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Have A Very Chocolaty Christmas    A Puppy For The Holidays?

How to Find Fun at Home During the Holidays

All too often, the holidays are times when families don't spend enough time at home. This may sound ridiculous because holidays are supposed to be centered around the home and the family unit. Nevertheless, with shopping and everything else needing to be done at the holiday time, it can be difficult for families to find things to do at home.

The truth is that the average family must make an effort to stay home and find things that are fun to do at home. When you do stay in more, you will realize your family is happier and not nearly as stressed out! Use these tips to help spur your memory and figure out exactly what you can do this Christmas season.

Family Traditions

One of the easiest ways to have fun at home during the holidays is to participate in family traditions. Many families have certain activities they do each holiday season. Some will help decorate the house with holiday decor together. Others will choose to hunt for a live Christmas tree together. No matter what you do as a family, you can guarantee that spending time together and in your home will make you feel great this holiday season. If you don't have any specific family traditions yet, you can always make this season the one where you create some great ones. There are no rules on this front, so just be creative and have fun!

Music

Another way you can have fun at home during the holidays is by getting in the holiday mood. One of the best ways to get into the holiday mood is by playing music. Playing holiday music in your home may sound a little ridiculous to you. However, the sound of the holiday music can bring out the bonding in everyone. You can play board games with your family while listening to holiday music and eating holiday cookies. Your kids will love it!

Parties

If you love to entertain, having a party is also a great way to have fun at home. You can throw a big bash, or only have a few friends over for appetizers and eggnog. Having a holiday party is perfect because your home is likely already decorated. So, all you need to do is pick up a few food choices and make some phone calls. Of course, if you want, you can always just create a small holiday party for your children and your spouse. You can sip eggnog by the tree and sit on the floor reading stories all night. Anything you can do to help your family develop great holiday memories is a good thing.

So make an effort to stay home more this holiday season. Find things that make your family happy and try them. You just might find that you would rather stay home than go out!

About the author:
Jaci Rae is a best-selling author and author of Shop for a Day with Jaci Rae You Can Get Something for Nothing and Collista's Search for the True Meaning of Christmas. http://www.shopforaday.com">http://www.shopforaday.com</a

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Have a Very Chocolaty Christmas

Chocolate is a great gift for the holiday season. Romantic, delicious, professional, fun... chocolate can make whatever impression you want it to.

Chocolate is hugely popular as a romantic gift. High quality chocolates have a delightful scent and taste even better. A beautiful box of fine chocolate can express your feelings very well and is almost always appreciated.

Don't limit yourself to chocolate in boxes for romance. Think about a romantic evening in front of the fire with hot chocolate. Think about delicious chocolate desserts. Think decadent.

However, chocolate can also make a great professional gift for clients if you have a business. Most people love it, and in a business setting there doesn't have to be anything romantic about it.

If you want to have a bit of fun with chocolate, try it molded into fun shapes. I've seen chocolate credit cards, chocolate moose (yes, the animal) and many other fun shapes. These shapes are lots of fun to give when you want to give a less than serious gift.

If you're having company over, chocolates make a great after-dinner treat. Try small individual squares, chocolate truffles or other chocolates that make it easy to take one piece at a time.

For a delicious dessert, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake or chocolate cheesecake are delightful options.

As for brands, Ghirardelli is a great brand if you want something from the U.S. Their dark chocolate with raspberry squares  and their mint chocolates are particularly good. Internationally, Godiva is quite well known. Leonidas also makes
exceptional chocolates. They aren't cheap... not by a long shot, but for special occasions the money is well spent.

Feeling adventurous in the kitchen? Try baking with chocolate at home! Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, fudge... loads of fun for the entire family and such a sweet reward after.

For even simpler fun, get a chocolate fountain. These can be had fairly affordably, although I recommend making sure you get one strong enough to use real chocolate in, rather than chocolate sauce, which I saw in a child's version of a chocolate fountain. The one problem is the amount of chocolate required, but what a hit at a party. All you need is a good variety of foods for dipping, such as strawberries or other fruit, pretzels, cookies and so forth.

The holiday season is the time to let go and indulge yourself and those you love just a little. While you don't want to overdo it, enjoying chocolate as you celebrate is a great way to add to the fun.

About the author:
Stephanie Foster runs www.gimmechocolate.com and really wishes you could smell the chocolate online.She recommends a nice cup of cocoa for proper effects while browsing her site.

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A Puppy For The Holidays?

The holidays are coming and what better gift for Christmas or Chanukah than a puppy...right? Wrong!

Wrong? How can that be?? A puppy is the quintessential gift! Edie, are you crazy?

The holidays are a very chaotic time of year. They often involve travel or houseguests. There are lots of distractions for the humans and bobbles that shouldn't be eaten by puppies!

Activities in the home are, at the very least, different from the normal routine. A new puppy requires constant supervision
and while the crate can be a wonderful training tool, it is critical that your puppy have a great deal of interaction with its new family. A new puppy needs a schedule and a routine. More importantly, they need a calm environment. We all know the holidays can be anything but calm!

Puppies put everything in their mouth! Socks, tinsel, dust bunnies, shoes, toys, you, your children....you get the picture! All puppies nip, bite and chew. It is how they interact with their pack and experience their world.

And there will be accidents. New puppies do not come potty trained. Despite your best efforts and vigilance, piddle on the
floor is all but inevitable. There is a very good chance you will also need to contend with a little pile (or puddle) of poo or two.

Ask yourself, very honestly, are you willing to cope with all of this AND all of your holiday activities?

Now, before you dub me Edie the Grinch, I have a recommendation for you that I think you may like.

I recommend for people who would like to give the gift of a puppy is to get all your puppy gear and give that as the gift!
Books on how to raise a puppy, collars and leashes, a kennel, a dog bed, nail clippers, brushes.... you get the idea! This makes it very easy to wrap things up and truly surprise your loved one without having to manage a scared wee puppy during the chaos of the holidays. Then make arrangements with your breeder to go and pick up the puppy after the New Year. If fact, many breeders will not allow their puppies to go to their new homes during the holidays. Life will be more settled, the adrenaline rush of the holidays will be over, all of the bobbles and toys are put away and the puppy can come into a home that is back into its normal routine. This routine will make training the puppy MUCH easier!

About the author:
Edie MacKenzie is the author of The Definitive Guide to Labradoodles. You can read other articles by Edie on labradoodle  by clicking on the link.

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