Christmas: A Season of Giving Back

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The true meaning of Christmas often eludes us as we frantically shop, bake, wrap and run from one holiday activity to another.  How can we truly experience the joy of the season?  One way that I found is to give to others.  And I don’t mean my own children and family members.  The greatest joy that I have experienced is giving to someone outside my circle of influence – just out of the sheer joy of giving. If you think about it, being in the fortunate situation to be able to give to others, whether it’s your time and talent or monetarily, is really a privilege.  For some families, Christmas is the most difficult time of the year.  They don’t have the means to provide the day-to-day necessities, never mind extras for Christmas.

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US Navy 071219-N-6724S-002 Interior Communications Technician 3rd Class Jennelle Hartman helps a deserving family load some Christmas gifts during the Salvation Army’s Christmas Depot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of my favorite Christmas memories are those that include giving back in unexpected ways.  I always got so much more than I gave. There’s something in our DNA that changes when we extend a helping hand to others.

I remember one Christmas in particular when my girlfriend’s mom had a stroke and she was debilitated and couldn’t work.  As a result, she could barely make her bills. She loved to make her grandchildren hand-made Christmas gifts.  She put so much love and care into each gift.  Because of her stroke, she was unable to make them gifts that year.  She was devastated.  She felt so heartsick that she could not provide gifts for the three people in the world who meant more to her than anyone.  I knew of her situation, and I also knew what her grandchildren wanted most for Christmas.  Armed with this information, I purchased the gifts for her grandchildren for her to give to them.  She was so happy and grateful that she cried.  I think I got the greatest gift that year – the joy of blessing someone else.

Trying to make the holiday perfect for my family often leaves me exhausted and depressed.  When I step out of my comfort zone and do something for others, I am rejuvenated and joyful.  There are some wonderful organizations that you can reach out to and make someone’s Christmas brighter – and your own more meaningful.

  1. Angel Tree is a ministry of Prison Fellowship that delivers love in the form of Christmas gifts and a message of hope to children of prisoners.
  2. Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful way to introduce small children to the concept of giving.  You are invited to pack a shoe box of toys, school supplies, candy and other gifts to introduce a hurting child to God’s love.  You or your child can also include a note.  My son received a letter back one year from the child who received his shoe box.
  3. Make a Wish Foundation has year-round needs in an effort to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.

4.  Toys for Tots allows you to shop for children not on your list and make Christmas a little brighter for a needy child.

5.  The Salvation Army is probably the most visible organization associated with Christmas and an easy way to give.

There are so many ways you can give this holiday season. Call a local church and find out if they are doing a clothing and/or food drive.   Become a secret Santa for someone you know needs help.  Bake cookies for someone who cannot do it on their own. Visit a nursing home and spread some holiday cheer to the residents.  Be creative.  And be generous.  I like to say that we can never out give God.  The more we give, the more we receive.  And Christmas is the perfect time to demonstrate that.

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Kathy Rothaar is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online colleges for the Guide to Online Schools.

  • Making Christmas More Meaningful Without Spending Too Much (socyberty.com)

Christmas 2010 Carnival – December 10, 2010

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An aluminum Christmas tree in Bellevue, Washin...
Image via Wikipedia

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Welcome to the December 10, 2010 edition of Christmas 2010 Carnival. This is the first edition of what is planned to be a by-weekly carnival until the holiday ends. This time we have Fern Holm recommending Artificial Christmas Trees to go green this Christmas. We also have Tips for Choosing Your Christmas Tree by Mike McFate. And finally we have MacKenna Stevens with 39 Awesome Charities to Support This Holiday Season. Hope you enjoy the articles, bookmark, share, and come back Tuesday for the next edition.
Cassi presents “Make it” Monday! posted at …time to play Mom!, saying, “Christmas craft”
Fern Holm presents Go GREEN with an Artificial Christmas Tree? 5 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Giftsand still Wow Your Family 🙂 posted at FREE and AFFORDABLE FRIDAYS with FERN, saying, “Weekly blog packed with unusual ideas and advice to help you SAVE MONEY, focusing on Home Decor, Clothing, and Green Cleaning.”

Events

Mike McFate presents Tips for Choosing Your Christmas Tree posted at thebestgardentips.com, saying, “If you’re in the spirit to go choose a real Christmas Tree, follow these helpful tips:”

Gifts

Steve presents Squinkies: This Holiday’s Collectible Trend | Christmas 2010 Shop posted at Christmas 2010 Shop, saying, “Squinkies are a recent craze of pencil topping toys that children love and want for Christmas.”
Steve presents Is Transformers Bedding on the Christmas Wish List? | Christmas 2010 Shop posted at Christmas 2010 Shop, saying, “Transformers are very popular this season and kids every where are looking for products related to the movies.”
MacKenna Stevens presents 39 Awesome Charities to Support This Holiday Season posted at Masters in Social Work, saying, “If you’re stumped for a gift to give loved ones who have everything they need (and then some), think about donating to a charity in their name this holiday season. Many charities have online access for donating and will mail you a small card or allow you to print out a flyer saying you’ve donated to them. Put this in a holiday card and give the gift of giving back to a cause you believe in.”

Stories

Sami presents Top 10 Essential Free Software for Mac posted at Top Rated Software Reviews And Download, saying, “SofoTex editors download blog provides top rated software reviews, tips and advice on latest software downloads for windows and mac os”
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of christmas 2010 carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


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Best 3D LED TV deal – Better than Black Friday TV deals

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Nothing is hotter this year than 3D TV. Black Friday is supposed to be the biggest sale day in the US and many of the major retailers like Best Buy, Sears, Wal-Mart, Target etc. came out with pretty good deals on LED TV’s this year . I was looking to get a 3D LED TV this year and I really didn’t find any HOT deals on 3D LED TV’s in the price range that I was looking for ( $1000 – $1200) even though I waited till the last minute on Friday night.

While I was doing my research (actually my virtual assistant did the research for me) , I came across  the Samsung UN46C7000 at East Coast TV’s  for $1295 which is $600 less than most of the retail stores that carried this TV  .  I was a little hesitant to order this TV due to the huge price difference and I wanted to make sure that it’s a brand new TV and not a refurbished one. So I called the company and they promised that it’s a brand new TV and I only need to pay once the TV is delivered and if I am completely happy with it. I took the chance and placed the order they delivered it in 3 days and I couldn’t be happier with the picture quality. The delivery guy assembled the TV for me too which took him 10-15 minutes.

This TV has 1080p, 240 HZ Automotion Plus, Converts 2D images into 3D, Energy Star 4.0, 6000000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, 4 HDMI inputs, has all the internet apps that you need and is 3D ready.  This is a much better deal that any of the LED TV deals that the big retailers offered for the Black Friday sale. I am very happy that I came across this deal and you can’t beat the price for this TV.

The closest LED model which was on sale this Black Friday is the Samsung UN46c6300 for $999. But its missing the 240 HZ, 3D feature and Samsung internet apps like YouTube, Netflix etc. For an extra $300, you will get 240 HZ, Samsung apps, Samsung auto motion feature for fast action games and 3D feature which is going to be the next big deal on TV’s in the coming years. I can’t wait to get the 3D glasses and watch a movie on it. It has a built in digital tuner and the picture quality is amazing on the HD channels. Even the SD channels look much better compared to my old TV.

Overall I am a very happy camper and I would definitely recommend this TV to anyone who is thinking about getting 3D LED TV during this holiday season. The only complaint that I have is that the  3D glasses are way too expensive at the moment (around $150 a piece), but it doesn’t have anything to do with the TV. I am sure the price for the 3D glasses will go down in the near future. I have ordered my pair already and I can’t wait to watch a 3D movie with it.

Shajan Thomas is Founder and CEO of a premiere Virtual and Personal Assistant company based in Atlanta, GA. For more information on how to use a Virtual Assistant or Personal Assistant please visit our website.

Is Transformers Bedding on the Christmas Wish List?

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It’s that time of year again. Christmas shopping for all the good little boys and girls has begun. This year Transformers bedding is a hit with boys. Knowing what item is on that special little boys list is half the battle; finding it is the other half. Since Christmas is right around the corner finding popular items may be harder. Transformers are very popular this year with most boys. Many places are “sold out” or “out of stock”.

So where do you find Transformers bedding?

Start by looking in the local sales ads. Most retail stores have advertisements for the hottest trends for Christmas gifts. You can also look online and shop and compare prices while viewing the item’s availability. When buying online you can also get great deals such as free shipping since it is so close to the holidays.

If you are unsure if something like kids’ character bedding is in stock at a retail store try calling ahead to see if they have the item. If the item is not in stock the retail store may be able to tell you if and when the item will be available in the store or even offer to have another store ship it to your local store for you to pick up. Try different configurations too. Maybe the cotton comforter set you wanted is not in stock but perhaps your son would be just as delighted with a Transformers sheet set and blanket.

When buying bedding for kids, be aware of the size needed for your child. Some boys may have full size beds while others may have twin. If they are younger you may need to find a toddler size. While choosing a size too big is better than one that it too small, you need to keep the child’s safety in mind. Having a sheet too big could be a safety hazard.

Knowing the size is also important when checking to see if an item is in stock. While the store may carry the item they may not have the size you want available. This can save you time and money—and your sanity in the holiday shopping rush.

Once you have your bedding, there is a question of wrapping – to wrap or not to wrap, this is the question. When giving Transformers bedding as a gift you can wrap it or even use the over sized gift bags. Yes, children love to open gifts and rip off the wrapping paper, but they also love getting their gift in a bag with their favorite character on it. In this case a Transformers bag would do the trick.

  • Wrap gifts with the planet in mind (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
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Squinkies: This Holiday’s Collectible Trend

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Squinkies are the latest craze of squishy pencil topper toys that kids will love. These collectible little buddies are all the rage this holiday season and they are ultra affordable. They are small, soft and fit over the end of a pencil so kids can always have their favorite one with them wherever they go. With a large variety of characters, playhouses and playsets, squinkies have something to offer to every child this Christmas.

Squinkies characters come in their own little individual bubble cases for storage and safekeeping when not in use. They come in all kinds of cute, colorful and playful varieties of pets and friends. From babies, to cheerleaders, brides, and fairies, to kittens, puppies, pigs, elephants, turtles, monkeys, ponies, bees, and fish, and so many more, the possibilities are endless. They come in 16 piece multi-packs and each figure is numbered for long-lasting collectible fun. There is even a feature on the website where collectors can create an account and log in to keep track of every one owned. This is super convenient for the avid collector and fun for kids and parents to do together.

There are also several playhouse and playset options. With the Cupcake Surprize! Bake Shop, Gumball Surprize! Playhouse, Gumball Surprize! Playset, Tea Time Surprize! Playset, Salon Playset, and Palace Surprize! Playset children can enter play coins in a slot to purchase squinkies gumballs and open up new worlds for hours of creative and imaginative play. There is also a Tote and Go! travel case for easy storage and organization of up to 140 squinkies figures. The case comes with five exclusive squinkies to get a jumpstart on expanding a collection.

If Squinkies aren’t quite your thing, pillow pets are another great toy to look out for this Christmas. Pillow pets, Squinkies and their accessories can currently be purchased at Meijer, Shopko, Target, Toys R Us, and Walmart locations as well as on the amazon.com online store.

  • Squinkies Featured On Fox News [Video] (realestateradiousa.com)
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Teak Shower Seats Make a Great Christmas Gift

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For anyone out there who is struggling to come up with a good Christmas gift idea, teak furniture makes a simple yet useful gift that others would enjoy. Teak is a naturally water resistant wood that has been used for everything from garden furniture to stylish dinner tables to shower benches and seats. And teak shower seats provide a certain luxury that adds to the enjoyment of showers. Before you dismiss this article, I encourage you to take a look at the list of people who benefit from a teak shower seat and see if there is someone that you know that would fit one of the categories

Teak Shower Seats are Good For…

The following people use and enjoy teak shower furniture:
Women who shave their legs in the shower. Shaving can be a hassle and unless you have somewhere to sit down it can be dangerous. A teak shower seat provides a simple place to sit that lets you shave your legs easily. In fact, some teak shower stools come with a foot stool built in. And folding teak shower benches can be easily stored away after their used.

The elderly who need a place to sit. While it may not seem like the best idea, the truth is that some elderly people feel safer by sitting down to wash or just relax. A teak shower seat can provide a place to rest and make the shower more relaxing.

Athletes or anyone who wants to let the water soak in. A hot shower is one of the best and simplest form of therapy you have and if you are sore after a hard run or a game, it can be nice to just sit down and enjoy the warmth while you recover.

There are a variety of teak shower seat styles that make it easy to find one that will fit your home. So the next time you are in the shower, think of how nice a seat would be.

  • Spice up Your Bathroom: Spa-Quality Teak Products from Verde Lifestyles (greenyourdecor.com)
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