Our Favorite Holiday Memories

hw0_495766Traditions, laughter, family, friends are what make lasting memories that you carry through your life and get to relive and revive year after year every holiday. And if you are lucky you get to recreate and pass on to your children. We all have our favorite holiday memories and those memories are what tie us together in the merriment of the season. The smell of cinnamon-ey, ginger-ey, sugary baked goods, the taste of spiced wine or creamy eggnog, singing Christmas carols as you studied your Christmas tree and devised the best way to hand your ornaments or that time you sat on your father’s shoulders and reached up to put the big bright and shiny star on top of the tree. And that time your uncles strategized on how to best hang the Christmas lights on the outside wall of your home, or eyeing the Christmas presents siting at the foot of the tree and guessing what could possibly be in the boxes.

hw0_629767It could be going to midnight mass at church, or playing Mary and Joseph at you Sunday schools play of the nativity. Or going to a nursing home or children’s home with you parents to bring some Christmas gift and spreading some holiday cheer. or it could be watching the joy and surprise in your loved ones’ faces when they open the gifts that you put so much thought in or spent the money you worked so hard for.

Or it is  the stories you told, games you played, laughter and tears you shares with your family on Christmas eve. or that  time you went ice skating at your neighborhood skating rink, or the time you caught the Nutcracker at the theater. I could be the holiday trip your family took to a cabin for a special holiday trip, or the tropical Christmas that one year where you said Mele Kalikimaka instead of Merry Christmas.

hw0_495728We all have our own special memories that we will keep and treasure for all the days of our lives. And there are the memories we are going to make. Every holiday season is an opportunity to create a joyful memory for our loved ones. Every day of the season is an opportunity to make the days special for our families, friends and ourselves. But we should not limit this opportunity to only the holiday season. Every day of every year is an opportunity for lovely long lasting memories and and opportunity to make someone smile and have a heart full of joy and cheer. We urge you to make memories. We make memories every day, people never forget the day they received flowers, no matter ho many times they receive them in their lives.

Thanksgivukkah Blessings

Thanksgivukkah1NDThanksgivukkah is almost here!  What is that, you ask?  This year is the first time that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day.  This rare event won’t happen again for years!  Why is it happening?  The Jewish calendar has slowly shifted, moving Hanukah earlier and earlier.  This means it will eventually end up in the middle of summer!  But that’s not going to happen for quite a while, so let’s instead celebrate the rare occasion of Thanksgivukkah!

So what are people doing for Thanksgivukkah?  Many are combining a traditional Thanksgiving meal with traditional Hanukkah dishes like potato latkes and other dishes.  Many will decorate with blue for Hanukkah and orange for Thanksgiving, creating a visually striking way of celebrating the holiday.  Even if you’re not Jewish, you might want to incorporate some little way of celebrating this convergence.

Naturally, those who practice the religion will light a menorah while reciting the appropriate blessings from the Torah.  There are also traditional Hanukkah hymns that can be sung and activities, like spinning the dreidel, which the whole family can enjoy.  You can combine these traditions with any of your family’s Thanksgiving traditions if you want.

Don’t forget to decorate with some of our amazing flowers for Thanksgiving or a great bouquet for Hanukkah!  We have arrangements for both holidays!

Skip the Crowds This Season

One of the worst aspects of the holiday season is the crowds.  Shopping may be fun, but waiting in long lines to check out or pushing your way down overcrowded aisles is no fun at all.  This year, skip the crowds by shopping online, and you’ll find your holidays aren’t quite as stressful.

Now, you may be saying “but it’s the week of Christmas!  There’s no way we can shop online and get our items by the weekend!”  That is true for some sites; however, it is possible to shop online and get your items if you pay for expedited shipping.  You’ll pay more, true, but you will be able to avoid the crowds.

In some cases, though, you can order online and not worry about paying for expedited shipping.  Some retailers allow you to purchase items and then pick them up in the store.  If the store has your items already in stock, all you have to do is print your receipt and then go pick them up.  You’re basically asking the store to set the items aside for you.  While not every retailer will do this, the ones that do can make your shopping excursions easier.

You can also shop online for items that are always delivered in a few days or instantly available.  These include things like flowers, baked goods, some gift certificates, and digital downloads.  If you order your Christmas flowers from us, for example, we will deliver them towards the end of the week so they will be fresh for your Christmas table.  Food you purchase online, especially food that needs to be delivered fresh or refrigerated, is also often delivered within a few days.

Some stores offer gift certificates delivered through email.  You purchase them online, they email you the certificate, and then you print it out and give it to the recipient.  It’s very quick and easy.  Likewise, if you’re buying a computer program or other digital download, you often get emailed the code or information regarding downloading the item right away.  It’s done in just a few clicks, and there are no crowds to deal with!

As you can see, even if you haven’t ordered online yet, there’s still time to get some items without paying for fast shipping.  Just don’t wait until the day before!

Christmas Party Planning Ideas

Are you hosting a Christmas party this year?  If so, you may be feeling a little stressed.  Have you started planning yet?  It doesn’t have to be crazy if you put a little thought into it.  Here are some Christmas party planning ideas that may make your holiday gathering easier to pull together.

If you’re doing a gift exchange, decide on the rules.  Is everyone buying for everyone else?  Are you doing a Dirty Santa game?  What kind of dollar amount should each person spend on a gift?

Are you having a full meal, finger foods, or just snacks?  Decide what, if anything, your guests should bring.  Plan out your menu and make what you can ahead of time.  Be sure to include some healthy snacks for those who don’t want to eat a lot of sweets or may have a restrictive diet.  Also be sure to have a variety of beverages, too.

What type of entertainment will you have?  Some people like to play games or dance at their parties.  Space may be an issue for dancing, but if you have a large table or several folding tables, you and your guests can enjoy board or card games.  Some people forgo games and just have a gathering where people can talk and visit.  You can also lead your guests in Christmas carols, or just have some soft music playing in the background.

Will your party have a theme or central aspect to it?  Some people like to base their parties around the gift exchange, but for others, the meal is the important part.  Some parties involve watching a holiday classic or going out to see Christmas lights.

Are kids coming to your Christmas party?  If so, you’ll want to have activities for them to do.  This may include watching a kid’s holiday show in another room or playing games.  If the weather permits, kids can even make snowmen or have a snowball fight while the adults talk.  Of course, make sure all kid activities have the proper supervision.

Keep the decorations simple with bowls of red cranberries, evergreen boughs placed around the buffet area with cinammon snd small ornaments.  Consider ordering a pretty Christmas centerpiece from your favorite florist.

Don’t get stressed out over your Christmas party.  Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!  Be sure to leave yourself a little time between all the preparations and the actual party to rest, or even take a quick nap, so you’ll be refreshed when your guests arrive.

Gift Giving Suggestions and Tips

Tis the season to be jolly…and to do a lot of shopping.  While some people don’t get into the gift-giving that comes with the holiday season, many people do at least exchange small trinkets.  However, there’s a certain amount of stress that goes with giving gifts, especially if you don’t know what to buy a person or are on a limited budget.  However, there are a few ways you can make your Christmas gift giving a little easier.

•    Make a list of everyone you’re buying gifts for, what your budget is, and what you’re going to get them, if you know.  This will help ensure you don’t spend way more than you were planning, and it will also help save you time.  You won’t be wondering aimlessly around the mall looking at things—you’ll have a plan!

•    Shop early if possible.  Waiting until the last minute means dealing with crowds and facing the possibility of not finding what you want.

•    Shopping online also makes the holiday season less of a pain.  However, again it’s very important to shop early.  Otherwise, you may have to either pay for fast shipping or wait until after Christmas to give your gift.

•    If you have family or friends spread across the country, it’s usually convenient to send a Christmas centerpiece with flowers, a poinsettia, or even a fresh, decorated Christmas wreath from a local florist.  In the DC Metro areas, check out MyFlorist’s Christmas flowers, centerpieces and poinsettias.

•    Don’t be afraid to ask someone for gift ideas.  It’s better that you ask than get them something they already have or don’t need.

•    Keep all your receipts just in case, especially when buying electronics (something may be defective), fragile items (things can get broken while being shelved in the store), and clothing (not all brands are sized the same).

•    Food is always a good gift, especially if you know what someone likes.  Desserts, cheese, and candy are hard to beat.  Be certain the person doesn’t have a medical condition and needs to avoid certain food, of course.  A bottle of wine is also a good gift for some people.

•    Gift cards aren’t always a bad idea, and they aren’t always seen as impersonal.  For those who often eat out, a gift card to a restaurant would be appreciated.  College students might enjoy a gift card to Starbucks.  Instead of guessing what books someone might want, get them a gift card to a bookstore.

•    You don’t have to buy all of your gifts.  If you knit or crochet, make someone a hat, scarf, or blanket.  Scrapbooks are great gifts, too, as are original pieces of art.  Get creative!  Sometimes, in fact, handmade gifts are much more personal and touching than something bought at a store.