• 5 SERIOUSLY FUN FAMILY TRADITIONS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
  • This entry was posted in Toys on November 29, 2016

  • From hanging favorite ornaments, to dining on extravagant meals, holiday traditions bind us together and remind us of our roots.

    The holidays put family members who might not see each other often in the same house for extended periods of time. Fun can’t be scheduled, but it’s a good idea to have a mental list of possible entertaining activities ready to go.

    Here are a few of our favorite holiday traditions that will keep everyone - from your niece, to your grandpa, to your cousin’s shy new girlfriend - entertained.

    1. Decorate the house, and take turns picking the music. Share your favorite holiday playlists, while making or unpacking seasonal decorations, like wreaths, ornaments, and strings of lights for the banister.

    2. Bake tasty treats. Have every family member old enough to bake bring a recipe. Make a trip to the grocery store as a group to buy ingredients, then have a bake-off, with whoever isn’t baking serving as the judge. Once the verdict’s been decided, settle down on the couch, with a plate full of delectable goodies, for a viewing of a classic or new holiday movie. Everybody wins.

    3. Move your muscles. A family walk or outdoor group activity is the ideal cure for too many cookies. Take a group bike or scooter ride (It's a full body activity!), or push the kids on the swing set to get fresh air and fun at the same time. Physical health is often neglected during the holiday season, so working activity into your routine is essential. Don’t forget to bundle up in your coziest winter gear first.

    4. Play games! There’s nothing like competition to spice up a family gathering. Life, Candy Land, and other board games are fun for adults and kids alike. From beanbag toss, to hide and seek, there are tons of outdoor games the whole family will enjoy if you’re interested in heading outside.

    5. Unwind. The greatest quality time is unplanned. Take a few minutes this holiday season to sit down with your loved ones, and see where the conversation takes you. Life moves quickly, and the holidays are a rare time we have to scale back, sit still, and enjoy each other’s company.

    One new tradition to consider: try something new every year. What better way to reconnect and bond with family members than to share a fun, new, and crazy experience?

     




  • SMART SHOPPING - LOOKING FOR THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS
  • This entry was posted in Toys on November 15, 2016

  • Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the kick-off of the holiday shopping season where dedicated shoppers go out in search of the best deals and the biggest savings. Most all stores offer some kind of special sale for this unofficial holiday, major retailers open extra early and have their lowest prices and biggest promotional sales of the year. Being prepared with your shopping list and an idea of the stores you want to visit is the key to a successful day of shopping. If you plan on braving the crowds to get a head start on your Holiday wish lists here are a few tips for finding the best deals this Black Friday:

    - Plan your shopping trip ahead of time. Do some comparison-shopping the day before to decide what items you want to be on the lookout for and where to go to get the best value.

    - Print or cut out ads. Check the shelf price against the advertised price at the register to ensure you’re getting the deal you want.

    - Know the “early-bird” specials (sometimes called door-busters). These are the deals that have customers waiting in lines before the store even opens. Get there early to take advantage of these incredibly low prices.

    - Be familiar with store polices. Check the retailer’s website or ask a cashier for information on refunds, returns, cancellations and layaways.

    - If possible shop using a single credit card; this makes it safer and easier. Also be sure to get gift-receipts for all your purchases and keep them in a safe place in case you need to refer to them later.  

    - Divide and conquer. Getting together with friends and family saves time and ensure you get to all the deals by splitting up your shopping list between a few people.

    - Shopping can be exhausting often starting in the early hours of the morning and lasting a few hours. Bring a light snack and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

    - If you are doing your Black Friday shopping online make sure you have a secure internet connection and purchase only from sellers you know are trustworthy.

    - With planning and a bit of luck you can knock-out a good portion of your holiday shopping list while saving money this Black Friday. Have fun and be safe this holiday shopping season!




  • WAYS TO GIVE BACK DURING THE HOLIDAYS
  • This entry was posted in on November 07, 2016

  • With the holidays coming up, it's a good time to reach out and give back to the community. This is a wonderful way to get your children or grandchildren involved as well. Check around in your local area to see if there are any special causes or charities that need a boost this time of year. You should be able to get a receipt for a tax deduction from most agencies. Here are a few ideas to get you started in your quest to give back during the holidays.

    Volunteer

    Many non-profit organizations are in need of manpower and other forms of assistance. You can donate your time at the local food bank, place of worship or homeless shelter. You can also donate blood at a local hospital or through a local blood drive.  

    - American Red Cross – There are many opportunities to assist with fund raising or by supporting a blood drive at a location near you.

    Recycle Toys

    With a potential visit from Santa Claus waiting in the wings, now is the perfect time to go through your children's toys and set aside the ones they no longer use. These can be donated to a homeless shelter, daycare center or even the nursery at a local place of worship. Here are a few places with national collection that accept gently used toys.

    - Homeless Shelter Directory – Nationwide map to find a shelter near you.

    - The Salvation Army  – Collects gently used clothing, household goods and toys for its stores.

    Donate New Toys

    There are several charities that host toy drives for underprivileged kids. When buying toys for your kids or grandkids as holiday gifts, you might consider picking up one for a needy child and donating it through a local drop-off site. You can also let the kids pick out a special toy they would like another child to have while they're doing their own holiday shopping.

    - Toys for Tots – U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program collects new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate kids.

    - Ronald McDonald House Charities – The Ronal McDonald House network houses families whose children are receiving medical care away from home. It accepts toys such as board games, books, puzzles and stuffed animals. Non-perishable food and daily living supplies are needed as well.

    Charitable Events

    You can also give back to your local community by making monetary donations, organizing an event or participating in a charitable event. If you’re in a warm winter weather area, there are many golf tournaments and walks or runs that support a wide range of charities during the holiday season.

    - Wounded Warrior Project – Support wounded military veterans as an event supporter, or encourage the kids in your family to become Student Ambassadors.

    Giving back to the community is a great way to make the holidays even more special. It's also something you can do as a family year-round. Before making a monetary donation, you may wish to check with your state charitable organization regulation department to verify that they are registered.