Tag Archive: presents


FullSizeRender (8)Somehow, over the last decade or so, we have lost our way when it comes to the holidays. It has become a stressful time that we have to ‘get through’, where we trying an jam all of our shopping into as little time as possible to ‘get it all done’, all while spending as little money as possible on as much crap as you can find on sale at as few stores as possible. Then we complain about the crowds and the parking lots and how rude everyone is and how that clerk had the nerve to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Well, I have to say, we have done this to ourselves. What do we expect to happen when our intentions go from ‘truly putting thought and care into giving while focusing on time with loved ones’ to ‘sacrificing time with family so we can fill our houses with cheap crap from giant corporations who underpay their workers’. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, we can turn this thing around! Here are some tips to keep your money in your communities and support your neighborhood families this holiday season:

1. Buy from local business: Instead of going to Wal-mart or Amazon, try to buy at least half of your xmas presents from local shops. Does your city have a small book store, music store, or hobby shop, or toy store, or boutique, or pet store? I don’t know about you, but Target has enough of my money!

2. Buy from local vendors: examples of local vendors are someone who sells Shaklee products (me), or Avon, or Origami Owl, or Thirty One bags, or Arbonne, or Pampered Chef, etc. These companies are great opportunities for people (mostly women) to create a business for themselves. When we support women and mother’s that live in our neighborhoods, we are supporting children and families.

3. Support small, non-chain restaurants, bars, wine shops: Not saying that places like Olive Garden are somehow not worthy of our time, they are staffed by local people who rely on steady business too. My point here is that, they usually have a steady stream of people coming in regardless. They are already busy. Instead, lets support the new restaurant that just opened. Or that neighborhood wine shop where you might pay a dollar or two more, but they are staffed with people passionate about wine who are getting paid appropriately. Or, buy gift certificates to that cute little restaurant that is always offering farm to table menu options. By doing that, you are supporting a local business owner, the servers who are working their butts off (tip them!), and the farmers that are supplying the food. Win-win-win-win. And, very often, the food is better anyway. #firkin #shanty #adlibgeocafe #nirvanawineandgrillerie #stevenssteakhouse

4. Hire local, independent contractors, artists: Instead of going to JC Penny for family photos, hire a local photographer. You will support a local family and (likely) get way better quality photos. Instead of buying a picture from Pier 1, buy an original from a local artist. #katebogot #lifeographyphoto #youfail.com #basementtshirts

5. Give: Last, but certainly not least, give stuff to people! Buy less stuff for your family, and buy more for those in need. Think about the family that can’t afford a Christmas while you are watching your kids open their 16th present. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy presents and spoiling your kids, but there is a fine line. Make a point to talk to your kids about helping those in need, about donating things that they don’t use anymore. Have them pick out a present for a kid in need. #toysfortots #northernillinoisfoodbank #caringforkidsclothingdrive

If you are looking for a vendor event, there is going to be a great one on Dec. 8th at the Savana House in Wadsworth IL. Here is the info:

2014 Holiday Sip and Shop
Savana House
38905 Route 41
Wadsworth IL
Monday Dec. 8th, 2014
6pm-9pm
Shaklee, Jamberry Nails, Norwex, Jewelry in candles, Beach Body, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Origami Owl, Thirty One, and Younique Makeup

Not to mention PRIZES and WINE and MARTINIS and BEER and…. 🙂

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photo (1)Anyone with young children know that the question of ‘what do your kids want for Christmas’ is one of the hardest questions to answer. When they’re older they want specific items, when they are younger they either don’t know or they want everything. Or, they are like my 4 year old nephew who only wants swords, even though he has 5 swords already (not to mention all the swords he makes out of every day household objects). And, I don’t know about you, but I have 2 kids and my house is full of crap! I have no storage space and every inch is covered in plastic toys. My kids have so many toys, we don’t even know what to play with any more. So, if you’re anything like me, this guide is for you! This is what to ask for this year, especially from the grandparents.

1. Experiences, not stuff! Maybe the grandparents or aunts/uncles want to take them to the zoo or the children’s museum or to a movie or to a special over-night outing (think Key-lime cove or some indoor water park, etc.). The kids will have so much fun, they get to enhance the relationship with the kids, and the parents might get a chance to get out and shop themselves (or nap).

2. Lessons, not stuff! My mom is getting both of my kids swim lessons this year instead of more traditional presents. My kids are going to be thrilled, they get to swim every weekend in the boring Jan/Feb months, my mom doesn’t have to run around town trying to figure out what to get, I don’t have to pay for the lessons myself, and we don’t have to bring another f’ing version of Elmo into our home. Everybody wins! (think also gymnastics, ballet, karate, etc.)

3. Family fun, not stuff! My dad is getting our family passes to Great America. Instead of them trying to figure out 4 separate presents for our family of four, they only need to buy 1 thing. And, instead of them buying stuff they we’ll be sick of by February, we will be able to enjoy this gift all summer long! (think also pool passes, museum memberships, vacations, etc.)

4. For the babies…. When our kids were really little and truly didn’t know any better, we asked for diapers and formula and wipes and pajamas and money for day care and….. You get the point. Babies really don’t need too terribly much for the first 2 years. They have fun unwrapping presents, playing with the paper and boxes. They don’t care that it is a box of diapers. Help them help you, ask for what you need.

5. For the parents…. Sure I love gift cards, sure I love crock pots, but what I really want is a baby sitter. I want a baby sitter that is easy and consistent. What if you asked for an over-night baby sitter once a month for six months? Or, every other month all year long? Did I just blow your mind? Something consistent too, like the 3rd Saturday of every month. Just think if before the year even started, you had scheduled/planned date nights simply built into your calendar. You’re welcome…

6. The chip-in…. Last year we did a combo birthday day party for both kids. Everyone was asking what to get and I had NO ideas. The only thing we actually wanted was a swing set for the back yard but those are too expensive. So, what did we do? We asked all of the family members to simply chip in whatever they would have spent on a present and we pooled the money together. We ended up getting a really nice swing set, and again, made it easy on everyone else.

What NOT to get:

1. Noisy bullshit! We don’t need anymore singing teddy bears or harmonicas or yo gabba gabba dancing monsters or any of that rage inducing non-sense. It will shortly ‘run out of batteries’ or ‘go to sleep’ or ‘I don’t know what happened sweetie, you went to sleep and it just disappeared…’

2. Plastic crappy cheapness! I don’t want ANYTHING that can possibly be gotten in a happy meal. You know the toys that cost $3 and will last about 3 minutes… I don’t want them, they don’t need them, stop the insanity!

3. Parental supervision needed toys! I love my children. I swear, I do! But, there are literally a million things I can do with them. If there is anything I need, it is toys they can play with without me. I need stuff that gives me 15 minutes to attempt putting dinner on the table. I need something the little one can play with when I am helping the big one with his homework. I need something the big one can play with while I am trying for the 13th time this hour to get the little one to ‘pee pee on the (m’er f’ing) potty’.

4. Lastly, I just don’t want a slutty barbie. My daughter is 2 and I really don’t want to go thru the whole barbie thing. Doctor barbie should NOT be in platforms and a mini skirt! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I would love her to play with a reasonable, normal looking female doll. The ONE barbie she has is in a mini-skirt, no underwear, and a pink stripe in her blonde hair. I will not start the unrealistic craziness that is barbie as long as I can help it. I also resent the fact that my son gets science and building toys and my daughter gets a pink shopping cart. Do better- entire world.