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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

holiday cheer (and operation christmas child update)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means the holiday season has [practically] arrived!

As you have probably already figured out, I am a total sucker for all things holiday related, which means that I am SO excited to announce that beginning November 10th, Living Well, Spending less will be celebrating 30 days of holiday cheer.  

In addition to all the fabulous coupon advice you have come to know and love, I will be featuring a TON of amazing product giveaways, not to mention plenty of ideas for making the most of the holiday season--everything from decorating to gift-giving to cooking & baking--all while staying well within your budget.

Princess is a huge fan of all the Charlie Brown movies, so in the past year, I have watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at least 100 times.  Every time I watch it, I find myself agreeing with poor Charlie Brown more and more.  Christmas has become far too commercial.

My goal this holiday season is to experience the true joy that comes from going beyond the glitzy commercialism of this time of year--not that anyone can ignore it completely--and finding the wonder in the little things, the delight on my girls' faces when they sit on Santa's lap, or the wonder in their eyes as we watch the lighted boat parade, an annual holiday tradition in my town.  I love to give gifts, but I find myself wondering if there isn't a better way.  Why not search out homemade, unique, and quality-made one-of a kind things that are still reasonably priced, instead of just settling for norm?  And why not work harder at finding a way to spread joy to others as much as possible?

A few weeks ago I threw out a challenge for all of my readers to join me in giving back this Christmas.    One of the projects that my family has chosen is Operation Christmas Child, an organization that delivers  toy-and-toiletry-filled shoeboxes to needy children all over the globe.  We committed to doing 10 boxes this year, and we have been working hard at gathering enough items to fill them up.

Today Princess and I started working on assembling our boxes.  She is only 4, but old enough to understand that there are kids in the world who don't have all the things she is lucky enough to have.  She was so excited to fill them up, and she took the job very seriously.  I was amazed by both her attention span and her thoughtfulness.  (Trouble, on the other hand, was a complete pain-in-the-you-know-what. In two hours, she managed to tear apart several of the already assembled boxes, chew the wrapper off a pack of gum, pull all the Ziploc bags out of the box, and then fall off the chair and conk her head.)

Our starting pile.  I literally just dumped everything I had stashed around the house onto the table.

Filling our first box.  How exciting!

Princess LOVED filling the bags of candy for each box.

Trouble just wreaked havoc wherever she could.

Almost ready to go!

Amazingly, that pile of stuff was enough to fill up all 10 boxes almost completely, and now that each box is almost ready, I will be able to pick up the few last needed items over the next two weeks.  Then we will write our letters to the kids and register them online so that we can track where they go.  It is an amazing organization and outreach, and I am so excited to be able to participate in it this year.

If you are interested in putting together a box of your own, there is still plenty of time!  Boxes are not due at drop-off centers until November 22.  This is a nationwide effort, so there is most likely a participating location nearby.  Click here for more details.

And if you are participating in Operation Christmas Child or any other sort of charity this holiday season, don't forget to leave a comment here, on my original Operation Christmas Child post.  3 lucky readers will win a $15 Starbucks Gift Card just for sharing how you plan to give back this Christmas!

So be prepared in the coming weeks for oodles of holiday cheer, and be ready to win some amazing prizes.  In the meantime, don't forget to tell all your friends about this fabulous (if I do say so myself) little blog so they can join in all the fun, and, if you feel so inclined, I'd really appreciate a vote on Top Mommy Blogs every now and then, too!

Happy [almost] holidays!


  1. love your blog. makes me WANT to clip coupons. so far i've only managed to figure out how to load digital ones onto my vons club card...but i digress. :) where did you find those green operation xmas boxes? i've been stockpiling regular shoe boxes but would love to find those!

    thanks again for all your posts...i voted for you! :)

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  2. They were giving out the boxes at my church, so you might want to check with the participating drop-off locations in your area to see if they have any. They were a Godsend because in my cleaning frenzy this year, I threw out stacks of shoeboxes, not realizing that I would need them for this!

  3. Oh, and thanks for voting! :-)


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