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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

Help Sick Children with the Click of a Button

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Founded by Danny Thomas over a half century ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a treatment and research facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. St. Jude’s mission is beyond commendable: to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability to pay. Not only do patients’ families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, they also don’t have to pay for lodging, travel, or food. On top of that, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to over 80%. Incredible!!

If you’re feeling some warm fuzzies about this amazing organization and want to help, there are several ways you can get involved this holiday season.

Make an Honourary Donation

For a unique gift this Christmas, make a donation in honour of a loved one. With your donation, St. Jude offers a variety of cards to bid festive tidings to the honouree, as well as let them know about your honourary donation. You can select between ecards, mailable cards, or print-at-home cards.

Did you know that a donation of $69 could fund a St. Jude child’s platelet count test? Or a donation of $30 could fund meals for a St. Jude family for an entire day?

Decorate the St. Jude Tree

Send a holiday greeting or a message of love & hope to the children and families at St. Jude by customizing a Christmas ornament and placing it on their interactive tree.

Select a ball ornament, angel, elf, or candy cane [designed by a St. Jude patient!] and write a sweet message to go along with your ornament. After “hanging” your ornament, you have the option to also make a donation to St. Jude.

Donate through St. Jude’s Partners

A multitude of companies—such as Delta, The Coca-Cola Company, and The Melting Pot—have teamed up with St. Jude to help raise even more money to provide treatment for ill children. Some of these companies offer specialized merchandise to benefit St. Jude, while others allow you to donate when making a purchase online or in store. These programs have made a huge difference, as some companies, like Williams-Sonoma, have raised tens of millions of dollars for St. Jude! Visit the St. Jude website to find out how your favourite brand is involved.

Simply Donate

If you want to simply give to St. Jude in order to help out this wonderful organization, you may easily donate online.

Etsy Item of the Day: Hippo Christmas Cards

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Hippos, polar bears, and snow—oh my! The Memorable Image creates cards featuring photographs of scenes made with miniature animal figurines, and boy are they cute. So adorable, in fact, that I couldn’t decide which hippo card I liked best, so I just have to highlight both!

Check our their other Christmas cards for additional animal options, such as dinosaurs, owls, penguins, and more.

Etsy Seller: The Memorable Image

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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Category: Events

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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!

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