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It’s here! Kind of… time to start thinking about the holidays. Even if it feels early (which it is!), it’s my job to create content (aka resources) to (hopefully!) help give you some awesome ideas, tips, tricks and solutions to make your November & December lives a little bit easier and a little more fun.
I’ve been thinking a lot about WHAT I want to bring to this space for the rest of 2019 – time is limited and I want to give you resources that will actually help you get through the holidays in one piece and with a smile on your face.
I did a question box on Instagram a couple of weeks ago asking about what YOU wanted to see and it was super helpful to know what kinds of gifts you’re shopping for (#allthethings), what kind of holiday decor you want inspiration for (spoiler: easy and kid-friendly), and how you want your overall holiday season to go (more fun, less pressure, more memories, less stress – #SAME).
So, with that being said, here are my plans for Holiday coverage + a few pre-holiday tips & tricks to set you up for success going into November and December.
Gift Guides – What to Expect
Well… I’ve been hard at work creating gift guides (aka gift idea lists) for as many people on your list as possible. If it seems early and you’re not ready to shop yet, that’s cool – they’ll be parked here on the blog ready and waiting for when you are ready.
Here’s my plan for releasing the
hounds gift guides <— I couldn’t resist.
Round One – Monday, November 4th
When you sign up for my emails, the first SIX gift guides of the season will land right in your inbox THIS MONDAY.
There are 6 separate gift guides with 20+ ideas for each gift recipient… If you’re shopping for:
- gifts for guys – stocking stuffers, gifts over $100, affordable gifts
- gifts for your mom or mother-in-law
- gifts for moms-to-be and new moms
- gifts for baby’s first Christmas
- gifts for teachers at all price points
- stocking stuffers for babies + toddlers
You don’t want to miss it. Sign up here. You’ll also receive each NEW gift guide straight to your inbox so it’s there when you need it.
Round Two – A Week of Gift Guides: November 8-November 14th
- big girl gifts + stocking stuffers (girls ages 5ish-10ish)
- big boy gifts + stocking stuffers (girls ages 5ish-10ish)
- toddler gifts (boys & girls)
- preschooler gifts (boys & girls)
- hostess/neighbor/service people gifts (mailman, stylist, etc)
- my own personal wish list/favorite things list
- non-toy, experience gifts for kids
There will be a gift guide released every day – no promises on the order, though 😉 – straight to your inbox. Sign up here.
I’m considering all price points and all ‘types’ of recipients. As I’m developing these guides, I’m reading reviews, I’m thinking about longevity and quality, I’m excluding almost everything with a million tiny pieces, annnd I have a ZERO JUNK policy. Anything that has the potential to be opened, played with once, and discarded is not on the list. Ain’t nobody got time… ;).
If there’s a gift guide you’re looking for that isn’t here, I’ll try to find a resource for you but there are definitely areas/age ranges I don’t have experience with (aka teen boys).
FAQ – Affiliate Links & Commissions
A note about commissions, affiliate links, and gift guides… bloggers (like me!) create gift guides with a lot of thought, time, and consideration.
If you feel like someone’s gift guide was a helpful resource, it’s super cool to shop through their link so they get a small commission from the sale – it costs you nothing extra. And I’m not saying that so you shop through my links – if several people created resources that you found valuable, please shop through their links :).
I personally love to shop through people’s links when I can see they’ve done a ton of research and they save me the time of sifting through hundreds of product listings and reading allthereviews.
Really quickly and hopefully simplified… this is how the whole affiliate linking/commissions thing works:
- When you click through a link anywhere on the internet (a banner ad, an email, an ad on Facebook, someone’s blog post), a cookie is set on your computer or phone.
- When you check out/make a purchase, the retailer most commonly looks at the last click (tracked via that cookie!) to know which channel/source drove the conversion (aka the sale).
- When your last click before you make a purchase is on a bloggers/Instagrammers’ link, they make a commission – aka they ‘get credit’ but it’s really a small percentage of the price paid for the item that costs the user nothing. Basically, the retailer kicks a small percentage of the sale back to the person who drove the sale as a ‘referral fee’.
- If you click through a link on your phone then check out on a laptop, the blogger DOES NOT get credit.
- If you click a blogger’s link then click a Facebook ad or email link or any other link to that retailer, the blogger DOES NOT get credit.
- For me – if you click a link and it opens in an app, I DO get credit (most of the time). Personally, I’m not asking you to skip shopping through an app; the links I use and the affiliate networks I’m part of allow tracking from browsers to apps and as a busy mom/internet user myself, I know it’s super easy to shop through an app.
Just hoping to clear the air and be fully transparent here because I know it can be confusing :). Always happy to answer questions on this, too!
Other Holiday Content – What to Expect
It’s coming :). I’ll be rolling out posts on affordable holiday home decor, easy but fun festive stuff to do with your kids, simple recipes, fun traditions – basically #allthethings – throughout November and December.
1. Prepping & Purging
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed at the thought of more STUFF coming into your home, have a serious conversation with yourself, your family, your in-laws, whoever… about the expectations around gift-giving.
It’s also time to ruthlessly purge your home; I’ve had a million excuses about why I should hold on to something and they’re never really valid. Be hardcore about decluttering and removing unused toys and books and clothing from your home.
If the toys aren’t being played with, if the space is overwhelming, if the cleanup stresses you and/or your kids out – it’s time to get rid of some things. I wrote a blog post about it here but in summary, by donating your stuff, you’re helping another family who will get lots of joy from your stuff so JUST DO IT!
2. Managing Expectations & Protecting Your Time
My word of the season is ‘no’ (thank you). There are a million parties and events and traditions to take part in, and it can be really exciting and fun to partake. But it can also be really draining to have an event or obligation for the entire month of December on top of the daily grind of work/school/life in general.
Obviously, your life is your life, but it’s ok to politely decline an invitation to a holiday happy hour, going to a holiday show, or really insert any holiday ‘festive’ activity here. It’s ok if you don’t bake cookies this year, or you don’t do Elf on the Shelf (we don’t!), or you don’t make the drive to look at Christmas lights.
Side note: I totally will do a post about our traditions/what we ‘do’ for the holidays if you need/want some inspo but take what works for you and leave the rest.
The most precious thing you have is your time and if you’re stressed out, running all over town and spending that time doing stuff out of obligation rather than joy and fulfillment, it’s just a lose/lose. Just say no.
So start looking at your calendar now; start prioritizing the dates and events that are MUSTS and I encourage you to add in some ‘free times’ onto your calendar, too.
3. The Santa’s Bag App
Raise your hand if you’ve ever found a gift you bought for someone in the back of a closet/storage space/basement? ?
Alright… this is a secret my friend Laura shared with me a couple of years ago. Use the app Santa’s Bag to keep track of all things holiday gifting.
It’s FREE and works on Apple (sorry Android people! this is what’s available for you) – and you can set a passcode on the app (under settings) to limit access for any snooping eyes ;). Here’s the basic rundown of what it does:
- allows you to keep a list for each person on YOUR list from idea to gifted – adopt-a-family, family, friends, teachers, coworkers, service people… literally anyone you’re gifting can go into the list.
- you can set a budget for your overall spending + at an individual level and it tracks against that budget – super helpful to see how much money you have allocated left to spend
- allows you to update the gift status as the process goes on… add ideas, move it to ‘to buy’, ordered, ‘to wrap’, wrapped, ‘to send’ and gifted.
- you set up a new list every year; it’s SUPER helpful to look back at the prior year to see who you gifted, what you gave them, how much you spent, etc.
Overall it’s just a great way to keep track of something that can be pretty daunting; I personally love being able to track how much I have for each child (to keep it ‘even’) and to know what I bought them the year before, and also being able to see WHO is on my list from all areas of my life.
4. Big Poster Coloring Printables
This is a random thing I’ve shared on Instagram that I wanted to give a more permanent home as a kid-friendly activity for your kids to do while you’re trying to do ALLTHETHINGS – have one of these huge poster-sized coloring printables made and let them go to town.
My kids have been working on theirs for over a week and still have a ton left to do. This is the site I ordered from and the cost to buy the download is minimal (and you’ll have it forever) + printing is super inexpensive at Staples or Office Depot – we used Office Depot because we don’t have Staples in STL. Here’s the Caravan Shoppe instructions for large format printing.
I had ours printed on a 2’x3′ blueprint paper for under $4 – here’s a link for blueprints @ Office Depot.