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Give the gift of Christmas Classics

Love our Rudolph nightlight that flickers like a real fire.

Love our Rudolph nightlight that flickers like a real fire.

Like the song goes, “…it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

My family and I love the holiday season. The decorations, the music, the food, spending time with family and friends and most especially holiday movies and televisions specials.

We try and catch all the holiday programs when they come on television, but sometimes we miss them. To rectify this we make sure to purchase all of our holiday favorites so that we can watch them every holiday season, and watch them over and over again.

SOME of our holiday classic toys and decorations (we have a lot of them).

SOME of our holiday classic toys and decorations (we have a lot of them).

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Not holiday season would be complete without the classic holiday programs from Rankin Bass. Such classics include Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Year Without Santa Claus, The Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey – to name a few.

My husband and I can sit and watch all these holiday specials back to back. The holiday season would not be complete without them.

Now, many of these classics are celebrating anniversaries with all new collections and special bonus features.

Santa Claus is Comin' To Town! 45th Anniversary Collector's Edition

Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town! 45th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

Create joyful memories with this delightful tale of the original Santa Claus–Kris Kringle.  Discover the true meaning of Christmas with this classic story that the whole family will enjoy.

ALL-NEW Bonus Features:

  • Be an Artist and Create – Learn to draw Santa and Topper the Penguin from DreamWorks Animation’s Director of Character Animation Joe Vance. Plus, craft activities for the whole family.
  • Kringle Jingle – It’s a holiday tradition to sing carols with friends and loved ones. With this musical feature, some adorable young children lead the singing of the classic holiday song, “Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town.” A delightful way to get into the holiday spirit.
  • Santa Special Delivery – In honor of the 45th anniversary, enjoy a peek inside Santa’s mailbag to learn 45 fun and interesting facts about the Rankin/Bass holiday special and the Christmas holiday.

Frosty The Snowman 45th Anniversary Collector's Edition

Frosty The Snowman 45th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

Celebrate the season with Frosty the Snowman, and share this beloved, original classic story of how the world’s most famous snowman came to life one day.  This anniversary edition has new special features that will make Frosty the Snowman a hit for the whole family.  Sing, laugh and create wonderful holiday memories for years to come.

ALL-NEW Bonus Features:

  • Be an Artistand Create– DreamWorks Animation’s Director of Character Animation Joe Vance teaches viewers how to draw Frosty and Santa from this holiday classic. Later, his wife, Joanie Vance, a Kindergarten teacher, joins in and provides instructions for some fun and festive art projects to create using the newly made character drawings. This is a great way for the whole family to spend time together around the holidays.
  • Magical Melody – Sing along to the thumpety, thump, thump sounds of the popular tune, Frosty the Snowman
  • Frosty Snowflake Surprises – In honor of the 45th Anniversary of the Rankin/Bass holiday special, enter a magical winter wonderland to learn 45 fun and interesting facts about everyone’s favorite snowman and this wonderful time of year. There are also some surprises along the way from an adorable bunch of helpful kids.
  • Also includes the 23-minute holiday special Frosty Returns!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition 

Celebrate 50 years of “The Most Famous Reindeer of All” with this Original Christmas Classic® told and sung by Burl Ives!  Relive the magic when Rudolph visits the Island of Misfit Toys and Santa asks Rudolph to guide his sleigh on Christmas Eve. 

Classic Bonus Features:

  • Rudolph Unwrapped – Learn 50 Fun facts about the creation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • Sam the Snowman’s Sing-Alongs – Sing along with two of the most beloved songs from the TV Special: Holly Jolly Sing Along and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Sing Along.
  • Pop Up Book – Watch the pages come to life as Sam the Snowman tell you the story of Rudolph.
  • Learn to Draw – Sketch classic characters Rudolph, Hermey and Bumble.

he Original Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition Gift Set

The one we have is The Original Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition Gift Set.We love this set because it includes all our favorites, and a few unexpected shows too like Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol and the Little Drummer Boy.

Share the wonder and the joy of these seven timeless stories with your children and grandchildren…creating new memories and holiday traditions that you will cherish through the years.

Gift Set Includes:

  • Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town!® 45th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
  • Frosty The Snowman 45th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
  • Plus Frosty Returns, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, Little Drummer Boy, and Cricket on the Hearth!

All of these sets would not only make a great addition to your family’s holiday movie collection, but they would also make a fabulous gift.

I think the The Original Christmas Classics Anniversary Collector’s Edition Gift Set is the best set because it includes so many timeless classics in one collection.

When we sit down for a movie marathon, especially holiday classics, we like to make it a family movie night with Pop Secret Popcorn (popcorn is a “must” when watching movies) and yummy treats like one of my personal favorites, Reese’s Pieces. Yummy!!!

Nothing goes better with great holiday classics than Pop Secret Popcorn & Reese's Pieces.

Nothing goes better with great holiday classics than Pop Secret Popcorn & Reese’s Pieces.

To get you excited about these holiday classics, I have some fun holiday activities and recipes you can enjoy. Simple click on the images (below) to download them and enjoy with your family.

Make sure to check out the bonus features. They are worth watching.

You can find all of these collections where ever movies are sold. They are also available at OriginalChristmasClassics.com.

Which is YOUR favorite holiday classic? What one show MUST you watch each holiday season? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy and other goodies in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinion expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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‘Tis the season to be jolly! Tip for a stress-free holiday from lifestyle expert Limor Suss (gift card giveaway ends 12/20/15)

 

MB-JCPenny Stockings

Holiday season is right around the corner, which means it’s time to deck the halls and gather your family and friends for a fun and festive holiday get together. While entertaining may feel like a burden, the holidays are meant to be fun. So, if you’re wondering how to plan a stress-free holiday get together where you won’t miss out on any of the fun and find the perfect gifts for your loved ones, you’re in luck!

Recently on-air contributor and lifestyle expert Limor Suss took the time to answer some questions I had for her about things we can do for a stress-free holiday.

If you are not familiar with Limor, she has appeared on national and local TV stations across the country including GMA, Dr. Oz,  Fox and Friends, Better TV, CBS’s on the Couch, New York Live & many others talking about the entertaining tips,  the hottest tech gadgets,  gift ideas and the latest beauty trends. Limor has also been quoted in many newspapers and blogs including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Mashable & The Next Web. Limor loves entertaining, cooking and finding the latest products.

Instead of a boring old Q&A with Limor, she graciously answered my questions on video where she was visually able to show me some of her great ideas.

Check out Limor’s great tips.

 

I LOVE the idea of using ornament as centerpieces and decoration on your holiday table. The cupcakes are darling. I’ll have to keep an eye out for those.

I also want to try that cranberry appetizer recipe she shares in the video.

The gift ideas she shares are great too. I want to get that plush blanket she showcases in the video.

My daughter would LOVE that bag! I need to see if I can find it online or at our local JCPenney store.

MB-JCPenny Purse

JCPenney is a great place to shop for not only holiday gifts but also holiday decor and home essentials. In fact, I recently purchased a new winter coat for my husband as a Christmas gift from JCPenney. He’s going to love it.

For more information please visit LimorSuss.com.

To find a JCPenny Location near you (or to shop online) visit JCPenney.com. You can also check them out on social media.

I have a $75.00 JCPenney Gift Card to give to a lucky reader. You can use the gift card to purchase holiday gifts, home decor or anything else you might enjoy.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 20, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and share with me a holiday tip, recipe and/or a great gift idea.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MB-JCPenny Table

Kimberly

*I received a gift card in exchange for my participation. There was no other compensation. 

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Holiday Music Giveaway! (ends 12/15/15)

 

Holiday

For me and my family the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without listening to holiday music. We listen to it in the car and when we are at home.

I have some personal favorites including It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Andy Williams), White Christmas (Bing Crosby), The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole) and It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (Johnny Mathis) to name a FEW (I have A LOT of favorites).

There are some current/modern versions of the classics that I like (Josh Groban can sing ANYTHING and it would be beautiful), but I mostly like the classics sung by Dean Martin, Julie Garland, Bing Crosby and so forth.

Are you familiar with Spotify? My kids cannot go a day without listening to their music on Spotify (they both have memberships). If you are looking for some great holiday tunes you should check out the holiday playlist on Spotify from UMe (Universal Music Enterprises). Their playlist includes Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and more.

Check out their playlist (below).

 

I love it! I could listen to this all day.

Simply click on the song you want to listen. You can listen directly from this blog post. Or better yet listen to UMe’s playlist directly from Spotify. You do not need a membership to enjoy Spotify (membership allows you to skip songs and ads – you can still enjoy Spotify for free).

In addition to this wonderful playlist, UMe also has a fun interactive site that allows YOU to create your own holiday playlist and decorate a Christmas tree with your music (you have to see it to understand what I am talking about). Check it out here – ChristmasClassics.UniversalMusicEnterprises.com. There are many talented artists to choose from (Stevie Wonder, Brenda Lee, John Lennon, The Carpenters, James Taylor, Neil Diamond…) as well as classic songs like Baby It’s Cold Outside, The Christmas Song and The First Noel, to name a few.

Plus! If you share your holiday music tree on social media you’ll be entered for a chance to win Bose Prize Bundle.

Tree

This is fun. You should try it.

If you would like to learn ore about Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) visit www.UniversalMusicEnterprises.com.

UMe has generously offered to give a lucky reader the following holiday music CDs to enjoy this holiday season (and for many years to come). Thank you UMe!

UMe giveaway

  • Rod Stewart
  • Andre Rieu
  • Beach Boys
  • The Supremes Christmas Collection
  • Neil Diamond – Classic Christmas
  • James Taylor At Christmas

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 15, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what is your all time favorite Christmas song and who sings if (if you happen to know)?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. UMe will be providing the prize package. 

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Imagine a World Where the Holidays Are About People Again

 

Sales Picture

As I sit here aggravating my Carpal Tunnel, surfing the web looking for holiday deals for Christmas gifts, I can’t help but think about other things I rather be doing for the holiday season. Instead of going crazy buying gifts I would rather build a snowman, go sledding and have a snowball fight with my family. Or I wish there was a way to bring back my mom, dad and grandparents – even for just one day – to recreate the HUGE Christmas morning breakfasts my mom used to make.

It’s so hard not to get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday season.

It irks me when I step inside a store on October 1st and see Christmas decorations up. I hate how people try and rush the holidays. Just the other day my husband and I were in a store looking for something to hang from our front door when my husband noticed barbecues lined up in the back of the store. It’s only the begining of  December and they are already gearing up for the summer season. Ugh!

Even the other day I was pitched things for VALENTINES DAY! No! No! No! Talk to me about Valentine’s day in January.

The holiday season is not about “things” – it’s about people and spending quality time with those you love. It’s about making memories – not making shopping lists. It’s about baking cookies with grandma, having a snowball fight with dad and having mom tuck you in at night reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. That is what the holiday season is all about.

Holiday 1

 

Thinking back on my childhood I barely remember any gifts I received – only the Ballerina Barbie I received the year my mom had to spend Christmas in the ICU when she was sick. What I do remember is how excited I was when my dad would take Santa and Frosty out of the attic, or the big family breakfast I mentioned above. I also remember chasing Santa down the street when he was on the fire truck passing out coloring books, crayons and candy canes. It’s the little things like that which make holidays special.

T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods discovered a family that had a particularly remarkable story that truly encapsulates what the holiday season is all about.

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this brief video. It’s about an extremely close-knit, positive family with two selfless parents that run their own psychology clinic and a household with two children – a vibrant 8-yr-old Ayana and their outspoken 4-yr-old son, RJ. About a year and a half ago their lives were flipped upside-down when Ayana was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. They are still adapting to their “new normal” – living life in the moment and cherishing every moment. When T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods learned that Ayana spent most of the days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital undergoing treatments, they wanted to do make sure this holiday was different!

 

This video comes on the heels of a holiday campaign from the brands that is focused on Bring Back the Holidays, by reimaging a world where the holidays are about people, not the presents. You may have seen their ad spot– Bringing Back the Holidays and they launched a Twitter campaign aimed at literally bringing people together for the holidays.

“There are few moments throughout the year when family and friends are in the same place at the same time, and we want people to put value on what really matters during the holidays,” said Gina Bollus, spokesperson for T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. “In our world, we offer thoughtful gifts at amazing prices every day so that you can cherish that precious time with your family and shop on your time, instead of rushing out for the hottest holiday deal.”

This is such a wonderful campaign. I hope that it inspires people to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season. It’s not about what is under the Christmas tree as much as its about the people seated around the Christmas tree – you spouse/partner, children, extended family and friends.

Redefine how you look at he holiday season. Let “door busters” mean loved ones pouring through your front door and replace the word “S-A-L-E” with a more meaningful four letter word – “L-O-V-E.”

To find a store near you visit T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods online. You can also find the brands on social media (refer to each website for social media links).

What do the holidays mean to YOU? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Brand Logos

Kimberly

*I will be receiving a gift card in exchange for my participation. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Great gifts from the 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog (giveaway ends 12/12/15)

 

Hero-GC-FY16_1

The holiday season often reminds people that it’s important to do good for others. It’s not all about buying the hottest toy of the season or the most expensive gift. It’s about spending time with loved ones, making memories and doing good for others.

This time of year many people donate unwrapped toys, food and monetary donations. Did you know that there are other things you can do to help like gift a goat, fruit tree or soccer ball?

I’m sure you are scratching your head about gifting a goat and a fruit tree. These are gifts that you don’t give to family and friends but rather to a needy family or community in another country.

World Vision offers several charitable gift options that help children, families and communities around the globe.

Here are just a few examples.

Goat

Goats – World Vision offers donors a variety of livestock to choose from, and goats are their most popular option. One goat is a valuable source of milk and fertilizer for a family. The milk provides children with easy-to-digest protein and calcium, and the fertilizer helps crops flourish. A gift of two goats sets a family on a path towards success as shepherds who can start their own flock. $75 for one, $150 for two.

Fruit Trees – Even with all the sweets and treats the holiday season brings, it’s important to remember nature’s candy—and not just for the figgy pudding! Donating five, ten, or fifteen fruit trees can help a family feed itself and start a business. The seed of this gift can blossom for years as a few trees turns into groves and orchards full of good, healthy fruit. Partridges not included. $30 for five trees, $60 for ten, $90 for fifteen.

Soccer Balls – Every parent knows one of the best feelings in the world is seeing a child’s face light up like the Christmas tree as they discover what’s been left for them by Santa. Donors can pass that same joy along to kids across the world with their gift of soccer balls, which replace makeshift balls made of banana leaves or rolled-up trash. The global popularity of soccer makes this gift a great way to reach out with a helping hand. $16 for two balls, $32 for four, $48 for six.

ball

Career Training for Girls & Women – Empower a woman with this investment in skills training, business education, and, most importantly, hope. With opportunities in weaving, jewelry-making, baking, dairy farming, and more, this gift helps create the chance for mothers and daughters to take their future into their own hands. It’s like they always say: Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish, and you can change the world. $25-$125.

You can gift these items from yourself or gift them in the name of a loved one.

If you rather purchase a tangible gift (and actual gift you could give to a loved one), World Vision operates the Where Most Needed fund, which provides for improvements in the quality of life for struggling children and families in the U.S. and around the world. Donors to this fund are eligible to receive beautiful artisanal goods from Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, which make wonderful presents and stocking stuffers. Encourage your readers to pledge their support and receive handcrafted gifts for themselves or their loved ones.

Handcraft gifts include jewelry, home decor, coffee, tote bags and more.

World Vision Ornament

One such handcrafted gift is this lovely Christmas Star Ornament. This lovely ornament made from castoff metals by artisans helping to support childrens’ education in India.

We have this ornament and it looks beautiful on our Christmas tree, most especially when the tree is lit up and the colorful lights reflect off the shiny metal surface of the Christmas Star Ornament. It’s a nice sized ornament too. You can easily see it hanging in the tree.

This ornament sells for $40 on the World Vision website. Purchasing this ornament will help where most needed and will address specific, urgent needs that might otherwise go unmet for a child, family, or community.

Purchasing this (and other) World Vision gifts is tax deductible (please refer to each gift for tax deductible information).

If you would like to learn more about World Vision’s efforts, or to view their holiday catalog, please visit the 2015 World Vision Gift Catalog page. You can also find World Vision on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

Ornament

World Vision would like to give a lucky reader the same Christmas Star Ornament that I received to review. Thank you World Vision.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 14, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what you would like to win this lovely ornament?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Decorate for the holiday with Crab Pot Trees

 

PHOTO SOURCE: Crab Pot Trees Facebook page

PHOTO SOURCE: Crab Pot Trees Facebook page

What do crabs have to do with Christmas? Well, if you are Italian you might enjoy crab along with other seafood delights during the Feast of the Seven Fishes (crabs are not fish, but my mother-in-law used to make them along with a lot of other seafoods during the feast). Crabs also make for a delicious holiday meal and/or appetizer.

Thanks to crabs, or should I say the crabbing industry, a fun and unique holiday decoration was born. It’s called the Crab Pot Tree.

The Crab Pot Tree is the brainchild of Nick Harvey who made crab traps. He wanted to do something with his left over supplies, as well as something that could be done year round outside of crab season. After much trial and error, Harvey came up with the Crab Pot Tree – a “tree” made out of the same material crab traps are made from. He even found a way to put lights on the “tree” and make it so that the tree can be folded flat and easily tucked away when not in use.

Check out this brief video that shows you more about the Crab Pot Tree.

 

As soon as I saw this video I knew I needed to see one in person. Not only that, I knew it would make a wonderful addition to our holiday display on our balcony next to Santa and Frosty.

I knew I just had to see one in person. I was sent to review a 3′ Crab Pot Tree.

The tree arrived in a triangular shaped flat box. Even before opening the box I was impressed. We have very little room to spare in our condo’s storage unit, so something that can lie flat and be tucked away – even under a bed if need be, is wonderful.

The Crab Pot Tree was so easy to set up that it took mere minutes. You simply un-tie the tree, open it up and tie it open and you are ready to plug it in and enjoy it.

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Hubby reading the directions.

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Plugging in the Crab Pot Tree

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Oh so pretty!

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Someone likes the box the Crab Pot Tree

The Crab Post Tree is currently on our balcony, in between our light up life size Santa and Frosty. We were able to secure the Crab Pot Tree on top of a small table so that it was comparable in height to Santa and Frosty. Because we live on a top floor condo you cannot tell that the Crab Pot Tree is on a table.

I tried to get a decent shot from outside (from the sidewalk in front of our building) but my camera would not give me a decent shot. The best way to see the Crab Pot Tree is light up, but my camera doesn’t take good night time pictures.

As you can see from my photos and from the Crab Pot Tree video the trees look like real Christmas trees from a distance.

You could add blinker lights to the tree but you would need three different blinkers (there appears to be three different strands of lights on the Crab Pot Tree. Sadly the blinkers don’t look right on the tree so we went back to the original lights.

Here is a brief video to show you what I mean about the blinking lights.

 

Solid, non-blinking lights are best.

My apologies for the fuzzy video. I took it with my cellphone.

We love the way the Crab Pot Tree looks when it’s lit up. It’s so pretty! We’ve already recieved compliments from our neighbors about it.

If we had a yard I would buy another one and put one on each side of the driveaway and/or the front door.

Best of all the tree will lie flat when we are ready to pack it away until next year.

Crab Pot Trees are available in different sizes and with different light colors. They range from 1.5′ ($39.99) up to an 8′ tree ($369). Prices do not reflect shipping. Crab Pot Tree also offers trees with LED lights.

Crab Pot Trees are proudly made right here in the United States.

For more information please visit CrabPotTrees.com. They are also found on Facebook and Twitter under CrabPotTrees.

What do you think about the Crab Pot Tree? Does it look like something you would want to decorate your home with during the holidays (or year round)?

PHOTO SOURCE: Crab Pot Trees Facebook page

PHOTO SOURCE: Crab Pot Trees Facebook page

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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