Archive for October 2012

Stocking Stuffer Ideas!

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The Holiday Helper is back! I apologize for the lack of new posts lately, work has been a bit hectic! But to make up for it, I've decided to make your lives a little less hectic with a list of stocking stuffer ideas. This list comes from years of personal experience and a little research I did online and with family and friends- so it's chock full of awesome ideas that I will be using as well. The list is sorted by adults, children, and general to keep things orderly. Enjoy!

- Candy
- $5 gift card to favorite restaurant or store
- Magazines
- Flower or plant seeds
- Slipper socks
- Puzzle books (Crossword, Sudoku, etc.)
- Rubix cube
- Scarf, mittens, hat, other winter accessories
- Bookmarks
- CD's
- DVD's
- Tickets to a concert, museum, or other show
- Pajamas
- Umbrella
- Books you recommend

- Piggy bank with "starter" penny
- Stickers
- Play dough
- Stuffed animal
- Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars
- Paint set
- Ready-to-make craft sets
- Barbie dolls
- Coloring book
- Silly Bandz
- Hair clips/headbands
- Bubbles
- Pez dispenser
- Crayons or markers
- Pencils with cute designs

- Stationary
- Phone case/skin
- Nail polish
- Chapstick
- Wine stopper
- Lottery tickets
- Scented candles
- Mini tool set
- Address book
- Cookie cutters
- Magnets
- Hot chocolate or coffee in fun packaging
- Coffee mug
- Perfume
- Make-up brush set
- Reusable grocery bags
- Ear buds/headphones
- Body lotion
- Mini sewing kit
- Golf balls

Save Money on Gifts!

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I'm about to let you guys in on one of my best-kept shopping secrets. Before I buy ANYTHING online, I search for the store at a website called RetailMeNot. The site is essentially a user-submitted database of all coupon codes available at the time for any store. So say I search for Old Navy, the first thing I see is a coupon code for 20% off and free shipping. Pretty good deal, right? Once you start using the codes, you will never go back. It's addicting trying to find the best possible deal. Happy shopping!

Healthier Eating At Holiday Dinners

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Indulging during the holiday season has always been a rite of passage for me. I thought that to gain those 10 pounds in December was just a Christmas tradition, as was losing them in January as my resolution. However, thanks to the awesome folks at Eat This, Not That!, I've recently learned that there can be a happy medium between regulating every bite you eat at the holiday party and eating everything in sight. What is this happy medium you ask? Well, it turns out the answer is right in front of you on that buffet table, and it might not be what you expect.


The Holiday Helper's Christmas Music Playlist

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I used to be so conflicted during Christmas time. Do I play the cd of old classics, or more modern Christmas tunes? But then came the glorious invention of iTunes, and now I don't have to choose. So in honor of the 12 Days of Christmas, I give you the top 12 most-played songs from my Christmas Playlist. Enjoy! 

1. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives

2. Last Christmas by The Maine

3. Let It Snow by Lena Horne

4. 12 Days of Christmas by Relient K 

5. It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé 

6. Winter Wonderland by Louis Armstrong 

7. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey 

8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland 

9. Santa Baby by Taylor Swift

10. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams

11. My Only Wish (This Year) by Britney Spears

12. Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms

25 Free Christmas Card Printables

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The Holiday Helper knows just how expensive and aggravating getting Christmas cards made can be. Which is why I have taken the liberty of compiling a mega catalog of free printable holiday cards. Keep in mind, some of these are templates so you may have to be a bit computer savvy to be able to insert your own picture and change names/dates. Here are some instructions to help you out with that.

Amy Peterman:


Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

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Holiday shopping can be tough with so many different people to please. From the family fashionista to the sports fanatic friend, I've got them all covered right here. So stop stressing over that trip to the mall and let The Holiday Helper do the work for you!

The Kids (or kids at heart)
In a world of Leggos and Barbie dolls, unique children's gifts can be tricky to find. These ideas are so cool, you'll be playing with them once the kids are in bed:

Send in a child's drawing to this incredible company, and they will send you back a plush toy of the picture come to life. 

The newest creation by Pillow Pets called Dreamlites is a great alternative to a nightlight. 

The Intellectual
We all have that one family member who sounds like they are reciting a dictionary every time they speak. To quench their thirst for knowledge, try these gift ideas:

Help your favorite brainiac keep up with the times with a sleek e-reader, like the Nook.

A magazine subscription like National Geographic will keep them informed.

The Chef
They spend hours in the kitchen making things for you and now it's time you returned the favor with something special this holiday season. Here are some gift ideas I've cooked up:

A gift card to Food Network's online store. Seriously. They have an awesome collection of cookbooks and tools that any foodie will love.

Any good cook knows you can never have too many fun aprons. This one is from Layla Grayce.

The Sports Fanatic
If you can pry them away from the big game long enough to open gifts, here are some ideas:

Sure, they have a million jerseys for their favorite teams. But do they have a phone skin? Yeah, that's what I thought.

The Slingbox may not look like much, but to sports fans, it is one of the greatest inventions ever. This little device allows them to watch games anywhere.

The Fashionista
If her handbag costs more than your mortgage, you've probably got a fashionista on your hands. And while she loves to shop, she can be impossible to shop for. Here are some ideas that won't max out your credit card:

Every stylish girl can appreciate a classic charm bracelet. And as a bonus, you can make it a holiday tradition to buy her a new charm each year. This one is from Juicy Couture.

A cashmere scarf is elegant and timeless. One size (and style!) fits all. 

Decorating on a Budget

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For years now, it has been my family tradition to spend Black Friday filling the house with Christmas cheer. And all that cheer can get expensive! Which is why I have learned some great money saving tricks for holiday decorating, and now I can pass all the  budget saavy ideas on to you. Happy decorating!

- Instead of splurging on some $50+ designer wreath, reach into your closet and pull out an old wire hanger. All this easy project takes is a ton of ornaments (the dollar store ones will work just fine), glue, and a ribbon. For complete instructions click here.

- Upgrade your boring (and cheap!) clear glass ornaments. Get creative and fill them with photos, tinsel, glitter, or other unique items. For the full glitter ornament tutorial click here.

- Display your holiday cards loud and proud! They are a great way to fill the space on a mantle or wall, and it's a constant reminder of friends and family around the holiday season. For display ideas click here.

- Tinsel garlands are super affordable and versatile. I hang mine over mirrors and doorways and use them to make wreaths. For tinsel wreath directions click here. 

- Find your decorations right in your backyard. Branches from pine trees and pine cones make great rustic decorations. For a more sleek look, try spray painting them in silver or gold. More ideas here.