Holidays

How To Host An Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

9 Steps to Hosting An Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
By: Melissa Angert

Image credit: retrochristmascardcompany.com

Image credit: retrochristmascardcompany.com

“Ugly Sweater Parties” seem to creep up every holiday season! It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate with friends (and get some great pictures while you’re at it). When you talk about having an ugly sweater party, the first thing you might want to do is to drop the word “ugly” and make it a festive fashion holiday party. (Some people may actually like their light-up reindeer head sweaters and you won’t want to offend party guests.)

 

Here are nine steps to a successful and fun holiday fashion party:

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1. Create Your Invitations: Make a list and check it twice and then let everyone know when to come! Don’t forget to suggest they check local thrift shops and local Goodwill stores to find their own festive sweaters.

2. Gather Party Supplies: Buy your paper goods and decorations. Hit your local party store or try local boutiques for truly unique décor ideas.

3. Determine your sweater personality. Go to http://bit.ly/SweaterQuiz to determine what type of sweater personality you have.

4. Get your sweater. Head over to your local second-hand stores to see if you can make someone else’s cast-off your holiday treasure.

5. Embellish your sweater. Add some fun bling to your attire to celebrate the season. You are the party host after all. To really blow your guests away, add battery-operated lights wrapped around yourself and you’ll be the star!!

6. Decorate and set out the food. It’s party time! Decorate and get out the snacks. Go with easy recipes you can make ahead of time that can be served at room temperature so you can really relax and enjoy the party with your guests.

7. Take lots of pictures! Post plenty of pictures of you and friends doing festive sweater selfies with the hashtag #SweaterSelfie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

8. Enjoy the party. Now you can relax and truly let down your hair a bit.

9. Clean-up the mess. Once your party guests have gone home, it’s time to clean up and put away your festive sweater. Keep that beauty for next year – or donate it back to your local Goodwill you can get that last minute charitable tax write-off and so other people can enjoy them for their own parties!

 

Check out the snapguide below for pictures and instructions for creating the best Festive Sweater Holiday Party. Check out How to Throw a Festive Sweater Holiday Party by Goodwill Industries International on Snapguide.

 

Melissa Angert is founder and editor of the top-ranked fashion and lifestyle blog, All Things Chic. Along with her talented contributors, ATC has become one of the go-to blogs for moms who are determined to remain stylish!

Follow her adventures on Instagram and she can found on Twitter as @MelissaAngert.

Famous Latina Barbie

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Jennifer Lopez Red Carpet Doll

Ready to wow any crowd, this portrait doll is sculpted in JLo’s likeness and captures her on the red carpet at a premier event. The alternating shimmery white and nude stripes, low flared skirt, and plunging neckline are a re-creation of an original gown by Zuhair Murad. Sparkling teardrop earrings add the finishing touch.

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Jennifer Lopez World Tour® Doll

Sprinkled with silvery sparkle and ready to command the stage, this portrait doll is beautifully sculpted in JLo’s likeness. Her sheer, sleeveless jumpsuit is a re-creation of a Zuhair Murad original with shimmering stripes radiating from clear crystals. Silvery ankle boots, curly locks and JLo’s megawatt smile complete this electrifying look.

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On sale at Target and www.barbiecollector.com.

St. Jude Thanks and Giving® Campaign

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It’s the holiday season and while most are shopping for gifts for loved ones consider buying a gift that makes you feel good about your purchase. St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign offers an assortment of holiday gift ideas that are budget-friendly and sales during the campaign support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

Luis Fonsi and Izarah at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Luis Fonsi and Izarah at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from the public, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of the financial situation.

This year, designer and television host Sabrina Soto and actress and singer Olivia Holt unveiled custom holiday products they designed for the 2013 St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign.

Other elegant holiday products created by their partners include Kmart, Kay Jewelers, Target, west elm, Pottery Barn, HomeGoods, TUMI, Brooks Brothers and more, that all give back to St. Jude!

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. Join St. Jude in finding cures and saving children.

Sofia Vergara films a St. Jude Thanks and Giving spot with St. Jude patient

Sofia Vergara films a St. Jude Thanks and Giving spot with St. Jude patient

Visit the St. Jude’s holiday gift guide at: www.giftshopmedia.stjude.org

For more information on St. Jude’s Thanks and Giving campaign visit: www.tg.stjude.org

Winner Named in Scotch Tape’s National Gift Wrapping Contest

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Patricia Zapata from Kingwood, Texas was crowned the 2013 “Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper” in a national gift wrapping contest sponsored by 3M, the maker of Scotch Brand Tape. After wrapping various odd-shaped items, including a full-size paddle boat with a canopy, Zapata was awarded the ultimate holiday present – a $10,000 cash prize – for her amazing wraps.

About the contest:

Eight finalists wrapped odd-shaped gifts in three rounds during the contest:

Round 1: toy castle and a boxed gift
Round 2: children’s go-kart
Round 3: full-size paddleboat with a canopy

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The contestants were judged on two criteria: appearance of the wrapped gifts and the technique used to wrap the gifts. In the event of a tie, speed was the determining factor.
Zapata, along with seven other gifted wrappers, was selected to participate in the contest based on a brief entry video and gift-wrapping tip that illustrated her talent and experience in the art of gift wrapping.

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About the first runner-up and other contestants:

The first runner-up, Melinda Cantor from Deer Park, N.Y., received a $2,500 cash prize. Cantor owns Only You Gifts in Islip, N.Y.

The following six contestants also received smaller cash prizes:
Mia Canada from Atlanta, Ga. of That’s a Wrap!
Diane Henkler from Lansdale, Pa.
Lisa Huff Kroll from Monrovia, Calif.
Vickie Ransbottom from Dallas, Ga.
Julia Rose from North Richland, Texas
Esther Thiel from Chesterfield, Mo.

About the judging panel:

The judging panel consisted of three gift wrapping experts:
Martin Amado, bilingual home and lifestyle expert
Erica Domesek, founder of the DIY Lifestyle brand P.S. I made this…
Mark Ski, former producer for Martha Stewart Living

I was particularly impressed with Zapata’s creative use of embellishments and how she applied the various colors and patterns of Scotch Expressions Tapes to make an amazing wrap,” says contest judge Erica Domesek. “Zapata’s wraps are a great example of how creative nostalgia and stylistic personalization touches can influence gift wrap trends with homemade gift wrap paper and embellishments.”

Zapata offers these DIY gift wrap tips to get creative this holiday season:

Chalk it up: Search the Internet for printable chalkboard gift wrap. With just a chalk marker, send your recipient personalized greetings alongside drawings of reindeer and holiday trees.

Cut through the red tape: Who says you have to wrap a gift using paper and ribbon? Instead, add layers of colorful Scotch Expressions Tapes around a solid-colored box to create stripes and imitate a ribbon. Complete the look by folding individual pieces of colored and patterned tapes into triangles, and then tape them together to create a 3-D bow atop the gift.

A family affair: Give kids pieces of kraft paper pre-cut for individual gifts, and a variety of crayons and markers. Let their creativity take over! The wrap becomes part of the gift, as the ‘work of art’ can be framed by the recipient once they unwrap the present.

Smile! You’re on… gift wrap: Print black-and-white photos of family and friends, and tape them to gifts wrapped in bright-colored solid gift-wrap paper. The photos can serve as gift tags so the recipient can be easily identified.

Flower Power: Cut card stock into petal shapes and adhere them to your gift in the shape of a flower. Then, use complementary colored and patterned tapes to embellish the petals and illustrate the flower stem. Add additional petals directly on the box as a finishing touch.

Twittercue: .@Patricia_Zapata wins $10k in @ScotchProducts #MostGiftedWrapper Contest! http://bit.ly/hSSgho #giftwrap #tape #holidays

RECIPES FOR END OF YEAR FESTIVITIES

It’s time to try something different! Add a tropical twist to your festive dinner. Enriched with love, your taste buds will be dancing all night!

 

CREAMY CITRUS, BERRY & JICAMA SALAD

CreamyCitrusBerryAndJicamaSalad

 

Recipe serves: 8
Prep Time: 30 min

INGREDIENTS
• 3 large oranges, peeled and sectioned (reserve 1/4 cup juice)*
• 1 lb. jicama, peeled and julienned match sticks
• 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
• 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
• 1/2 cup Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
• 6 cups lightly packed baby spinach and/or torn salad greens (about 6 ounces)
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS
1. In large bowl, combine oranges, jicama, strawberries, blueberries and onion. Season, if desired, with salt and ground black pepper; set aside.
2. In small bowl, with wire whisk, combine Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise, cilantro and reserved orange juice. Toss with fruit mixture and set aside.
3. On serving platter, arrange spinach, then top with fruit mixture. Sprinkle with almonds.
• SUBSTITUTION: Use 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained (reserve 1/4 cup juice).

 

ROASTED EGGPLANT DIP

RoastedEggplantDip

 

Makes 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min

INGREDIENTS
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 2 medium eggplants, peeled and diced
• 2 Knorr® Garlic MiniCubes, crumbled
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 Knorr® Cilantro MiniCube , crumbled

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Arrange eggplant on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over eggplant, then sprinkle with Knorr® Garlic MiniCubes; toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until eggplant is very tender, stirring once.
3. Process eggplant with remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with your favorite vegetable dippers or tortilla chips.

 

GUAVA GLAZED PORK ROAST

GuavaGlazedRoastPork

 

Recipe serves: 12
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 75 min

INGREDIENTS
• 5 -lb. boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
• 2 cups water
• 3 Knorr® Reduced Sodium Chicken flavor Bouillon Cubes, crumbled
• 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
• 4 green onions, thinly sliced
• 2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1 cup guava jelly

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425° F. Arrange pork in a large roasting pan and season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour. Meanwhile, bring water and next 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve bouillon. Boil about 3 minutes or until sauce is reduced slightly. Stir in jelly and continue to boil an additional 3 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1 cup. Brush remaining glaze over pork and continue to roast until a meat thermometer inserted in roast reaches 160°F. Serve sliced pork with reserved guava sauce.

 

Your side dishes don’t have to be dull and boring. Add a touch of color to your delicious dinner with this tantalizing Rice and Pigeon Pea dish.

 

RICE & PIGEON PEAS

RiceAndPigeonPeas

 

Recipe serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min

INGREDIENTS
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 cup diced ham
• 1/4 cup chopped shallots
• 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
• 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
• 2 large tomatoes, chopped
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 packets Knorr® Sazon with Garlic, Onion, Annatto and Coriander
• 1 can (15 oz.) pigeon peas, drained
• Salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 4 cups medium grain rice
• 2 Knorr® Chicken flavor Bouillon Cubes, dissolved in 4 cups boiling water

DIRECTIONS
1. In 6-quart heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook ham, shallots, green onions and green pepper, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook tomatoes, cilantro, Knorr® Sazon with Garlic, Onion, Annatto and Coriander and pigeon peas 3 minutes.
3. Add salt and black pepper. Stir in rice, then broth and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Garnish, if desired, with diced pork rinds.

 

Everyone melts for chocolate and sweets! Join the family, turn on some music and start decorating your juicy strawberries and cupcakes…Dip the strawberries completely or let a hint of red sneak out! The strawberries are a perfect dessert where you can enjoy something sweet yet nutritious, and everyone loves cupcakes!

 

LUSCIOUS CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

LusciousChocolateCoveredStrawberries

 

Makes 6 strawberries
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 1 min
Chill Time: 60 min

INGREDIENTS
• 3 squares (1 oz. ea.) semi-sweet chocolate
• 2 Tbsp. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® Spread
• 1 Tbsp. coffee liqueur (optional)
• 6 large strawberries (with stems)

DIRECTIONS
1. Microwave chocolate and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® Spread in small microwave-safe bowl 1 minute or until chocolate is melted; stir until smooth. Stir in liqueur.
2. Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture, then refrigerate on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.

 

HONEY-CRANBERRY MUFFINS WITH PECANS

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Makes 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min

INGREDIENTS
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 container Country Crock® Honey Spread
• 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries
• 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease 12-cup muffin pan or line with papercupcake liners; set aside.
2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat 3/4 cup Country Crock® Honey Spread with 3/4 cup brown sugar 4 minutes or until fluffy, scraping down sides occasionally. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing just until blended. Stir in pecans and cranberries.
4. Evenly spoon batter into prepared pan, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar; press gently. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. On wire rack, cool 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, in small microwave-safe bowl, microwave remaining 1/4 cup Spread at HIGH 5 seconds or until melted. Stir in confectioner’s sugar; drizzle over muffins.

*TIP: For easy drizzling, pour drizzle mixture into a small re-sealable plastic bag and squeeze to bottom. Snip off a tiny piece of the corner of the bag and squeeze to drizzle over muffins.

 


Enter for a chance to win a basket with Unilever products by ViveMejor by emailing your name, address and contact info to sweepstakes@latintrends.com

 

Visit www.vivemejor.com for more tasty recipes!

Marc Anthony And Prince Royce In Concert In Punta Cana

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Marc Anthony and Prince Royce will be sharing the stage at Punta Cana’s Hard Rock Cafe on December 15. Royce will open the show for the salsero and undoubtedly sing his hit “Darte Un Beso” off his album Soy El Mismo.

Marc is said to perform several songs off of his new Marc Anthony 3.0 album, including the Latin Grammy winning single, “Vivir Mi Vida.” Expect to cough up some serious dough as seats for the concert will cost $60-$500!

With the holidays approaching perhaps the duo will sing a Navidad classic. Royce released “Mi Regalo Favorito” last week, and Marc Anthony recently collaborated with Mary J Blige on “Noche De Paz,” a Spanish version of Silent Night.

Latinas at the 2013 American Music Awards

Latinas showcased their style and grace on the red carpet at the 2013 American Music Awards. Here are some of my favorites.

Half Ecuadorian Christina Aguilera looked great in her elegant white gown. She reminded me of an old Hollywood actress.

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Honduran and Chilean Rocsi Diaz looked great in red.

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Naya Rivera is a Puerto Rican hottie and she looked amazing in her black keyhole gown. Her hair and makeup were phenomenal.

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La Cubana Daisy Fuentes showed us that you don’t have to show a lot to be sexy. She wore a Tadashi Shoji halter gown that featured a white lace applique bodice with a sheer nude illusion back that transitioned into a long black, fit-and-flare skirt.

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Appropriately Chic for the Holidays

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By Melissa Gonzalez

It’s December and holiday party season is officially upon us. From lady-like attire to meet your new boyfriend’s parents to office soirees as a recent hire, one must always be prepared with an arsenal of ensembles. Navigating the holiday’s can be tricky, but with the right preparation you will look your best all month long.

 

Time to Meet the Parents?
Walk the fine line of impressive yet innocent with a floral canvas. Start with a floral dress or floral pants with a solid blazer, and pull from key accent colors with a vibrant cross body by Mary Lai or Tote handbag by Shana Luther and layer on metallic jewelry.

 

Jeri Crossbody by Mary Lai
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/jeri-crossbody-1

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William Tote Brick by Shana Luther
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/william-tote-brick

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Hammered H Cuff by Heather Belle
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/hammered-h-cuff

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Double Lattice Necklace by Ona Chan
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/double-lattice-necklace

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Work Party Stress?
Co-workers, cocktails, bosses oh my…Own the room yet inspire trust with the powerful tint of cobalt blue. Look professional with a solid blue peplum dress or color block the light and dark shades of cobalt with a skirt and top. Inject your personality with playful accessories like a vegan clutch by Heather Belle or python top handle by Jess Rizutti. It’s the surefire way to master the pretty meets polished look!

 

The Vegan Fold-Over by Heather Belle
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/belleeco-foldover-clutch

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Olivia Top Handle Bag in Aubergine by Jess Rizzuti
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/olivia-top-handle-bag-in-aubergine

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Parties with friends
Here you can let your hair down and turn up the heat, but be prepared with multiple photo-ready options. You never want to be stuck wearing the same outfit twice on facebook! Leather always looks chic and sexy, from pants to leggings to shorts with tights. Take the look up a notch with pyramid accessories and statement cuffs one night and sprinkle in animal prints and fur the next.

 

Pyramid Clutch by Heather Belle
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/pyramid-clutch

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Leather Faux Leopard Print Fur Hobo Bag by Daniela Zagnolli
www.lionesquestyle.com/products/leather-faux-leopard-print-fur-hobo-bag

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Tis the season of a little bit of sugar and spice!

Simple Ways To Maintain Your Sexy This Season

During the end of the year we tend to juggle more than usual…holiday shopping, parties, travel plans, cooking and the list goes on. This “correr correr” always affects our eating habits. Dale Noelle founder of TRUE Model Management, former model and health coach provided some great tips to maintain our sexy this season and increase our energy while juggling our hectic schedules.

desk

DO:
Take stairs instead of elevators.
Take slow, deep breaths.
Stand tall with stomach and gluteus muscles engaged.
Keep even weight on feet with hips and shoulders level, tighten all muscles as much as you can and then release and repeat while standing still ,waiting on a lines, etc.,
Walk home from the office/grocery/shopping and lift and lower bags to tone your arms and back.
Squats while washing/conditioning your hair and cleaning the shower with a squeegee.
Sit on a ball at your desk instead of a chair.
Stretch before you get out of bed every morning and before you go to bed at night.
Park farther from building entrances and walk briskly to your destination.
Carry a refillable glass bottle of water with fruit or herbs inside (add a spring of rosemary, mint leaves, cinnamon stick, lemon or orange slices, etc.).
Join a sports team for fun (even if you never played the sport before, most organized athletic leagues offer beginner options).
Carry at least one healthy snack in your bag (nuts, apple).
Choose exercises that are easy on your joints and strengthen without causing bulk; yoga is a great option.

DO NOT:
Eat if you are not hungry.
Sit if you can stand.
Impulsively grab empty calorie and/or sugary snacks.
Deny yourself of your favorite fattening foods (but do limit portions and/or only eat them once a week).

Dale also expressed the importance of drinking plenty of water (especially high ph level waters), eating greens, eating less pasta, bread, sugar, red meat and dairy as simple lifestyle changes that will improve our metabolism, increase our energy, create positive emotions and tone our muscles.

Dale Noella

Dale Noelle

To contact Dale Noelle for more tips or to learn about TRUE Model Management:

W: www.TRUEmodel.net
E: info@TRUEmodel.net

The Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide—Non-traditional that is

Stocking StuffersTraditional stocking stuffers can have all kinds of things inside like gift cards, candy, small travel items, jewelry and even makeup. These stocking stuffers are great for any person in the family, but we have to admit that it becomes a little mundane every year of getting the same gift for people. Coming up with some new stocking stuffers ideas, especially if most people in the family have no idea what they want for Christmas, can become a challenge. Make it a goal this year to begin a new tradition and give some more non-traditional stocking stuffers.

Toothbrushes

It may sound strange, but here is something that children could actually get excited about when they are brushing their teeth. The toothbrush is called Brite Beatz from Brush Buddies and it features a synchronized light and music show while playing Jingle Bells, a classical holiday song. The time that dentists recommend to brush your teeth is two minutes. This gives a reminder to children to brush until the song is done. Other songs are from musicians like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. The toothbrushes with replaceable brush heads include a tongue and cheek cleaner and batteries that are replaceable while designed to help clean plaque in hard to reach places.

Also, available, are the Brush Buddies The Smurfs Talking toothbrushes. Once the belly button is pressed, the brush pops up and the bristles are gentle on children’s gums.

Ornaments

It sounds a bit strange to give an ornament as a gift mainly because there are plenty already on the Christmas tree. But more often, ornaments have become available and can be given out for the holidays. We are not talking about the traditional red, blue, gold, green and silver balls, but rather the non-traditional and more personable ones. These can include a photo of the family, a sled, cross stitched patterns, snowmen and countless of the many more designs to represent the person or family. Many stores sell these unique ornaments and there are plenty of how-to websites to make some of your own, without having to spend a lot.

Little books

Little books with simple phrases are not just for youngsters anymore. There are many books that offer inspirational sayings, jokes, and even prayers to get through difficult times. These books are simple, yet meaningful to someone that not only likes collecting books, but can also find them useful beyond the holidays. With many different topics and choices, this may be the small and perfect gift for that always ‘hard to give’ person on your list.

There are some many more things to put in the stockings and there may be some favorites that you do every year. But if you are looking for a way to break out of tradition and give something new, try these ideas. One of these stocking stuffers may become the new tradition in your family year after year.