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Christmas

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

It’s that time of the year again. You know the one. The time of the year when the elf on the shelf arrives. Also, coincidentally, when parents have about 5 whimsical, hilarious and creative elf on the shelf ideas and then, we’re out. Even if we’re not out, we forget. Oh, the horror. Why must those little guys need so much assistance?

Let me tell you a little story about the dumbest parents in the world, that would be the Big Guy and myself, in case there was any confusion. The elf on the shelf started coming when Bella was 2-years-old. We thought, “OMG, it’s so cute every kid should have one of Santa’s adorable elves come to visit them at Christmas.”

READ ALSO: The Elf is Back in Town

Our first elf on the shelf arrived that year, in a box (with little breathing holes in it) from the North Pole (sent from Santa Claus himself, no less) and a letter from the Jolly Big Guy.

His name was Ed and he was freaking adorable. No, he didn’t look like the other elves. He’s pleasantly plump and has kind eyes and I’m assuming that he is probably Santa’s favorite because he kind of looks like Santa himself (maybe he’s Santa’s illegitimate son? I’m not saying he is but I’m not saying he isn’t either.)

After all, Elf on the shelf can come in all sizes, shapes and colors just like people.

Ed was fantastic. Bella loved him and so did we. An elves life is pretty sweet when kids are toddlers. Toddlers have the attention span of gnats. Ed could literally move his lazy derriere an inch a night and Bella was perfectly tickled.

By 2008, we had two little girls and, for some reason, Santa thought it would be cool to send 2 elves. One for each girl. Ed and Ana Lee (who’s a little old guy who came with a name tag). So, then there were 2 elves, 2 daughters and the 3-year-old was pretty perceptive. Life gets more complicated when 2 lazy elves have to put on a dog and pony show every night. 2 kids, this mommy was exhausted.

READ ALSO: Elf on the Shelf Run Amuck

Well, if you think things were getting crazy, well, you have no idea. Ended up moving a couple times and well, let’s just say for the arguments sake, that our elves got confused for a couple years and we ended up with 3 more different elves, Herbie Hancock, Rick Astley and Darling Nikki. Moving is not good for elf consistency. So, for those of you keeping track, now that we have lived in this house for 6 years, all 5 elves have been showing up. It gets chaotic up in here.

Here are some Elf on the shelf ideas for Parents and Elves who are Out of Ideas

1.The Elf on the Shelf with Proof

Have the elf show up in a box with holes from the North Pole and a letter from Santa. Remember to remove all name tags they bring with themselves, as to allow for a more suitable name to be given to said elf.

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Photo Credit: @Frugalmom

2. The Hostess with the Mostest Elf

Has your elf shown up with a welcome breakfast for the whole family? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Maybe you help the little guy out and host your own north pole breakfast.

3. Paratrooper Elf

Has your Elf on the Shelf parachuted in? It’s different, unexpected and really brings the adventure. I mean, if he’s arriving by parachute, what might this little guy (or gal) do next?

4. Kissing Elf on the Shelf

A bag full of kisses for all the bubs and sisses. Maybe your elf is just not that into boxes maybe he arrives with a note from Santa and a bag full of chocolate kisses.

5. Full of Hot Air Elf on the Shelf

Forget the box altogether, and forget Santa’s predictable sleigh, why not arrive by hot air balloon, zip line or under the Christmas tree locomotive? After all, Danger could be his middle name (check the “name” tag someone forgot to remove).

6. Do you want to build a snowman Elf on the Shelf

If your kids are like mine they are Frozen fanatics and they also love building snowmen, so kids find it pretty cool when their Elf shows up and writes Frozen lyrics all over the bathroom mirror and builds a toilet paper snowman. And hey, if it’s snowing out, parents, you’ll get bonus points for taking those kiddies out and building an actual snowman!

READ ALSO: The Elf on the Shelf Problem

But be careful, our 5 elves have been known to toilet paper our house, the tree and anything else when hopped up on too much peppermint. I’m pretty sure that our elves turn into chain-smoking, drunken frat boy hooligans at night.

7. Loco for Coco Elf on the Shelf

Maybe while you’re outside building the snowman, maybe Rick Astley (that little go-getter that he is) the elf decides to put together a surprise coco bar for the whole family. How thoughtful. Best.elf. ever.

8. Like a Wrecking Ball Elf on the Shelf

Maybe your elf is MacGyver and he likes to live on the edge. So he takes some string, a toilet paper roll and he swings in overnight to make an entrance.

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Photo Credit: @CameronsCoffee

9. S’mores Elf on the Shelf

I’m not one for advocating that elves play with fire but it sure would be nice to return from a cold day at school to find Smoky the elf carefully making S’mores. That would be a nice treat, right?

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Photo Credit: @Craftywayout

10. Pump You Up Elf on the Shelf

Schwarzenegger elf really doesn’t like to miss his workouts, especially around the holidays with all the yummy desserts around the joint. Maybe he concocts marshmallow dumbbells to keep in shape and keep those love handles at bay.

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Photo credit: @Juliee_1985

11. An Angel Gets its Wings Elf on the Shelf

Frosty the snow elf really loves playing in the “snow” so beware, he may go to extreme lengths to feel at home and make sugar, rice, powdered sugar or sprinkle angels.

Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas for the elves who want to live on the edge.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

Photo Credit: @Dopedreams_3X

12. Pooping elf on the shelf.

I am not sure what exactly these elves eat on a regular basis, but I can say that we’ve caught them pooping a toilet full of chocolate chips in the Barbie toilet. We’ve also caught them making not so nice toilet humor and playing pranks in the bathroom.

13. Tawanda! Elf on the Shelf

Ever caught your elves mid mischief? Well, one of our elves favorite things to do besides swing from chandeliers and cozy up to the Barbies and American Girl Dolls is sledding down the stairs. We’ve caught them doing it in the Barbie car, in toilet paper tubes and even by wrapping themselves in the toilet paper, yelling “Tawanda!” and just rolling. Silly elves, toilet paper is for wiping butts not sliding down the stairs.

14. The Godfather Elf on the Shelf

Our girls know that touching the elves is strictly forbidden and strips them of their North Pole magical abilities, so they don’t touch them but those elves are sneaky. When the girls have had talkback, push the boundary days, our elves have not been above crawling in the bed with them and sleeping on the pillow next to them. It’s pretty Tony Soprano sleeping with the fishes/ waking up with a horse head in your bed thug like.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze15. Shoe Conga Elf on the Shelf

Elves like to be silly. I once saw our elves do a shoe conga from the living room, through the foyer and into the movie room. They’ve also been known to do this aboard the Polar Express beneath the Christmas tree.

16. Horsing Around Elves

They’re just like us and they get bored. I’ve seen them rally all those stuffies, Polly Pockets and Barbie dolls lying on the floor and let the sack races begin.

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Photo Credit: @Pittmankid

17. K-Cup Criminal Elf on the Shelf

Did you know that elves love coffee and hot chocolate almost as much as they love peppermint sticks? They do. I’ve caught them on more than one occasion reusing my old K-Cups. I’m cool with it. I’m all about recycling and reusing.

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Photo credit: @elfontheshelf

18. Sick Day Elf on the Shelf

Well, even elves get cooties sometimes. In these situations, it is best if they leave a doctor’s note to let the kids know why they’re not moving. Enjoy your sleep and take advantage of those days that you don’t have to chase him down every night. P.S. It’s the worse when the elf catches a cold from your kid but the guilt does buy you a couple extra days of relief.

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Photo Credit: @lips_last_with_Selena

19. Elfy sharks doo doo doo doo doo doo 

We have an entire family of elves, therefore, why wouldn’t they want to get in on the latest craze? You just know they’re going to show up as the family of sharks one day, perhaps with the JAWS music playing softly in the background. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.

20. Picasso Elf on the Shelf

Our elves seem to get increasingly mischievous the closer we get to Christmas. One of their favorite things to do is climb up our shelves and draw silly mustaches and unibrows on family photos.

There are ( as my teen would say) “literally” 1000 other things your elf can do and mischief they can get into. I can go on for infinity.

If you are looking for some other great ideas check out this awesome elf on the shelf checklist.

I can say that our elves are a bit rambunctious. On their last night at our house, we almost always find them hungover after a night of drunken debauchery; gorged on peppermint and passed out in the middle of their Go Fish game.

They’ve even been known to toilet paper our Christmas tree and fill our house with paper snowflakes while we were at a holiday party. Elves are awesome but they sure love their shenanigans. They also have a penchant for stealing phones while you sleep and leaving random #elfies on our phones.

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What’s your best elf on the shelf ideas? What’s the craziest thing your elf has ever done?

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your truth is a lie, moms and daughters, comparing yourself to your mother

Have you been wracking your brain and every gift guide on the Internet trying to find  a gift to wow? The holidays are here and everyone is trying to find that perfect gift for the woman they love. It’s no small feat because women are as different as snowflakes and no two are alike. For example, I am a tech lover but I also like beautiful girly things; CES is my Disney World and beautiful things are my weakness.

These are the top things on my list this year.

If the woman in your life is into tech or fashion, she will love almost everything on this gift guide.

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Marc Jacobs Daisy Dreams

Everyone who knows me, knows that daisies are one of my favorite flowers because my Grandma was named Daisy. Inspired by the boundless spirit of daisies and blue skies, Daisy Dream reflects Marc Jacobs’ irresistible mix of intricate details, elegance, and femininity for a fresh interpretation of the iconic Daisy motif. The fruity-floral fragrance has a light and airy touch, bursting with top notes of blackberry, grapefruit, and pear. The heart notes are introduced with a bouquet of jasmine, lychee, and blue wisteria, and a medley of white woods, musks, and coconut water reveal the base notes.

The glass bottle is enveloped in a shawl of laced daisies, topped with a silver cap, and adorned with gold hues and daisy accents. The bottle is as beautiful as the scent inside. I didn’t think that I could love anything more than my Grandma Daisy but this scent comes close.

 

UGG, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

UGG® Australia Simmens Short Leather and Wool Boot

Maximize the fashion potential of your wardrobe with this trans-seasonal boot, crafted from waterproof leather with a wool blend shaft and decorative double buckle detail. The Simmens is lined with luxurious, natural wool for moisture-wicking comfort and features a new outsole design, utilizing cork-infused White Spider rubber for optimum traction in slippery situations. $170.

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Helena Locket by BaubleBar and Misfit Flash

Make a statement with the Helena locket. It features vintage accents with classic BaubleBar sparkle. The fashion –forward accessories are as smart as they are stunning. The BaubleBar Locket opens to reveal Misfit’s sportiest tech- the Flash fitness tracker. Misfit Flash tracks your sleep and activity levels, including calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken and sleep quality and allows you to set your personal goals and check your progress. The Helena is exclusively available at Target. $69.99

STACKED

The first wireless charging ecosystem for iPhone eliminates the need for cords from the lives of iPhone users. The all-too-familiar feeling of sifting through a bag, crawling under a desk or standing tethered to the wall to charge a phone is now obsolete. STACKED advances the busy lives of mobile users by enabling both a full charge and connectivity at all times, without a life full of wires.

The shortest distance between two points is no distance at all. STACKED charges faster than any other technology because it comes in direct contact with the phone. The beauty of the bundle system is that the Power Pack is what needs to be recharged, not the phone itself. The Power Pack is recharged via the included AC wall adapter, which allows up to five Power Packs to be charged at once. Users can now maintain an arsenal of wireless charging solutions at their disposal at all times. $129.

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Aventura Clothing

Aventura clothing is a lifestyle apparel brand that makes and sells comfortable clothing with an active focus while being thoughtful to both people and the environment. Aventura is family owned since 1965, creating a supportive family-oriented culture where the little details of life (and clothing) are cherished. Aventura makes the perfect every day clothing. It’s well made, quality clothing made to fit a woman’s body.

Aventura is passionate about creating fashionable clothing with low environmental impact. Their eco-friendly styles not only prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil, they look and feel amazing. Now through December 31st, free standard shipping is available.

A-Audio: Rose Gold Lyric On-Ear Headphones

These chic Rose Gold headphones with A-Audio’s distinctive silhouette and sound quality can’t be beat for the music lover on your list. The ear cups with memory foam padding for comfort and isolated sound collapse for easy storage and travel. Built with 40mm custom drivers, powerful circuitry and anti-vibration aluminum for premium sound. Bonus, the Lyric has dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $199

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38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Lavender Sport Band

I’ve wanted one of these since day one. I finally got one and I am in love and you will be too. It’s all the quality and ease of usability that we have come to know and love in Apple products, right there at your wrist. Apple Watch Sport features a rose gold anodized aluminum case, retina display with Force Touch. It also has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope with up to 18 hours of battery life. My favorite feature, aside from voice texting, is that its water resistant so no worries if I accidentally run it under the faucet. It’s beautiful, functional and the perfect gift for any woman on your list this year. $350.

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Lily Bed for Women

Women need the most sleep because generally we are the caretakers of the family. Yet, we are the ones who get the least amount of sleep. LilyBed has taken this into consideration and designed the first bed made for a woman’s body but strong enough for a man. A few of the amazing features of the LilyBed mattress in a box include premium cover that’s soft, cool and hypoallergenic, super soft layer surface, responsive core for perfect balance and complimentary full body support. Bottom line, it’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

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PANDORA Light As A Feather Earrings in Sterling Silver

Inspired by the elegance and lightness of feathers, these airy dangle earrings represent stunning, natural beauty. Shimmering stones accentuate the splendor of their stylized form, making them a great choice for eveningwear. Sparkling clear cubic zirconias and swirls of sterling silver depict feathers in these beautiful dangle earrings. $100.00

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Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Edition camera + lens system

Lomo’Instant’s new wide instant camera lives up the Lomo rep. This fun vintage-inspired camera kit features three creative shooting modes and comes with three cool lens attachments (wide-angle, close-up, and splitzer), a lens cap that double as a shutter remote control and easy-change color gels that add a wash of color to your photo subjects. It’s like Hipstamatic but in real camera form. I’m as excited about this as I am the USB TypeWriter and Qwerkywriter. $259

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Health o meter™ nuyu™ Sleep System

Sleep solution made of a Bluetooth® enabled sleep mat and app that cycles through temperatures through the night to mimic your body’s circadian rhythm so that you wake up well-rested. It warms slightly when you are going to sleep; cools you down during the middle of the night, and then warms you back up to mimic your natural circadian rhythm.  Starting temperature range: 69° – 105°

Controlled using free nuyu™ app which can be used with the Activity Monitor to track sleep. It is also machine washable mattress pad and hose, washer bag included. $499.99

Olloclip Active Lens

I have a great Nikon DSLR that I depend on for most of my travel and family photos but, honestly, I am a big iPhonographer. My phone is never far away and always convenient to shoot with so I’m super excited about the Olloclip Active Lens. Olloclip Active Lens is a compact, lightweight, 2-in-1 with a telephoto lens and ultra-wide angle lens that snaps onto your iPhone 6/S or iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus.  It works with both the front and rear facing cameras on the phone too.  Easy to use, just snap it on and snap it off. $99.99

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

Never miss the moment. When extraordinary happens, capture it with the accelerated α77 II with an astounding 79 high-density AF points, 12fps continuous shooting, and a 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Every moment is made eternal. Translucent Mirror Technology enables precise phase-detection AF in live view and movie modes. $849.

Brooklyn Bedding: #BestMattressEver

Built with individuality and simplicity in mind, Brooklyn Bedding delivers personalized comfort with a bed-in-a-box designed for every type of sleeper. Breaking the “one-comfort-fits-all” mold, three sleep comfort levels cater to every type of sleeper with Soft, Medium and Firm options. Luxurious, soft quilted pillow top cover knitted with moisture-wicking cotton for cloud-like feel and breathability. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. $450 – $1,050

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X-Doria: KidGPS 

Every mom I know will want this palm-sized tracking device that notifies parents of their children’s exact location via companion iOS or Android application, providing peace of mind. This user-friendly device that can be tucked in a child’s pocket or clipped on their backpack

Panic alert button sends the current location of a child to multiple devices.

Battery lasts up to seven days and can be recharged via integrated micro-USB port. Tracking services range from $5.99/month for 12 months, or $7.99/month for 6 months

Polaroid Zip

The Zip is a super-simple, instant photo printer. Turn it on, connect it to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth and hit the print button on the free app. The result: 2X3” full-color instant prints. The Zip uses special photo paper (a 30-pack only costs $14.99) that’s ink free and comes out dry-to-the-touch. $129.99

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Zara

Zara is my favorite place to buy affordable clothing that is cute and feminine. The inventory is constantly updating for the seasons and I love the feminine fabrics and cuts. It’s a great selection of outfits for work and evening wear.

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DxO One

The DxO One will turn your iPhone or iPad into a DSLR quality camera for less than the price of a DSLR. It pairs perfectly with your iPhone so that you can take amazing photos anywhere. It shoots 2.1-MP photos and 1080p video and you can toggle between the two modes with a tiny 1-inch touch screen on the side of the device. The DxO One gives photographers DSLR-like modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual. $599.

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Tipsy Elves 

If you are looking for something like nothing else, might I suggest an ugly sweater or Christmas jumper from Tipsy Elves. I recently received the Women’s Blue Reindeer Jumpsuit and they are the super cozy and toasty. The design has a bold blue background a white Fair isle design with grazing reindeer. The front pockets include zippers and a red accent color on the cuffs to complete the outfit. This jumper is great for Christmas morning, lounging during holiday break or wearing to your favorite ugly sweater party. Bonus, it also comes in Mens and children’s sizes.

Margaritaville®: New Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker®
This is the  perfect gift to celebrate at all the holiday parties and will definitley help you ring in the New Year! Refreshed version of this classic now features an extra-large ice reservoir that holds ice for 3 full pitchers so you can enjoy the party longer before it’s time to refill

· Shaves ice, instead of crushing like other machines, for perfectly smooth beverages

· Margaritaville® maritime detailing that features a new silver base to match modern home décor

· Produces 36-ounces of restaurant-quality frozen drinks

· Includes manual shave & blend controls

· Includes a 36 oz., sturdy glass blending-jar and with Easy Pour lid

Price: $399.99

What’s your favorite present on this gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this gift guide were provided for review purposes but entirely opinions are my own.

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gift guide, tech for parents, girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze, xdoria, kid's fit, American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

This Christmas holiday I’ve put together a girl’s gift guide that my daughters will flip over. They love tech, they love travel and they love fashion and of course, they love unicorns. Don’t we all?

Anyways, the point is that they love lots of things. In fact, did I mention they’ve put a Storm Trooper Dress, luggage and a trip to New York at the top of their list? Every child is different and every child likes different things but I think this list covers the spectrum of interests for little girls of all ages and interests.

Here are my top picks for the 2015 girl’s gift guide.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns

Main Sail Studio Plush Unicorn Head Taxidermy

My girls LOVE unicorns and this handmade soft unicorn faux taxidermy mounted on a ready to hang wooden plaque does not disappoint. You choose the colors for the unicorn head and mane and the plaque. Plaques can be a solid, a two-color ombré with or without glitter. The head is machine sewn and hand sculpted from soft fleece. The horn is made from a textured satin and then coated with a sparkly glaze. It comes with a repositionable butterfly or flower clip. The mane textile varies based on color choice. The mouth, nose, ears and cheeks have hand painted subtle blush color. The eyes are embroidered. At purchase you can send a note with your color ideas. This is the perfect present for every little girl. I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face on Christmas morning when she sees this beautiful piece of unicorn art.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, chooze,xdoria, kid's fit

X-Doria: KidFit

KidFit is a wireless activity and sleep tracker for ages 5-13 that encourages and motivates kids to play hard and get enough rest.  The KidFit wristband is a one-size-fits-all slap bracelet and is IPX3 (Splash Proof) rated. A daily activity target is customized for each child and scored out of an easy to understand 100 points.

With each sync, the KidFit app motivates and encourages your child to reach their activity and sleep goals.  Built in goals keep kids challenged and parents can set custom goals tied to real world rewards.  The free KidFit app is available for iOS and Android.

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Chooze backpacks, lunch boxes, split leggings and shoes

Chooze is a brand that recognizes children’s innate desire to express themselves through unique wardrobe choices. The freedom to express themselves is the key to unleash their potential. The collection of mismatched shoes, split leggings and reversible backpacks and lunch packs empower kids with creativity, confidence and the power to have a positive impact on the world.

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American Girl Mary Ellen Larkin

Maryellen Larkin, the newest character to join American Girl’s popular BeForever line, is an energetic and optimistic girl who follows her heart instead of the crowd growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida, in the 1950s.

The Maryellen doll is 18” tall with warm brown eyes and strawberry-blonde hair in a high ponytail and sideswept bangs. Maryellen’s authentic 1950s outfit features a striped dress, a lacy-knit shrug with a monogramed M, black shoes, underwear, and a ribbon bow for her hair. Includes the paperback book, The One and Only, the first novel-length volume of Maryellen’s classic series by Valerie Tripp.

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American Girl Julie Albright

Julie Albright is bright and sunny on the outside and a fighter on the inside. She likes school, hanging out with friends and playing on the basketball team in 1974. This beautiful, blonde flower child will stand up and fight for what’s right.

American Girl, MaryEllen Larkin

Maryellen’s Television Console

A large television console was truly the entertainment center in Maryellen’s day. This set features a 1950s-style TV console with a built-in make-believe record player and encyclopedia books. Plus, your girl can create and watch her own original videos on the console with her iPad!

The Care and Keeping of Us Book Series

This kit includes twin books, one for girls and one for moms, filled with dozens of how-to-say-it scripts to get the conversations going. These scripts give girls the words to talk about all the big topics from body basics, hygiene, and healthy habits to friends, first crushes, clothing, and more. And mom’s book gives her the actual words to respond to her girl’s questions, as well as scripts to initiate important conversations with her daughter. Plus, a sharing journal lets both moms and girls jot down thoughts, memories, and questions. Two bookmarks are included to guide each other to the latest entry or point out something they don’t want the other to miss.

Disney Playmation

Disney Playmation is a connected wearable experience that triggers imagination and play in children. It’s high tech meets old school and the bottom line is that your child will be moving and using their imagination. The starter pack comes with a arm-mounted Repulsor Cannon that acts as your interface to the imaginary Marvel world.

Little Passports World Edition

Explore the world, one country at a time. Each month, your child will receive letters from Sam and Sophia. The monthly package arrives with fun souvenirs, activity sheets, photos and stickers for your suitcase, map and passport. Your child can also access Boarding Zone for more online games.

How to Survive Anything

Let’s face it. With school pressures, social pressures, parental pressures…the teenage years are tough. Your best friend is with you one day, dating your crush the next. But it could be worse! You could be face-to-face with an angry grizzly, or chest-deep in quicksand. Never fear, National Geographic has the solution! In this hilariously informative take on surviving the trials of middle school and the jungles of South America, we combine our expertise on nature and adventure with the fun-and-learning approach of our Nat Geo style…and voila, the perfect advice to conquer any obstacle, whether it threatens life or social status or both. Edgy, young, authoritative, and amusingly illustrated, this title will grab the attention of young teens and gift-buyers alike.

A Friend for Lakota

The Dutchers have the unique experience of living in a tented camp in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains among a pack of wolves, observing and documenting rarely seen social behavior, including bullying.

Treasury of Norse Mythology

Beautifully told by author Donna Jo Napoli, this book is a gorgeously illustrated compilation of Norse myths of gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes. If your kids are fans of Thor, Vikings, and more, this Treasury contains more of the lyrical tales of the Norse gods, goddesses, trolls, and giants that are perfect for bedtime–or anytime–storytelling.

National Geographic’s Guide to Photography

This amazing book has tips and tricks on how to take great pictures, with advice from Nat Geo photographer Annie Griffiths as well as My Shot kid shutterbugs.

girl's gift guide, Christmas, tech, travel, fashion, unicorns, sony cyber shot

Sony Cyber-shot QX10

Most tweens and teens use their smartphones to take photos and if they want to improve their images, then a camera that affixes to the phone could be an ideal present. This will give better image quality and most importantly, more optical zoom to images.

The Sony Cyber-shot QX10 adds a 10x optical zoom lens, fullHD video recording, and an 18 megapixel sensor to any Android or iOS smartphone, significantly upgrading the camera on most smartphones and giving the extra clarity and reach of 10x optical zoom to boot. Paired with the National Geographic Guide to Photography book and you just may have a little Annie Leibovitz on your hands.

What’s at the top of  your child’s Christmas list this year?

What would you have included on this girl’s gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this list were provided to me free of charge for review purposes for this gift guide.

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santa claus, nochecbuena, sears

This is a compensated post written in collaboration with Sears and Latina Bloggers Connect.

As a child in a biracial home, the one thing I looked forward to every holiday season was Christmas eve. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was a Latino custom until I was in university.It was just how it was…it was la Nochebuena. I know most people look forward to Christmas morning but not in our house.  I loved the holiday season; decorating the tree, eating sweet and savory tamales, buñuelos, attending the posadas celebrations and watching Rudolph with my brothers and sisters but hands down, Christmas Eve was the big deal in our house.

We grew up fairly poor and to be honest, I don’t ever remember believing in Santa Claus… ever. I’m sure when I was very small that I did but I couldn’t have been older than 4. I know, it’s sad. That’s probably why I try so hard to maintain the magic for my own girls, as long as possible. It’s probably why the gifts pour out from the tree and out to the middle of the living room floor every year. This is why we have 5 elfs on the shelf and watch every single holiday classic. I’m trying to preserve their childhood magic for as long as I possibly can. So please, if your kid doesn’t believe in Santa…keep them away from my children.

Anyways, every year on Christmas Eve before midnight mass, my parents would order pizza from our favorite pizza joint and we’d get to drink RC cola and Christmas music was always playing in the background. My dad always videotaped Christmas Eve. It was the one night of the year where we felt “normal”.

After all of the cutting up and laughing, we’d go to mass and try to behave. It was always the most fun because not only were we completely sugared up on Christmas sweets and RC cola we were completely exhausted slaphappy. I remember thinking how beautiful and ethereal the church always was on Christmas Eve. I was there every Sunday but somehow on that night, it was like God and the angels themselves were in the building or maybe it was a sugar-induced hallucination?

After all of that was done, as a family, we’d go home and were allowed to open one present. That was a huge deal because we only ever got to ask for ONE present… the rest were socks and underwear because that’s how it works in a home when you are struggling financially. You were allowed to ask for ONE gift that you wanted, everything else was what you needed and even then it wasn’t much, basically just something to open. We knew my mom bought us the BIG Gift because she asked us what we wanted. When we opened it, we were grateful. We knew there was no Santa because if there was we wouldn’t be opening socks and underwear on Christmas morning but we didn’t care.

So, every year of my childhood and adolescence, I looked forward to Christmas Eve because, for us, it was the best night of the year.

I fondly remember going with my mom to Sears a lot when I was a child. Whether it was for socks and underwear, a nail gun, a washer and dryer or a giant doll as big as I was, Sears was my parents go to store. I was the oldest of 6 children so I often accompanied my mom on her shopping trips for the younger kids. It had it’s benefits, I usually picked out my own Christmas gift (the big one anyways); a comforter set, a leather bomber jacket or a favorite toy.

My husband and I go to Sears, not to buy our girls’ Christmas presents (wink*wink) because we all know those come from Santa but for the every day essentials. We’ve gotten most of our appliances, tools and workout equipment there because that’s what our parents always did. In that way, Sears is part of our family’s tradition.

 

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Christmas, rudolph, 50th anniversary, rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, holiday classics

I’ve been crazy busy with holiday running. There’s been the city tree lighting, caroling, Nutcracker performances, violin concerts, holiday parties, tree decorating and cookie baking. It’s all been a blur; a great big beautiful blur of joy and family togetherness. Sure, there has been that overwhelming feeling of impending doom that comes with overextending yourself and forgetting where the damn elf was last or where it should go next but overall, we’re all embracing the holiday madness.

One tradition that we never skip is watching the holiday classics together; White Christmas, Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Frosty, The Grinch who Stole Christmas and our favorite, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Did you know it’s the longest-running and highest-rated holiday TV special of all time and this year it’s celebrating 50 years?

I’ve grown up watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with my parents when I was a child. I always remember that warm feeling I’d get in my stomach when the opening credits would begin to roll. It signaled the beginning of the holiday season. As far as I was concerned, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was Christmas.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” started out as a song made famous by Gene Autry but then he came to life in an animated special that has charmed generations. This year, Rudolph will run for the 50th straight year.

For a Christmas special to be a classic, it has to have cross-generational appeal and who doesn’t love Rudolph?

Rudolph first aired in 1964, it was the creation of Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, using a technique they called “animagic.” It was stop motion at it’s finest. It lacks fluidity and  the bodies and heads don’t match up and their movements are very awkward  but we love them still because Rudolph is about magic and imagination, hope and belief, not perfection or reality.

Rudolph has influenced a number of contemporary filmmakers from Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and even Oscar -nominated director Henry Selick who is the genius behind, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Selick says that he was highly influenced by Rudolph and there are several nods to the classic in The Nightmare before Christmas.

As a mom, I watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with my girls. Every year, we cuddle up together in front of the fire and watch with the Big Guy. There’s lots of giggling and laughter on the girls’ part and lots of nostalgia and retrospection on my part. The Big Guy usually sits there smiling from ear to ear, soaking it all in. I watch them enjoy these moments and it truly does warm my heart. I want to freeze these moments but sadly they are fleeting, as is their childhood so we have to embrace every single moment. There are only so many of these Christmases that we will get to cuddle together and watch these holiday favorites before they outgrow these magical years so we’ve got to make the most out of each one. We must suck the marrow out of every moment of parenthood.

If you feel like you’ve been seeing Rudolph everywhere, you probably have and I’m alright with that. The year’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer anniversary celebration includes a major tie-in with the U.S. Postal Service, tribute promos from CBS, a collector’s edition DVD with new bonus material, a new stage musical, theme park and in-mall entertainment, and a social media campaign – #ShineBright – that celebrates uniqueness in association with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Rudolph really knows how to celebrate 50 years. I’ll have to keep this all in mind for my own 50th birthday in the future. Debi the stage musical has a nice ring to it, right?

Anyways, Square Fish, an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, has released 6 new Rudolph-themed books that span a variety of formats, including the first ever graphic novel starring Rudolph and company, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS, by Brendan Deneen. Other formats include a classic storybook, a picture book, slide-and-find and lift-the-flap board books, and a ‘My Reader’ edition specifically designed for beginning readers. There’s something for the entire family, no matter the age or reading level!

 

rudolph, 50th anniversary, rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, holiday classics, ChristmasThe Rudolph books are

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Classic Story
    Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition for ages 4-8
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Slide and Find
    Board Book for ages 2-4
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Life-the-Flap Board Book for ages 2-4
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Rudolph Saves the Day
    Paperback picture book for ages 3-7
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: My Reader
    Level 2 Paperback Reader for ages 5-7
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Island of Misfit Toys
    Middle-Grade Graphic Novel for ages 7-12

We were provided the Rudolph books for review purposes by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and my girls fell in love with them instantly. I’m betting that your kids will too so I am providing a full set of all 6 new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer classic books to one lucky reader. All you need to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite holiday classic and follow The TRUTH about Motherhood on Facebook. Open to U.S. residents. Giveaway ends December 16th at midnight EST. Good Luck!

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Disclosure: I have partnered with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for this compensated campaign but all love for Rudolph is genuine and our own.

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Christmas was a blur of warm fuzzy feelings and binging on family time. My cup runneth over. We cut back on the girls’ gifts this year but they still seemed to get everything they could want and more. My parents spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with us.  There were grandparents and new babies and lots and lots of love. There wasn’t even a Christmas Eve filled with wrapping sessions because, for once, we did it two weeks before. It was beautiful and magical and I even think I might remember some of it clearly but then the immediate overwhelming sense of impending doom infiltrated every fiber of my soul and I was still. So still that you could hardly notice I was there. I was hoping that disaster and doom would pass me by.

I’ve been missing from the blog, social media and any online activity lately. Sure, I still wake up every morning and check my phone before I get up. I share and like and comment on my friend’s warm and fuzzy posts about the love of the holidays and then it happened. I began to read all the posts about being alone, going through divorce, losing someone, losing children, losing parents, being sick and dying of cancer, missing those who they lost and my heart nearly burst from sadness and then from guilt. How the hell am I so blessed when so many others are in such pain? Then I remembered how much pain I was in last year. My heart was broken. I spent nearly a year muddling through the fog and pain of surviving a shitty year. A monumentally shitty year and then I realized that last year I was the sad status.

Then I began to wait for the doom. It sickens me that I can never enjoy happiness because I am always waiting for the counterbalancing hurt of life to even out the joy because no way life is going to let me walk around smiling like a happy, dopey dumb sonofabitch. Life is going to kick me in the balls. It always does, when I least expect it. I know happiness does not last forever but I so want to enjoy these little moments of happiness without worrying about the next bad thing around the corner. The sickness, the death, the loss, the pain and the hurt. So this is me, wishing all of you love, laughter and happiness. This is me trying to overcome my own neurotic state of impending doom. This is me enjoying the small moments of happiness that permeate the air and fill my lungs.

May God bless and keep you all happy, healthy, and wealthy with warm beds and full bellies. May life smile upon you and may your children be safely in your arms, your love holding you tight and may you be blessed with all the love, prosperity and success that the world can muster because life is too damn short to worry about the impending doom that may or may not be right around the corner. The price of happiness is not doom. The price of happiness is laughter and a full soul.

 

Image via Zetson

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Shabby Apple, Capulet, Holiday, Christmas, fashion

Christmas is in a week and you know what that means? New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Where did the year go? It sped by so quickly that I can barely remember it happening. I think today’s a great day to giveaway some more goodies. You’ve been buying for everyone else, I want to give you something just for you!

I’m sure you’ve all gotten your Christmas shopping done but what about a little something nice for yourself? Maybe even a little black dress for your New Year’s Eve celebration? Here’s your chance.

You all know how much I love Shabby Apple. Recently, I received the Capulet skirt and Holiday Soiree top from Shabby Apple and I love it so much I can’t stand it.

The Capulet skirt, as in Juliet Capulet, is just as romantic and feminine as you might think in iridescent pink. It’s tea length and billowy, yet fitted at the waist to give you that feminine hourglass shape. Sure you have to dry clean it but that is a small price to pay to be the belle of the New Year’s eve ball. Why not start off 2014 in a bold and fun way? Set the tone from the first moment.

 Shabby Apple, Capulet, Holiday, Christmas, fashion

Features:

Calf Length Skirt

Fully Lined, Center Front Bow, Center Back Zipper, Pleated Waist

Taffeta, 100% polyester

Dry clean

The Holiday Soiree Top goes perfectly with the Capulet skirt or the Under the Mistletoe skirt. It’s dark navy but truly looks closer to black. I like the dramatic color contrast between the skirt and top. It gives it a very polished, sophisticated look.

Shabby Apple, Capulet, Holiday, Christmas, fashion

Features:

Poly Satin

89% poly 11% spandex

Short sleeves

Drape neck

Fitted with stretch

Machine wash cold, line dry

There are many great dresses to choose from this holiday season at Shabby Apple and I am giving away a gift certificate for $100 to Shabby Apple to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite Shabby Apple piece and enter via rafflecopter below.

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Wild Ophelia, chocolate, holiday gift guide, stocking stuffers, Christmas

I was chosen to be part of the Wild Ophelia Chocolate Ambassador program. Chocolate is one of those things that instantly brings happiness to children and even most grown women. Wild Ophelia is a uniquely American brand featuring all-natural and often organic ingredients sourced from small farms and food artisans. Their chocolate bars tell an American story, and bridge the divide between the local, American farmer’s movement and chocolate.

If you were at BlogHer, you probably got to sample some of their uniquely original flavor pairings and were instantly a fan. They come in all sorts of fantastically original flavors like southern hibiscus peach, hickory smoked almond,smokehouse BBQ potato chips, peanut butter and banana, New Orleans Chili, Beef Jerky and sweet cherry pecan an many more.My favorites are the Hickory smoked almond and the Mined Salt and Seas Salt and Coconut special flavors from the Hunger Games Catching Fire edition. Once you try Wild Ophelia,you will never look at chocolate the same way again.

On the back of each chocolate bar, you’ll find the story and origin of each ingredient. All Wild Ophelia products are made with 100% renewable energy and packaged in 100% recycled board. Aside from the flavors, I was very impressed with the Wild Ophelia mission.

We take sustainability seriously and focus on creating unique, high-quality chocolate while engaging with customers and local artisans through an American roadtrip of foods. Central to our mission is our goal to educate and encourage action. We believe people should be aware of their food’s origins and become active and educated consumers by getting involved and asking questions about sources, pesticide practices, and more. We also strive to help children and adults learn to appreciate their food. Our motto: Respect oneself, one’s food, and others, while relishing in the chocolate-tasting experience.

I am giving away 8 bars of Wild Ophelia Chocolate to one lucky reader. All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite Wild Ophelia flavor. Use the rafflecopter for more chances to win. The contest will end on December 26 at midnight!

In the meantime, if you want a Wild Ophelia Chocolate fix, it is available at your nearest Walgreens! Wild Ophelia makes GREAT stocking stuffers! .

I was provided Wild Ophelia Chocolate as part of their Ambassador program but all opinions are mine. This chocolate rocks!

wild ophelia chocolate, Holiday gift guide, holiday gift guide 2013, twitter party, giveaway

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elf on a shelf, elf, Christmas, holiday traditions

Our elf on the shelf elves have once again arrived. Well, three out of the five have arrived. Currently, we have Ed, Analee (because someone who shall remain nameless forgot to remove the nametag…. I’m talking to you Grandma) and Rick Astly ( that bastard’s never gonna give you up! Can you say Single white Elf Male?) We are still missing Herbie Hancock and Rick (i) James (bitch!)

So you’re probably thinking that maybe I have some sort of nasty little elf on the shelf fetish or way too much time on my hands, I assure you that it is neither of those. Well, maybe I do have a little extra time on my hands seeing as I was just downsized from one of my 12 jobs. Damn, what ever will I do with all of that free time the last week of every month? But I digress, we have so many elves because when the girls were small we were moving a lot and the elves got packed away in storage lost on their way back from the North Pole! So every year, we had to replace the lost elf. Look, my mommy brain is not what it once was and I forget shit…like where elves went into the witness protection place the year before or sometimes even the night before.

elf on a shelf, elf, Christmas, holiday traditions

 

Our elf on the shelf problem started with Analee.

He came in a beautiful gift box with a letter from the man in the red suit because he knew the girls were having a horrible year leaving their friends and everything they knew and moving across the country. Analee came to give love and moral support.

The next year, Analee “lost” his way to our house because we had moved back to Indiana so “Santa” sent another elf, Ed (this is what happens when Daddy names the elves) to entertain the girls while their daddy was living in Iowa for work. They only saw the Big Guy once a week and we assured them that the elf could check in on daddy each night before he went back to the North Pole and reported to Santa.  Then one day, Analee found us and just showed up on the Christmas tree like a damn serial killer stalking his prey and then the two became Santa’s henchmen because we don’t tell our girls about the boogie man.

The following year, we had moved in with our in-laws because 2 years apart was too much for all of us. Unfortunately, we had forgotten our two little buddies they couldn’t find us because we had moved yet again. Enter, Herbie Hancock (he likes to rock down to electric avenue) coolest elf ever. He even has a naughty and nice placard to let the girls know where they stand.  But by this time, Bella was 6 and Gabi was suspicious of that damn placard, “Mommy, why does he look like a stuffed animal?” (Because we spare our children the damn traditional scary elf on the shelf) “Because Santa doesn’t want children to be afraid” Near miss. This kid is on to us. I just know it.

elf on a shelf, elf, elf on the shelf, Christmas

 

Then last year, we moved into our house and it was the mass exodus of elves. They descended upon our house like locusts. Analee, Ed, Herbie Hancock, and then Rick Astly ( what a mischievous little guy he is. You never know what you’re going to wake up to.) He looks like the traditional elf on the shelf, I’m trying to throw the 5-year-old off the scent. Then she demanded to know why no one arrived in the official Santa box and you guessed it, Rick(i) James showed up a couple days later in the box from the North Pole with an official  letter addressed to the girls.

So the winter of my discontent 2012 was the year of the elves (that were very mischevious). The mischievousness rubbed off on the girls and so we had to tell them about Santa’s “special” cameras that are installed in the fire alarms throughout the house. Elves were popping up in toilets and refrigerators, backpacks and boxes of cereal or not moving at all or being chewed up by crazed puppies.Kids were dancing naked in front of the fire alarms mooning Santa and blaming shit on their sister. I was still stumbling across rogue elves covered in cob webs in April.

This year we have 5 elves, 3 have arrived, 2 will be here any day I am sure of it. Oh and Gabs is back on board, since finding out that a classmate of hers had a pocket elf who has gotten elderly and now in his wheelchair talks openly to the child. No longer hiding his secret. What an imagination and guess what she prayed for that night? Her very own pocket elf, but not “an old one in a wheelchair” a regular one. Now, we have another elf to remember to displace. As of yet, he is still nameless and harmless ( no baby Jesus stealing or conga lining with the 3 kings…yet) I’m think we name him Too Short or maybe Prince Napoleon.

elf on a shelf, elf, Christmas, holiday traditionsSo to all of you who say that elf on the shelf is stupid, I say to you…stick to your guns. Our elves have played a wonderful part in comforting my girls when they were small and our lives were upside down and we all missed the Big Guy but now, the elves are running amuck and I keep forgetting where they are at night and one keeps stealing baby Jesus and eating all the Fat Boys and Mentos in the house.

I know it’s nonsense and has absolutely nothing to do with why we celebrate Christmas but I also know that my girls love their elves and look forward to their magical appearance every year. It is magic and I am not taking that away from them.

What’s your most creative idea for elf on the shelf shenanigans?

 

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Minted.com, Christmas Cards, holidays, stationary, personalized gifts

Can you believe it’s September already? Summer disappeared over night and my girls are back to school. The days are getting shorter and Christmas decorations are already in the stores. We’ve not even made it through Halloween yet and the Nutcracker auditions are being held this Sunday. Christmas will be here before you know it. Does this bother anyone else? Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas more than just about anything but I’d like to enjoy all the holidays that actually precede Christmas before having our annual National Lampoons Christmas marathon.

I should be embarrassed to tell you this but from the moment I saw the giant Christmas blow-ups in Lowes last month, I have been secretly planning how we will decorate our yard and win this year’s neighborhood-decorating contest. My mind has already figured out a theme and all Christmas decorations have been located and placed them in their designated area in my mind. It’s like a runaway train; I’m already hopelessly immersed in a Christmas state of mind. Here’s hoping the elves remember not to show up until the day after Thanksgiving.

I guess since there is no use in fighting it, there is only one thing left to do, use my mommy ninja skills to start figuring out just what everyone wants for Christmas. I prefer not to give a bunch of gifts just for the sake of giving, I’d much rather take the time and find that perfect gift that is just right for each person. Whether it be a photo of our daughters framed with one of their favorite sayings, “I love you more” for my husband or a personalized journal for my daughter that we can write daily notes back and forth to one another in, I like gifts with meaning.

Next on the list will be to order beautiful, personalized Christmas cards. Since having our daughters, I’ve always ordered Christmas cards with photos of our family on them to share with family and friends. It’s a great way to keep loved ones updated, current with photos while filling the gap that geography and time create. I love receiving personalized cards that I know my friend or family member sat down and took the time to design. It’s like a hug in the mail and I love to receive them just as much as give them.

This year, I am using Minted.com to design and create our family’s 2013 Christmas card. I’ve been perusing the site all night and the most difficult task is going to be choosing just one design or maybe I don’t have to. For once, I have started early enough that I can take my time and design 2 or 3 different cards. The possibilities and combinations are endless. Not to mention, while I was on the site, I found all kinds of great personal gift ideas. You know how when you switch from a PC to a Mac everything seems easier, brighter, and more beautiful? That is how I feel about Minted.com’s Christmas cards. I just feel like Minted.com will take my personalized cards to the next level. I can hardly wait to get them ordered and mailed to our loved ones. I only wish I would have known about Minted.com back in May when my daughter had her first communion because they have those too. Who knew?

What is the best gift you’ve ever received for the holidays?

 

Disclaimer: I was provided a credit to spend at Minted.com to review the site and it’s products, all opinions are my own.

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