Archives for November 2014

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My 15 Favorite Christmas Songs

              Christmas songs, holiday songs, Christmas music

Welcome to the third day of my 12 Days of Christmas posts.  I have favorite songs that I like to play during the holiday season, so I’m focusing on my favorite Christmas songs.  Shortly after Thanksgiving, I blow the dust off the CDs and crank up the volume on the CD player. Christmas music just puts me in a festive mood, and motivates me to start decorating for the holiday season. I start off the season with Merry Christmas To All of You by The Temptations. It’s my all time favorite Christmas song, and by the time the holiday season is over everyone in my house is hoping that I will never play it again.  I do play others, by that particular song is at the top of the list. Here’s my top Christmas songs:

  • Merry Christmas To All of You  – The Temptations
  • O Holy Night – Celine Dion 
  • All I Want For Christmas – Mariah Carey
  • Please Come Home For Christmas – Aron Neville
  • Up on the Roof Top – Jackson Five
  • Carol of the Bells – Celtic Woman
  • Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
  • Some Day At Christmas – Jackson Five
  • Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
  • Silent Night – The Temptations
  • Merry Christmas Baby – Bruce Springteen
  • Merry Christmas – Rod Stewart 
  • Christmas Through Your Eyes – Gloria Estefan
  • White Christmas – Kenny G
  • What Christmas Means – Kem
Are you familiar with any of them?  If not, you should check them out. They’re perfect for an open house or holiday gathering too.  Personally, I love to listen to Christmas music while I’m decorating the house, Christmas gifts or sipping a little eggnog.
Music gets everyone in a festival mood.  We could all use a little holiday inspiration, right.  Download a few tunes, and get in the holiday spirit too.  Leave a comment on your favorite Christmas songs, we may want to add it to our playlist. You may also like:  12 Days of Christmas – Family

 

Colavita Italian Gift Basket Giveaway

Welcome to the Cooking With Colavita Giveaway

Hosted by: SaraLee’s Deals Steals & Giveaways 

Sponsored by: Colavita

Colavita Italian Cooking

The Colavita Story:  The Colavita family traces its roots to the small town of Sant’Elia a Pianisi, in the Molise region of Italy. It was there, four generations ago, that Giovanni Colavita founded the family olive oil tradition and Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil was born. Over the years, theColavita family became masters at the delicate crafts of "tasting" and blending extra virgin oils from different types of olives grown in Apulia and nearby regions. This skill enabled the family to produce 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil with a consistent fine quality – a skill that sets Colavita apart today from the other leading brands.

Today, the Colavita’s main focus is still bringing consumers authentic Italian extra virgin olive oil; however, the Colavita brand has grown to include many other quality specialty food products that are sold in over 60 countries. Colavita durum wheat semolina pasta, a full selection of balsamic and wine vinegars, traditional and organic pasta sauces, ready-to-serve soups and marinated vegetables, and olive-canola blended oils are the ingredients of choice for chefs in home, restaurant, and professional kitchens worldwide.

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** One winner per household, email address, or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again. Winners must have a U.S.-based address to receive their prize. **

Now for the giveaway: One lucky person will win a Colavita Simply Italian Gift Basket. This is open to US and ends 12/14/14 @ 11:59 pm est. To enter, Simply do the tasks on the Giveaway Tools widget below and you’re set to have a chance to win! Remember you can’t win if you don’t enter. It only takes one entry to win!

Good Luck,  Thanks for entering!

Disclaimer: Please note that SaraLee’s Deals Steals and Giveaways are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Kid’s Breakfast Ideas: Snowman Pancakes

 
 

 

fun kid's food ideas, fun kid's food


Today I’m featuring my favorite fun kid’s breakfast ideas
.  How about a snowman pancake?  I fix these the morning of Christmas Eve, and the kids love them. They make the kids happy and they put everyone in a festive mood.  So, festive pancakes are a great way to start the Christmas celebration.  Besides, they are quick, easy and fun to make.  To make things more festive, try to find a winter themed plate to place them on.  You should be able to find them on at the Dollar Tree, Big Lots or Dollar General. I found the plates shown at the Dollar Tree.

 The recipe for these snowman pancakes is simple:

Step 1 – Whip up your favorite pancake batter and made 3 pancakes, small, medium and large.

Step 2 – Use a black food pen to make the buttons, mouth and eyes.  If you don’t have a food pen on hand, use chocolate chips.

Step 3 – Cut 2 strips of bacon, 1 for the scarf and 1 for the arms.  You cut out fingers in the bacon with a pair of scissors for the arms.  I was lucky when I made the pancakes this time.  I found snowman paper plates, so I didn’t make the bacon arms. Place the other piece between the small and medium pancakes for the scarf.

These pancakes are fun and easy to make.  They should be placed on your fun kid’s breakfast ideas list. Get out the griddle and get to work. The adults enjoy them as much as the kids.  There’s a child in each of us, and they come roaring to the surface during the holidays. When the children eat everything on their plate, I tell them that they’ve made a happy plate.  I’m sure there will be happy plates in your home too.  Enjoy!

You may also like: Snowman Donuts or my Christmas White Trash recipe.  Try both, they’re fun and delicious.

Inspirational Quote-BeThankful

Turn It Up Tuesday – Week 62

Welcome to Mother 2 Mother and Turn It Up Tuesday.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And we’re definitely celebrating this week. Share all of your amazing Thanksgiving, Fall, and all around Holidays posts here this week! Our hosts and guest hosts will be selecting their favorites, and 4 posts will win Best of the Best!!!
Happy Thanksgiving
Welcome to the 62nd week of Turn It Up Tuesdays! We’re so happy to have you here this week – and thanks for the amazing posts last week! There were so many great posts to choose from! And we had another record-breaking week – thanks again!!!
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Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts (old or new) and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!
Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

Silvie from My Silly Little Gang

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Through Silvie’s posts, she shares the details of raising my silly little gang of boys and the different things she encounters in her life as a mommy. Including crafts, recipes, and reviews, she enjoys blogging and all the work it entails. It definitely keeps her on her toes, but it’s rewarding for her when she receives a comment from a reader letting her know they enjoy her post. Her goal is to grow her blog into all it can be. As a mommy blogger, she has had the opportunity to work with several brands to review their products or places.
Stop by and check out her blog…it’s definitely a great read!
Are you interested in having your blog or website featured in this spot? Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month! Click here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!
We’re accepting sponsors for 2015!

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

TUT Hosts 11.1.14 (1)

(from the top – left to right)
Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | April from 100lb Countdown | Meghan from Life with Peanut | Kae from Where’s My Pacifier? | Kelly from Making-More | Melissa from The Coupon Chronicles | Yolanda from That’s Mashed Up | Laura from Another Cent Saved | Cindy from Mom Maven | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly| Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Tiffany from MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter | Mari from Living in Mommywood | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Jillian from Baby Doodah | Chelsea from Mommie and Wee | Tenns from New Mama Diaries

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for November!

TUT Nov 2014 (3)

(from the top – left to right)
Angie from God’s Growing Garden | Damjana from AppleGreen Cottage | Keri from Living In This Season | Stasia from Our Life on a Budget | Kimberly from Life is a Lullaby | Rebeka from Homemade Momy | Serena from Simple Holistic Girl | Amy from Home Remedies | Stacy from Little to No Progress Here | Tanya from City Mom Loves | Tina from The Happy Creations

Interested in being a guest host for the month or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis.  We’re now accepting guest hosts for December, January, and February.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

Chocolate-Peppermint-Truffles
Cindy chose Easy Chocolate Peppermint Truffles from The Surburban Mom. “It is the season for peppermint and I have been baking with it a lot. I’ve never made truffles before but I hope to tackle this recipe in the weeks before Christmas.”
Amy also chose this post. “These truffles look delicious and would make great gifts for the approaching holidays – plus their easy to make!”
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Tina chose Handmade Rustic Angel Ornament from Canary Street Crafts. “What a beautiful and easy to make Christmas ornament. So cute!! I’m going to make one as Christmas craft with my daughter,she loves Christmas angels!!! Maybe make some as presents.”
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Damjana chose Thanksgiving Table Setting from Home Remedies. “I love the fresh feel of the white-green hydrangeas centerpiece and the interesting combination of materials – the traditional combination of burlap on wood topped by a white see-through scarf, giving the scene a silky-light feel…You cannot not love it, can you?”
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Serena chose Serving Others (When You Barely Have Time To Take Care Of Yourself!) from Women with Intention. “I personally feel like this sometimes. I know I sometimes want to help out others so bad even when there’s way too much on my plate and I do it anyway. I have to know and trust in the end it’ll all work out for the good. If I have to say no (on the rare occasion) I know if that opportunity was meant for me then a way will open up for me to do it without feeling overwhelmed.”
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Mari chose Oreo Funfetti Cake Bars from With A Blast. “Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? Omg again I had a long list and had to narrow down but I loved Linda’s treat because it mixes 2 of my daughters’s favorites so it’s a must try.”
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Jillian chose Friday Favorites: Updated Thanksgiving Planner from Krafty Cards etc. “I am SUCH a planner nerd and think it is absolutely necessary to have a planner for your Thanksgiving meal. I want everyone to know about and enjoy this printable!”
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Angie chose Angeli di carta fai da te * DIY paper Angels from Caseperlatesta. “These paper angels are so simple but yet so classy – many ways to decorate with them – on the tree, in a nativity scene or as a place setting for Christmas dinner!”
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Cathy chose Pancake Battered Banana Bites from The Pinterested Parent. “I can’t wait to serve these adorable little bites to the little ones in my life…except I know the big ones in my life are going to love them too!”
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Stasia chose Nursing & Pumping Essentials from The Memoirs of a Mommy. “I just would have found this list super helpful when I was pregnant and will definitely use it the second time around!”
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Tenns chose Mommy, Where’s Your Meatball? A Tale About Testicles + Tips for Discussion from Epic Mommy Adventures. “While it was hilarious, it gave me a real reality check of what it means to raise a boy. I’m so happy you shared this insight, because kids, especially boys, never cease to amaze, surprise or humiliate you. I have a bit more of an idea of one of the many crazy things that may happen with having a son.”
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Silvie chose 4 Simple & Oh So Cute Christmas Gifts from Always Made with Love. “These 4 ideas are adorable, simple and easy to do. These would make perfect stocking stuffers or add a nice touch to gift baskets, or use as bows on gifts!”
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Tiffany chose 7 Tips to Being a Better Stay-At-Home-Mama from Seven Graces. “I love this post! It can be so hard to remember that being at home is not only about taking care of our children but taking care of ourselves as well. A better us means a better Woman, Wife and Mother for everyone else.”
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Stacey chose 7 Epic Books for Bloggers from Amber Kristine. “What a wonderful listing of books! Even though I have been at this blogging thing for almost two years, I still feel like there is so much that I have yet to learn. I am definitely going to check into some of these. Thank you so much for sharing!”
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Jessica chose A Better Human Being from Two Teens and Their Mama. “What an inspiring story! It made me think of what I currently have in life and be thankful for it all :). Thanks for the beautiful share!”
Rhonda also chose this post. “During dark hours we sometimes loose sight of the blessings that we still have. To strive to be A Better Human Being during difficult things takes courage, but it also takes courage to strive to be A Better Human Being during our good times. Hopefully we will remember just how blessed we are this holiday season.”
Gummy-vitamins
Meghan chose Two random parenting fails from Ripped Jeans & Bifocals. “I love this post because it is just so honest. It’s easy to hide behind the computer and make it seem (on purpose or not) that your life is perfect to your readers.”
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Kelly chose DIY felt board pictures – game time! from AppleGreen Cottage. “I love the simplicity of the felt boards – and that it isn’t electronic!”
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Chelsea chose Apple Roll Ups Recipe from Typically Simple. “This recipe looked so adorable! The perfect bite of apple pie plus the flakiness of crescent rolls. So easy, and soooooo yummy sounding! I just might make these for the kids on Thanksgiving!”
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Rebeka chose 10 Ways To Save On Thanksgiving Dinner from A Mitten Full of Savings. “With holiday travels, two big dinners, presents for 4 others and stockings for all guests on Christmas eve, the holidays get pretty tight on money. I love these suggestions to help ease the strain on the pocketbook. You can even use several of the tips together!”
Objectified
Natasha chose Objectified from British Mum USA.  “I am upset about this post on so many levels, but I do feel that there is a bright side too. Your daughter’s friend not only recognized that this is an issue but she did something about it – she spoke up! I have seen this happen many times, and yes, the boy is a complete idiot but sometimes the girls fall for it believing that the only way for him to like her is to have sex with him. It is so sad! And that’s why I’m so incredibly proud of your daughter’s friend for not dealing with it or believing it is acceptable.”
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The post with the most clicks is Shop Spotlight: Ahoy Amigo from Life with Peanut.
Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!
If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!
Epic Mommy Adventures
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And the Best of the Best is…

There are two posts tied for 1st place!
Chocolate-Peppermint-Truffles
Easy Chocolate Peppermint Truffles from The Surburban Mom
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Apple Roll Ups Recipe from Typically Simple
And we have two posts tied for second place!
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A Better Human Being from Two Teens and Their Mama
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Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!
As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!
Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details!
Epic Mommy Adventures
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So now that you’ve met our sponsor of the month, our hosts and co-hosts, and our Featured and the Best of the Best…

let’s get started!

*Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back. *Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier! *Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends! *Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun! 

Epic Mommy Adventures

 

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Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week! **Disclaimer: Adding your link to this link party gives permission to Epic Mommy Adventures, along with co-hosts, guest hosts, and participants of Turn It Up Tuesday, to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features, roundups, etc. with an explicit link back to the original source.**

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Interested in reading all of the Featured Posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays – past or present? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

28 Holiday Recipes, Crafts and Decorating Ideas



Happy Holidays!  They’re around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re looking for delicious recipes, great decorating ideas, and fun crafts for kids.  I like to start decorating after Thanksgiving. Check out my holiday round-up, here’s 28 great ideas for recipes, crafts and decorating.  

I have so many Christmas decorations that I acquired over years, so I’m always looking for a way to re-purpose them. As my readers know, I’m all about budgeting and doing things in the most cost effective way. Not only have I hung to years old decorations, I’m surrounded by woods and evergreens.  So I look for ideas to use with natural items that I can retreat from my neighbor’s or my yard.  A can of paint from the Dollar Store and a new twist on an old item and I’m good to go.  

Lets get ready to whip up fabulous dishes, decorate awesome trees and tables, and spend time making fun crafts with the kids.

holiday ideas, holiday round-up

Rainbow Christmas Tree found at Inspired by Charm
White Center Piece found at Discover 0
Candy Cane Sleighs found at  Princess Pinky Girl
Champagne Punch found at Between Naps On The Porch
Chocolate Spoons found at Cherished Bliss
Gingerbread Kids found at Just Imagine
Grinch Punch found at Parent Map
Pillsbury Christmas Tree found at Pillsbury
Holiday Sled found at Junk Chic Cottage
Christmas Party Punch found at Fashion and Pop Culture
Candy Cane Candle Holder found at The Mother Huddle
Popcorn Snowmen found at Creative Kids Snacks
Epsom Salt Centerpieces found at Hing Design
Santa Bread found at Taste of Home
Christmas Wagon found at Style Estate
Baby Food Jar Snowmen found at Hip 2 Save
Snowman Doughnuts found at Dukes and Duchesses
Christmas Mail Box found at Christmas Holiday
Paper Plate Christmas Tree found at I Heart Crafty Things
Oranges and Cloves  found at Your Nest Design
Rainbow Tree found on Ebay
Monogram Wreath found at Martha Stewart
Mistle Toes found at Babble
Pull Apart Christmas Tree found at Electric Recipes
Gift Basket Idea found at Megan Shipton
Wine Glass Center Pieces found at Pinterest
Tomato Cage Christmas Tree found at NEDC Design and Construction
The Stair Case found on the Relax Deco

 I’m loving the Monogram Wreath, Stair Case, and the Doughnut and Popcorn Snowmen. My grandchildren love both, so guess what will be on their snack plates during the holidays.  I hope these ideas have motivated you too. If you need more information on how to create your inspiration, click on the link and go check out these crafty bloggers.  What are some of your favorites? 

Inspirational Quotes – Making An Effort

9 Favorite Holiday Movies

 

favorite holiday movies, holiday movies, Christmas movie, favorite Christmas movies

Welcome to Day 1 of my 12 Days of Christmas posts. I’ll be posting some of my favorite recipes with the grandchildren, traditions and memories of Christmas past during my 12 day series.  I thought this would be a great way for me to get into the holiday spirit and share my favorite memories over the years with you.  Hopefully, my posts will motivate you to get into the Christmas spirit too.  


Watching Christmas movies is my first step toward preparing for the holiday spirit, so I thought I would start here. I watch the movies while I decorate the house and trim the tree. My favorite Christmas movie list changes from year to year.  I always seem to find another movie or 2 to add to the list. They have become a holiday tradition for me.  The first movie on the list is a must for me. You guessed it, A Christmas Story with Ralphie.  You know the adorable little boy who wanted the Red Ryder BB Gun from Santa.  I watch this movie all day and laugh. The Eggnog and Bacardi contribute to the laughter I’m sure, but the movie is a great holiday treat. 
I probably have every word memorized.  I’ve watched this movie during the holidays since my daughter was a little girl, approaching 35 years.  My daughter calls me and says “Mom, Ralphie is on”.  Do you ever wonder how they choose the people to play the roles in movies?  They couldn’t have found better people to play the Parker’s in A Christmas Story.  My grandson is following in my footsteps.  He watches the movie with me and has received his own DVD so he can watch it when his heart desires. Here’s the remainder of my Favorite Christmas Movie List:

  • A Christmas Story with Peter Billingsley and Melinda Dillion.  My all time favorite Christmas movie.  One of my employee’s has a miniature leg lamp in her office.  Too funny.  
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas with Chevy Chase.  What an idiot!  Need I say more.  
  • Deck the Halls with Danny Devito.  Great music and light shows in this movie. 
  • Christmas With The Kranks with Jamie Lee Kurtis, Tim Allen and Dan Aykroyd.  I love how the neighbors come together in this movie and demonstrate that giving is better than receiving.  
  • Home Alone with Macaulay Culkin in this movie, but I have to give Joe Pesci and his side kick their props too.  
  • Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thorton, Bernie Mac and John Ritter.  How can you go through the holiday season without seeing a drunk Santa.  
  • A Boyfriend for Christmas – This is one of favorite Hallmark Movies with Patrick Muldoon and Kelli Williams.  Who doesn’t love a romantic Christmas movie. Kelli Williams wishes for a boyfriend for Christmas. Santa delivers, but things don’t go as planned.   
  • Undercover Christmas – Another romantic Christmas favorite from Hallmark with Jamie Gertz and Shawn Christian. You like eye candy, Shawn Christian does’t disappoint in this FBI undercover agent type movie who falls in love with the prime witness in a major case.  
  • Last Holiday with Queen Latifah and LL Cool J.  I love Queen Latifah and how she demonstrates courage when she believes her life is coming to an end way too soon.   

I regress back to my childhood during the holiday season.  I love the movies, the Christmas tree, the lights and spending time with family and friends. What are your favorite holiday movies, I may want to check them out and add it to my list.  

 

Teaching Your Children the Meaning of Christmas


the meaning of Christmas
Do you think Christmas has become too commercialized? Have we truly lost the meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior, and giving to others?  I want to share an experience that I had picking a child to sponsor from the Angel Tree in Walmart.  I sponsor a child from either Walmart or Kmart each year, but I choose to walk away last year without purchasing a gift.

Why because the children were asking for expensive game systems and games.  I did a calculation on at least 2 or 3 children’s wish list and they totaled hundred of dollars each. I could have selected a few items from the Angel’s card, but I was left wondering what we’re teaching our children.

You’re asking for charity that equates to hundreds of dollars and obviously feeling no guilt about the list you have submitted. I have sponsored a child for years, and that was the first year that I witnessed these types of items on their wish list. I felt bad that I walked away, but I was so shocked that I felt it was best for me to leave the store.  Can anyone say holiday stress?

I understand that many parents are out of work, and they will be unable to meet their children’s wish list.  But if you’re unable to buy expensive gifts don’t expect others to take up your slack. Our priorities in this country puzzle me.  We act as if someone owes us something, and it seems this type of thinking is being passed on to our children.

I understand the children want the latest toys and gadgets, but my thought is that their parents should try to buy these items used if possible.  My issue is about values, no more and certainly no less. Simply put, don’t pass the financial burden on to your fellow citizens who are trying to be charitable.    

To keep cost down during the holidays I started making many of my gifts.  Also, I buy clearance items at the end of the season for the following year.  I crochet and make scrapbooks and gift baskets for adult members of my family.  Also, I set a budget of $50.00 for each of the teenage children in the form of a mall gift certificate.

I don’t have time to bang my head trying to figure out what the teen would like. Can somebody say holiday stress again!  The siblings in my family stopped exchanging gifts years ago.  We only purchase for the children now.  That really helped eliminate holiday debt.  Furthermore, I have a Christmas Club where I set aside money each week throughout the year for my grandchildren’s gifts.  I host Christmas dinner or a gathering for my siblings, and I’m grateful for their company. That is gift enough for all of us.  I refuse to belong to the debt club. I relinquished my membership years ago, and I surely will not go into debt for someone else.

Parents get real because the world doesn’t owe you or your children anything.  We must learn to make our way in this great country.  If times get a little rough be grateful for any assistance you receive; however, don’t take advantage. Teach your children that the holidays are not only about receiving, but giving and spending time with family and friends.

Focus on keeping your children warm, keeping a roof over their head and food on the table. Coats, shoes, hats, gloves and necessities for school should be at the top of the lists if you’re seeking charity.  If you want a fellow citizen to purchase a toy or electronic item, it should be reasonable.   Just saying!

Finally, what’s your thoughts on the commercialization of Christmas? Do you go into debt on Christmas gifts? I would love to hear your opinion about the Angel Tree I encountered. Please leave us a comment.