"Snowbody Does It Better" than Bounty

Building off the success of Bounty Record’s first two “Bring It” music videos, Bounty has released “Snowbody Does It Better” featuring the Paper Towel Gang and Santa’s little helpers.
“Snowbody Does It Better” is not only a catchy viral video; it demonstrates Bounty’s strength vs. the leading value paper towel. If they get 2 million YouTube views of the new holiday music video by Jan. 31, Bounty will make a one-time donation of $200,000 worth of paper towels to PTO Today, an organization they’ve partnered with to help clean up classrooms across the country.

Check it out on the YouTube home page or visit
Enhanced by Zemanta

Use Your MasterCard to Stand Up To Cancer

SU2C LogoImage via WikipediaLast-minute holiday shoppers in the Times Square-area can Stand Up To Cancer simply by using a MasterCard. Every time a shopper in Times Square uses their MasterCard at any of the 90 participating businesses through December 31 at Midnight, MasterCard Worldwide will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer, up to $1.5 million total.

During this period, any time a visitor to Times Square uses their MasterCard to book a hotel room, buy tickets to a Broadway show, dines out, goes holiday shopping, or just simply buys a toothbrush at any of the 90 participating businesses, MasterCard will make a $1 donation per transaction. 

The Stand Up To Cancer Times Square PSA, available on YouTube, is directed by David Fincher and features appearances by Christy Turlington, Tilda Swinton, Tobey Maguire, Susan Sarandon, Morgan Freeman, Mayor Bloomberg, and Lance Armstrong.

For more information, visit:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Last Chance to Print Coupons

New Free Media Diet Calculator Planned to Launch Dec. 26

After a season filled with record-setting cell phone and gaming gifts to teens and tweens, iShine is announcing the upcoming Dec. 26 release of the Family Media Diet Calculator.  The calculator is a new tool providing customized awareness to families in regards to how much time they spend connected to media in comparison to the amount of hours they spend plugged in with real life interaction and content consumption.

By visiting http://www.familymediadiet.com, parents nationwide will be able to plug in amounts of time their families spend texting, browsing online, consuming television and more. They will then be able to print a free custom analysis of where their families are spending their time in comparison to their involvement in recreational and faith-based activities along with family time and reading.  The campaign is not an anti-technology movement.  It is about use awareness and being intentional about the content.

It is estimated that the 20 million tweens in this country spend 25 hours a week watching television and playing video games and only one hour in church.  George Barna (The Barna Group), a pioneer in research on Christian culture, recently noted that kids spend more time absorbing media than anything else in their lives, except sleeping. A recent article in The New York Times titled “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” also discussed the effects of technology compared to focusing and learning.

We as parents must be deliberate of what media our kids consume, understanding that it is forming the way our kids look at everything – self image, friends, parents, leaders, themselves,” remarks iShine Founder and Chief Creative Officer Robert Beeson.If we as parents aren’t actively forming the person our kid’s are becoming – make no mistake – someone else is.”

iShine, known for bringing family-friendly media options through tours, music, television and radio mediums, is sponsoring the free Media Diet Calculator. The organization will also be releasing a new interactive Bible for tweens with Tyndale House Publishers in Feb. of 2011.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Robitussin Coupon

Get local cold and flu alerts. Sign up and save $1 off Robitussin.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Last Minute Finds, Deals and Steals

Holiday shopping often times is a stressful activity for many due to the thought of maybe forgetting someone or becoming a major expense, but it doesn’t have to be thanks to Coupon Trunk.  At Coupon Trunk, coupons, discounts and deals are listed, as well as great ideas, such as Flowers for Christmas.  There you can find coupons for FDT and other flower stores.  The work is done for you!  Coupon Trunk has a wide selection of stores you can visit for your shopping needs. Type in your store and item in the search box, and you are good to go!

FTC:  I was compensated for this post.

Check the Privacy Policy on ‘Dear Santa’ Websites

The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois discovered almost 7,000 domain names are registered that include  the name Santa Claus, offering children a wide range of opportunities to persuade St. Nick via email that they were nice in 2010.  Before allowing children to share any personal information with a “Letter to Santa” website, the BBB Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) recommends adults carefully review such sites to determine who is seeking the information, how it will be used and whether it will be shared with third parties.

All websites directed to children – or websites designed with a special children’s section –  should have a privacy policy that explains the site’s information collection practices. The privacy policy should include the name of the company and the company’s complete contact information.

“Even Santa is required to comply with CARU’s Online Privacy Protection guidelines and the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. "Even though some parents may be intimidated by technology, they need to supervise their child's computer use in the house as well as educate their kids on how to be safe online."

Websites should also state whether the company shares information with third parties, including advertisers, and whether the company publically discloses the information or retains the information for any future purpose.

CARU offered the following ‘Dear Santa’ site review tips:

  • Keep Shared Information Limited. Websites directed to children should not ask a child to disclose more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity – a first name and email address, for instance. Limit the personal information children share with Santa and omit physical addresses; Santa already knows where all the children live.

  • Age Appropriate Content. Check websites for unwelcome content. Some sites are geared toward adults and may contain language or advertising adults may not want children to see.

  • Avoid Off-topic Hyperlinks. Since hyperlinks can allow children to move seamlessly from one site to another, investigate the hyperlinks to assure children don’t access inappropriate content.

·         Keep the Channels of Communication Open. Let your kids know that you are always ready to talk if they are ever threatened, bullied or feel uncomfortable about an experience they had online.

“As many children are online and have numerous opportunities to link up with websites requesting personal information it is critical that parents take the time to protect personal information while staying in the holiday spirit,” added Bernas.  

Federal law requires sites collecting identifying information from children under 13 to get a parent's consent first. Parents who are concerned about the safety of specific child-directed websites and advertising can file a complaint at www.caru.org/complaint

For more information on how to keep your kids safe online, please visit www.CARU.org.

Parents can also learn how to keep themselves safe from ID thieves and hackers online at www.bbb.org

Enhanced by Zemanta

New Coupons

Record Turnout Expected for Friday's Free Shipping Day

During a holiday season already reporting a 12% boost in online shopping, Friday's third annual Free Shipping Day could prove one of the busiest days of all for shoppers and merchants alike.  According to a recent Unicast poll, 37% of consumers intend to participate in Free Shipping Day to avoid shipping fees and grab last-minute bargains.

Free Shipping Day is a one-day event when consumers can shop online from their favorite brands and receive free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.  Launched in 2008, Free Shipping Day will this year feature a record 1500+ participating merchants.

"The response has exceeded even our own lofty expectations, but the enthusiasm makes sense," said Free Shipping Day founder Luke Knowles. "Shoppers love the convenience of shopping online, but are turned off by expensive shipping fees.  On the merchant side, sales often plummet towards the middle of December with many folks concerned their gifts won't arrive in time for Christmas.  Free Shipping Day alleviates both problems. It's really a win-win."

All Free Shipping Day offers will be revealed this Friday, December 17th on www.FreeShippingDay.com at 12:00am EST.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Guest Post: Keep Legs Healthy and Beautiful Holiday Traveling Tips

 by Dr. Luis Navarro, 
the director of the Vein Treatment Center

With the holidays here, many of us are traveling to see family and friends, which may mean sitting at airports and traveling for hours on end. What many of us do not seem to know is that sitting for long periods of time causes poor circulation, which can lead to unsightly veins.

Here are  effective tips that can help avoid poor blood flow from sitting too long on an airplane, in a car or on a train while traveling for the holidays.

  • AVOID PROLONGED PERIODS OF SITTING AND STANDING: Walk up and down the plane/train every 1-2 hours, when possible, for 5-10 minutes.
  • GET  EXERCISE: ankle and lower leg exercises, such as ankle rotations.
  • WEAR GRADUATED COMPRESSION STOCKING: Wear stockings, preferably knee highs with open toe, 15-25mm/hg or 20-30mm/hg.
  • STAY HYDRATED: Double your water intake when traveling.
  • AVOID ALCOHOL: Alcohol dehydrates so avoiding alcohol a few days before taking a long trip would be a good idea.
  • WEAR LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING:  Tight garments can restrict the flow of blood to and from the legs.
  • CONSIDER DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS:  Vitamins C and E act as antioxidants, which are good for circulation.  Flavonoids, butcher's broom, and Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCE50) improve venous circulation and decrease symptoms of venous disease.
  •  AVOID CROSSING YOUR LEGS: Leg crossing constricts veins and increases venous pressure.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Free Webinar by American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy

To help business owners get a leg up on selling to the government, American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) joined forces to launch Give Me 5, a program designed to help women-owned businesses win 5 percent of government contracts. A key aspect of the Give Me 5 program is a series of interactive webinars designed to provide the resources necessary to create successful contracting bids, and ultimately increase the amount of contracts awarded. The next webinar will feature a special one-hour, one-on-one mentorship session where Judy Bradt, a federal contracting expert, will mentor business owner Sandra Foland on how to strategically expand her business into federal contracting and grow. See detailed webinar information below:

Give Me 5: Ready for Prime Time – Is Your Company “Market Ready”?
Wednesday, December 16, 2010

Time: 2-3 p.m. EST / 11 a.m.-1 p.m. PST
Where: Virtual

This special, first-hand case-study will help small business owners answer the questions:
·         How can I tell if my company is ready for Federal Contracts?
·         Which government buyers are my best prospects?
·         How can I find opportunities before they hit FedBizOpps?

For more information or to register for the webinar, go to Women Impacting Public Policy.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Holiday Twitter Party on Wednesday - December 15th

The holiday season is officially upon us, and with family dinners, seasonal parties and holiday stress, it is easy to lose sight of your good eating habits.  

In light of this, CanolaInfo partnered with Cheryl Forberg, R.D., consulting dietitian to NBC-TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” New York Times best-selling author and James Beard award-winning recipe developer to create the CanolaInfo Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection, which is both diabetes-friendly and heart-smart.

Cheryl will also be hosting a Holiday Twitter Party on December 15 from 7:30-9pm CST, where she will be tweeting live from @CanolaInfo using #CanolaInfo. Interact with Cheryl directly online to share and learn nutrition and culinary tips for the holiday season. Tell her your favorite stories and ideas from the kitchen!

In addition, the first 50 people to join our Twitter party will receive a copy of “The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen: Fresh, Fast, and Flavorful Recipes Made with Canola oil,” a cookbook from CanolaInfo and the American Diabetes Association.

To RSVP, please visit Facebook.com/CanolaInfo.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Earn Cash Here and There

Shopscotch is having some specials.

There are three upcoming sidewalk sales:
  • Monday, Dec 13, Target at 5.5% (usually 3%)
  • Thurs, Dec 16, Sur La Table at 5.5% (usually 4%)
  • Sunday, Dec 19, Overstock at 5% (usually 3%)
Get extra cash back from hundreds of top brands when you buy through Shopscotch. Join free today. Shopscotch is a social cash back shopping site. Its members earn cash back for making online purchases. Its members are able to share their earning activity within the community allowing others to see where people are shopping and how they are benefiting from the program. In addition to cash back, members will also earn badges based on their shopping behavior and other interactions at Shopscotch. Membership is free and quick, causing a high conversion rate. Shopscotch has partnered with hundreds of top brands including eBay, GAP, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Macy's and Apple. It continues to add new stores every day.
Unlike other cash back programs out there, Shopscotch members don’t have to wait every quarter before they can cash out. Shopscotch members can redeem at any time, and be paid within 7-10 days.

Inbox Dollars is a rewards program that you can earn money for doing things they already do. For instance, you can earn $0.10 for each Coupons.com coupon you print and redeem through Inbox Dollars, so that's an additional $0.10 off! There is also a cash back program for stores like Target, Kohls, Walmart, KMart, ShoeMall, and many others. Cash back ranges from 2% up to around 20% for most stores. Inbox Dollar users can also earn money for filling out surveys and reading email. When they reach $30 in their account, you'll receive a check from Inbox Dollars at the end of the month. Users get $5 just for signing up. This offer pays you $1.75.

Take full advantage of the $0.10 cash back for redeeming Coupons.com coupons and shopping at stores you already shop at. It's just one more way you can save and earn cash back on your purchases! 

Coupon Alerts and Specials

Be sure to click above on the photo  to find the latest coupon values, updated Smartsource and Red Plum previews.  

Got heartburn? Save $3 on Zantac OTC. After registering you get access to the $3.00 coupon.

FreeCouponAlerts.com is giving away $200 (4 x $50 Amazon Gift Cards) just for liking their Facebook page and leaving a comment! Details here.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Great Resources for You!

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that makes tech work for you. Craving more control in your daily life? We've tested out hundreds of gadgets, apps and websites that can help, and then bring you the best of the best – every week in a 3-minute video. That's right, we read the manual so you don't have to. Sign-up today!

DailyWorth is a free daily personal finance email for women. It delivers practical tips, empowering ideas, and the occasional kick in the pants. DailyWorth tips cover self worth, net worth, saving, spending, earning, investing, taxes, entrepreneurship, financial feminism, and much more.  More than ever, money matters to women. Women need to recognize their own self-worth and build their own wealth.  Now women can take control of their finances by signing up for DailyWorth.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Free Fly's Coupons & Samples

Family Dollar - Sign Up For Coupons, Contests, and Offers

Family Dollar - SIGN UP and SAVE! Get great Family Dollar offers, contests, coupons and more delivered right to your inbox! You will have the opportunity to sign up for additional offers after the Family Dollar sign up. Family Dollar coupons and other offers are sent out regularly, so sign-up today and make sure you get this month's savings in your inbox!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Coupon Code offer by AmesWalker

If not, now is the time to shop AmesWalker.com http://www.ameswalker.com which is offering huge holiday savings - 20% OFF Almost Everything - now through Wednesday, December 8. Use coupon code HOLIDAY2010 to receive these great savings.

Woman's Day Offers Creative Solutions That Will Make Your Family Holiday Stres-Free

The December issue of Woman's Day (on newsstands now) is offering ways to cope with the holidays by providing 10 stress-free solutions to make your Christmas a merry one.

Woman's Day turned to the experts, from etiquette coaches to psychologists, to get the best tips on how to minimize the stress this holiday and eliminate some of the factors that have been issues in past years.

When it comes to presents, and saving money, experts advise readers to let go of gift guilt and suggest proposing that your family change their gift-giving traditions to possibly only giving gifts to the kids, a Secret Santa exchange with a price cap, or homemade gifts only. And once you get the gift, if you don't like it, fake it. It's better than hurting the feelings of one of your relatives.  
If you are hosting the entire family there are a few tricks that experts say to keep in mind:  
-          Command Your Kitchen - Don't lose it if someone tries to step on your turf in the kitchen. Give each matriarch of the family a task to do outside the kitchen and explain it will just be faster for you to do the cooking.
-          Take it Easy on Holiday "Spirits" - Keep those relatives that generally have one too many in check by limiting the alcohol served or have someone serve it.
-          Remember, The More The Merrier - Plan ahead for late additions and when unexpected guests show up, keep your cool and roll with it.
-          Call it a Night When You're Ready - When you are ready give the impression the night is coming to a close by starting to clean the kitchen, mentioning how fast the evening went by or begin to gather coats for people.

To tame the family drama, avoid talking about politics, keep the gossiping on hold, and reduce the use of annoying and distracting electronics. Experts suggest being ready to divert attention when these subjects come up. CEO of Beverly Hills Manners, Lisa Gache, says "change the subject with a remark like 'The turkey smells terrific, doesn't it? Let's go check on it.'"

With these tips, any family can have a festive, happy holiday.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving

Last year, more than 250 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods.  This is simply a critical time to continue spreading the word.

Whether at a holiday party, a New Year’s Eve bash at a bar or reveling with friends, many of us will be on the road this holiday season. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council are reminding everyone that the best way to stay safe is to plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you head out for your festivities.

Below you will find tools that you can use.  Be sure to share these with your family and friends:
  • Join Global Influence and Ad Council's Twitter Q&A on Thursday, December 9th at 2 PM ET. Follow the hashtag #buzzeddriving to get safety tips and prevention advice from NHTSA experts. You can follow the chat here: http://tweetchat.com/room/buzzeddriving
        Designated Driver Drink List — One of the most important things you can do before going out is designate a sober driver. If you’re throwing a party, make sure to offer non-alcoholic drinks for the sober drivers. We’ve compiled a Facebook tab with 50 non-alcoholic party drink recipes.

        Alternative Ride Locator — We’ve created a Facebook tab with a list of nationwide alternative ride programs that can help keep your readers safe.

        Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving website — You can sign a pledge not to drink and drive; play “Spot the Difference,” an interactive game that simulates the effects of buzzed driving; and watch a real-life video about how buzzed driving changed one woman’s life.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Beyond The Rack - 70% Off Designer Brands!

Beyond The Rack is an invitation only site that has "events" for 8 new brands each day. Members save up to 70% off retail on designer brands including: Levis, Gucci, Coach, Versaci, Armani, Marc Jacobs, Tons More...

Products include purses, shoes, bathing suits, jeans, sun glasses, perfumes, jewelry, watches, and house wares. Share this limited time invitation with your visitors and earn $1.30 for each person that signs up. Membership is FREE and new members receive a $10 credit just for joining.

Fearless Women Skydivers Set World Record

Falling head first, 41 women from around the world took the leap to set a world record for largest all-female skydiving formation while flying upside-down
An international team of 41 talented women skydivers from 10 countries set a new world record on Friday, November 26, for largest all-female formation while flying upside-down. The women traveled from around the globe for the record event at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, south of Phoenix. The team smashed the previous record of 20 set at Skydive Arizona in March 2008.
After leaping from three aircraft flying together more than three miles above the ground, the women built the formation flying upside-down with their heads pointed toward the earth - "head-down" in skydiving lingo. They had less than 60 seconds to complete the formation while plummeting toward the ground at speeds approaching 200 mph before separating from each other and opening their parachutes.

The record-setting jumpers came from across the U.S. and as far away as Australia, France, Finland and Israel. They range in age from 21 to 44 and have professions as varied as software developers, pilots, nurses, photographers and professional skydivers. They completed the record-setting formation just before sunset on Friday, on the 10th attempt of the event.

Skydive Like a Pro
For sheer excitement and high-speed fun, no sport comes close to skydiving. Fortunately, this high-flying adrenaline sport is not as extreme or intimidating as it may seem. Just about anyone 18 years of age or older can take to the skies after some comprehensive safety instruction. In fact, all it takes is a half hour of ground school to prepare for a tandem jump, the easiest and most popular way to experience skydiving for the first time. Tandem jumping allows students to experience the thrill of freefall from 13,000 feet while securely harnessed to an experienced, licensed instructor. 

Another first-jump method called Accelerated Freefall (AFF) allows students to jump solo right away—with two instructors at their side—after four to five hours of intense ground instruction. Just about anyone can earn a license in as few as 25 jumps!

For more information on skydiving and to find a USPA Group Member skydiving center near you, visit www.uspa.org

About USPA
Founded in 1946, the United States Parachute Association is a non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of safe skydiving nationwide, establishing strict safety standards, training policies and programs at more than 200 USPA-affiliated skydiving schools and centers throughout the United States. Each year, USPA’s 32,000-plus members and hundreds of thousands of first-time jump students make approximately 3 million jumps in the U.S. USPA represents skydivers before all levels of government, the public and the aviation industry and sanctions national skydiving competitions and records.

For more information on making a first jump or to find a skydiving center near you, visit www.uspa.orgor call 800.371.USPA.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Join Toluna Global Opinion Panel

Toluna is a global site for everything related to surveys, polls and opinions! When you become a Toluna community member you enjoy the following benefits:
  • Earn points worth $1 to $5 each time you qualify for and complete a survey! You’ll also earn for the polls and opinion topics you create! Each time you participate in or complete a survey you’ll be entered into a monthly $4500 prize draw!
  • Create your own polls and opinion topics to host on Toluna, or export them to your own blog or website!
  • Voice your opinion by participating in other community members’ polls and opinion topics! There’s no catch! Your membership is free, and all information you provide is strictly confidential and will never be used to advertise or to sell you anything.
As soon as you register, you’ll be entered to win their monthly $4500 cash drawing!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Not Wrapped, but Remembered: Nine Tips for Gifting Your Children with Meaningful Experiences

Instead of breaking the bank to shower your kids with material things this holiday season, authors Andrea and David Reiser suggest giving them the gift of a meaningful experience instead. Time spent together, not a new video game system or wardrobe, will truly stick
with them and shape their worldviews. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Choose an event to attend together. Get a schedule of local holiday-themed concerts, plays, parades, shows, and other events, and choose a few to attend as a family. Your kids (and you!) will enjoy counting down to these outings, and you'll have an even better time attending them. Plus, everyone will remember the live performance of White Christmas or the holiday-themed magic show much longer than they will a bevy of action figures under the tree. Even better? In most communities there are plenty of events to choose from that are free to the public! It just goes to show that you don't have to spend a mint to make memories over the holidays. 
Remember: There really is no place like home for the holidays. Making special holiday memories doesn't always have to mean going somewhere. In fact, some of your most treasured experiences can be created inside the four walls of your house, and they don't have to cost a lot of money or cause a lot of stress to be perfect! Take a regular weeknight dinner and turn it into a magical holiday meal by dimming the lights, lighting candles on the table, and playing soft holiday music in the background. Serve sparkling juice or cider in special glasses and pull out the fancy china for once. It's a special night you and your family won't soon forget!
Set your family up for success. On the best of days, kids will be kids...and their propensity for energy, misbehavior, and hijinks grows exponentially when they're excited. Whenever your family is preparing for any sort of event this season, don't assume that the "usual" rules are at the forefront of young minds. Go over your expectations—and potential consequences—beforehand so that you don't spend the whole time scolding and correcting. And as a parent, take the time to remind yourself that children are often overstimulated, overexcited, and saturated with sugar this time of year. If you don't think your brood can handle sitting still for an hour-long concert, then make the choice not to go. You'll save yourself a lot of stress, anger, and disappointment in the long run.
Make meaningful conversation. Conversation is the foundation upon which any memorable event is built. So to make the most of outings and experiences this holiday season, have a few meaningful topics up your sleeve to engage your family. Otherwise, you'll find yourself griping about chore lists, homework, and soccer schedules during your special outing—instead of the things you really wanted to share. For example, as you drive around your neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, you may want to ask your kids about their favorite Christmas memories. Or, before attending a church service or local event, sit down and talk about what Christmas truly means to each member of your family. You may be surprised at the answers—and it will make each event and activity that much more meaningful.
Dress up! It's amazing how getting all dolled up can take an event from "okay" to "outstanding." If you frame your holiday outings as opportunities instead of as obligations, your kids probably won't mind putting on their fancy duds...and they'll definitely remember the fact that Mom and Dad thought that they were mature enough to attend such a special event! (And you can take the opportunity to snap some photos everyone will enjoy looking at for years to come.) 
Make something out of nothing. A meaningful experience doesn't have to cost a massive amount of money, and it doesn't have to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. In fact, your family can make "routine" holiday tasks into beloved traditions. For example, get everyone together to wrap gifts for friends and family, and share hot chocolate and cookies while you're curling ribbon and cutting paper. Or let everyone climb into special holiday pajamas, then pile in the car and look at all of the beautiful holiday lights in your town.
Give thanks. As the saying goes, "Remember the reason for the season." Depending on your family's beliefs and background, that "reason" might differ from your neighbor's, but one thing's for sure: This is a time to be grateful and to count blessings. Whenever your family visits a friend or attends a special event, make sure to point out to your children how fortunate they are to have such individuals and opportunities in their lives...and point out that not every child around the world is so privileged.  
Give back. If your family is counting its blessings, the natural next step is to reach out to those whose holiday seasons might not be filled with much cheer. Consider donating to a charity instead of giving as many gifts, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or caroling at a nursing home. This is the perfect time of year to teach children that it truly is better to give than to receive—and it can actually feel really good, too. These experiences will instill values in your children and broaden their perspective on holiday privileges.
Live in the moment. It's easy to get caught up in the hoopla of the holidays, and not living in the moment is a downright joy robber. If you're constantly setting your sights on the next holiday party or dance recital on your calendar, you won't be fully enjoying the activity you're currently doing. Reveling in the now and accepting the (minor) flaws that might come along allows you to truly experience the benefits of living in the present. Those moments with family and friends will be that much sweeter.

Husband and wife, David and Andrea Reiser are authors of the new book Letters From Home: A Wake-up Call for Success & Wealth (Wiley, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-4706379-2-0, $27.95, www.ReiserMedia.com).
Enhanced by Zemanta

Making "Merry" Meaningful: Twelve Tips for Designing the Holiday You Always Dreamed Of

Have holidays past left you feeling drained and disappointed—in spite of your best intentions for a Norman Rockwell-esque celebration with your family? You're not alone. In fact, say husband and wife coauthors David and Andrea Reiser, you're part of the (unfortunate) norm. Not to worry—they provide some simple steps that your family can follow to get back the holiday you've always wanted and make your "merry" more meaningful this year.
Read on for the Reisers' tried-and-true holiday advice:

Budget in advance. Admit it: You're guilty of spending twice what you should have on your mother's gift to make up for the fact that you didn't visit earlier in the year. Or grudgingly shelling out way more than you anticipated for the large number of "obligatory" gifts on a list that seems to grow with each passing year. Perhaps, like millions of other consumers, you've succumbed to the gorgeous packaging, clever marketing, and can't-pass-them-up deals that stores have to offer this time of year. 

Before you head out to do your shopping, know what the hard numbers look like, and map out in advance what sort of cash reserve you'll have to dip into. A great way to keep yourself accountable is to put your budgeted Christmas cash on a pre-paid card. You'll watch your budget more carefully and when the money is gone—it's gone. You'll be less tempted to add just one more gift to the pile because of a super sale. If you don't think you have the strength (or willpower) to go it alone, the Reisers suggest the buddy system! Have a budget-conscious friend or thrifty family member be your accountability partner. Having someone else in the know when it comes to your budget and holiday spending will make you that much more accountable and less likely to go spend-crazy.

Be honest about any financial changes. If you have to downsize your holiday expenses, it's better that you—and your family and friends—know it now instead of when the credit card bills start rolling in. There's no shame in readjusting the scope of your gifts in order to avoid a sackful of debt. If your loved ones truly care about you, that's the last thing they'll want! And they might be relieved to know that breaking the bank is not this year's expectation. 
Don't be afraid to ask your neighbor for more than a cup of sugar. Say you're planning on hosting a gathering at your home for your thirty closest friends...but you don't have a punch bowl, enough serving platters, or a good variety of holiday music CDs. The temptation is to rush out and buy these items, but wait—is there anyone from whom you could borrow them instead? You can return the favor at your neighbor's New Year's Eve bash, and your wallet will thank you.
Think outside the gift box to all the "other" holiday expenses. If you've sat down with your own personal version of Santa's list and a copy of your latest bank statement, pat yourself on the back for a job responsibly done. But don't breathe a sigh of relief just yet—there are other expenses to think about too! And when it comes to the holidays, if you aren't careful, some of the more costly aspects of the season will sneak up on you and your wallet—and will leave you paying for it (literally!) in January. Whether you're feeding your family, bringing a dish to the office potluck, or hosting an event, grocery bills can add up at an alarming rate this time of year. Don't forget about the little "extras" like the holiday tip for your hair stylist and mail carrier or the gifts for the kids' soccer coach or piano teacher. And those twinkling Christmas lights give your power bill a boost—so think ahead for the next month's budget. Try to anticipate what you'll need to spend—down to the tiniest of details—and plan accordingly.

Time Management
Be realistic. Unless you actually have Santa's magical ability to make it around the world in one night, chances are you aren't going to make it to every party, event, play, performance, and gathering to which you're invited. Instead of overcommitting yourself and your family, sit down together before the madness starts, make out a list of priorities, and then schedule accordingly. Do this on a daily basis as well as on a weekly and monthly one!

Start the season early. Most people instinctively try to plan holiday events as close to "the day" as possible. That's understandable...but it results in a week-long period of crammed schedules and stressed people. If you start now, you can hold events and make your visits in the first half of December...and you'll probably be able to deck the halls with your friends' and family's thanks!

Aim a bit lower than absolute perfection. If you've ever watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, you know how well Clark Griswold's attempt to have the perfect family holiday turned out. It's funny onscreen, but not so much in real life. Remember that meals are really about company more than food, for example, and that the annual family get-together is more about fellowship and fun than about how impressive your decorations are. With this attitude, you'll make more memories you'll actually want to revisit, and people will enjoy being around you.

Add an hour. If you think you'll be at the company party until 9:30, add an hour. If you think you'll be at Grandma's until lunchtime, add an hour. Everything always takes longer than you think it will—that's why you're rushing around town like a crazy person, trying to hold your last nerve together for just a little longer every day for a month. Save yourself the stress...and if, by some holiday miracle you do stick to your original schedule, you'll treasure those extra hours.

Reserve some private time. When you're designing your doable holiday schedule, don't forget to leave enough free space for family time and for "you" time. If you're not careful, you might find yourself forgoing the yearly cookie-baking party with your kids and wrapping gifts at 3:00 a.m.
Give them a memorable experience. Instead of showering your kids with a pile of this year's "it" clothes, toys, and electronics (which, let's face it, will probably be collecting dust by the end of the school year), give your kids the gift of a meaningful experience. Chances are, your family will remember an event that reinforces values and makes them feel special. (Note to Editor: See attached tipsheet.)  
Don't overstimulate them. These days, the typical kid has more than just visions of sugarplums dancing in his head. He's thinking about toys, movies, video games, vacations, and food...and that's just for starters. Yes, the holidays are an extravaganza for all five senses, but by regulating what and how much your children receive and do, you'll be doing them a favor. Their attention will be more focused, and they'll be more likely to understand and remember special moments.

Follow a tradition. It's amazing how much kids value and remember family traditions. Unlike anything else, they're a source of fun, they strengthen family bonds, and they form a meaningful link to the past. Whether you're baking cookies, watching a favorite holiday movie, or piling into the car to look at neighborhood lights, don't underestimate the value of time spent together, enjoying each other's company.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

wibiya widget

Facebook and Twitter