Stocking Stuffers that Give Back

Looking for a holiday gift that gives back? These are a great alternative to the usual stocking stuffer and also gives back to the planet: a tree planted by Tree-Nation (300 varieties to choose from) to help reforest the Earth and reduce CO2 emissions, all in one present.

The Earth loses about 36 football fields worth of forest each minute and during the holiday season, the U.S. alone sells 2.65 billion cards and spends $12.7 billion on wrapping paper, so this is the perfect time to give back. Gifting a tree with Tree-Nation can cost consumers as little as a dime and supports climate change and reforestation projects across the globe—here in the U.S., Brazil, India and many more. Recipients will receive access to the platform where they can track their tree growth and check in on the CO2 emissions they are offsetting all via their personalized “forest” page.

Cool idea, yeah? Check it out. Happy holidays 🙂

Christmas Markets Tips for Families

Christmas markets are an absolute joy to visit during the Holiday season. As someone who considers themselves a Christmas market aficionado, I have come up with a list of the best possible tips to get the most from your Christmas market visits. 

 

Tips For Getting The Most From Your Christmas Market Visits: 

  1. Visit At Night. 

 

One of the things that you should do is schedule your Christmas market visits at nighttime. While you can visit them during the day as they are typically open, they are going to be much prettier to visit during the later hours of the day. That way, you can experience the sparkling lights in the dark and experience the changed festive atmosphere at night. 

 

  1. Visit Different Markets. 

 

While it might be tempting to visit one and be over with it, you will want to broaden your horizons. Instead, you should look to visit at least three different markets. After all, each market has its own ambiance with its own decor and specializations. Because of this, you should be planning a trip to a minimum of three to get the most out of your entire experience. You will only be able to reach the one located at Fraueninsel via boat transportation. It is the only one that you will find in Germany on an island. Whereas, in Munich itself, you will find 17 unique Christmas markets each with its own specialization. Check out this list of the best top 10 traditional Christmas markets.

 

  1. Go Thirsty and Hungry. 

 

One of the best things about Christmas markets, in general, would be the food and the drinks. Because of this, you will want to go hungry and thirsty. You will find all kinds of different foods especially at a German Christmas market where you can find specialty foods and beverages that are only available during the Christmas time of the year. This includes must-haves like Lebkuchen which is gingerbread and even Kinderpunsch which tastes much like Kool-Aid. You will be able to take advantage of the regional specialties at the market which can really be a fun and rewarding experience. 

 

  1. Visit With Your Friends And Family. 

 

Another good tip to implement is to try visiting with both your friends and family. You will be able to have a much better overall time by visiting with your friends and family because you will be able to hang out with them in a great atmosphere and celebrate the time of year with them. If you are going to be hanging out for a long time with your friends and family, you should dress appropriately because the weather can get very cold. 

 

  1. Look For Local Specialties. 

 

Whenever you are going out to Christmas markets which specialties, you should be seeking them out. You want to look at each market individually and try the specialties it offers. For instance, the one in Nürnberg specializes in gingerbread. Therefore, you want to ensure that you try it. Whereas, other markets specialize in other foods. 

 

  1. Wear Gloves. 

 

Wearing gloves is a good tip because these markets can get very cold. However, you do want to be sure that you are going to be able to hold objects like cups while at the market. The best way to ensure that you remain warm but don’t lose the inconvenience of having a strong grip without gloves is by wearing finger-less mittens or gloves.

Ideas for your next Christmas card

Tis the season once again and you must be riveting from all the Christmas card ideas that you have in mind. Whether you choose a theme such as construction Christmas cards made especially for your builder husband, or an astronaut theme for your little dreamer, this article offers some of the freshest ideas on exactly what you should write inside.

 

First things first

 

It can be tricky to let your loved one feel how special they are through Christmas cards. As it is tradition, almost every one of them can seem repetitive. When you think about it, at least 9 of 10 cards that you have received last Christmas probably read something along the lines of “Dear Mom, Merry Christmas. Love from all of us.”. Christmas cards have become predictable and, worst case, insincere. So if you are writing a Christmas card, try to find inspiration to show your loved one how much Christmas together means for you.

 

The first thing you ought to do is to choose a Christmas card design. This is not always easy given possibly the million choices that you can select from. You can start by narrowing it down to themes that you think fits your the one you are giving the card to perfectly. There are some considerations you have to take into account as well like religious beliefs, stature, relationship with the receiver and even cultural background. From cute to formal, from straightforward to touching, there is a design that will fit each one. But, if you think you are up to the task, you can also design one yourself. Keep in mind however that it may take a few skills with the photo editing tool and a lot of work and patience if you are not used to it. But that extra mile you do will definitely be appreciated by the receiver and you should do that if you could.

 

As is tradition, Christmas cards often come with pictures with families or loved ones. You pick the most gorgeous one you have in stock, or better yet, make a new one each year so you can commemorate each Christmas how much things have changed since the very first Christmas.

 

Now with all of the preliminaries out of the way, it is time to write your Christmas card message. Here are some tips for you that will hopefully add to the joyful spirit that is Christmas.

Brevity is key

 

Whilst you want to tell your recipients all about the entire year your family has went through, you have to keep their attention and a lengthy message will not afford you that. Keep it short and think of a feeling that you want to convey rather than a story that you want to tell. Typically 2 to 5 lines should be enough with no more than 15 words. Keep in mind that a picture already speaks a thousand words but would not take as long to read.

For your parents or grandparents

 

Sometimes when making cards for close family members, you might think there might be nothing else you could say, after all you call your mum and dad every day. You may be right, but it does not mean that you can’t give your loved one something a bit more special. Our suggestion is to recreate some of the pictures that your parents or grandparents have of you. As you may be living far away from them now, these pictures are all they have of you to remember you by, and now they will have the grown up version. Print the original photo in front and put the recreated photo in the back. You can then choose to have a printed message inside or you can leave it blank so you can personalize it for each recipient.

For your colleagues at work

 

There is a certain balance that you have to maintain when writing construction Christmas cards for your coworkers. While you would not want them to seem bland and generic, you do not want it to be too personal as it may seem insincere. Either way, the most important thing is that you give each one a card as anyone missing a card might feel like he/she is being targeted. You can have different cards for your close workmates like the ones that sit beside your desk or those you know well enough and you can do a different one for your boss. You can add a little personalization in it as well as long as you do not feel like you are overstepping any bounds. All in all, these people are probably the ones that you will be mingling with the longest throughout the year so it is important to show them that you remember them for Christmas.

Make the cards sing

 

When you are all out of ideas, there is nothing that feels a lot more like Christmas than sharing Christmas song lines. Pick a favorite one of better yet pick the recipients favorite line and make that the message of your card. While it may not feel as personal or as original as most would rather have it, it is a sure way to let them know that you are one with them in celebrating Christmas.

For close friends

 

Friends are the easiest people that you are going to talk to in your entire life because as they say friends are family that you get to choose. There is no issue in keeping it casual when talking with your friends. Write long cheesy lines to make sure that they know how you feel about them. To let them know just how exclusive is the friendship between the two of you, make sure to add a few touches that only the two of you would understand. This will make them realize that you have especially written the construction Christmas card for them. And most important of all, send them Christmas love by sending them a picture of you both.

Hoppey Easter! Filling Those Bunny Baskets

It’s already April, and of course that means that for many, the Easter Bunny will soon be hopping his or her way into their houses with a basket of treats.  Here are a few ideas to consider for your kids- or kids at heart.

Tired of hearing your kid’s video games or other noisy electronics? Tell them to put on a pair of headphones, we deserve some peace and quiet once and a while. I don’t need to hear every time your character get a coin, LOL.  BuddyPhones are volume-limiting kids headphones, which are perfect since kids cannot ruin their hearing by playing the volume too loud.  These fun looking and good quality headphones keep the ears of little listeners safe by providing them with the safest, toughest headphones for a decent price. Really- they don’t cost an arm an a leg. They are available in popular colors and designs, including the uber trendy unicorn. Your kids are quiet and  entertained (perfect for car and air travel as well!) and parents are not subjected to the same movies, games, or shows over and over again. Thank you, I’ll have that.

Water resistant and durable with as much as 24 hour battery life, these also sport wireless connection capability. More then one kid? BuddyPhones offers their patented shared BuddyCable, which is a great option for families with multiple kids and only one device, or when one of them inevitably loses one of theirs at the worst moment. Good backup plan.
Available now at www.buddyphones.com or Amazon ($69.90-$79.99).
yoshi's crafted world
Speaking about games, do you have a little Yoshi fan in your life? Yoshi has a new game just out, Yoshi’s Crafted World. This is Yoshi’s first starring adventure on Nintendo Switch, so it’s a big deal for fans. Yoshi will venture through his crafted world, collecting costumes and gems, battling ShyGuys (the most familiar faces in the series) along with thieving mice, and other enemies who await. There is a level that flips stages, and you must do them backwards. Yoshi must help Poochi her puppies back, as they ran off (as bratty pups will do from time to time).  Baby Bowser is back, causing a ruckus, as are an all star team of favorite characters your child will love to interact with.
Fun and funky graphics, with accessible yet challenging gameplay that is perfect for younger audiences but still fun for older ones, this game can be played with two players at a time, which makes it great for family fun.  $60 on https://www.nintendo.com/

For cute additions to your child’s basket, take a look at Rescue Runts Babies. These adoptable mini plush pets let your child rescue, groom, collect and love them. These four-inch plush pets come in small, brightly covered, plastic crates that your child can use at their “home”.  These little stuffed animals are in need love, cuddles, and care. Your child can remove “fleas,” brush their fur, and tie collar ribbons, and more to help them go from ragged rescue to valued and loved pet.

There are more then 20 pets to choose from, including cats, dogs, wild animals, and mythical creatures. Each Rescue Runts Babies is sold separately, and the package comes with the pet of choice, convertible crate, 3 fleas, brush, ribbon /collar, as well as stickers. $10 at Walmart.

easter chocolate

If you, like me, like to give a basket to your partner/spouse (or need a gift for friends, bosses, co-workers, clients, etc), look no further then Godiva. These gourmet chocolates are bound to be a hit,  the melt in your mouth delights will be savored by any chocolate lover. With many sizes and options available, the most inclusive and varied would be the Enchanted Easter Chocolate Gift Basket.

Available in stores or online, this basket comes pre-filled with a collection of the best chocolates as well as GODIVA’s sweet plush 2019 Easter bunny. There are eight different chocolate gifts placed inside, including

One 2019 Limited Edition – Plush Bunny with Chocolate Foil Easter Eggs, One Milk Chocolate Bunny, One Eggstra Special Assorted 5 piece Chocolates Gift Box, 5 One Classic Milk Chocolate G Cube Box with 22 candies inside, One Solid Milk Chocolate Bunny with 5 Foil-Wrapped Chocolate Eggs,One Truffle Crème Egg 4 piece Assortment,One Milk Chocolate Bar, One Dark Chocolate Raspberry Bar. Something for everyone- or just me. Just me it is.

Prices vary per item, this particular basket is $99.95; at Godiva.com with all items included as described and listed.

Portable North Pole Toys for the Holiday Season #GiftGuide

Portable North Pole (PNP) brings the magic of Christmas to life with personalized video messages and calls directly from Santa to children young and old. Children (and parents) have sent more than 210 million videos globally since they started 10 years ago.

New for 2018 – the10th Anniversary of Portable North Pole- a line of adorable products, toys and plush dolls that lets kids live the magic of the season while encouraging good behavior:

  • NEW! Letters to Santa Kit: Take your personalized video to the next level using the Letters to Santa Kit, as the included video message reply will include your child’s hand-written letter. Each kit comes with stationary, envelopes, festive Christmas stickers and an officialNorth Pole post office stamp and ink pad. MSRP $12.99.
  • NEW! Twenty-Four Sleeps Until Santa Christmas Storybook:Kids count down the days of December with Santa! Every page offers the “Search and Find” game where kids hunt for Santa’s missing keys and a merry advent verse to read each day. Plus, the book can be personalized with a child’s photo and details. MSRP $12.99.
  • Do-Good Elf:Inspires learning about the true spirit of the holidays by encouraging kids to teach their elf the difference between naughty and nice.

The Do-Good Elf catches you doing GOOD vs. other elves that “spy” on you and report bad behavior back to Santa…

Comes with four (4) personalized videos where Santa checks in on the child teaching progress and more. MSRP $24.99.

  • Karamelli Santa’s Sweetest Baby Reindeer Plush and Okida Santa Playful Husky Puppy Plush: Children teach their cuddly baby pet about the spirit of Christmas. MSRP $12.99.

All toys will be available across North America at most Walmart locations and at Walmart.com this fall.

Euro Yuletide — 10 Christmas travel tips

For many Americans, the focus of Christmas is family — so provided we’re safe, sound and together, let the holiday celebrations begin.

But if you’re ticking items off your family travel bucket list, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about spending the festive season in Europe.

Whether it’s the rustic old-world architecture, traditional Christmas markets, charming locals or fabulous food and drink, a trip to a European winter wonderland has all the fantasy elements of a scene suspended in a snow globe.  

If you’re planning to shake things up for real this Christmas with a continental break and need practical pre-flight advice, dream destination suggestions and clothing choices, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are ten Christmas travel tips for a Euro Yuletide.

 

  • UK border tips

 

If you’re headed for Britain, long passport control queues at airports like Heathrow and Gatwick might make the entire family antsy. But read these tips to beat border delays from the UK government to sail through swiftly.

 

  • Lounge pass

 

Chilling out in a luxe airport lounge prior to boarding your flight beats the busy regular terminal hands down — grab a Priority Pass membership online for access to over 1,000 worldwide lounge locations.

 

  • PJs

 

Struggling to convince your kids that a break to Bavaria or Brussels will be brilliant? Grab some sets of family matching pajamas from LazyOne.com — they’ll fast-track family festive bonding.

 

  • Pre-flight treat

 

Moms and dads yearning for a cheap culinary treat to get themselves in the mood for a magnificent European break should invest in a chai eggnog latte from Starbucks – it’s Christmas in a cup.

 

  • Parking

 

Travel to the airport in your family vehicle for a friction-free pre-flight experience that’s more relaxing than public transport — find parking at any US airport on Looking4.com to fly with peace of mind.

 

  • Boots

 

Wellington boots have been a mainstay of British fashion for generations and the brand that’s de rigueur these days is Hunter — a stylish pair will protect your feet wherever you’re trekking in Europe.

 

  • Skiing

 

If finding fresh powder on foreign slopes is your idea of family fun, there are few better Euro destinations than Switzerland — Ski Armadillo offer cool catered chalet experiences in the Verbier resort.

 

  • Northern Lights

 

Seeing the Aurora Borealis first hand is a spectacular festive family treat and if you view these legendary Northern Lights from Lapland, the rumor is that your kids can visit the real Santa Claus too. Check out Nordic Visitor tours online for a Noel you’ll never forget.

 

  • Hogmanay

 

‘What’s Hogmanay?’ we hear you say — it’s Scotland’s version of New Year and no one on Earth parties like the natives of this beautiful land. Book a package for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party and get ready to rock.

 

  • Madeira

 

For a New Year trip that’s slightly more sedate than Scotland but equally spectacular, head to the marvelous Portuguese island of Madeira. You’ll enjoy terrific torch-lit meals in fabulous Funchal and witness one of the world’s biggest firework displays when the clock strikes midnight.

That’s our list! Tell us about your favorite festive Euro destination in the comments section.

Top 10 Costumes for 2018

Wondering what to be this year for Halloween?
Or maybe you want to avoid the costumes you’re going to be seeing  most when Halloween rolls around this year? We’ve got the answers for you, regardless of what you are wondering.

red riding hood costume

Browse the articles to find out which costumes ranked most popular this year according to Costume SuperCenter. With the latest trending movies and shows, you might anticipate some of these, but we think you might be surprised by others—so don’t miss out.

We decided to go as “The Big Bad Wolf”- even though the wolf costume we chose was more adorable then scary- and Red Riding Hood. The kids are all over the place, which is unusual- they usually like to do a theme as a group, but hey. They grow up, and they have their own independent minds, so. Things change.

The kids are going as an angel, Freddie (of 5 Nights of Freddie), and Black Panther. Not cohesive, that’s for sure, ha.

I think that, of these, it seems that Black Panther will be everywhere, as will Freddie. The Angel is a pretty standard Halloween costume, so I am sure we will see a few of those, as well. What are you going as this year? Or have you yet to choose?

 

DIY Vampirina and Unicorn Hoodies

Vampirina is the spookiest ghoul on Disney Junior. That’s why with Halloween and cooler weather right around the corner, a Vampirina hoodie is a no-brainer. Your little one will feel like she’s checked herself in for the night at the Scare B&B where she can hang with Vee and the whole Hauntley family.
vampirina costume
The best part about this adorable hoodie is that you don’t need to have any sewing skills to recreate it!

All the steps you need to create your very own no-sew Vampirina hoodie are in this post: https://www.wholesalehalloweencostumes.com/blog/diy-no-sew-vampirina-hoodie/

The move from Transylvania to Pennsylvania might’ve been a challenge for the Hauntley family, but bringing this hoodie to life should be easy for you!

If you’ve got a little Vampirina fan on your hands, you could also celebrate in style with a Vampirina party. Wholesale Party Supplies even created a cute Vampirina photo booth backdrop and Vampirina cookies to complete the celebration!

Looking for other no-sew options? Check out this magical unicorn hoodie!

Check out more DIY costumes, makeup tutorials and DIY decorations up on the blog, so keep an eye out on posts that will help you prepare for Halloween 2018.