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Give to Charities This Christmas Holiday Season

Have a Happy Heart and Help Others

Many people give to charities all year long. And many want to make an extra-generous contribution around the holidays. There are so many ways you can bless others who might happen to be less fortunate, even if it's just by making a small donation. Here are some places that you can look into when you're considering giving.

Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child

Give to Charities This Christmas Holiday Season

Charity #1

This organization is now gaining recognition for their Operation Christmas Child shoe box charity. People are asked to fill a regular sized shoe box or plastic bin of the same size with goodies for impoverished children in various countries.

Things to pack in your box include toothpaste and toothbrush, small toys, stuffed animals, socks, or soap. They ask that you not include liquid items that could leak or foods that could spoil.

Image by Samaritan's Purse (Operation Christmas Child)

Along with your generous shoe box, each child will also get a copy of the Christmas message in their own language. There are various collection sites in each state, usually at churches, where you can drop off your shoe boxes.

Workers across the globe distribute the shoe boxes by hand to thousands of children for whom this may be their only holiday gift. You can contact Samaritan's Purse at www.samaritanspurse.org and you can also give a cash donation online. This is an excellent way to see that these children get a holiday gift this winter.

How to Pack a Shoebox

Heifer International

Image by Heifer International

Charity #2

Ending world hunger is the goal of Heifer International. They provide "living loans" to starving families in impoverished areas across the world in the form of cattle, goats and other livestock. You can order from their gift catalog and provide the cost of a cow, chick or other animal to a family overseas.

This not only provides food and nutrition for the family who receives it, but it also helps them make a living selling eggs or milk or other products gleaned from their animal. They can be reached at www.heifer.org. You can find out more about where your gift goes and other ways that you can help.

Images by Heifer International

Give to Charities This Christmas Holiday Season

Be An Elf

Give to Charities This Christmas Holiday Season

Charity #3

There's a way to brighten a family's Christmas this year that puts a smile on everyone's face. An organization called Be An Elf (www.beanelf.org) allows certain post offices across the United States to allow "elves" access to children's letters to Santa that would otherwise go unread.

Image by beanelf.org

You can purchase the things the child asks for and mail these kids Christmas gift baskets to the child to arrive by Christmas day. Often the children ask for basics that others take for granted like shoes and clothes.

You can also make donations by check and mail them to the family. The designated post offices are listed on the Be an Elf web site. It's a wonderful way to spread cheer to those less fortunate.

Watch for Charity Scams - Here's how to avoid them

Do Your Research

If You Go Elsewhere

No matter which charity you choose to give to, you should research it before you send anything. Are they legitimate? Do they have a number you can reach them at? Have you heard good things about them? Most charities are 100% fully committed to placing your gift in the hands of those who need it most. So, be generous with your excess this Christmas season.

Yours may be the only Christmas basket a family or a child receives this year. It's a heartwarming feeling knowing you took the time out of the crazy business of the American Christmas season to think of someone in another part of the world who isn't as fortunate.

Do-It-Yourself Baby Shower Favor Ideas

Do-It-Yourself Baby Shower Favor Ideas

Do-It-Yourself Baby Shower Favor Ideas

Being Crafty

Throwing a baby shower is one of the nicest things that you can do for a friend or family member. But just as the expectant mom is busy, so too are you and the other invitees. If you don't have a lot of time to spend or a lot of money, don't worry. You can still create a fabulous, welcoming, and memorable shower.

All that is required is a few supplies, some time, and some imagination. The results will be beautiful and much-appreciated by mama.

Image by yorkd on Flickr


Candle Favors

Do-It-Yourself Baby Shower Favor Ideas

Cheap, Easy & Cute!

Homemade candle favors are a great idea, and they can be used over and over again. You can find easy candle kits are craft stores or you can make your own with paraffin wax and some crayons for color.

Simply melt the wax with a double boiler, add in an old or broken crayon, stir, and when the mixture is melted thoroughly, pour into a glass jar or mold. Attach a length of wick to something heavier, like a washer and sink into the wax. You can make a large quantity of these, particularly if you make small, decorative or votive candles very easily.


Make Candles - "Cute as a Button!"

DIY Perfume or Fragrance

Smell Good & Have Fun!

Beautiful fragrances can be made easily with essential oils and ethyl alcohol. Mix two tablespoons of the alcohol with two cups of distilled water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil - lavender, jasmine, or rose are perfect choices.

Pour your fragrance creation into a spray bottle and shake well. You can find small, cute spray bottles online at low prices, and if you're feeling ambitious, you can make a label on your computer or by hand to give it a professional touch. Spritz and enjoy.

Bookmark Baby Shower Favors

Homemade Bookmark Favors

Reading into it

Laminated, homemade bookmark baby shower favors are great for any guests, and are even more fun when you make them yourself!

Use strips of oak tag and decorate with drawings, stickers, inspirational sayings, and other designs.

Be crafty! And enlist some friends or family help.

If you have a small child, it will be an adorable idea for them to draw the bookmarks or write the guests' names.

Cover these with clear contact paper, punch a hole in the top, and tie with a ribbon.


Baby Shower Favor Boxes

Fill any adorable store bought favor box with your favorite trinket or treat to create a fun baby shower favor!

Baby Shower Favor Boxes

Baby Shower Cookie FavorsEdible Baby Favors

Tasty & Affordable

Whether or not you have a women-only baby shower, food will be an appreciated favor.

Find a recipe for biscotti and make a batch for your guests. These keep very, very well, and will look great in a decorative bag or favor box. Lemon and thyme, apple and rosemary, and good old chocolate biscotti are excellent choices.

You can find recipes online or in cookbooks like the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. If you have a little more money to spend, put a few flavored tea bags or coffee packets into the baby shower favor boxes.


Pretzel Baby Shower Favors

Chocolate Pretzels

A Tasty Favor

Chocolate and pretzels: a match made in heaven. Get some chocolate bark or just plain milk chocolate and some large pretzel rods at the grocery store (you can do pretzel twists, but it may be more time-consuming. Melt your chocolate very slowly, while stirring continually - it doesn't take long, but watch it the entire time so it doesn't burn.

Dip your pretzels in; leaving an un-dipped end is perfectly fine - it makes a nice little handle. You can leave these on wax paper to dry or dust candy sprinkles or drizzle white chocolate over them. Let dry, put in a glass jar or bag, and you're done. Oh, and you'll probably want to save some for yourself.


Baby Shower Favor Bags With Candy

Baby Shower Favor Bags

Homemade Olive Oil

Olive Oil FavorsTalk About Unique!

You can easily make herb-infused olive oil bottle favors for your guests.

Purchase a large bottle of olive oil or white or apple vinegar.

Find fresh sprigs of herbs, such as rosemary, dill, garlic, peppercorns, basil, or yummy lemon basil.

You can find beautiful glass carafes or containers to put the mixture into, and it makes a useful and decorative accessory for your guests' kitchens.

Practical, pretty and tasty! I can't think of anything better in a favor or guest gift.


Microwave Popcorn Baby Shower Favors

"She's Going to Pop" Kernels

Pun on Popcorn

If you really want to get into the baby theme, buy a large quantity of popcorn kernels and glass jars. Pour kernels into each jar and tie with a ribbon. Make a label or tag that says, "About to Pop" and instructions for popping corn on the stove (for guests who don't have an air popper). You could also buy or make caramel popcorn and pour it into decorative containers with the same message.

These homemade baby shower favors are thoughtful and very personal; you can be assured that your guests will love them and that your shower will be a success.

Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

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Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

Welcome to My Corporate Holiday Gift Guide!

Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

The Christmas season is when many corporate professionals and companies give gifts to their clients to show appreciation for their business. The key to a great corporate gift is giving something that is specifically tailored to the recipient.

If you are sending something to several people in an office environment, be sure to buy something that they can all enjoy (e.g. Christmas food baskets). However if you are sending something to an individual, find out what their interests are....if they like sports, then tickets to a sporting event would be a terrific idea.

In this lens, I've put together a list of some of my favorite Christmas gifts for clients. I've included something for just about every style and price range. Happy Shopping!

Holiday Gift Basket

Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

My number one favorite gift for clients is a holiday gift basket that is overflowing with ready-to-eat goodies for an entire office. Be sure to select a gift that includes both sweet and savory goodies so that you can please every one's palette.

The Season's Best Gourmet Gift Basket shown in the photo fits the bill with a wide array of goodies such as zesty cheddar crackers, cheese biscuits, smoked almonds, cookies, coffee, and chocolate covered strawberries (and much more!). A bountiful basket like this is sure to leave a lasting impression on your clients!

Magazine Subscription

Who doesn't love flipping through the latest magazine? These are an especially good choice for the traveling business associate. Give a gift that keeps on giving! Choose a magazine that you know your recipient will enjoy. If he is a golfer, then choose golf digest. If she loves fashion, then Vogue would be the best option. If you don't know their hobbies, you can always ask a fellow office mate so that you don't ruin the surprise.

Executive Desk Accessories

 Christmas Gifts For Corporate ClientsDesk Accessories

Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

Gourmet Gift Towers

Show off your logo on imprinted ribbon!

Another great gift that is designed to feed a group of people in an office are gourmet Christmas food towers. These days you can find tons of companies that sell towers overflowing with all kinds of delectable goodies such as fresh fruit, chocolate covered almonds, peppermint bark, caramel corn and more.

If you'd like to incorporate your logo on a Christmas gift, towers yield the perfect opportunity on the ribbon that holds the gift together. Logo ribbon is a tasteful way to include a logo without being too promotional. Remember, it is about saying thank you and not about self-promotion.

Personalized Wine Accessory Set

Wine Accessories

Get a bottle of wine locally and add some accessories along with a hand-written card for the perfect client gift. Be sure that your client actually drinks alcohol before purchasing this type of gift to avoid any faux pas.

We have all kinds of personalized wine accessories such as the set shown, personalized wooden wine bottle holders, engraved wine stoppers and much more.

 Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

Wine Gift Basket

Let someone else do all the work for you!

Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

If you know that your recipient is a wine connoisseur, then choosing a gift that incorporates wine is a no brainer. That said, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by purchasing a Christmas wine gift basket online.

Let someone else take care of choosing some great tasting wines that will pair well with the gourmet goodies also included in the gift. Best of all, they can ship it directly to your recipient which will definitely relieve some stress this holiday season!


Belgian Chocolate Holiday GiftBelgian Chocolate Gifts

Usually less than $20 so a great inexpensive gift!

Men and women alike love chocolate so if you want an inexpensive gift that they'll savor, consider a gift box of basket full of Belgian chocolates. You can often find a 1/2 lb Gift Box of Fancy Belgian Chocolate for less than $20. Perfect for a chocolate lover or for an office to share! Find even more Chocolate & Christmas Candy Gifts on our website!

 Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

Christmas Gifts For Corporate Clients

Gourmet Cookies with your Logo

Another tasteful (and tasty) way to incorporate your logo on a holiday gift for clients is on gourmet cookies.

The custom logo holiday cookie box shown in the photo includes 2 hand-decorated jumbo shortbread cookies along with a rectangular shortbread cookie that has your logo imprinted in edible ink.

Choose to give either 1, 2, or 3 dozen assorted cookies along with the 3 jumbo short breads for a fantastic gift that your recipient will certainly enjoy.


Corporate Christmas Gift Ideas

Tips For Getting Organized This Christmas Holiday

Tips for Getting Organized this Christmas Holiday

Keep it Simple, Get Organized

Seems from the day before Thanksgiving to New Year's Day life becomes a whirlwind of chaos. There are gifts to find, parties to attend and give, cookies to bake. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. You can get organized if you just plan ahead.

Don't Do Too Much

Destress Tip #1

Who says you have to accept every invitation you receive this Christmas? It's okay to send your regrets to one or two events-especially if they fall on the same night.

Organize your calendar so you are not running from place to place. Fifteen minutes at one party and then off to another for an hour before heading to a third does not make for happy holidays.

Tips For Getting Organized This Christmas Holiday

Get a Calendar You Like

Destress Tip #2

By the end of the year your planning calendar may be illegible with cross outs and scribbles. You can find great bargains on leftover calendars at the end of the year. Dollar stores are great places to find them. Grab one and tack it up for November and December. Put it in a place you will see it every day.

Image by Meepness - Daniel C on Flickr

The refrigerator or somewhere in the kitchen is a good choice. If you like the design and the space available for writing events in, you're more likely to use it. So don't choose one with minimal writing space if you like to write big and bold. Full month calendars work best so you can see your schedule laid out all at once.

Buy in Advance, Once

Destress Tip #3

Forgot the tape? Used your last sheet of wrapping paper? Don't run out to the drug store and spend more than you have to. Plan ahead for your holiday wrapping needs. Visit that dollar store, where they will have started putting out the Christmas wrapping supplies in October, and pick up a bundle of supplies. Get an abundance of paper, tape and bows. At a dollar each, you can afford to splurge. If you have any left over, you'll be ahead for next year.

Grab other things you might need while you're there at the dollar store. Candles and wreaths are often available as are other holiday decorations and projects for the kids to give as holiday gifts. Take some time and look around. Get it all in one trip.

Buy the Mega Way

Tips for Getting Organized this Christmas Holiday

Image by frankreyes on Flickr

Destress Tip #4

Chances are you can't throw a stone without hitting a Target, WalMart or Sam's Club. Everywhere you go you'll find mega-retailers just waiting for your business. There's a good reason these stores are so popular. They are convenient places to find everything you need, at a good price, all at once. Go armed with your gift list as well as a list of any holiday supplies you need. You can spend a few hours there getting everything done. It's less time than you'd spend rushing from mall to mall searching for Christmas gifts here and there.

Visit the toy aisle and get everything all at once. Then, hit the holiday aisle. You'll find decorations, plates, cookie cutters and everything else you need to make the house festive. Grab ingredients such as nuts, flour, chocolate chips, oil and baking powder that you'll need for your Christmas cookies while you're there. Shopping at one store for everything makes financial as well as logical sense.

Staying Organized Helps Your Sanity

So Make it Simple

Stay organized this year by thinking ahead. Buy for your family and closest friends and then keep a gift closet stocked with extra presents for those who stop over unexpectedly with a gift for you. Keep extra inexpensive holiday gifts, bags and tissue so you can just pop a gift in at the last minute. Plan out the day you'll bake instead of spreading the baking out over several nights during the week. Get it all done at once and it will be more fun and productive. You can always freeze the cookies until you're ready to distribute them.

The holidays are fun when you're not stretched like a rubber band. This year, organize and you'll be spreading the cheer instead of circling the mall for a parking spot.

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

Get Crazy, Have Fun

What's more fun than making a fool out of yourself at a baby shower? Baby shower games are designed to get everyone up, involved, and having fun. The sillier the games, the better!

No one expects to maintain their decorum when baby shower games start. So have a little fun, and get a little crazy with these baby shower games and show your guests a great time!

Image by Pedro Rivas Ugaz on Flickr

Baby Charades

Act it out

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

Start with a good game of baby charades. Make a set of cards ahead of time with baby-themed things to act out. You could write drinking a bottle, diapering a baby, giving birth, etc. on cards.

Image by jaybergesen on Flickr

Divide the group into two teams and have them battle it out. Another fun version is to provide paper and have the contestant draw her item instead of acting it out. Get easel paper so everyone can see what's being drawn.

Baby Bottle Chug

Throw a few back!

This game will get rave reviews and the room will erupt in laughter. Fill baby bottles, one for each guest, with a liquid of choice. You can use milk, soda, water, juice or anything you like.

Give each guest a bottle. On the count of three every guest has to chug her entire bottle of liquid. The mom to be gets to be the judge. The first to finish every drop wins. Plus, the bottles won't go to waste. You can sanitize them and send them home with the mom to be as baby gifts.

Baby Bottle Chugging - In Action

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

The Price is Right

Come on down!

Set up this guessing game by purchasing various baby items like a tub of wipes, ointment, a pack of pacifiers, a box of diapers, etc.

Image by nan palmero on Flickr

The host will save the receipts so she can show what each one cost. Pass out paper with each item listed and a pen. Ask each guest to guess how much each item cost. The one closest to the actual price wins. You can then give all the items to the mom to be.

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

What's This For?

Give your best guess

In this game, guests are given one object that babies might use or have received as newborn gifts, the guest is then asked to come up with twenty ways to use it.

Image by planet_oleary on Flickr

Give out pencil and paper and have each guest write their twenty ideas down. Use objects like a breast pump, a thermometer, a nose syringe, tiny fingernail clippers, etc. The funnier or more obscure the object the better. Make sure you have the suggestions read aloud so everyone can get a laugh.

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

Feed the Baby

Om nom nom

This game is absolutely silly and will probably be the hit of the shower. Choose partners. The goal is for one partner to feed their partner a jar of baby food before the other team does.

Image by dickuhne on Flickr

Think about what you could fill the baby food jar with as most people can't stomach baby food. You could use apple sauce or cottage cheese or peas.

Make sure you give each pair of guests a bib and a baby spoon. It's not for the faint of heart, but it will surely bring the house down with laughter.

Feed Your Baby - See it in action

It gets most interesting around 3:40...

Creative and Fun Baby Shower Game Ideas

Cotton Ball Scoop

Scoop away

This game is really funny. First, blindfold a contestant and then spin them around. Have one bucket with cotton balls and next to it an empty bucket arranged in front of them or you can add a challenge and have them place the bucket on their head, or use a plate as this is easier to hold above your head.

Image by Liz (perspicacious.org) on Flickr

Hand them a scoop. Tell them they are not allowed to feel what's in the bucket. As they try to scoop the cotton balls, the laughter will build.

They're so light, they are hard to feel, so she'll think she's scooping air.

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