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Ways to Give at Christmas

Are you looking to give at Christmas time? 2020 has been a challenging year for individuals, families, and organizations. Giving to help ease the strain provides a happier holiday for all. The gesture can be small. Christmas time is the right moment to show people you care. Do you need ideas on ways to give at Christmas? Check out the following.

Money

Almost every organization or charity accepts monetary donations. Under many circumstances, your donation is tax-deductible.

If you want to give to a person in need, consider slipping a gift card in the mailbox or other secure location. For added fun, do not put your name on the envelope. Often a secret gesture provides the best feeling.

Food

  • Donate food to your local pantry or shelter.
  • Make or purchase fruit baskets to deliver to neighbors.
  • Make cookies to distribute.
  • Fill a laundry basket with food to give to someone in need.

Baby Pantry

A baby pantry caters to families with young children. Pantry donations are always needed, especially around the holidays. A baby pantry is generally open on specific days. If you are donating, do your research to help give at the right time. Some pantry items include:

  • Diapers
  • Pull-ups
  • Baby wipes
  • New baby bottles and nipples
  • New pacifiers
  • Baby formula
  • Baby food
  • Books
  • Toddler snacks

Animal Shelter or Pet Rescue

Animal shelters and pet rescues cater to numerous types of animals. Many organizations rely heavily on private donations. Many will post needed items on their social media pages if you check out your local pet organization. Along with money, you generally can donate the following:

  • Pet food (dry and canned)
  • Kitty litter
  • Pet dishes
  • Toys
  • Pet beds
  • Cages
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning products

Church

Due to the pandemic, many churches are experiencing less than normal donations. Consider putting extra money into the offering. Even the smallest amount is helpful.

If you do not have a home church, do your research. Find a church in the community that offers support to the homeless or low income. Many churches host soup kitchens or other outreach programs. When you donate, you can specify how you want your donation put to use.

Flowers

A bouquet of flowers may seem frivolous to some individuals. But often, a small gesture can make someone’s day. Christmas flower arrangments are beautiful. Flowers can be sent almost anywhere, including:

  • Your child’s teacher
  • A former teacher who inspired you.
  • Nursing home with instructions to give to a resident who doesn’t receive visitors or cards from family.
  • An essential worker
  • A neighbor
  • Your favorite waitress or waiter at a local restaurant.

Christmas Cards 

Sending Christmas is a small token to show people in your life that your care. 2020 has been a tough year for many individuals. But when take a moment to write a note inside a Christmas card, people realize they are not alone.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Service Members
  • Nursing homes
  • Teachers
  • Community members

Giving is part of the Christmas season. Small gifts or cards can make someone’s day. Not to mention, give you a sense of satisfaction and the holiday spirit.

 

 

 

How to Make Thanksgiving Special This Year

Thanksgiving weekend usually brings large family gatherings, traveling, and community events. The ongoing pandemic, social distancing guidelines, and other restrictions are changing your typical Thanksgiving plans. But, staying close to home provides the perfect opportunity to start new traditions.

Ways to Make Thanksgiving Special This Year

This year, celebrating Thanksgiving at home may result in smaller family gatherings. In whatever way you define your family (yes, your dog or cat counts), check out the following ideas to make Thanksgiving special.

Decorations

Before Thanksgiving, make decorations together. Crafting is a fun activity. Younger children love to create.

  • Placemats: Make paper placemats. Use construction paper to draw, paint, or color designs. If you want to save your creation, laminate the final product. You do not need a laminator machine. Clear contact paper works exceptionally well, especially for larger pieces.
  • Place Cards: Create place cards as part of your table setting. Color a design on folded notecards for easy place card settings.
  • Centerpiece: Create a centerpiece for a focal point on your Thanksgiving table. A basket with fall-themed flowers is an easy task to add beauty to your table. If your budget’s tight, check out your local dollar store for inspiration.
  • Other Table Embellishments: Gourds, miniature turkeys, and other small items create the perfect Thanksgiving table decorations. Allow your children to decorate the table.
  • Tree of Thanks: Create a tree of thanks. Using a small branch or painting a tree on a poster board, add different colored leaves. On each leaf, write down why you are grateful.

Time to Eat

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the meal.

  • Traditional Home Cooked Meal: Bake a large family meal together. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, or your version of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Don’t forget dessert.
  • Buffet Style: Place everything on the table or counter. Allow everyone to pick and choose from the options.   
  • Picnic in the Living Room:   Is your Thanksgiving going to be a casual affair? Turn your simple meal into an indoor picnic.
  • Pre-ordered Meal: Order your meal from a local restaurant. Many restaurants are hurting due to the pandemic. Pre-ordering a Thanksgiving meal helps small shops stay open. A pre-ordered meal is simple to heat and serve.
  • Candle Light Meal: Light candles or use flameless ones to add a special touch to your Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Toast or Prayer: Say a toast or prayer before eating. Depending on your children’s age, ask each member of your family to give a gratitude toast.
  • New Recipes: Is there an old family recipe or a new one you want to try? Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to try something new.

Starting New Traditions

Staying at home for a long holiday weekend is a great time to start new traditions.

  • Go Hiking: Hit the local trails to burn off all the extra eating.
  • Nature Walk: Get outdoors and go for a slow nature walk.
  • Toss the Football Around: Playing football is a long-standing tradition on Thanksgiving.
  • Go for a Ride: Pack up some leftovers and go for a long drive.
  • Decorate for Christmas: Put up your Christmas tree, decorate your home, or put lights up outdoors.

Enjoy every minute of your Thanksgiving weekend. Take lots of pictures to use in a scrapbook later.  

 

Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Are you getting ready to put up your Christmas tree? Make the tree decorating a family fun event. (Yes, your dog counts as a family member). Spend an afternoon or evening decorating your Christmas tree together.

Ways to Make Putting Up Your Christmas Tree a Grand Event

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most community events will not take place this year. But you can quickly turn Christmas decorating into a grand affair. Check out the following list for ideas to make lasting memories while merely putting up your Christmas tree.

  • Homemade Ornaments: Make homemade ornaments for your tree. For example, salt dough ornaments are simple to create. Before putting up your tree, make a batch of salt dough ornaments. You and your family can easily cut the decorations into specific shapes with cookie cutters. Bake, paint and date your ornaments as directed. Then, on the day of putting up your Christmas tree, you can hang your new ornament creations.
  • Special Ornaments: Purchase a new ornament for each family member. If you are on a tight budget, dollar store ornaments work wonderfully. Date or add different embellishments to your decorations to create a one of a kind appearance.
  • Make Your Garland: String popcorn, create paper chains, or use other materials to create your tree’s garland.
  • Play Christmas Music: Set your radio on the Christmas music channel or create playlists full of your holiday favorites.
  • Listen to an Audio Book: Listening to children’s Christmas stories is always fun. Playing the stories in the background will add extra fun to your Christmas tree event.
  • Watch Christmas Shows: Play old classic Christmas shows while decorating the tree. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Polar Express, or A Charlie Brown Christmas are all wonderful holiday programs for your whole family to enjoy.
  • Bake Christmas Goodies: Before setting up your tree, bake holiday-themed goodies. Cookies, pretzels, hot cocoa, or other treats help make putting up your Christmas tree a grand event.
  • Countdown Ceremony: Before plugging in your Christmas tree, have a countdown ceremony. Children love the hype of a countdown ceremony.
  • Photo Time: Wear matching holiday pajamas or ugly Christmas sweaters to pose in front of the tree. Creating a new Christmas tree ceremony selfie can be a new tradition for you and your family.

Remember to take lots of pictures while putting up your Christmas tree. Print your photos and create a special scrapbook. 2020 is definitely a year to remember.

 

Yes! Go Ahead & Decorate for Christmas Now

Many recognize November as the beginning of the holiday season. On social media, posts suggest celebrating the Christmas season before Thanksgiving is not acceptable. After a long year of COVID restrictions, celebrating with your family should be a daily event. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. Simply have fun and enjoy the season in a way that makes you happy.

Are you looking for ways to start celebrating early? Check out the following list for ideas.

Decorate

Begin decorating early. Do you have boxes with Christmas decorations in storage? Take your time to look through each box. Decorate as you go. Overdecorate. Use all of your decorations. Spread your Christmas decorations throughout your entire living space.

  • Put up your Christmas tree.
  • Decorate hallways and doors.
  • Purchase small trees for your young children’s rooms. (Dollar store Christmas trees work perfectly for this set up).
  • Set a small Christmas related plushie on the dash of your car.
  • Decorate outdoors, including your porch, trees, or mailbox.
  • Set up a nativity scene indoors or outdoors.
  • Arrange a centerpiece on your dining room table.

Get Crafty

Do some of your ornaments lack sparkle? Add some glitter and revamp old ornaments and decorations.

  • Make salt dough ornaments
  • Make cinnamon dough ornaments
  • Create ornaments out of clay
  • Make paper chains
  • Thread popcorn and cranberries for garland
  • Make Christmas wreaths to share or keep
  • Make homemade Christmas cards.
  • Create a centerpiece.

Watch Holiday Movies

The Hallmark Channel began streaming holiday movies over two weeks ago. Go ahead, watch, and enjoy the uplifting holiday programs. If you do not have the Hallmark Channel, start searching your other streaming services to find the perfect Christmas programs for you or your entire family. Remember, you can always dig out your DVDs.

Turn watching holiday movies into a special event for your whole family. Serve snacks, hot cocoa, or order pizza. If you cannot be with your family or friends in person, host an online movie event.

If celebrating Christmas early makes you happy, then do it. Enjoy every minute of the holiday season.

 

Rebecca Reviewed It: The Wizarding Trunk Other World Beast & Arithmancy Crate

I recently received my second crate from The Wizarding Trunk. The title of the crate was Other World Beast and Arithmancy. Here are my thoughts on the contents.

First Peek! Now, if you are still waiting on your trunk, stop here! There are spoilers ahead.

 

  1. Tree Lice: Pure Blood Apothecary created this wonderful Tree Lice potion bottle. I love the potion label. I could definitely vision this as part of a potion master’s supply cabinet.
  2. Today’s Lesson Pin: Sorry for the poor quality photo. The pin slides to one side to review the lesson of the day. I love the pin. But, I can honestly say I would never wear it. The Lesson Pin will be displayed with others that I cannot depart with yet will not wear.
  3. Magical Platypus Wooden Print: J.P. Misslecrow rendition is absolutely stunning.
  4. Leprechaun Gold: Who wouldn’t want some gold? But will this one disappear?
  5. Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent: The Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent’s potion bottle is my favorite item in the entire box. I admit I stared at this for a long time. I cannot wait to use the little green bottle in some upcoming photos.
  6. Negative Energy Reed Diffuser Oil: I am excited to use this Negative Energy Reed Diffuser Oil. The item came with reeds, which will soak up the oil to distribute a scent throughout my home.
  7. Other Worldly Beast Info-Grams: Twillings & Tattings did a fantastic job creating these two World Beast Info-Grams.
  8. Skeletal Horse Paperweight: I am not a paperweight user. But, I did like this skeletal horse paperweight. I plan to just display the paperweight on my shelf. Do you use a paperweight? Am I the only odd person who doesn’t?
  9. Arithmancy Study Guide & Information Sheet: Danny at Wizardry Workshop designed this wonderful guide and information sheet.
  10. Other Worldly Creature Book Cover: Love the foiling on this book cover, designed by Danny at Wizardry Workshop. Now, the cover fits the American edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  11. Antiqued 9 Sided Arithmancy Dice: The 9 sided arithmancy dice looks old with antique coloring. What mystery does the dice hold for you?
  12. Notebook for Other Worldly Creatures: The notebook is my second favorite in the box. I just love the design-perfect for photos or cosplay.

Will I get the next crate? As of right now, my membership is canceled. I do love the products. But my budget is a little tight. I want to have extra money for the upcoming holiday season.

Did you get this crate? What was your favorite?

Journal Writing Prompts for November

Writing in a journal eases daily stress, promotes creativity, and improves your writing skills. Take 10 or 15 minutes out of your day to write a few lines. If you need some inspiration, check out the following journal writing prompts for November.

  1. How did October go for you? Your family? Your work? Or your school
  2. What do you hope to accomplish this month? And for the rest of 2020?
  3. Election Day! (USA) Did you vote? Why or why not? Did the election turn out the way you wanted?
  4. What is your current situation with the pandemic? Describe.
  5. How do you measure success for yourself? Your family? Your career?
  6. Write about a personal experience that no one else knows about.
  7. What aspect of your life feels overwhelming right now? Why? What are you doing to alleviate stress and stay positive?
  8. Did something or someone make you smile or laugh today? Describe in great detail.
  9. Set the alarm and free-write for 10 minutes. Write down anything that comes to mind.
  10. If you could go anywhere or do anything right now, what would it be? Why?
  11. Make a list of positive ways you have changed over the last year, five years, or ten years.
  12. What major life decision brings you the most joy when you think about it?
  13. Describe your current weather from the point of view of an animal.
  14. Write down the best piece of advice that someone gave you? Why was this so important? How did it affect your life?
  15. What were you doing at 11 am and 3 pm? Provide details.
  16. Describe in detail your current view. Remember to use your senses.
  17. Write down a minimum of ten things you like about yourself.
  18. Do you have a guilty pleasure? What is it?
  19. Do you have comfort food for the colder weather? What is it? Why does this provide comfort?
  20. Do you have a friend who is always there for you? Write that person a letter giving thanks for his or her friendship.
  21. When the weather is cold, rainy, or snowy, how do you like to spend your time?
  22. What Thanksgiving traditions did you have growing up? Do you still practice them?
  23. What are you most thankful for this November?
  24. What is your best childhood memory of Thanksgiving?
  25. What are your plans for the Thanksgiving weekend?
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! (USA) How did your day go?
  27. Do you have lots of leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal? What do you cook or bake with your leftovers? Or do you just eat them?
  28. Now that Thanksgiving is over, what do you need to do to get ready for the Christmas season?
  29. Have you started your Christmas shopping? Why or why not?
  30. What are you looking forward to in December?

Self-Care Ideas for November

Daily demands, the pandemic, election coverage, and the upcoming holiday season can be overwhelming. Practicing self-care is critical to your overall health and well-being. Check out the following self-care ideas for November.

  1. Go for a walk (Nature walks are perfect this time of year).
  2. Take a long, warm bath or shower.
  3. Vote-make your voice be heard.
  4. Rent, stream, or purchase a movie from the 1950s, 1960s, etc.
  5. Take your dog for a long walk. (Don’t have a dog? Volunteer to be a dog walker at your local rescue or animal shelter).
  6. Create a new playlist.
  7. Practice saying, “no.” You do not have to take on extra responsibilities.
  8. Buy yourself something. You do not need to spend a lot. Go to your local dollar store. Buy yourself a candle, figurine, or a box of crackers. The choice is yours.
  9. Meditate or pray. Play inspirational music in the background.
  10. Go hiking.
  11. Make homemade hot cocoa to enjoy on a cold night.
  12. Order take out from a new restaurant.
  13. Spend an afternoon reading or indulge by re-reading your favorite.
  14. Get a new hair cute. Or learn a new style. (YouTube has lots of how-to videos).
  15. Call an older relative to just chat.
  16. Write a letter to a classmate from grade school, junior high, or high school. Reminisce about a favorite time.
  17. Go for a long drive. Play the music loud and sing along.
  18. Have a fall picnic. (Yes, having one in your living room with your dog counts).
  19. Spend an afternoon painting, drawing, or doing crafts.
  20. Start decorating for the Christmas season early.
  21. Give yourself a day to do nothing.
  22. Watch uplifting videos or watch Christmas shows on the Hallmark channel.
  23. Bake
  24. Give yourself an in-home spa treatment.
  25. Make a gratitude list.
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! Eat dessert.
  27. Eat leftovers, stay in your pajamas (or comfy pants), and enjoy your day.
  28. Declutter or organize a space.
  29. Try a new recipe.
  30. Write lists, plans, and other details for the upcoming Christmas season.

November Photo Prompts

In the northern parts of the states, November brings colder temperatures and the season’s first snowfall. Of course, Thanksgiving, a holiday to give thanks, is at the end of the month. But every day is a perfect time to take photos. Do you need some inspiration? Check out the following photo prompts for November.

  1. Selfie
  2. Contrast
  3. Vote
  4. Mask
  5. Black and white
  6. Colors
  7. Signs
  8. Low-light
  9. Road
  10. Comfort
  11. Shapes
  12. Nature
  13. Orange
  14. Warmth
  15. Current view
  16. Pet
  17. Love
  18. Snack
  19. Weather
  20. Blue
  21. 3 pm
  22. Distance
  23. Family
  24. Gratitude
  25. Harvest or bounty
  26. Happy Thanksgiving! (USA)
  27. Big
  28. Window
  29. Sunset or sunrise
  30. Warm Beverage

20 Quotes for Halloween

Are you looking for last-minute Halloween quotes? Check out the following list.

  1. “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”–Stephen King
  2. “A mask tells us more than a face.”–Oscar Wilde
  3. “Every day is Halloween isn’t it? For some of us.”— Tim Burton
  4. “There is something haunting in the light of the moon.”–Joseph Conrad
  5. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”–William Shakespeare
  6. “Something wicked this way comes.”–William Shakespeare
  7. “There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow by moonlight.”– Unknown
  8. “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”–Edgar Allan Poe
  9. “The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for out wits to grow sharper.”–Eden Phillpots
  10. “Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”– Arthur Conan Doyle
  11. “It’s as much fun to scare as to be scared.”–Vincent Price
  12. “When the witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers ’tis near Halloween.” —Unknown
  13. “The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.”— Paula Curan
  14. “A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality.”–Lucy, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  15. “Have you come to sing pumpkin carols?” — Linus, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
  16. ‘Tis the night—the night of the grave’s delight, and the warlocks are at their play; Ye think that without the wild winds shout, but no, it is they—it is they.” –Cleveland Coxe
  17. “Ghosts and goblins come to play on October’s final day!” –Rusty Fischer
  18. “I love Halloween, and I love that feeling: the cold air, the spooky dangers lurking around the corner.” –Evan Peters
  19. “There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.”— Robert Brault.
  20. “Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, ‘Never take candy from strangers.’ And then they dressed me up and said, ‘Go beg for it.’ “–Rita Rudner

Do you have a favorite Halloween quote?

Halloween Crafts: Pumpkin Gourds

Have you seen the little gourds that resemble pumpkins? With Halloween fast approaching, the gourds, which often come 5 or 6 to a bag, are reduced in price. The little gourds are a perfect stay at home Halloween crating project.

Grocery & Material List

  • A bag of pumpkin-shaped gourds
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Glue
  • Glitter
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pieces of material
  • Pompons
  • Googly eyes
  • Sequins

Instructions

Decorating pumpkin gourds is an open-ended Halloween craft project. There is no right or wrong way to decorate your little gourd. If you are looking for tips, check out the following.

  • Cover your work area with newspapers or your reusable crafting drop cloth.
  • Paint or decorate your pumpkin gourd.
  • Paint a face.
  • Make a crown from pipe cleaners.
  • Glue on googly eyes.
  • Use material scraps to add a cape on the back or a scarf around the bottom.
  • Remember to give your pumpkin plenty of time to dry between each type of application.
  • Display your pumpkin or give it away to cheer a friend.