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Mary

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Etsy Item of the Day: Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

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With Christmas just 3 days away, it’s a little late to get an advent calendar for this year, but it’s not too early to get one for next year! This Christmas tree advent calendar is handmade from felt, and you’ll want to use it year after year.

Each day of advent you or your kids can take an ornament from a pocket and hang it on the tree. You’ll get a few extra ornaments just in case one goes missing! If you crafty like I am, you might be interested in purchasing the PDF pattern so you can make it yourself.
Christmas Tree Advent Calendar ~ Etsy Seller: The Lullaby Loft

Etsy Seller: The Lullaby Loft

Harbin International Snow & Ice Festival

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One thing I look forward to in the winter months is the snow! In my younger days I had lots of fun building snowmen, making snow angels, and sledding down hills. While I still do enjoy these activities, nowadays I prefer to admire amazing ice sculptures and snow creations made by skilled snow artists. There are many ice sculpture competitions held throughout the world, but the largest one is in Harbin, China.

Photo Credit: harbinice.com

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is an annual tradition that began in 1963. The festival has grown and evolved over the years and now attracts thousands of people every year.

In this icy metropolis you will see stunning sculptures and amazing buildings built from blocks of ice. Colorful lights are used throughout the festival, illuminating the frozen monuments which creates a spectacular sight!

Photo credit: harbinice.com

The festival also includes other activities such as skiing, a lantern show, and swimming in the frigid Songua River. If you prefer a less intense activity, take a ride down the giant ice slide! Weeeeeee!

Photo credit: harbinice.com

The 2015 festival begins on January 5 and continues through February. To learn more about the festival or to see more amazing pictures, check out their website.

Photo credit: harbinice.com
Mary

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Category: Events

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Etsy Item of the Day: Creative Cookie Cutters

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I love baking (and eating! ;) ) sweet treats and cookies, so when I saw the cookie cutters at The Buttercup House on Etsy, I stopped in my tracks. They have all kinds of neat cookie cutters, such as holiday shapes, states, alphabets, animals, and more!

If you are planning a themed party anytime soon, you will likely find a cookie cutter to fit your theme. Peruse their collection to find the right one for you or buy a few for your friend who loves to bake. I really like this polar bear, but I also really like this gnome!

If you have any friends or loved ones who are Jewish, you might like to see this dreidel cookie cutter or menorah cookie cutter.
Polar Bear Cookie Cutter ~ Etsy Seller: The Buttercup House

Etsy Seller: The Buttercup House

Drive Through Holiday Light Shows

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callaway-lights-3
Photo Credit: Doug Waldron. License: CC BY SA 2.0

A fun activity the whole family will enjoy is a ride through a holiday light show. Many cities put on an annual holiday light show with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights. A drive through holiday experience is a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful lights without leaving the comfort of your warm car. Here are a few light shows that you can attend this year—even after Christmas day!

The Dancing Lights of Christmas – Nashville, TN

This is the 5th year that the festive folks at Jellystone Park have put on this fabulous light display. As you drive through this amazing light show, you can jam out to Christmas tunes on your radio and watch the lights dance to the music.

The Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park
2572 Music Valley Drive
Nashville, TN 37214
Open until January 4, 2015

Hershey Sweet Lights – Hershey, PA

This sweet light display extends through 2 miles of wooded trails just minutes away from Hersheypark. Make sure you check out their website for hours of operation and directions.

Hershey Sweet Lights
100 W. Hersheypark Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
800.437.7439
Open until January 1, 2015

Lanier Islands Christmas

lanier-islands-lights

Take a rolling stroll through Lanier Islands to enjoy the twinkling Christmas light display. At the end of the tour, you can visit the Holiday Village where you can see a live nativity scene, visit with Santa, and even skate around The Polar Rink.

Lanier Islands
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
Buford, GA 30518
770.945.8787
Open until December 31, 2014

The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort

The light show at Oglebay Resort is one of the largest light shows in the US. Spanning over 6 miles and 300 acres, this is one holiday show you don’t want to miss. If you can’t make it this year, perhaps you can plan a family trip in 2015.

Oglebay Resort
465 Lodge Drive
Wheeling, West Virginia 26003
800.624.6988
Open until January 4, 2015

Lights Under Louisville – Louisville, KY

louisville-lights1

This spectacular light show has over 2 million lights that cover 17 miles of passageways… underground! Drive your own vehicle into the Louisville Mega Cavern to view this one-of-a-kind light show and create a memorable Christmas experience for your family.

Louisville Mega Cavern
1841 Taylor Ave
Louisville, KY 40213
877.614.6342
Open until January 4, 2015

Mary

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Etsy Item of the Day: Starfish Santa

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Teehee! This little starfish ornament is so funny! If Santa were a starfish, this is what he would look like—sporting red swim trunks, shades, and his signature red hat. He is holding a fishing rod in one hand, but if fishing isn’t your style, you can get a starfish Santa with skis, a golf club, a volleyball, or holding nothing at all. This would make a nice gift for anyone who loves the beach or collects cute Santa ornaments.
Fishing Starfish Santa ~ Etsy Seller: Cereus Art

Etsy Seller: Cereus Art

How to Say “Merry Christmas” in Other Languages

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In 6 short days, Santa will be making his big trip around the globe. He will visit homes in many countries, delivering gifts to children. As you know, many different languages exist, and therefore Santa has a multitude of names besides Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, and Ol’ Saint Nick.

Give yourself a quick, fun foreign language lesson with the infographic below. Practice saying “Merry Christmas” in a different language and say “Fröhliche Weihnachten” or “Joyeux Noël” to your loved ones!

Click on the image for a closer look! Infographic via Infographic.ca

Free Shipping Day

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Today is Free Shipping Day! With Christmas just one week away, now is the time to finish up your holiday shopping. Take advantage of the FREE shipping deals while they last. When you place your order today, many retailers guarantee that your goods will be delivered by Christmas.

Give some stellar stocking stuffers with a product or two from C.O. Bigelow, such as their Mentha Lip Shine or Quince Hand Lotion (my favorites!). While you’re shopping, get 12% off any purchase, plus free shipping on orders over $49 with code XMAS12. Good through 12/31.
You can find almost anything imaginable on CafePress from customized clothing to home decor. You can also find some beautiful Christmas cards at a great price—50 cards for $19.50 plus free shipping! Offer valid until 12/31.
It can be tricky to send goodies to your loved ones in the military, but Cheryl’s makes it easy to send fresh baked treats. Get free shipping on baked goods to all APO & FPO military bases from Cheryls.com. (Offer expires 1/1/2015.) Even if you’re not shipping to a military address, you can still take advantage of free shipping on many of their tasty products.
Anyone who is crafty would love to receive a Cricut this Christmas! If someone you know already has a Cricut, then perhaps they would like a new cartridge for new projects or a replacement blade. Whatever you decide to purchase, you can get free shipping in December with code FREESHIPDEC.
For gag gifts and lots of silly puns, check out the fun gifts made by Fred & Friends on Amazon. Many of the gifts are Amazon Prime eligible, so you can get FREE two-day shipping if you have a Prime membership.
Give a unique handmade gift to your loved ones this Christmas when you purchase a present from Gifts With Humanity. All items are hand-crafted by artisans across the world, so you know you’re giving something that is truly unique. Plus, when you spend $50, your order will be shipped for free! (Domestic US only.)
If you’re looking for a gift for a child, take a moment to check out the toys and gifts at Melissa and Doug. From toy & games to arts & crafts, you will find something for a child of any age. Don’t take our word for it—check out the Melissa & Doug Holiday Gift Guide, save & get free shipping!
Find the perfect last-minute gift or stocking stuffers at The Body Shop. With so many scents and body products to choose from, you can certainly finish up your Christmas shopping. Head on over to their website and 50% off and free shipping with code SAVE50. Valid until 12/18.
From toys to furniture, The Land of Nod is the place for all things kids. If you know a child or two who loves books or music, head over to the Land of Nod and get free shipping on DVDs, books and CDs.
Walmart is the place to go for all your last-minute needs. Grab any final food items for Christmas dinner, candles for the table centerpiece, plus the remaining gifts on your holiday list. Get free shipping on orders of $50 or more at Walmart.com!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure here.

Etsy Item of the Day: His & Hers Stockings

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The stockings in this Etsy shop are so pretty, and each design is full of details that you may not notice at first glance. Take these his & hers stockings, for example. The stockings are quite lovely, but upon a closer look you will see mistletoe hanging from the stag’s antler. How cute and clever! These stockings would be a sweet gift for any couple—new or seasoned.
His & Hers Stockings ~ Etsy Seller: Heartfelt Stockings

Etsy Seller: Heartfelt Stockings

Make a Difference with One Warm Coat

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The winter months are chilly, but especially frigid for folks who don’t have the luxury of a cozy coat. One Warm Coat® has been collecting coats since 1992 and giving them to people in need. The organization has grown over the years and has given away nearly 4 million coats to date!

While that sounds like a lot of coats, there is indeed still a great need for more. The economic climate, unemployment, and natural disasters have contributed to the hardships that many people are facing. Did you know that 1 in 5 children live in poverty? That is a staggering number of children—not to mention families—that are experiencing hard times.

The good news is that there are several ways for you to get involved and help! If you have an extra coat or two in your closet, you can give it to someone who needs it. In addition to coats, One Warm Coat encourages donors to give any type of outerwear, such as sweaters, sweatshirts, hats, scarves, or mittens. And, for any crafters out there, you can donate a handmade scarf, mittens, or hat. ;)

You can drop off your coats at any The Container Store location or go One Warm Coat’s website to locate a coat drive near you.

Want to do more to help?

Another way to get involved is to volunteer your time. One Warm Coat provides you with many resources to start your own coat drive and help you find an agency who will distribute the coats you collect. One Warm Coat provides you with a toolkit if you want to organize your own coat drive. Together, we can make a difference and spread the warmth of Christmas through the act of giving.

Etsy Item of the Day: Love Santa Tote Bag

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I’m loving this tote bag! The simple heart pays homage to the jolly bearded man we all love—Santa. Yule spread cheer wherever you go with this cute bag. Here’s an idea for you—double up on your gift-giving prowess when you use this tote as a gift bag. If you still need to get some Christmas cards, check out this Santa card that matches the tote.
Love Santa Tote Bag ~ Etsy Seller: hello DODO

Etsy Seller: hello DODO
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