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The holiday season is all about tradition and it’s never too late to begin a tradition that will forever be cemented in your child’s memory. I don’t know about you, but the little traditions that my family did every Christmas (and still do) were what always made the holidays extra special. There are several traditions that you could incorporate into your family’s celebration this winter, but here are my fourteen favorites:


1. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies as a family. Make an event out of it—have a decorating station and have special aprons for your entire family to wear.


2. When your kids go to sleep (double check that they are actually asleep), use a footprint template and flour to create Santa’s footprints, as if St. Nick traipsed through your home in the middle of the night.

thepartyartisan.co.uk

thepartyartisan.co.uk


3. On Christmas Eve, have your child open one present—a Christmas Eve box that includes new pajamas to wear that night, a book, and hot chocolate.


4. Buy your kids a new ornament each year and have them hang it on the tree. When they eventually move out on their own, they will have their own ornament collection and the memories to go with it.


5. Find a “giving tree”—you can normally find these at your church, stores, or restaurants (Olive Garden has one!). These trees have ornaments that have a tag or label attached to it with a person’s age and gift ideas. You can pick one (or two…or several) and shop for these families in need.

 

craftywoodcutouts.com

craftywoodcutouts.com


6. Get a real Christmas tree and decorate it as a family.


7. Get the Elf on the Shelf and spend all of December coming up with creative ideas as to how your elf will be found by your kid. Pinterest has hundreds of great ideas for that pesky elf!

thegloss.com

thegloss.com


8. Write a letter to Santa. Please take note of my advice here.


9. Make “reindeer food.” You can find the recipe and poem here. (There are several different versions!)

paperfections.typepad.com

paperfections.typepad.com


10. Go see Christmas lights, either at your local zoo or neighborhood.


11. Make a gingerbread house.


12. Read a different holiday book each night before bed. You could even wrap these books and have your kid open them to discover the story inside. Need book ideas? Look here.

13. Watch a Christmas movie together. This list has some great films to choose from.


14. Start doing “Random Acts of Kindness” as a family. You can find several acts of kindness ideas here.

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By Adam McCully


 

www.readwrite.com

Thanksgiving comes late this year – November 28th to be exact – and if you’re like me, you’ll spend the better part of the day after Thanksgiving in a turkey and red wine induced coma.  However, if you’re one of those productive people that like to get things done, you’re probably all geared up to go Black Friday shopping this year!  I’ve worked in retail, and out of respect for those unfortunate souls that still do, I usually steer clear of all that madness.  Then again, you can’t argue with a bargain, and with all the new merchandise coming out this holiday season (PS4, Xbox 1, need I say more?) Black Friday will be your best chance to score some major deals.  Here are a few tips to help you survive the rampage fueled shopping spree that is, Black Friday! (Cue scary sound effects)


 

Get There Early!

www.cloudfront.net

No, seriously like, insanely early.  Many hardcore Black Friday shoppers have taken to camping out at their store of choice directly after Thanksgiving dinner.  I don’t get it.  I’m not judging you – well maybe I am a little – but I seriously don’t get it.  However, if you want to compete with the crazies, you better do the same.  Don’t expect to stroll in around noon and find anything left on the shelves.  You will be sorely disappointed.


 

Shop Online

www.hugecybermondaydeals.com

It used to be that Black Friday was for shopping in stores, and Cyber Monday was left for shopping online.  However, according to Steve Schaffer, (CEO of Offers.com) “It’s now kind of morphed into holiday-weekend shopping. It’s going to start Wednesday and end Monday. Five days of deals, sales and offers.”  If you’d rather shop in the comfort of your own home while snacking on leftovers, than wait outside in the cold for hours just so you can fight with crazy grandmas for the last Furby doll, then you are smart and I commend you.  Here’s a list of the best online shopping sites for this upcoming holiday season.

 

http://www.uggscybermondaydeals2013.com/

http://www.overstock.com

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.target.com/

http://www.walmart.com/

http://www.bestbuy.com/

http://www.kohls.com/


 

Have a Strategy

media.nbcayarea.com

If this is your first time Black Friday shopping you’re in for a surprise.  You’ll be amazed at just how vicious people can get when they see a 50% off sticker on a flat screen T.V.  This is not the time for idly strolling through the aisles to see what looks good.  Your best bet is to have a game plan before you walk through the doors.  Know the layout of the store you’re shopping in, and what items you’ll be shopping for.  Most stores will gladly provide you with information on what items will be on sale.  Head for the big ticket items first, as these will be the first ones to sell out.  The trick here is to get in and out as quickly as possible.


 

Don’t be a jerk

www.atlnightspots.com

To some, Black Friday shopping can be invigorating, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating, tiresome, and extremely aggravating.  Don’t be the person that makes the evening news because they ran down an old lady with their shopping cart – unless she’s really asking for it.  If you need one PS4, buy one PS4!  If you plan on buying five and selling four of them online, you are a jerk and there’s a reason nobody likes you.  Above all, be nice to the employees.  Remember, they’re the only people in the store that actually have to be there, and they are not happy about it, trust me.  They don’t get paid enough to put up with your bullshit.


 

One of the major controversies this holiday season is that many of the stores will be open the day of Thanksgiving, forcing their employees to work when they should be at home with their families.  What are your thoughts on this?  Is it right to make retail employees work during the holiday?  Have we become too materialistic as a country, or is our capitalist economy made for all day, every day shopping with no exceptions?  I’m interested to hear what you think.

Holiday  Music 2012
Recently, the popular music blog/website Hypebot.com published an article giving artists 10 essential tips and pointers they need to use in preparation for the upcoming holiday music buying season. With all of the ghostly, ghoulish fun of Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving being right around the corner, the Holiday season has officially begun, and for many mainstream and indie artists, staunch music heads, collectors, concertgoers and even the most casual of fans, this means the biggest time of the year for new music.

That being the case, Hypebot.com being the music business experts that they are took to their site to give some very important and very timely tips to artists in getting their music out to the public in the best, most effective and most fun ways possible. Guest contributor Chris Mooney, Senior Director of Artist Promotions and Strategic Partnerships at the almighty TuneCore, gave some great advice and general strategies to musicians looking to get their voices heard during the busiest music buying time of the year, including the following five highlights from the list:

-Create something new for your fans
-Don’t Miss the iTunes Holiday Deadlines
-Build a holiday playlist
-Be the life (and the music) of the party
-Go local

You can read the entire article at the following link on Hypebot.com.

All of the tips given by Mooney, TuneCore and Hypebot are excellent ways for artists to continue building a name and a brand for themselves. So we at SoSoActive thought we’d take these ideas and add five more ways that artists and musicians of all kinds can use the holiday season to spread their music, along with a little holiday cheer:


1. Listen to what local radio stations are playing for their listeners: Holiday music is already being played somewhere in your local area, guaranteed. So listen closely! You never know: you might find some inspiration for a cover tune or a new, original holiday song of your own.


2. Start an Open Mic event specifically for the holiday season: Live music during the holidays is always special. And holding an Open Mic holiday event may allow you, the artist, to gain more fans for yourself and some of your musical contemporaries.


3. Pay attention to what local record stores are doing for holiday promotions: Record stores are a breeding ground for music nerds and audiophiles of many stripes, and all are willing to part with some cash for great tunes. They might just be looking for something new, so get yourself to your local vinyl shop, post haste!


iphone x mas apps
4. Use iPhone Christmas Apps: iPod.about.com lists the top 9 iPod Christmas Apps on its website, two of them being a Salvation Army Christmas Music App and a Christmas Radio App, both containing thousands of stations, songs, hymnals and more. And at $2.99 a pop, there’s no telling what inspiration you can draw from them!


5. Connect your music with a charitable organization: The holiday season is all about giving, uplifting and connecting with people. What better way to do all of these things then by genuinely attaching your music to a non-profit organization that you care about?


Keep in mind that these are all only suggestions. But with the holiday season upon us, soon enough there will be plenty of snow on the ground, a chill in the air, hot cocoa in many a Starbucks cup and plenty of music being played. Just make sure it’s your music that’s in the air.