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Author Archives: Mary

Ugly Sweater Run

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ugly-sweater-logo2014If you’re looking for a ridiculously fun Christmas activity for the family, why not support a charity at the same time? The Ugly Sweater Run is being held in 18 cities across the nation, and it raises funds and awareness for Save the Children. This year, Save the Children is asking people to make the world better with a sweater. What better way to do that than to don your ugliest, merriest, or wooliest Christmas sweater in a 5K?

On race day, participants will enjoy an array of festivities along the 5K route: a giant inflatable Santa, refreshment stations where you can gulp down hot cocoa (you gotta keep your stamina up, right?), snow machines, and tons of other folks walking alongside you. Perhaps you’ll make a new friend and boldly belt out Christmas songs together! ;) Oh, and how could I not mention that awesome knit hat? It’s included in your registration, and the only way to get one is by participating in this run.

Who can come to the run?

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The Ugly Sweater Run welcomes participants of all ages! Kids under 5 years are free to attend, but if they want a hat, you’ll need to add it onto your registration. Parents are welcome to bring strollers to push their mini-me’s through the race. Decorated strollers are a plus! Even your furry, four-legged children are welcome to attend the race. (Double-check that the venue in your city allows it.)

Do I have to run?

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Haha—no! You can walk, jog, run, skip, or jump your way through the course. Just be mindful of everyone’s safety. After you get through the course, stick around because they’ll give out prizes for the best mustache, best beard, and ugliest sweater.

How can I register?

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A few runs are being held this weekend, and the rest will happen later this month. (So sorry to the folks in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and the Twin Cities, but your dates have already passed!) Click on your city below to register. You can register in person at the event, but only if the race hasn’t sold out, so go ahead and sign up online to reserve your spot in the merriest 5K of the season!

How else can I support Save the Children?

Unable to attend The Ugly Sweater Run? You can still make a difference in children’s lives by simply donating to Save the Children online. If you’re aching for a festive experience you can celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day on December 18th. Get your coworkers to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters to the office that day and encourage folks to make a small donation to Save the Children.

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Christmas Boat Parades

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Unless you live in a town that is located on or near the water, this might be the first time you’ve heard of a Christmas boat parade. Well, a floating fleet of ships is just as festive as many other light shows, and, in my opinion, it’s a bit more impressive that folks rig up their boats with creative light displays! Attending one of these parades would be a jolly good time for the whole family or a date night with your sweetheart. Even if a boat parade is not near you, keep reading to enjoy the pictures!

Newport Beach Christmas Beach Parade – Newport Beach, CA

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Photo Credit: christmasparadeboats.com

The Newport Christmas Boat Parade first started in 1907 when a man carried a few folks across the bay in his gondola decorated with Japanese lanterns. Over the last century, the parade has morphed from its humble beginnings into a wildly popular event that draws visitors from all over country. In fact, the New York Times named it “one of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation” in 2002. With over 200 boats and many houses and docks decorated for the occasion, it’s no surprise why this event is such a success!

You can watch the parade from multiple locations around the bay, including various restaurants. Click here for more viewing information. Want to upgrade your experience? You can observe the parade from a yacht; reserve tickets here.

December 16–20, 2015
6:30pm–9:00pm
Admission: Free!
Route map (click to download)

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights – Alexandria, VA

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Photo Credit: visitalexandriava.com

If you live near the Washington, D.C./Alexandria area, you’ll want to make plans to go to the boat parade on the Potomac River. There will be fun festivities for everyone, so bring the whole family! Although the activities vary depending which side of the river you’re on, both sides will have live music, photos with Santa, and a brilliant display of lights. For more details of this event, check out the Facebook page.

Saturday, December 5, 2015
5:00pm–8:00pm
Admission: Free!

San Diego Parade of Lights – San Diego, CA

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The residents of San Diego will enjoy yet another dashing display of Christmas lights in this year’s Parade of Lights. The 2015 theme is “Christmas Around The World,” and I’m sure it will be an impressive sight to behold! Spectators who want to learn tidbits of info about the participating boats can camp out near an announcers’ area. (The two announcers’ areas are located at Coronado Landing and Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero.)

Sunday, December 13 and Sunday, December 20, 2015
5:30pm–7:30pm
Admission: Free!
Route map (click to view)

Christmas Ships Parade – Portland, OR

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The Christmas Ships Parade in Portland is not just a single parade, but a series of parades! For 15 nights in December, dedicated skippers sail their boats up and down the Columbia River and Willamette River. The parade routes vary by date and by river, so be sure to check the schedule(s) ahead of time to plan your outing.

December 4–20, 2015 (No parade on the 6th or 14th.)
Start times vary by date and location
Admission: Free!

Columbia River

  • View the full schedule here.
  • Download the printable guide here.

Willamette River

  • View the full schedule here.
  • Download the printable guide here.

Venice Christmas Boat Parade – Venice, FL

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The first ever
Venice Christmas Boat Parade hit the Intracoastal Waterway in 1989 with a showing of 41 boats. Now, over thirty years later, the Venice tradition still delights the community with its glowing procession of decorated vessels. In the spirit of giving, the Venice Christmas Boat Parade, along with its sponsors, benefits boating activities for youth and funds a marine sciences scholarship!

Saturday, December 5, 2015
6:00pm
Admission: Free!
Route map (click to view)

Etsy Item of the Day: Deer Christmas Card

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Any recipient of this dreaming deer Christmas card would be pleased to open such an elegant, yet whimsical, holiday greeting. A single red robin is perched on the deer’s berry-filled antlers as if to keep him company. Printed on cotton rag paper with archival inks, this lovely design will last for years to come. Simply place the card in a frame and mix it into one’s holiday decor.
Deer Christmas Card

Etsy Seller: Mulberry Muse

Free Wallpaper: December is Here!

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Happy December, everyone! We’ve been counting down the days until Christmas all year long, but now the big day is only 24 days away. Yippee! To celebrate our favorite month, here’s a heaping helping of holiday spirit—a cozy desktop calendar featuring Raymond the reindeer.

To download the free wallpaper, click on one of the sizes above and then right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) the image and choose “Save Image As…”

Enjoy this delightful December wallpaper from northpole.com!

Cyber Monday Deals

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December starts tomorrow, which means that the holiday season is now in full swing. Does your Christmas to do list have you stressed? No need to worry, as we elves are here to help. We’ve compiled a list of some Cyber Monday/Cyber Week deals to help you with your holiday shopping. Plus, several of the companies below are offering free shipping on top of some already excellent savings! So fix a cup of cocoa, get cozy on the sofa with your laptop or tablet, and have fun shopping!

(Psst… If you are looking for more good deals, check out these Black Friday Deals—some of them are still good through tonight.)

1-800-Flowers

Sending fresh flowers is a classic way to give a festive holiday gift to your grandmother, aunt, or a friend who lives across the country. Did you know that you can place your order now and have it shipped closer to Christmas? Yep, it’s true! So go ahead and order today and save 25% off flowers and gifts with code BFCM25. Valid until 12/6/2015 at 11:59pm EST.

Juice Beauty

If you’ve been looking for organic skin care products for yourself or a loved one, you’ll want to check out the award-winning products at Juice Beauty. Get 20% off and free shipping by using code CM2015 at checkout. Valid until 11/30 at 11:59pm PDT.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s is a great place to shop for shoes, clothing, home decor, and more. One of my favorite things about Kohl’s is that you can stack up the savings with multiple coupon codes. Some of these deals are good today only, so catch them before they’re gone!

Kohls Department Stores Inc

The Land of Nod

The fun, whimsical toys and room decorations at The Land of Nod make me wish I was a kid again! Classic books, unique toys, and fanciful playhouses are just a few of the things that the Land of Nod has to offer. Need ideas for stocking stuffers? They’ve got you covered. Today Land of Nod is offering 20% off and free shipping!

The Land of Nod - 20% Off + Free Shipping

Macy’s

Is there a designer handbag or a fabulous pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for someone on your gift list? Macy’s has sales across their whole site, plus you can get an extra 20% and free shipping with code CYBER. Valid 11/30.

Macys.com

Minted

December is just one day away, and if you haven’t thought about your Christmas cards yet, now is the time to get them! The Cyber Monday deals at Minted.com are 20% off holiday cards and 25% off other select products. Perhaps you can give a lovely photo calendar to your grandparents or create personalized wrapping paper for gifts. Use code CM2015. Valid 11/30 until 11:59pm PT.

NFL Shop

Is there a sports nut or two on your holiday list? Grab some game day gear so they can flaunt their favorite football jersey or team colors. This Cyber Monday deal at NFLShop.com can’t be beat! Save 20% on orders over $25 with code CM2015. Valid 11/30.

Save 20% on orders over $50 at NFLShop.com

Omaha Steaks

This is Omaha Steaks’ best offer of the season! Order a gift for your loved ones or stock your fridge with delicious meal solutions for upcoming holiday dinners. Head over to OmahaSteaks.com to get free steaks, free shipping, and save up to 60%.

OmahaSteaks.com, Inc.

The Body Shop

I love the assortment of body care products at The Body Shop, as you can find moisturizers, skin care essentials, fragrance mists, candles, and more. Their gift sets make it easy to find presents for the men and women on your holiday list! With their Cyber Monday promo, you can get 50% off and free shipping. Valid 11/30–12/1.

The Body Shop

Walmart

You can find great prices on familiar brands all week long at Walmart.com. Need trinkets, toys, and candy to fill several stockings? Find all that and more here!


Need More Gift Ideas?

If you are still looking for gift ideas to finish up your Christmas shopping, head on over to the Gift Shop where we have tons of fabulous elf-selected presents for everyone on your list!

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

Etsy Item of the Day: Woodland Deer Hoop Art

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Right now I’m head over heels for anything wool! (If you saw the wool blanket I highlighted a few days ago, maybe you will be, too. ;) ) This fuzzy little fawn is needle-felted onto fabric and surrounded by hand-stitched trees and stars. The willow wreath frames the design, adding to its woodland charm. Whether placed on a wall, a shelf, or a Christmas tree, this lovely hoop art will add a whimsical touch wherever it goes!

Etsy Seller: Val’s Art Studio

Black Friday Deals

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Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days in the entire year. Isn’t it crazy that many of us get pulled into the shopping frenzy after celebrating a day of thankfulness? That’s why it’s refreshing to see some brands like REI close up shop with their #OptOutside campaign. (Read about it here.) Even still, we know today is a great time to start, continue, or finish up your holiday shopping. That’s why we’ve pulled together some special deals for you that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your home. Shop online with these deals and coupon codes, then get back to what you really want to be doing—spending time with your loved ones!

Cheryl’s

We love Cheryl’s cookies and think they’re fabulous gifts for loved ones near and far. Did you know that you can order now and have the treats delivered closer to Christmas? Yup! You can cross it off your list and let Cheryl’s take care of the rest!

Here are the deals from Cheryl’s this weekend:

Cheryl's

Crazy 8

Need some cute clothes for your kiddos? Get 40% off your entire purchase, plus free shipping at Crazy 8’s Black Friday Sale! Valid 11/26–11/28/15.

Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

Cricut

If you’ve been eyeing a Cricut like I have been for years, you won’t find a better deal than this: The Cricut One machine is $149 today only! If that wasn’t a great deal already, use code FREESHIPNOV to get FREE shipping! Deal ends 11/27/15.

Christmas Tree Market

Even though I put my Christmas tree up a couple weeks ago, I know many of you wait until the end of November. If you are looking to replace a worn out artificial tree, now’s the time to take advantage of the blowout sale at Christmas Tree Market. Save 40–70% off everything, plus free shipping! Deal ends 11/27/15.

Christmas Tree Market

Gymboree

Know someone with toddlers or young children? Gymboree has quite the selection of cute clothing for girls and stylish apparel for boys. Get 50% off your entire purchase, plus free shipping! Valid until 11/28/15.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

ImagineToys.com

You’ll find toys galore for kids of all ages and interests ImagineToys.com. What’s their special Black Friday deal? 20% off storewide + free shipping orders $79 or more! Deal ends 11/28/15.

Toys for babies and toddlers to explore their world.

The Popcorn Factory

Savory treats like popcorn are always a hit during the holiday season! The yummy snacks at The Popcorn Factory make nice gifts for teachers, coworkers, or for yourself when you’ve got a case of the munchies. Save 50% on select gifts! Valid 11/27/15 12am EST through 11/29/15 11:59pm EST or while supplies last.

The Popcorn Factory

Walmart

Find almost anything for anyone on your list whether it’s stocking stuffers, hot electronics, or popular kids’ toys at Walmart. Check out their Black Friday deals online.

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Need More Gift Ideas?

If you are still looking for gift ideas to finish up your Christmas shopping, head on over to the Gift Shop where we have tons of fabulous elf-selected presents for everyone on your list!

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

Warm Fuzzies from Mog the Cat

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‘Tis the season for giving, sharing, and spreading joy. This short video of Mog the cat gave me warm fuzzies, and I’m sure it will make you feel cheery, too. Be sure to watch until the very end to see how things turn out!

Wasn’t that a sweet ending? Though this is a Sainsbury’s advert, I love the fact that it reminds me of what truly matters. In this case, neighbors pulled together to help the family recover from the fire. What can you do to make the season brighter for someone in your life? Perhaps it’s sharing a meal with a friend or baking cookies for your coworkers. Share a smile with someone you pass on the street; you can make a difference in someone else’s day in seemingly small ways. What will you do today? Let us know in the comments below. :)

Etsy Item of the Day: Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie Earrings

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These Christmas tree sugar cookie earrings will make a good gift for someone who loves to bake or has a sweet tooth. Since I adore sweets and enjoy baking, it’s obvious why I like these earrings so much! I especially like that the sprinkles are pastels, which makes them a subtler Christmas accessory than my ugly Christmas sweater. ;-)
Christmas Tree Sugar Cookie Earrings

Etsy Seller: Cute Treats
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