Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Mayhem?

Usually at this time of year, I’m racing around from store to store trying to cross everything off my list. And, I’m not talking just buying anything. As a bargain hunter, I check flyers, search the web and compare prices in-store to ensure I’m getting the best possible price. While the price comparisons can be time-consuming and tedious, the fact is that I like the rest of it – the hustle and bustle of the stores,  hob-nobbing with other shoppers, inspecting all my potential purchases… even getting a hot chocolate to accompany me on my shopping journey. Christmas shopping really is a much-loved tradition of mine.

This year, however, I haven’t stepped into a store once. I have literally purchased every gift thus far online. The delivery people from Canada Post, FedEx and Purolator surely know me by now. J  It’s actually kind of surreal… I never thought I would enjoy doing it this way - breaking free of all my personal holiday shopping traditions - but I find it somewhat freeing. While I still miss the personal element of going shopping, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I know this isn’t something I’ll do every year, but at this stage (with two children under the age of 5), it seems to be the only way to go!

With all the time I’m saving, I may even be able to squeeze in a few more holiday craft activities with the kids. Now, that is something I can see becoming a tradition in my house!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Remember

As a child, I have vivid memories of Remembrance Day ceremonies at school. They were solemn, thoughtful, touching and heart-felt. We not only learned about the many veterans who gave so much for our freedom, but also why their actions were needed in times when human rights and democracy were threatened. Even at such a young age, I understood these lessons because they were taught with such authenticity. We were visited by veterans, who shared their stories first-hand with us; we created poppies to be placed on our school memorial; we wrote thank-you cards to the men and women who served their country. These were powerful lessons that still resonate with me.

Fast-forward to today… my school-age daughter is being taught about our history and the important role of veterans. At the tender age of four, she is learning gratitude and respect through the experiences of real men and women who fought for us. And she, too, has created a poppy (her first!) to place in our window – a reminder that we should never, ever forget.

On this day every year let us stop, take a few moments out of our busy day, and remember the men and women, both at home and abroad, who have made sacrifices so we can be free. 

To them, we say Thank You.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Countdown Begins...

So, you survived the candy-fest! Well, there’s no rest for the weary because now the holiday countdown is on!  :)

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Eid-al-Adha, it’s a busy time of year. From parties and winter outings to shopping and gift-wrapping, there’s never a dull moment!

And, while this time of year is a lot of fun – buying gifts, dining out, splurging on the kids - it’s so easy to get caught up in all the craziness. It used to be that I was consumed with making sure there was a ton of gifts piled high around the tree… I love to shop and what better time of year to shop than now? But as the years go by, I realize more that it’s not what’s under the tree that makes for a great holiday, but the memories I make with my family. And, I don’t know about you, but I could really use more lazy Sundays (if there really are such things!), and less stress-ridden trips to the mall.

That’s why my goal this holiday season is to reduce the activities that drain my bank account and instead try to focus on those that replenish my soul.  I’m committing to spending time with family & friends, not spending money; making Christmas gifts with the kids, not making myself crazy.

Over the next two months, I’ll be sharing holiday tips on our Facebook page, on Twitter, and here on our blog – easy gifts kids can make, home d├ęcor that won’t break the bank, and of course, amazing recipes that the whole family will enjoy. 

If you’ve got any ideas, please share them with us by commenting below, on Twitter or our Facebook page  – we love hearing from you!