Quick Hits

Time-honored holiday traditions seem to be standing the test of time in our evolving world. According to a survey, family activities and writing to Santa are still among the most popular holiday traditions.

Even though we live in a tech savvy world, three out of four parents say their children still hand-write letters to Santa as opposed to a more modern approach like e-mail.

And what’s the most popular activity in 2017? According to most households, it’s decorating the Christmas tree as a family.

Source: The Elf On The Shelf

Introduced six years ago, the charitable shopping day has become a philanthropic phenomenon.  The issue this year for tens of thousands of nonprofits is how to stand out on Giving Tuesday.  World Vision has participated in Giving Tuesday since its inception and it has become its third most important fundraising day.

Source: CBS News

Even if you’re smart enough to create a holiday budget, actually sticking to it is another story. According to T. Rowe Price’s 2017 Parents, Kids & Money survey, 72% of parents say they set a budget for holiday shopping, but more than half (58%) blow past it and spend more than they planned to. But it turns out, one way parents can stay on budget when buying for their kiddos is to do all their shopping online.  And when you are shopping online, here’s how to make sure you don’t overspend:

  • Make this the year you actually write out that list - Planning is key when you’re trying to save money. Write down the people you need to buy for and the max you want to spend and don’t stray from it when you’re shopping on your computer.
  • Make price comparisons easy - Use a comparison shopping tool like Google Shopping or PriceGrabber to do the hard work for you.
  • Stack your savings - You can use coupons online to save on shipping or get a discount on things that are already on sale. Bonus!

Source: Moneyish

This really is the most wonderful time of the year, except when we overdo it. Between the eating, drinking, shopping, and Christmas cocktailing we do, it’s way too easy to end up bloated and exhausted. So here’s how to avoid that and stay healthy this holiday season.

  • Fill your plate wisely - With so much good food around all the time, it’s easy to overdo it. But if you’re trying not to go overboard, only indulge in the eats that really make your taste buds light up and skip the rest. You won’t feel like you’re missing anything when you’ve got a plate filled with foods you love.
  • Be smart about your cocktails - As if all the desserts weren’t bad enough, this season’s non-stop cocktails are hard to resist too. So if you’re trying to avoid the bloat or the guilt of another night of too much sugar, pass on the eggnog and have a cocktail made with sparkling water or a wine spritzer instead.
  • Explore new exercise options - When it’s cold outside and you have a million things on your to-do list, it’s easy to justify skipping spin class again. But your body needs some stress relief and you need to work off that pie, so find some form of fitness that you’ll be excited to show up for during the holidays and make it a priority.
  • Take a probiotic - Good gut health is important, so take a probiotic to balance out the bad and boost your immunity, too.
  • Don’t forget about you - There’s so much going on during the holidays that it’s easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list. But being selfless doesn’t help you here. So take a walk around the neighborhood to unwind and clear your head, or grab a book and a cup of coffee alone - anything that makes you happy and gives you a little downtime is all you need.

Source: PureWow

As much as you love your kids, sometimes it’s nice to get away without them so you can really appreciate them. If you can’t even remember when you and your partner left town without your children, it’s time to consider taking a grown-ups only trip, like one of these.

  • The All-About-Wine Weekend - There are reds, whites and rosés waiting for you all around the country, just pick where you’d like to go. The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is good for Riesling and Chardonnay, down in Texas they make Syrahs and Cabs, and of course, there’s always California for your own “Sideways” wine tour. 
  • The Chicken Nugget-Less Night Away - You and your partner deserve a real meal, or better still, a whole weekend of them. Pick a city and go explore all the exciting eateries there. From Chicago to San Francisco, any metropolitan area you choose will make a fine food-focused, adults-only trip.
  • The Highway Hideaway - Ditch the car seats, make the perfect playlist and hit the road with your sweetie. Head up Route 6 in Massachusetts to check out Cape Cod, or travel to Santa Fe for some Southwestern scenery. For this getaway, the destination doesn’t matter as much as the experience of getting there together.
  • The City Exploration Escape - Always wanted to check out Pittsburgh’s contemporary art scene or coastal Charleston, South Carolina? Leave the kids at home and take the chance.
  • The We’re-Not-Even-Leaving-the-Hotel-Room Retreat - Sometimes what parents really want is time for themselves. So it doesn’t really matter where you go as long as you’re together and no little hands are banging on the door or asking when breakfast will be ready. Now that’s a trip we’d like to take.

Source: Huffington Post

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Jay and Dawn

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