This is a great idea if you have a group of about 10 or
more people. Especially if you need to be careful of expenses this time
of year. Each person brings a gift that would be suitable for anyone...
male or female. A mininum amount for gift is given. We set it at $20 since
you only buy one gift. A couple of things that went over great were gift
certificates and an electronic dart board. When all gifts are under the
tree each gift is then numbered 1 thru the amount of gifts you have.
Then the same amount of numbers are put in a bowl (1-?) and each person
draws a number. Their number will match a number under the tree. The person
who has #1 goes first; locates the present numbered #1 and opens it.
Then the person who has #2 can either open the present numbered #2... or
"steal" the present from #1. Then it's #3's turn. Either "steal"
the present from #1 or #2, or open the present numbered 3. This continues
until each person has a gift. At that time, the person who drew #1 will
get the chance to either keep their gift or "steal" a gift from anyone
else. You can also set a limit on how many times a gift can be "stolen"
if you choose. (More fun that way) Our limit was that a gift could only
be "stolen" 3 times and we had a group of about 16 people. HAPPY GIFT GIVING!!
With a house full of teenagers with opposite interests
AND low on finances, I am always looking for ways to make less look and
feel like MORE. As a family, we all enjoy games so often times
I make a scavenger hunt part of the gift giving process. For instance
I might wrap a jar of jam, a plastic toe, and an arrow. Christopher
would then need to figure out that his real present was a game called Tojamminaro
(Toe+ Jam + Arrow) or instead of wrapping a box game which he could easily
guess - -I would just wrap the instructions and have him hunt for more
clues to find the real present hidden in the clothes washer. Also,
I have taken a flannel shirt and put money in the pockets, sleeves etc.
for an unexpected surprise hidden in an seemingly ordinary gift. Last year,
the family didn't really like the game I had planned - but your family
might. There were several household items that I needed - -cheese
slicer, nutcracker, potato peeler etc. I creatively wrapped these
items and everyone gets to choose one of the wrapped gifts. The order
of choice is determined by the throw of the dice. Once everyone
has a gift...they are advised that one of the gifts has a $20 bill hidden
inside the package. Some of the gifts have dollar bills, or $5. or
$10 - - the idea is that everyone will get money -- but not everyone will
get the $20 bill. The dice is thrown again - -and the highest
gets to then trade their gift with someone else - - or exchange their gift
for the extra present in the middle. Last year I was secretly glad
when no one wanted the hidden $20 gift and it was discarded - -that meant
that I got the $20!!! Maybe that was why my family didn't like the
game??? Haven't figured out what we are going to this year -- and
tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Happy Holidays to all..and I hope this gives
you some ideas of how to add some light hearted fun. Kirk
Use coffee cup hooks to hang outside lights above wooden
window frames. With just a little pressure they will work their way into
the wood with little or no damage, mr wadding
To make your own Christmas tags just take old Christmas
cards and some pinking shears and cut out the pretty parts of the card.
How to Photograph Holiday Lights
'Tis the season to be jolly! The season of lights - from Christmas trees to Hannukah candles to decorative house lighting. Lights...lights...lights to cheer up the long dark nights of winter. According to the New York Institute of Photography (NYI), the world's largest photography school, your pictures can capture the magic of this lighting if you apply just one simple professional "trick."
For example, how can your pictures capture the colorful glow of the lights on a Christmas tree? The "trick," according to NYI, is to turn off your camera's strobe! That's the key: Turn off your strobe. Because otherwise the bright strobe light will overwhelm the subtle tree lights in your picture. Similarly, NYI recommends that you turn off your strobe whenever you want to capture any subtle light source - from Christmas trees to Menorah candles to decorative house lighting to those wonderful tree outlines produced by tiny white bulbs.
Of course, certain things follow from this: When you turn off your strobe, you won't have enough light for split-second exposure. Your automatic camera will compensate by opening the shutter for a longer time - maybe a second or longer. Let your camera's built-in meter decide automatically.
But a very long exposure will become blurry if either the camera moves or the tree-lights move, or both. To minimize this risk, NYI recommends two further steps: First, use fast film - for example, ISO 800. This will cut down the duration of the exposure. Second, steady your camera. Handholding just won't do. Use a tripod if possible. If not, place the camera on a solid surface, such as a tabletop, or brace it against a wall.
"Reprinted with permisssion from the New York Institute of Photography website.