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Archive for Books – Page 2

100 Purple Santas need a home! Giveaways for Santa and We’re Having A Tuesday

100 Purple Santas need a home in 100 hours!100 Purple Santas need a home this holiday season! We are in the home stretch of the holiday season.  Many of us are in the hustle and bustle of it all.  So we have lots of last minute goodies to share to help you finish up your holiday shopping. And we have at least 100 purple Santas that need a home!

First– We are issuing a challenge. We would like to find 100 purple Santas a home this holiday season. We have set a goal to sell 100 Santa books in 100 hours directly from our website here. We are still including FREE priority shipping, and books are just $16.95 each.  The first 100 people in this 100 hours will get their Santa book, AND in addition a free copy of DK Simoneau’s first book, We’re Having A Tuesday.  Countdown starts NOW!  (Expires at 9 p.m. MST, December 14, 2014) 100 purple Santas need a home!  Books must be ordered from this site to qualify for free bonus book! Order towards the bottom of the page HERE.

Holidays pink divorce free kindle

Second– The holiday season can be a tough time for divorced families, a subject many of us can relate to.  So in honor of that, and bringing “We’re Having A Tuesday” up to date with its own Kindle version, it will be available for FREE December 11-15 through Amazon Kindle.  Get it for your own Kindle HERE.Purple Santa? Great kids book app online or through ITunes- Santa's Zany Wacky Night Before Christmas

 

Third-Limited Opportunity: Post a new review of either the hardback or Kindle version of Santa’s Night Before Christmas (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) on Amazon or Goodreads, send the link to us at info@acpublicationsgroup.com, and we will gift you a copy of the interactive Santa’s Night Before Christmas app through Interactive Touch Books for free.

Reading Santa’s Night Before Christmas for classroom enrichment activities

Choose your own color santa suit- Milk Carton Santas. One of many ways to tie Santa's Zany Wacky Just Not Right Night Before Christmas into classroom activities.

Reading Santa’s Night Before Christmas for classroom enrichment activities is so much fun! We have lots of ways to spark the imagination with this book by encouraging creativity in art, writing, and oral expression! –At home, or in a read aloud classroom or library setting!  Please see our classroom page here for a growing list of ideas of how to enrich your classrooms with our book.

Meanwhile here are a few thoughts:

  • After reading the book and finding out that there is no longer Milk and Cookies, but instead Tea and Honey, introduce a Tea and Honey Party. It can be as formal or as informal as you like. Bring a variety of teas, maybe some more traditional and a couple of holiday blends, along with some honey. Then expose kids to traditions and tastes of other cultures of which they may be unfamiliar.
  • Initiate a Christmas Caroling activity. After reading the book and talking about funny sounding carolers, discuss the practice of Christmas Caroling. Choose some songs. Make them funny if you wish. Go around to other classrooms and sing carols.
  • In a group setting following a read aloud there are many topics of discussion that could be focused upon in verbal format and then flowed into a writing assignment if desired. (Most of these could also be presented in front of the class as well.)
    • What details are in the drawings that that aren’t mentioned in the story? (Hint- hunt for Matches the Mouse!!)
      What other zany and wacky things that could go wrong with Christmas if Santa’s suit were purple?
      What other things could have happened instead? Like could the milk and cookies be turned into carrots and celery? Why or why not? Could the candy canes be chocolate or sour instead of burnt? Would it have been a problem to change the story because of the rhyming?
      Launch for a theme of show and tell – bringing in their favorite holiday book, other books with Santa, or anything else related.
      Talk about cause and effect – consequences; how things relate, how this one change morphed Christmas, and how doing one thing differently day to day might have different effects in our own lives.
      Read the original The Night Before Christmas story (or any other version) and have a compare and contrast discussion
  • Art Projects galore! Have them do an art project of any kind to illustrate any idea of a zany, wacky Christmas. Use your own zany imagination-this book can spark all kinds of artistic expression and creativty.
    • Santas with suits of a different color. Almost any normal Santa project you do can be converted into a purple  Or better yet, you could let the kids express themselves and let them choose what color they want their Santa to be.
    • Similarly, blueberry blue reindeer might be fun! Or let them choose their own fun color.
    • Upside down snowmen and trees of all kinds. Any project you might normally do with snowmen or trees could be done upside down. One I like is the Name Snowmen. Just put the face and hat one on the bottom upside down.
    • Art and Writing worksheets, like “If I were a Zany Wacky Reindeer, I would…” Download: Zany wacky reindeer worksheet.  Please see the classroom page for more ideas; as well as that is where we will be posting new ones.Worksheet to go with Santa's Zany Wacky Just Not Right Night Before Christmas available hardback, kindle or via Interactive Touchbooks app.

Parade Magazine and Velvet Giggles feature Santa’s Zany Wacky in Holiday Gift Guides 2014

Original Article on Books for Kids from Parade: Read Now

Video Review on Christmas Gift Ideas: Watch Now

We are very proud to be listed in Parade Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide -Books for Kids this year.  There are always so many wonderful titles to look over.  It is such a passion of mine that we keep reading out loud to kids, so to be included in an article in which the author is looking forward to reading our book snuggled up with her niece this holiday season makes me proud!  I certainly think that Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas is a book worthy of an annual holiday tradition.

And the video gift guide by Velvet Giggles is a delight.  Again, we are very proud to be included.  If you’ve never seen a review by Renae, you are in for a treat.  She has some great ideas and has a way of making me want all of them!  Enjoy!

Oh- and in case you missed it, we are now available in Kindle format as well as a great interactive app.  For more on the interactive version go to Interactive Touch Books.  You can click on Santa turn his suit from purple to red, hear jets roar, sleighbells ring, snowmen turn upside down and so much more!

Parade Magazine and Velvet Giggles holiday reviews

 

Black Friday starts early with Santa’s Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right Night Before Christmas

Fun holiday book! 3 ways to enjoy our purple Santa through cyber Monday!

Starting today……through cyber Monday, December 1, 2014, you can get $5.00 off every copy ordered plus FREE shipping, while quantities last!  That is just $13.95 per copy.

Kindle version also available through Amazon at $3.99.

Or……try our new interactive app by downloading the Interactive Touch Books app through iTunes, and then downloading the Santa’s Zany Wacky app for just $1.99.  There you can find Matches the mouse on every page, listen to carolers sing funny, turn Santa’s suit from purple to red to purple, make trees and snowmen turn upside down and much more!

We are starting early and have 3 different ways you can enjoy our purple Santa!

 

 

How to Deal with Children and the Holidays After Divorce

Get great tips on how to handle children and the holidays after divorce at www.purplesantasuit.com

So you think you’re moving along and adapting to your new split-family living situation, but then wham,  how will you handle the children and the holidays after divorce.  You take your children to their Dad (Mom) on Tuesday and you’ll see them again on Saturday.  It is a bumpy cycle and much to be learned, but you’re getting the hang of it.

Then what do you spy on your calendar as you turn the page?  The next major holiday doesn’t fall on Tuesday?  It doesn’t fall on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday either.  You realize you are going to have to go dig out those divorce papers and see what year it is and if it’s odd or even and if you get to see your children or if you’ll be attending that holiday function without kids in tow.  So what can you do to make split-family living better during the holidays?

 

  1. Have Fun!  Remember that even though this is a transition time in your lives it is still the holiday season and it should be FUN!  Read silly books together with your kids, like Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas. Watch old movies and Christmas specials.  Bake cut out cookies.  Go look at Christmas lights. Sing Christmas Carols.  Play in the snow if you have it.  Make snowflakes if you don’t. Do anything to lighten the mood.  It is still supposed to be FUN!
  2. Communicate.  Communication is key to everything, and the holidays are no exception.  Talk to your kids and ex-spouse.  Maybe the every other year thing is too confusing.  Maybe your kids are feeling left out.  They might even feel guilty that Mom or Dad is alone.  See if you can work on a schedule that works better.  Some families opt to split the holidays by time, so that a child is with one parent until 2:00 and the other for the remainder of the day.  Some opt to split the holidays so that the kids know that every Thanksgiving they will be with Mom and her family for the entire day, but that every Easter or some other holiday they spend it with Dad and his family.  That allows traditions to build and nobody has to stop right in the middle of the fun.   A book like We’re Having A Tuesday will also help your kids communicate any feelings they may be having about missing out on one thing or another.
  3.  Put your differences aside.  Maybe for a day, an hour, but do whatever you can.  If you can manage to go to a pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins great.  If you can only handle opening gifts all together, so be it.  If it means sharing a piece of holiday pie and some eggnog, great!  Any amount of time you can spend all together will be the biggest gift you can possibly give to your kids.  Remember you are doing it for them.
  4. Plan Ahead.  Don’t be agreeing to the schedule the night before.  Inevitably there will be a child eating back to back turkey if there is no plan.
  5. Be flexible and reasonable, and keep your word.  If you plan to have your child home at 2:00 and it’s 2:15, don’t make a big fuss to your ex-spouse.  Things have a way of taking a little longer than expected during the holidays.  But don’t purposely ignore the agreed upon schedule.  That only sets your child up to be caught in the middle of your frustrations.
  6. Agree on gift giving methods.  Will you each be buying gifts separately or together?  Will you coordinate so you don’t both give the same thing?  Who will take the children shopping to purchase gifts for each of their parents?  How will they be paid for?  It is perfectly acceptable to teach your children the art of giving, even if it means you are buying a robe for your ex-wife.
  7. Establish new traditions.  You can incorporate old ones if you wish, but it might be time to start some new ones.  Maybe every holiday morning you will serve homemade cinnamon rolls. Maybe birthdays will now always be celebrated by waking up with balloons.  It is good to incorporate new so that whatever might be missing from the old might not be as missed.
  8. Let the love shine.  Allow your child to communicate with the missing parent. Maybe it will be a quick telephone call, maybe it will be a quick pick up to walk around the block.  In any case, your child is possibly celebrating a holiday without one of the most important people in their life.  It’s okay for them to want to share part of it with them.

10 New Holiday Traditions to start with your kids this year!

Holiday traditions are important. Read our ideas of good ones to start this year at purplesantasuit.com10 New Holiday Traditions to start with your kids this year! I’ve always been one to enjoy holiday traditions.  I guess that to me, it is the traditions that weave our lives together year after year.  After all isn’t that the time we tend to make the effort to see old friends and gather with our families. They are what we look forward to.  Traditions, rather it be the particular way our family makes Macaroni salad or that we always have a ham dinner for Christmas, how we open up our presents, or even when we get together, those traditions are what we remember and look forward to.  I often recall fondly certain food things, but there are many other things that my family has woven through our holidays year after year.  I will share some great ideas that I think will make your holidays memorable through the coming years.  Some we have done, some I have only wished I would have started so they would already be a part of our traditions. And one is brand new even to me, but I like it!  It is never too early to start with your kids.  Let them help, let them be a part of it and pretty soon they will look forward to the things they remember from their holidays growing up.  Here are some ideas to consider starting as a new holiday tradition with your kids this year.

  1. Christmas Eve Box – Growing up I was always allowed to open just one present on Christmas Eve. I suppose it was a way to hold me over.  It never seemed to work well.  I still woke my parents up at about 3 a.m. telling them that Santa had been and it was time to get started!  A Christmas Eve Box expands on that idea.  It is a gift box designed to be opened on Christmas morning.  It includes a pair of Christmas PJ’s (who doesn’t love a new pair of fun PJ’s?!), a new Christmas book to read out loud like Santa’s (Zany Wacky Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas, if you don’t have it, maybe a candy cane and some hot cocoa mix, or a new DVD Christmas movie and a bag of microwave popcorn.  Whatever goes in the box ideally would be something that your little one (or big kids like this too!) will enjoy savoring for that last night while they wait for Santa!
  2. Christmas Book Box- Speaking of books, another idea is to have a Christmas Book Box. It would be a box that you maybe add to each year.  Customarily those would be great read aloud picture books, but if your family likes other books to read aloud, other chapter novel Christmas books would be great additions too.  Then each year you will get out the box and read these books again and again.  It might be you read one each night during the season.  Maybe you have a night, like tree decorating night, that you sit down and read several.  Maybe on Christmas Eve, you read them all in one sitting.  Just make sure you enjoy the old books as you keep adding new ones each year.  And since you probably don’t have it, I have to plug that Santa’s Zany Wacky….makes a good one, and for more on other Santa books that make nice traditions see my previous post. Santa Books
  3. Ornaments – In my family I started collecting the Hallmark series ornaments. Every member in our family has a series that we add on to each year.  We open them on Christmas Eve night, and hang the new one on the tree.  My daughter who is about ready to move off on her own will have the most lovely set of ornaments to begin decorating her own tree with.  But there are other things you can do to make ornaments part of a tradition.  Some families make a special  personalized ornament with each member that comes into the family.  It could be a simple ball ornament with their name, or it could be an ornament that somehow represents them.  Another nice thing you can do with ornaments is to find a special ornament for each child that represents something special about their past year.  For example if she started ballet lessons it could be an ornament relating to ballet.  Or if he went to cooking school maybe it would be an ornament with a rolling pin.  There are so many ways to make annual ornaments part of the holiday traditions.
  4. Christmas movie or specials like Charlie Brown –My kids get a big laugh out of the idea that we all had to check the listings for the Christmas specials to come on. But we did.  And we looked forward to certain ones year after year.  It would be easy to find an old Christmas film that you liked growing up and share it with your kids.  You could pick the same one year after year, or you could introduce them to new ones every year.  It is a fun way to connect with your kids about what you did growing up. Two of my favorite movies are Santa Claus and The Grinch, but here are a couple list to help you remember. Specials  or Movies
  5. Baking Cookies – There are so many ways that baking cookies can become part of your tradition. It can be as simple as just baking them one day each season with your kids.  Even when they are very little they love to dump things into the bowl or sprinkle on some sugar.  Or you could host cookie decorating get together with all of the kids in the extended family.  Of course teaching your kids how to make a family heirloom recipe is a wonderful way to start a tradition.  Some families don’t do this and then when Grandma passes on, so do the cookies.  It is never too early to start teaching how to make those special treats.  It could be that the tradition is that you look through magazines, cookbooks, or the internet looking each year to discover some new holiday treats.
  6. Mapping out Christmas Lights to drive around– For as long as I can remember my kids and I have looked forward to going out one night, usually Christmas Eve for us, and looking at all the Christmas lights on houses. It is fun to go our favorites, and see them again and again.  Some years we find new ones.  Some years our favorites are no longer there for whatever reason.  But each year we go, chatting and signing along the way.
  7. Christmas cards– Having your kids participate in sending out Christmas cards is a fun way to teach them about what is quickly becoming a lost art. You can make cards together. That can mean cutting things out, drawing, painting, putting hand prints or the like. Or it could be as simple as letting them seal the envelopes.  Maybe they can help write a Christmas letter and help choose the stories and pictures included.  The important thing is, if they sit down with you every year to participate in preparing Christmas cards to send out, in whatever capacity, then it is likely that they will carry on that tradition when they decide how to celebrate their own holidays.
  8. Scavenger Hunt or Christmas Caroling – Christmas caroling is almost a lost art. But it is delightful to open the door and find people singing delightful songs.  Gather some family or friends, and go out.  It really is fun and rewarding.  Or………if singing just really isn’t your cup of tea, then try designing a scavenger hunt.  There are all kinds of fun ways to do it.  You can divide up the family, create a list, set a timer, and off you go.  I promise there will be stories to share upon your return of how someone got that last unlikely item, or the tales of what the neighbors said and did.
  9. Family Photo – including  your pets under the tree! It is something you will want to look back on year after year.  And if you take the time to do it you will have a nice documentation of how much your kids have grown, how your home and trees have changed, and even a good record of the pets in your life.  After all they are part of our families too. It seems like it is so obvious to do this, but it is so easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of getting ready.  So make a point!  Find a time…….like the night you put it up, or Christmas Eve, or the night you watch Charlie Brown.  Just start and commit!
  10. Pickle- I lost a dear friend this year who had lots of German traditions because his wife was from Germany. I always loved hearing about them. And though he never told me about this one, I couldn’t help but include it when I read about it.  What a fun game!  I always thought being in a pickle was a negative thing.  But with this tradition, it sounds like a good way to start off the year.  And………..it is only one night of hiding something for those who dread that other little “hiding” game.

In

old

world

Germany,

the last decoration

placed on the Christmas tree

was always a pickle… carefully

hidden deep in the boughs. Legend

has it that the observant child who found

it on Christmas Day was blessed with a year

of good fortune…

and a special gift!

 

List of Children’s books about Santa

See our list of Santa books at www.purplesantasuit.com

So I’m the co-author of a book about Santa.  I love Christmas.  I love Santa.  I love children’s books. I thought it might be fun to find a list about the best children’s books about Santa.  After all, I wanted to see who else has been dreaming up fun stories about Santa.  Surely there must be many favorites.  I went to my friends at Pinterest, and surprisingly I didn’t find much in the way of lists.  So, I decided to do some research and come up with my own list.  Though I might be a bit bias, because I think everyone’s Santa collection should include Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas, I also think there are lots of others that are worth taking a peep at for consideration of your own Santa Book box!  Here is a list to get you started.   And if I’ve left something out, by all means, leave a comment and we can look into adding it!  I can think of nothing better than having a group of “go-to” books to read out loud after putting up the tree, or on Christmas Eve.  Here are some Santa ones to get you started. List of Children’s books about Santa:

Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas DK Simoneau and David Radman – a whimsical twist on the Night Before Christmas in which Santa finds himself in a Purple Santa Suit and Christmas becoming zany and wacky.  Great for both kids and adults!  And if you love art……..every time you page through you will find yourself noticing more and more detail.

Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner?  –Tomie dePaola –We all sit through family dinners that can be a bit of mayhem.  But imagine Santa and his family.  This is a smile on your face book for sure.

Oh, What a Christmas! Michael Garland –Maybe we are a bit partial to Christmas going  haywire here, but this is a fun story about Santa’s sleigh breaking and how to get Christmas on track!

How Santa Got His Job  –Stephen Krensky and S.D. Schindler –Did you ever think about Santa just being a Chimney sweep?  Check this out for a fun spin on how Santa got to be the Santa we love today!

The Night Before ChristmasClemet C Moore – There are so many editions to choose from! But check some out.  The pictures are always fun and beautiful, and there is nothing better than seeing the finger aside of the nose!

Santa Claus and the Three Bears  –Maria Modugno and Jane Dyer –Another delightful twist, this time on Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.  And who do you suppose the intruder is??  Santa!!

Polar Express  –Chris Van Allsburg –I can hardly believe this book is already about to be 30 years old.  But a list of Christmas books about Santa simply cannot exist without this one.  It really opens hearts to the idea of believing.  And as a Caldecott Medal winner, this book should just not be overlooked.  The art is stunning.

Snowmen at Christmas  – Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner –One of our favorite holiday books ever is Snowmen at Night.  And this one awaits the snowman Santa.  The art is brilliant how the lights and the snow just light up the pages.  Be sure to check out these snowman books!

 Santa Claus  –Rod Green –If you really want to know what makes Santa tick, this is the one to check out!

The Christmas Wish   –Lori Evert and Per Breiehagen –This is a newer one, and it is a beautiful tale about a girl trekking her way to be one of Santa’s elves.  Gorgeous.

Babar and Father Christmas Jean De Brunhoff  -if you love Babar you will love how he tries to bring Christmas.

2nd award for Santa’s (Zany Wacky Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas announced today

Check out Santa's purple suit and funny elves in our book! Finalist USA Book Awards Children's Picture Book - www.purplesantasuit.com

USA Best Book Awards! Another award for Santa’s Zany Wacky Just Not Right Night Before Christmas………..just announced today. Award-Winning Finalist in the “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction” category of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards.
http://www.usabooknews.com/2014awardannouncement.html

 Celebrate with us!!  Get your copies now………free shipping!

In case you were wondering what the first award was, it was the Gold Medal in the Holiday category for Moonbeam Children’s book awards last month. http://www.moonbeamawards.com/51/winners/winners-2014

Gold Medal Winner Holiday Category- www.purplesantasuit.com "Santa's Zany Wacky Just Not Right Night Before Christmas

Using Books Like Santa’s Zany Wacky to Expand Our Imagination and Thinking

The following article regarding using children’s books to promote imagination and thinking was posted at Kidzedge.com

Books. Many of us love them. We love the feel of snuggling up and turning the page to see what awaits on the very next page. They are like an adventure unraveling right between our fingertips, sometimes telling us a magical story. Sometimes teaching us about something we might long to know. But what we don’t realize is how important they are to helping our minds think and grow, so that we are more productive in our world.

Like so many I grew up reading books, starting with picture books when I was very small. I remember memorizing the stories so that I could “read” them to my parents. Sometimes I read little board books. Sometimes my mom would read long stories from big story books. Other times I just read along with the magical “ding” as the record played along. Whatever the way, for most of us, reading books as a child was the beginning for our love of books and to our path of thinking outside of the box.

Is reading books when we are young just about learning to read? They lead to us sparking our imaginations. They lead us to think even in picture format which helps us think in much bigger thoughts than the specific ramblings of just words on a page. Often what we read on the pages is playing out in our mind. As we see the illustrations in a picture book, our minds begin spinning out its own little movie. When we read words on a page, with or without pictures, our minds begin picturing what it is we are reading. That picturing is what ultimately leads to more creativity. When we imagine things we begin thinking bigger. We aren’t static. And thinking bigger ultimately makes us into better people because we can brainstorm and think in ways beyond what is concrete and in front of us.

Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas was written because of thinking bigger. It was sparked by an innocent conversation with my daughter. She (who has been an avid reader her entire life) asked an innocent question about why Santa’s suit was red? I didn’t really have an answer, but that inquiry made me wonder. Why is it red? What would Christmas look like today if it weren’t? Would changing that one thing change all of Christmas as we know it? My mind began imagining all of the things that might change. And my hope is, as kids read this book today, they ask themselves those same questions. What might change? What might change in their house at Christmas time if one thing were different? What if Santa’s suit stayed the same, but the date changed? I hope they are picturing striped reindeer and polka dotted snowmen. I hope they are imagining the most whimsical Christmas ever, because those thoughts are what will make their minds expand. There can be so many questions and answers that come from just one question. And reading books can and will help expand those ideas by teaching our minds how to think beyond what is on the page.

We operate in a global world. We must learn to think and look at things differently than we’ve always done. Learning to read and imagine stories as we read helps us to do that. Even reading a how-to book with a mind that has learned to imagine can help us improve upon the process we are learning about. Perhaps we follow the basic how to, but we then can improve upon it. When we learn to expand our minds, we aren’t limited to seeing what is, but rather we are able to create beyond that with our minds. It makes us better thinkers, storytellers, writers, and more. It makes us active in a world that is constantly changing. It makes us creative. So do yourself a favor. Go read a book. And let your mind wander. Better yet, read a book to a child, and teach them how to imagine and let their mind wander too.

 

As posted at KidzEdge.com

White elephant gift exchange ideas worth stealing for!

White elephant gift exchange ideas worth stealing for!

White elephant ideas – nice, giggle, homemade, creative cash, or recycled??

Do you need a white elephant gift exchange idea?

Every year it seems we all get invited to at least one White elephant gift exchange, and we all need ideas worth stealing for.  I always like it when I bring the gift that everyone is fighting over.  Sometimes if it works out right, I like to steal it back at the end.  It makes me feel like I won a really great prize!

Nice Gifts: This year of course, I suspect the best gift I can bring to all of the white elephant parties would of course be our book, “Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas”.    Maybe even an autographed version.  Regardless I think anyone who brings this book will see that people will be fighting over it.  You could order a few, and keep them on hand.  They will make great last minute party gifts that you can just have around ready to go (even for those kids you forgot you might see over the holiday!) There are lots of other nice gifts like this that are popular.  Other kids Christmas book classics like Polar Express, or Snowmen at Night.  People always seem to be fighting over holiday decorative items, like cute little Santas or snowmen, wreaths or candles.  Candles….yes everyone seems to love the candles, especially the big jar ones with delicious holiday scents.  My favorite is anything that smells like candycane.  Someone always seems to bring some little dancing character, like  a snowman or a singing reindeer or something.  It is always a hit.  Anything with a holiday theme seems to be nice and very popular.

Homemade Gifts:  I’ve been known to fight over some homemade goodies before.  I love cookies, bananna bread, brownies anything.  It is especially nice when people include the recipe.  There are lots of ideas out there about things to make in a jar.   Things like cake mixes where one only has to add in the wet ingreedients.  You could make up a batch of these and use them at all of your white elephant parties or even as host gifts for regular parties.  I’ve had friends that have made homemade batches of wine, beer, kaluha, vinegars, oils. and more! There is lots of information too about how to make nice gift baskets.  I’ve seen Italian food baskets with wine and cheese, pasta, and olive oil.  I’ve seen movie baskets with a Christmas movie, popcorn, and cool popcorn bowls etc.  I’m thinking that one could make a really cool gift basket filled with holiday classic books or even a “Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas basket that could include some hot cocoa cups, marshmallows, hot cocoa mix (homemade or not), of course the book, and even a blanket throw or some kind of sleep shirt.  People love to get something that people make or assemble themselves.

Creative Cold Hard Cash and Gift Cards: There is nothing wrong with stopping on your way to the party and getting a gift card or even just putting some cash in an envelope.  We’ve all been that person.  And nobody will complain if that is the gift they receive in the end.  But one could be a little creative with it.  My Dad once gave me money for Christmas and it was all in $2 bills.  It would take a little planning and maybe a phone call to the bank, but it could be done.  Of course hiding a gift card or cash inside of a really big wrapped box taped inside the bottom throws people off.  To get a little more creative with that you could include a brick or a big lump of coal and tape the card to the bottom of it in the box.  There are lots of jar ideas that you could hide it inside of too.  Maybe a jar of holiday candy like candy canes or holiday M&Ms, gumballs, or holiday Hershey kisses.  Just load up the jar, put the money or card inside of a plastic baggie or something and then wedge it in.  It might be fun to not say a word…..and see how long it takes before the lucky present winner finds their bonus!  Gift cards are really fun. It is fun to see what people will fight for.  I’ve seen of course Starbucks cards, those are very popular.  I’ve seen gas cards, ice cream cards, and even Home Depot cards be fought over.  So next time you are at one of those stores, buy a few to keep around for your holiday parties, and you will be set.

Gifts that will cause a Giggle: These are always fun at a White Elephant Exchange party.  Sometimes they get a big groan.  Sometimes they are worth stealing!  I’ve seen all kinds of things from bacon flavored toothpaste, soap and bubblegum, to hairy pantyhose, and clown glasses.  I’ve seen silly putty to “Flarp” noise putty and whoopie cushions.  Even photo props like Santa hats and mustasches on sticks can be fun. Boxes of kids bandaids, big mama underwear, wasabi lip balm, and giant, and I mean giant candycanes are fun.  I’ve seen rubber duckies, even decorate your own rubber duckie kits, reindeer antlers, halloween wigs, and I even once saw one of those beta fish that come in a cup!  Just wander around, there are so many things that might cause a laugh, even a purple santa hat might do it! 😉 There are lots of places to look for ideas, one I still like is Spencers at the mall or online.

Recycled Items: This can be interpreted in two ways.  It could mean something like “regifting” something you got last year at another gift exchange or from your Mother-in-law.  Or it could mean giving some item that might be destined for the trash a “recycled” life. I’ve been known to bring the dud gift when I’ve forgotten to prepare ahead of time.   That could mean that I run around my house finding anything……..could be something sitting on the shelf that who knows how I’ve obtained.  I once had what I thought was a hideous figurine that someone at the party thought was marvelous and was a collector of.  I’ve brought a six pack of beer that was sitting in the fridge that I would never get around to drinking.  I’ve seen big 3 wick candles that were already burnt.  There is always the fun of bringing the “dud” gift from last year to the same party and listen to the giggles when it is pulled out once again.  It is fun to see those show up again and again year after year.  It could be that you fill up an empty cereal box with lemons or a small mint box with old nuts and bolts that don’t go to anything.  There are endless possiblities.

Lots of ideas….I can hardly wait for White Elephant Party season to start this year.  So which white elephant gift exchange idea worth stealing for are you going to bring?!  If you have some good ideas we’d love to hear them!