no December Party, but in case you have guests drop in unannounced, it’s best to be prepared.  I keep several appetizers in my freezer just in case.  And if no one visits , no matter, you can bring them out Christmas day.  My two favorite are recipes are for yummyhammymeatballs 003 (2)

and

asparaguswreaths.  IMG_3568

        Do you have other holiday appetizers that can be prepared in advance and frozen to turn any gathering into a special event?  Tell us about them.

Our next post the day before Thanksgiving, the day before the beginning of Hanukah, November 27th is a good time to think about actions we can do to help others. 

 Until then, let’s all strive for a stress-free, love-filled Christmas . . .

Gifts to Charity

          Was anyone inspired by my last post to do something crafty for the holidays?  If my pillow wasn’t your thing, check out these possibilities. The Crafty Christmas Link-Up A The Crafty Christmas Link-Up BThe Crafty Christmas Link-Up B This link will direct you to the specific instructions for each one.

         Now let’s change the subject back to gifts, especially those to friends and family members who don’t need anything (and you know there are some people on your list who fit into that category.)  Consider making a donation to a charity in that person’s name. 

        Because Christmas is a holiday of wonder for children, I suggest donating to a charity that focuses on their well-being.  Surfing the Internet, I found this helpful website that lists 25 children’s charities to consider.

       Another favorite charity is Heifer International that turns your donations into gifts that help less fortunate people around the world become self-supporting.  Their catalog offers numerous possibilities to help no matter your budget.

heiffercatalog

Look for charities that touch a special place in the heart of your receiver.  Do you have a family member who works in the health services?  Make a donation in her name to Doctors Without Borders

      Do you have a dog lover on your list?  Consider an organization like Rescue Me.  Check out their full website to see all kinds of animals—reptiles, squirrels, wild birds, farm animals—who need homes.  Kids especially love getting pets as gifts, but beware!  Bonny Becker wrote a fun book about the problems that can result in THE CHRISTMAS CROCODILE!

  thGV380YRPYou might want to read it before you give anyone a pet.

Any favorite charities you’d like to plug for donations?   Any fun pet stories?

On November 22th, I have bad news to support, especially if some people on your list have asked for puzzles this year. 

Until then, let’s all strive for a stress-free, love-filled Christmas . . .