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Holiday Spirit

Family Holiday Spirit

HOW TO OVERCOME HOLIDAY STRESS

December 1, 2017

Some of my subscribers recently reached out to me and suggested I write about this topic and I thought it was a great idea. The holidays are supposed to be fun, festive and full of family but unfortunately, that can come with a lot of stress! There are so many factors that can add to the stress. I am going to talk about some of those stressors and ways to overcome them.

Major Holiday Stressors

  1. Gift Giving
  2. Holiday Shopping
  3. Family
  4. Hosting

Gift Giving

Gift giving has always brought a little stress to my life. I LOVE giving gifts. It’s so much fun to watch someone open a gift from me and I know they love it! The hard part is, some people are hard to shop for. I have no idea what to get them. To me, gift giving is about putting effort and thought into the gift and showing that person you know them and care for them. In the past, my family has sent out links to exactly what each person wants. That isn’t as fun for me because I like the element of surprise. Check out my recent post on why I am not getting my family any material gifts for Christmas this year. If you have a special person in your life but it’s so hard to pick something out for them then try this:

  • Pay close attention throughout the year as you spend time with this person. Listen to see if they mention any new hobbies or interests and jot them down so you have some good ideas for the holidays. Don’t wait until the last minute and panic otherwise you will probably end up getting them a giftcard. (which is fine, but not as fun)
  • Ask yourself if you should actually be getting them a gift. Not to sound harsh, but maybe this is the type of person that says, “Don’t get me anything!” and they actually mean it. I know some people like that.

Another thing that I have heard people gripe about is, “Ugh, I have to get them something because they got me something.” Is that really true? Shouldn’t we always be giving with a cheerful heart? You work hard to earn money and you are going to go spend it on some random gift for a person you don’t want to give it to anyway? Seems odd to me! I guess I have never really been put in a situation where I receive gifts from people and feel obligated to return the favor but don’t want to. Please comment if you have a good story or suggestion about this!

Gift giving can be stressful if you have financial burdens. This year was very different for us because we had our first child. Along with a precious child comes endless expenses. A good percentage of our income now goes to daycare and we are still paying off hospital bills from Axel’s birth. It finally feels like we are getting caught up again and now the holidays are here! I was really stressed about it so I sat down with my husband and we started looking at our budget and figured out what was acceptable to spend this season. We have separate checking accounts but we do talk about these things together, a lot!

If you are starting to feel stressed about your holiday spending then stop and take a step back. Get a pen and paper or use Excel and write down your income and expenses for the next month. You may already have a budget but make a holiday specific budget. The end of the year is always a little different because you are likely spending more but you also may be receiving a holiday bonus. Come up with a spending amount you feel comfortable with, make your list of people to shop for and stay within the budget. Friends and family won’t get mad at you for not spending enough on them – at least they shouldn’t! If you have a significant other, discuss with them and come to an agreement.

Holiday Shopping

Don’t let holiday shopping crowds stress you out. The lines, parking lots, traffic and crowds are all nonsense. I either do a lot of my holiday shopping throughout the year or do a lot of online shopping. Don’t wait until the last minute and worry if your package will ship on time. Most shipping mistakes happen in December because of the high volume. It’s only December 1st and we already had two delayed packages this week (due to Cyber Monday madness).

Family

Family is another holiday stressor. Most everyone has their annoying family drama or that one person they don’t quite get along with. I recently asked one of my good friends how she handles family drama. She is my mentor at work and pretty much my all-around life mentor as well. She said, “I simply focus on the positive and enjoyable moments. I do my best to ignore the negative and not focus on that.” Now that is good advice!

It’s not always that simple. If you have a toxic family member that makes you feel insane then it is best to try to avoid being in that situation altogether. I have also heard from a couple friends that they gave their family a break for a few months because it was getting unbearable. Sometimes that separation is good and healthy. It can put things into perspective and actually bring you closer together.

I have a lot of feelings (my family is probably laughing as they read those words) and I am an over-communicator. If there is tension or conflict I want to address it and get it out of the way so everyone can move forward. That’s not always easy to do when people aren’t receptive. My advice to you is don’t let it build up and definitely don’t let it make you blow up over the holidays. You will end up looking like the crazy person. Always ask yourself if you could be doing something more to help the situation. Don’t always blame others!

My husband and I love our families. Sure, there can be a little drama at times but nothing we can’t overcome. We live a few hours from them which works well for us. Not that it wouldn’t be nice to be close but we are both independent creatures and we like our space. We like that we made this new city we live in, OUR home. My husband’s favorite thing to do is be at home relaxing with no plans. I love to make plans, see family and host. Not an issue. We compromise. During the holidays, we take some time at home to just relax with baby boy and the other time is spent with family. It’s a good balance and it works for us.

Holiday family time changes into something much different when children become adults and start having children of their own. My mom recently shared with me that she is so happy when all of her kids and grandkids are able to be together. This is hard to do when you are splitting the time between your family and your spouse’s family. It becomes difficult to coordinate a time that works for everyone. I sometimes worry if I am splitting my time fairly. This is a good lesson for me as a new mother. I will cherish all of my holidays with baby Axel because one day it won’t be the same but that’s okay. The time spent together and even the traditions change over the years, but one thing that remains constant is family. It’s okay to start new traditions. Don’t dwell on the fact that Christmas “just isn’t the same”. Enjoy the new moments you have and reminisce on the good memories you once had.

Hosting

There are lots of inconvenient things that can happen with hosting. I LOVE hosting! My husband doesn’t feel the same. But like I said, we compromise. Please be kind to your host and make sure to keep these tips in mind:

  1. Don’t show up unannounced – hosts do A LOT of planning to make it a pleasant time for their guests. Don’t stress them out by showing up last minute and making them feel like they may not have enough food and drinks
  2. Offer to bring something or help in some way
  3. Be respectful of their home – obviously
  4. Think before you speak – before you announce that the figgy pudding is too bland, don’t. That’s rude and your host put a lot of work into preparing the get together
  5. Don’t overstay your welcome like Uncle Eddie

Stress Remedies

As you go into this holiday season, remember what this time is all about and what it means to you. A little stress and chaos is bound to happen. Make sure you take some time to take care of yourself. Here are some easy and natural ways that help me to relax:

  • Take a bath with salts and lavender essential oil
  • Do some yoga or your favorite workout
  • Try some breathing exercises – deep/slow inhale and exhale
  • Listen to your favorite music (I love a good Christmas music station)
  • Do things that make YOU happy! This is not selfish. Many people have a busy holiday and find themselves trying to run around pleasing everyone. Sometimes it’s okay to do what you want to do. Check out my recent post on my MOM’S DAY OFF.
  • Make healthy eating decisions – it’s easy to overeat around the holidays which makes you feel lethargic. It’s okay to have some delicious cookies but limit yourself
  • Get good sleep so that you have energy and patience for the holiday chaos that awaits

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Family Holiday Spirit Shopping

CYBER MONDAY DEALS 2017

November 24, 2017

If you are worn out from the Black Friday maddness and you need some downtime then sit back and relax because Cyber Monday is right around the corner and you can continue your holiday shopping from the comfort of your couch. No crowds, no lines, no chaos. Just your favorite jammies and a warm cup of coffee.

My husband and I chose to go out and do a little Black Friday shopping at a reasonable hour since we have baby Axel this year and we didn’t want to disrupt his sleep schedule that we have been working so hard to get him on! I did miss going out Black Friday shopping with my mom and sisters. They live a few hours away so it didn’t work out this year but maybe next year. I have been thinking about Black Friday shopping at a deeper level lately as it seems the stores are getting a little out of control with the hours they are opened. It seems to be disrupting Thanksgiving family time.

Below is a list I compiled by category on some of the hottest Cyber Monday deals this season. These are items we own, our families own or items we intend on buying this holiday season. These are all found on Amazon. I did some price comparison with some other retailers that carry these items but they didn’t compare to Amazon. The next best thing I can think of is Kohls because you get all that lovely Kohls cash but the lines there around this time of year wear me out.

This list is organized by category which includes electronics, kitchen, baby, and pets. Everything has great reviews. I will continue to add to this list as I find more deals. Happy shopping!

Electronics

  1. Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White
  2. All-new Echo (2nd Generation) with improved sound, powered by Dolby, and a new design – Charcoal Fabric
  3. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player
  4. Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband, Black, Large (US Version)
  5. All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers
  6. Black Friday And Cyber Monday Clearance Sale & Deals Day 2017-Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug Outlet,Works with Alexa,No Hub Required,WiFi Smart Socket Outlet Remote Control, 2-Pack (Smart Plug 2 Pack)

Kitchen

Baby

  1. Graco Glider LX Gliding Swing, Affinia
  2. Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat, Coda
  3. Graco Roomfor2 Click Connect Stand and Ride Stroller, Gotham
  4. Graco Duetsoothe Swing + Rocker, Sapphire
  5. Graco Pack ‘n Play Sport Playard, Parkside

Pet

  1. The Original Elevated Pet Bed By Coolaroo – Large Brunswick Green
  2. Milliard 20in x 12in Pet Bed Warmer with Power Indicator On/Off Switch – Great for Keeping your Pets Warm
  3. BarksBar Original Pet Seat Cover for Cars – Black, WaterProof & Hammock Convertible (Standard, Black)
  4. MidWest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen / Pet Playpen, 24″W x 36″H
  5. Pawbo Life Wi-Fi Pet Camera: 720p HD Video, 2-Way Audio, Video Recording, Treat Dispenser, and Laser Game

I hope you all are having a stress free and wonderful holiday season so far. I am one of those crazy people that begged my husband to put up the Christmas lights already and I have been playing Christmas music. I am getting in the holiday spirit. Don’t stress about gift giving! Make a list of people to shop for and set a budget. Sometimes giving the gift of time is more than enough. Check out why I am not getting my family any gifts this Christmas.

When I think back of all the holiday family time, I don’t think about the gifts I received. I think about baking with my mom, funny memories with my siblings and always seeing my dad’s reaction when we opened a gift “from him”. He always seemed surprised because my mom (AKA Santa) did all the shopping. 😊

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Family Holiday Spirit

IS BLACK FRIDAY INTERRUPTING THANKSGIVING FAMILY TIME?

November 19, 2017

I’ve been going out Black Friday shopping for years with my mom and sisters. We don’t care that much about the stuff. It’s more about a fun tradition to go out in the middle of the night, laugh at everything because we are way overtired and then go out for breakfast when the sun comes up. Over the last few years I have noticed a drastic shift in Black Friday.

I still remember years ago (2011) when Wal-Mart and a few other big retailers announced they would be opening their Black Friday deals starting at midnight. I thought to myself, wow that is technically still Thanksgiving Day – can they do that? Sure they can. After that, other big-name retailers wanted to compete. If they are selling the same hot items and getting customers in their store first, they are likely to make more sales. We always have a plan of making our rounds to at least five stores and give up after two because we are so tired!

In 2014, stores started opening around 5 or 6pm on Thanksgiving evening. That is when you are supposed to be taking your turkey nap! Avid shoppers will plan out their route according to what they want to get. Shoppers will gather all the flyers and make their game plan based on what they want and when the stores open. So as retailers compete with one another and try to meet consumer demand, this eventually brought us to stores opening Thanksgiving Day! This has negative impacts on both the consumers and retailers.

  1. Thanksgiving is already a busy day filled with family and feasts. If consumers are looking to snag that hot deal of the year they are likely to go out to wait in line which cuts into family time.
  2. Retail employees are bummed out because they have to work during this holiday madness instead of eating pumpkin pie! If the store opens at 5pm, they likely have to go in way earlier than that to make sure shelves are stocked and everything is ready for the mad rush.

Yes, I know that consumers have the choice and can/should prioritize family. And yes, retail employees can get different jobs with better hours. But the reality is parents want to get their kids that awesome new toy and somebody has to work the retail jobs.

So what can we do to change things?

  • Give Cyber Monday a try
  • Shop online
  • Don’t train your kids to expect the latest and greatest
  • Enjoy the Black Friday shopping during reasonable hours

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is a newer concept within recent years. I’m not sure where it originated from but it seems like something Amazon created. This occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27th this year) and allows the online shoppers to snag all the hot deals. People who hate Black Friday and/or shopping in general, love this concept. It seems all the big retailers are getting on board with this and you will likely see commercials or emails very soon on the big upcoming deals.

Shop Online

I do not like shopping. It kind of exhausts me. With working full time, blogging part time and being a new mom, I am tired and the last thing I want to do is go out to the store. That’s why I LOVE online shopping all year round. Check out my recent post on 10 random and ridiculous gag gifts on Amazon. Online shopping is especially nice during the holidays because you can avoid the big holiday crowds and compare prices and items all from the comfort of your own home! If the number of consumers making online purchases continues to grow, there will be less of a need for retailers to be open on Thanksgiving day if there are very few customers coming in.

Avoid Excessive Materialism

If you buy your family the latest and greatest every Christmas, they will expect the same next year. Of course it’s a great feeling to see the huge smile on your child’s face as they open gifts but don’t over do it. Kids don’t need name brand everything. I remember getting teased when I was younger because I had some knock off brand tennis shoes and some kids pointed out to me that they weren’t the real Adidas tennis shoes. I remember thinking – why does it matter? It didn’t bother me too much. My parents raised me with lots of confidence. Help your children learn the value of money at a young age and help understand what really matters. My parents had me at a young age and I grew up with very little and I was one of the happiest kids around. My sister, who is a big time minimalist, keeps very little in her house and her two year daughter is always so content and full of joy. It goes to show that kids don’t need endless amounts of toys and things! What they really want is love, patience and attention. Sounds corny, but so true. Check out my post on why I’m not getting my family any Christmas gifts this year.

Enjoy Black Friday during reasonable hours

If we opt out of the Thanksgiving Day shopping, we can send a message to stores that we don’t accept this. If there aren’t enough customers coming through during these hours then they don’t have a reason to be open. You could think – oh, I’m just one person, it won’t make a difference. Take a close look at the items stocked at your local grocery store. Do you notice any difference from just a couple years ago? There are TONS of non-GMO and organic items on the shelf now, yay! This is because consumers became more knowledgeable about food and how it impacts our bodies. The consumer demand shifted and change happened. Companies that thrive pay attention to what their customers want.

Do you have any great Black Friday stories to share? I know I’ve shared this in other posts but my all-time favorite Black Friday shopping story: Many years ago, the remote-control Hummer was the big item. My mom directed my cousin, Katie, to go grab a couple while we stood in line for something else. For some reason, Katie grabbed from the bottom of the stack. All of a sudden we hear a huge crashing sound. Katie had single-handedly taken down the entire Hummer display – there had to have been over 50 of them. I remember laughing hysterically. She looked slightly embarrassed and yelled, “Jenga!” The employees weren’t too happy with us but it’s such a great story and it still makes me laugh.

If you are participating in Black Friday shopping this year, please be kind! Be nice to the employees and be considerate to fellow shoppers! Nobody needs to be tackled over the last door buster coffee maker. Calm down people, just have fun! 🙂

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Holiday Spirit

10 Random & Ridiculous Gag Gifts on Amazon

November 18, 2017

A few years back my mom started one of the greatest holiday traditions of all. We call it the dice game. Each family member brings gift cards and gag gifts to contribute to the pot. We then play a timed dice game to start winning prizes. Each round is timed and the last round is where you can start trading prizes with people. It gets out of control and loud. My sister blacks out and cheats every year and then we have to tell her afterwards. It’s a fun time and there are always a few gifts that NOBODY wants! One gift that keeps coming back every year is a creepy wooden goat. A couple years ago I think my dad “won” a disgusting looking fruit cake! Does anyone really like fruit cake? I guess I have never tried it so I shouldn’t judge. There are also super awesome gifts in the game that everyone wants and borderline leaps over the table for.

As I was looking on Amazon for some awesome gag gifts I found myself laughing so hard at some of the ridiculous things out there. There were a few items where it took me a minute to figure out what they even were. The dice game will be wild this year. I actually want a couple of these gag gifts, especially #7 and #10. I might have to get #7 because my husband is truly a child trapped in a grown man’s body and he would love this as a stocking stuffer.

Here’s what I found, all under $15:

        1. Bag of farts cotton candy

        2. Men’s handerpants

        3. Bacon dryer sheets (gift box)

        4. Coffee Soap Dispenser (gift box)

        5. Extreme chores (gift box)

        6. Ear wax candle kit (gift box)

        7. Animals farting coloring book

        8. Canned Unicorn Meat

        9. Bacon air freshener

        10. Sasquatch cookie cutter

 

What is the most random gift you have ever received? I think the most random gift I ever received was a giant conch shell from my dad. I don’t have anything else beach-themed and I’m slightly terrified of the ocean so I am still trying to figure out the reasoning behind it. If I recall, I think when he gave it to me he said something like, “this is because you like conch shells.” Haha, oh dad. I still have it because it makes me smile.

If you have a white elephant gift exchange or need something silly for your secret santa this holiday season, I hope this list inspires you to find something fun! Happy Holidays!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Holiday Spirit

WHY I’M NOT GETTING MY FAMILY ANY GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR

November 5, 2017

When I say I am not getting my family any gifts for Christmas this year, I am not talking about my husband and child. I’m talking about the family I came from – dear ole’ mom and dad, my three younger siblings, their spouses, niece and nephew. It’s not because I don’t want to buy them gifts – I love my family! This is my reasoning:

  • Some of them are hard to shop for
  • The family is growing and gift-giving gets expensive
  • Some specifically asked for no gifts

My husband and I

So, here’s what I’m doing instead:

In the month of December, my cousin, Katie, and I arranged a large suite at a waterpark. My gift to my family is the gift of TIME and TOGETHERNESS! I was so excited about this, I already gave away the surprise to them. Rather than trying to figure out what everyone wants and give them more stuff every year, I thought why not an experience together?

My mom and dad are borderline empty nesters and they have been trying to organize and declutter their house for quite some time so they will appreciate this idea. My sister, Kiele, is a big-time minimalist. She keeps her home very simple and only likes to have one of everything she needs so she will really like this idea as well.

In the past, we have tried doing secret santa exchange with each other. This didn’t really work out the way I expected because people always ended up finding out who had them. Also, people would send links to exactly what they wanted which took some of the fun out of it (at least for me).

As children grow up and start getting married and having their own children, traditions start to change. This hasn’t always been easy for my family because we love being together. When individuals are getting married and having to split their time between multiple families over the holidays, it takes some adjusting.

As a bonus, my mom and dad will be celebrating 30 YEARS of marriage this coming January! My siblings and I want to treat them to the spa at the hotel we are staying at. I can’t believe they have been married for 30 years, and I have been part of 28 of those years 😊.

I hope my family likes the idea of this new Christmas tradition I want to start – giving the gift of time! I also ask that rather than getting my husband and I gifts that they would simply give us their time as a gift in return. When siblings grow up and move to different areas, there is nothing more fun than getting together and feeling like one big family again.

Another idea I think we will implement soon is just getting gifts for the children. Now that some of my siblings and I are married with kids, we can just focus on getting gifts for the kiddos. Children LOVE opening gifts – that’s half the fun of it!

Me (left), my mom, my sister Chloe (right)

Bonus hilarious holiday side stories:

How I ruined Christmas dinner: I was getting to that age where I was getting ready to move out of the house and be on my own for the first time. My mom wanted me to learn some cooking skills so I had been helping make meals here and there. I can’t remember if I asked or if she tasked me with making Christmas dinner for the family. Either way, I was excited about the opportunity. I started a few hours early and had a great plan. I even made my family stay in their rooms while I was finalizing the meal and setting the table. I gave them a countdown and told them to come out. I started blasting the song Feliz Navidad because I made Christmas TACOS! I was so impressed with myself because the meal looked great and I had done it all by myself. I quickly saw my mom and dad’s expressions which seemed, well, not as impressed as I was. Then, I knew it was a flop when my Great Grandpa asked, “What the hell are these and how am I supposed to eat them?” I asked my mom later what the big deal was and she politely explained it’s just not what we traditionally have for Christmas dinner. We still laugh about it to this day and I have no hard feelings. Hey, at least I tried!

How my Dad ruined Christmas morning: My mom is the definition of being extra. She goes all out in everything she does. And she tries to out-do herself each time. I swear, every Christmas the livingroom was filled more and more with gifts. One year, we had gotten out of bed and were snuggled up in our jammies in the livingroom waiting for the gift opening to begin! My mom had been up before everyone making us a delicious breakfast. I think it was pancakes, eggs, bacon – the works. As we were gathered together about to eat our yummy breakfast, my dad got the urge to do something random. For some reason, my dad had the bright idea of reversing the ceiling fans. They have an extremely high ceiling in the livingroom and two large fans to circulate air. It began to “snow” inside. Big chunks of dust from the giant fans started floating down towards us. We all screamed and scattered as the dust chunks were landing on our holiday pancakes! My mom gave my dad quite the look that morning. She is the scariest when she doesn’t say anything. 😊

How my cousin got us kicked out on Black Friday: Black Friday shopping is total madness. I think it is obnoxious and crazy but I do it every year. Not because I need this stuff. I do love a good deal but I do it because it’s a tradition with my mom, sisters and cousins. We do it because it’s so crazy and we are always so overtired that we laugh at everything and have such a good time. Many years ago, the remote-control Hummer was the big item. My mom directed my cousin, Katie, to go grab a couple while we stood in line for something else. For some reason, Katie grabbed from the bottom of the stack. All of a sudden we hear a huge crashing sound. Katie had single-handedly taken down the entire Hummer display – there had to have been over 50 of them. I remember laughing hysterically. She looked slightly embarrassed and yelled, “Jenga!” The employees weren’t too happy with us but it’s such a great story and it still makes me laugh.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.

Holiday Spirit Home & Living Motherhood Parenting

9 THINGS TO GIVE TRICK OR TREATERS INSTEAD OF CANDY

October 26, 2017

My husband and I love Halloween. Every year we watch Hocus Pocus and my brother in law will carve our pumpkins because he is so good at it! Each year he does something different and the neighborhood loves it. Baby Axel is too young to go trick or treating for his first ever Halloween so this year we are staying home to hand out candy. We will definitely be in costume too! He is going to be the greatest lumberjack, Paul Bunyan and I will be Babe his blue ox! I think Andrew agreed to wear a flannel and will also be a lumberjack.

Every year, I have to save Andrew from a belly ache and hide all the Halloween candy. He always seems to find it and then he hides it somewhere else so he has a secret stash. I usually don’t keep a ton of candy and sweets in the house. I told him that he is basically stealing candy from children but he doesn’t seem to care! I am convinced he is a 5 year old trapped in a man’s body.

I was recently reminiscing with my sister about our trick or treating days. I have three younger siblings and we loved laying out our candy collection after trick or treating and start trading! I ALWAYS wanted all the butterfingers, yum! We always got so much candy. I wonder if our parents ever took any from us. Mom & Dad, if you’re reading this – you owe me some candy! 😊

I started to think about baby Axel getting big enough to go out trick or treating. What the heck am I going to do with all that candy! I’m sure he will have a sweet tooth like his mom and dad so I’ll need to help ration his candy collection – and I can definitely help out with the butterfingers. 😊

Kids don’t need that much candy! I’m sure baby Axel will be wild enough without excessive amounts of sugar. I came up with this list of fun ideas of items to hand out that kids will LOVE besides candy! When you hand them something they are not expecting they are mesmerized which is fun to see!

  1. Stickers
  2. Glow Sticks
  3. Temporary Tattoos
  4. Coloring Books or Activity Books
  5. Mini pumpkins
  6. Vampire fangs
  7. Packaged Snacks
  8. Packaged Drinks
  9. School Supplies (fun pencils, crayons, erasers)

My two year old niece is OBSESSED with stickers. You can buy a book of stickers and cut them out into individual sections so they can grab a little sheet to use for later. I don’t know any kids who don’t LOVE glowsticks. You can string them and make a little necklace or get the tube kind that connect and make little necklaces or crowns. There are all kinds of fun temporary tattoos you can order online (check out Amazon or Etsy). I grew little sugar pumpkins in my garden last year. Some of them were to small to actually carve or harvest so I gave them away to my friends with kids. They are fun to paint or have as a cute decoration. Vampire fangs – enough said. Be careful about giving these to really little ones as they can be a choking hazard. Packaged snacks or drinks is a fun way to mix things up.

This list is geared more towards younger children which makes up most of the trick or treaters that come to our door. I did once have some teenagers come to the door. I don’t discriminate! If you are in costume, you get a treat from me! As I was complementing their costumes I said, “And you’re dressed up as…marijuana, okay!” Yes, one of the teens was literally in a pot leaf costume. They had a good laugh at my reaction. They probably needed that candy more than anyone.

If you are handing out candy, here is a list of things to avoid handing out:

  • Anything homemade – most parents are paranoid that these things could be tampered with so don’t waste your time because the parents may just toss it.
  • Anything store bought that is unwrapped or easily accessible – again, parents may think you are poisoning their children. I know people who throw this stuff away.

TRICK OR TREATING ETIQUETTE

Parents, if your children are going out trick or treating this year PLEASE:

  • Go with them or make sure they are with an adult who can supervise – keep them safe!
  • Follow your neighborhood guidelines and trick or treating hours (typically between 4pm – 8pm)
  • Check what time the sun is setting in your area if you want to avoid trick or treating in the dark with little ones (sunset in my area is 6pm)
  • Go up to the door with your little trick or treaters. Sometimes, people have signs that will say Take 2 but your little one may not be able to read yet so help them out. I totally let my trick or treaters take a handful because it keeps them coming back and less candy I will be tempted to eat at the end of the night! 😊
  • Sort through your child’s bag to make sure there is nothing dangerous or inappropriate for their age
  • Ration their candy for them, don’t let them get a bellyache! If you know they can’t eat it all, donate it or bring it to work to share. Your co-workers will love/hate you for it.

Have a Safe & Happy Halloween!

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I have personally used myself or believe in. Please see my Policies tab for more details.