Sunday, December 15, 2013

HINT: Christmas Gifts for your Wife

Dear Husband,

I know you are struggling (as you do every holiday/birthday/anniversary) with what to get me as a token of your love. So I thought I would help you out a little – no, I’m not going to BUY MY OWN GIFTS. That would be too easy! It’s not that I want to make it hard on you – seriously. It isn’t that difficult! I just want to feel loved with material things. ;) Here are a few questions for you to answer before you go shopping an hour before stores close on Christmas Eve: 

  1. What would make my life easier? There is something I complain about ALL the time. There are MANY things I complain about. So go now to your dark place and think of those things…. Those nagging, bitching, irritating things. And then fix it, buy it, get rid of it!  … Whatever complaints I have made over the past few months …. Take care of it for me! Broken dish washer? Fix it! No dish washer? BINGO. There’s one of the many gifts I expect this Christmas. Not enough mugs to drink out of? Buy me a dozen! Always tripping over your shoes? Get rid of them! And by that I mean, buy something to take care of the shoes-all-over-the-living-room problem.  Yes.  A shoe organizer. You’re catching on quick!
  2. What would make me feel adored?  Something extra. Something I don’t need. Something that I often use/wear/want. You’ve seen me put on a necklace every day before work. Buy me a new one! You’ve seen me work endless hours on my hobby … get me better tools, a fancy thing-a-ma-jig, and a do-hickey to compliment my efforts. (Please … please tell me you know what my hobby is!? Go look on my pinterest account, eh? It should be loud and clear.) Basically, what do I do every single day to make myself feel pretty, feel sane, or just feel like a human? Buy me more.
  3. Who (or what!) else can do my job? You’ve watched me spend my free time keeping the house clean. Buy me a maid! Once a month for the entire year someone can come into our home and spend 2-3 hours cleaning, organizing, SOMETHING! Dear God, give me a BREAK! (Or see "dishwasher" in part 1.)
  4. What would make me speechless? Go ahead. You know you want me to shut up for a minute! Buy me something that would blow me away. A real dream come true! So far out there that it’s virtually unrealistic; A vacation. A car. A weekend away. Yes. That’s it! A weekend away. No guilt. No strings. And by all means NO CHILDREN. And if I’m being honest … no YOU either. Let me relax. Let me manage my own 48 hours. However I want. In my current responsibilities, THAT is absolutely unrealistic and unexpected. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

The Happiest Wife on Christmas Morning

PS. Don't ASK me if I want _____ for Christmas. Just surprise me! I DON'T WANT TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME! <--- I wrote that in all caps because I was, indeed, shouting.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Calendar: Repurposed Christmas Cards

This year I was inspired by this dear friend to create an Advent Calendar - each day leading up to Christmas there is a new activity or sentiment shared. I love creating memories and this seems like the perfect way to experience the holidays with my little family.

While Pinterest has plenty of ideas and fancy creations for the count down, we've been struck with the Great Thanksgiving Flu of 2013 and I needed something simple (and as always - cheap!) to make.

If you're as sentimental as I am, I bet you keep Christmas cards from years past gently stored in a seasonal box. Year after year the cards are displayed around my home to remember loved ones near and far, past and present.

The handmade cards and signatures of loved ones no longer with us are precious mementos.

The cards themselves are beautiful and festive. What better way to re-purpose them than to turn them into an Advent Calendar!?

I simply cut the cards in half (carefully saving the greeting/signature portion for another project!) and wrote on the back of the cards - one activity for each of the days leading up to Christmas.

Hang them up on garland, ribbon, or on a streamer like I did and you've got yourself a fun way to display your cards while counting down to Christmas! (If you use a streamer limit 6 cards per column - otherwise the streamer will tear from the weight!)

Here are the activities for our calendar:

1. Decorate the front porch for Christmas
2. Make a popcorn garland
3. Make paper snowflakes (if you don't want to make them, try them virtually! This is our favorite site for it:
4. Go through your toys and donate ones you no longer play with
5. Have dinner with candles and the light of the Christmas tree
6. Watch a Christmas movie and don't forget the popcorn!
7. Set up the nativity and read the story in the bible
8. Go to Dunkin Donuts and enjoy a tasty treat
9. Make a gingerbread house
10. Go to McAdenville (a nearby town that decorates every house and every street) Don't forget the hot cocoa and candy canes for the trip!
11. Sing and play Christmas carols
12. Add candy canes to the tree and watch this video on how they are made:
13. Make an ornament for the tree and some to share
14. Mail Christmas cards and packages
15. Make a paper chain to countdown 10 days until Christmas
16. Ok. You can go to Dunkin Donuts ONE more time. :)
17. Open one present early!
18. Visit Santa at the mall and eat dinner out
19. Bring a present and Christmas card to an elderly neighbor
20. Drive through town and look at the lights in the neighborhood
21. Call your grandparents and sing a Christmas carol (or any relative far away)
22. Bake Christmas cookies and deliver some to the neighbors
23. Wrap Christmas gifts for the family
24. Light candles and tell stories of things we miss and remember loved ones no longer with us
25. Pray for our soldiers and their families before opening our own gifts

Maybe you don't have the energy for 25 days but you might for 10 or 5 ... please don't let the traditions other people follow be an overwhelming cloud over your holidays. Guilt and stress don't go well with the true Christmas spirit! I simply want to encourage you to be intentional about how you celebrate whether it's 10 days or 2 hours! My daughter is turning 6 this month and it's the first time I've tried (or had the energy!) to implement the Advent Calendar.

However you celebrate, I pray it brings you closer to your neighbors and loved ones this holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

~The Hofmasters