Tag Archive for: holiday gift giving

Holiday Technology Tools

  holiday tech tools



The holiday buzz starts early! In October and November is the time to get started on our holiday preparations.  Not only do we need the time, it is tons of fun to stretch out the holiday spirit.  Why not add some new tools to your holiday preparations?  Get ahead this year with your holiday planning using holiday technology.  Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, I am surrounded (virtually) by amazing women entrepreneurs and bloggers.  I asked them to share what works best!


I use evite to organize all the gatherings for the end of the year holidays.  From guests, who will come or not, what to bring, attire and super cute templates, I just love this online tool year-round. I also love Shutterfly’s shared websites to organize the kids’ classroom parties. Once you create the event you can add a sign-up list of what to bring, and afterwards we all share our favorite pictures.  Having fun just got a lot easier with these tools!

 Helena Alkhas







Think about unplugging for a couple days during the holidays.  Use your technology to plan better, such as google calendar.   Automate as much as you can with holiday cards and automatic payments.    

Laura Rolands




Managing the way I read the news and any other topics I’m interested has changed dramatically thanks to my favorite tool – Flipboard.  It makes every story into a beautiful magazine-like page that can be ‘flipped’ through. Personally,  I love flipping through: news, art, culture, travel, style and lifestyle topics to name a few.  

Geralin Thomas







I use a binder designated Holidays and fill it with lists for cards, crafts, gifts, meals and recipes.  These are all printed from ListPlanIt, of course! 

Jen Tankersley






My favorite Holiday Tech Tool is SendOutCards. http://www.sendoutcards.com/11788.  I used to spend hours writing personal messages, stuffing, addressing and stamping envelopes for my Christmas cards. Every year, to try to save time, the list would get shorter and shorter. Then I found SendOutCards. I now send over 300 greetings, each with a personal message, in a fraction of the time. It allows me to send my love and well wishes in a big way.  

Stephanie LH Calahan – Business Vision Catalyst





During the holidays, I do much of my shopping online to avoid mall rage. (Closely related to road rage, but without vehicles.) I never shop for anything without first checking www.retailmenot.com to see if there are coupon codes for that site. I’ve saved on everything from ordering pizza to photos. Then I log into www.ebates.com where I get paid cash back to shop! The amount varies per store, per day but when I combine those two, I’ve saved sometimes up to 25% in discounts and getting cash back. Don’t shop online without these tools!

Kirsten Oliphant

@kikimojo (twitter, instagram, Pinterest)


Managing holiday music has never been easier with Pandora radio. It is an option for the smart phone or computer.  At www.pandora.com, you choose free music to play, choosing by artist or genre.  It creates “stations” with various artists. The most amazing aspect is the “mix” Pandora radio creates with your station.  The variety of artists is unlimited too! 

Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap






Join me for more holiday tips on pinterest  Happy Holidays.

Don’t miss out on upcoming organizing tips and techniques! Click here to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.


Clutter Free Holiday Gifts


clutter free holiday gifts


Celebrate the season with new  meaning!  There is something powerful about the holiday season and gift giving.  View this site the advent conspiracy and see if you agree!  Clutter free holiday gifts are a great way to share experiences, not stuff.



At this time of year we can teach our children about sharing by how we give gifts. We can unburden others by sharing in a new way.  Clutter free gifts can include savings bonds,  gift cards for gas or groceries, spa and pampering gifts, museum membership, entertainment tickets to local symphony or Broadway show, movie and a dinner, cooking, fishing or painting lessons, itunes or Starbucks gift cards, or any item that is consumable.


Non-profit gift giving is an alternative too!   Give the gift your friend is passionate about by supporting a worthy cause. Consider a cash donation to a charity in honor of the recipient such as cancer research, green living, or supporting underprivileged families.  You can find these by reviewing www.charitynavigator.org.


A gift always means more when you give the gift of yourself.  Join a friend at an art class, yoga session, book club, or a scrapbooking class.  Babysit for friends, nieces, nephews and grandchildren.  Take a child to lunch, on a day trip, to the museum/zoo, or to a sports event.  You can also make coupon book for those special and every day treats with things you know your partner would enjoy from the practical to the whimsical, such as a back rub, doing the dishes for a week, making a candlelight dinner, grocery shopping or packing a picnic.


Other ideas for sharing the fun include a pirate swap or  “Secret Santa”.   The pirate swap is passing out numbers from 1 to whatever for the number of people at the event.  Number 1 picks a wrapped gift, number 2 can pick a gift or steal the unwrapped one from Number 1.  With the Secret Santa you pick a name from a hat with all the adults in your family establishing a limit for the gift’s expense.   Gifts can be goofy, practical, or holiday themed.  One client hosts her swap just like Oprah’s Favorite Things show.   Guests bring their “favorite” beauty item including lip gloss, face cream or other product and have a swap.


Virtual gifts are easy to make too! Create a family cookbook and give it on a flash drive to family members.  Our family created a family cookbook last year to share within our family and with family friends.  We use it constantly during the year to find frequently made foods.   There are also many online scrapbooks to create with family photos as well.  Check out  http://www.smilebox.com/scrapbooks.html.  Family photos can be shared and cherished in a new way this way.


Keep the meaning in your holiday this year.  It is not about the perfect gift, it is about connecting with those  who are dear.   Where are you on the clutter free continuum?  Start something new this holiday with clutter free gifts.


Join the holiday fun on my Facebook page.

Holiday Traditions

The joy of the season is in sharing our time with family and friends. Here are some simple ways to  create special holiday traditions and share the fun of the season

Set a time to cook your family favorites together. One family has a traditional pierogie recipe that they make together 2 weeks before Christmas.  It takes all day and they spend it together.

Set a family holiday gathering time that is NOT Christmas Eve or Day. Calendar a time, such as the 2nd Saturday of December or December 26, to gather together. This eliminates stress on the holiday itself and helps families feel they can be at home for the holiday.

Instead of  buying individual family gifts, host a White Elephant Swap with ornaments, holiday decor, or crazy funny gifts. Include a purchase price limit that is affordable for all family members.  Not only is the game fun, this is a budget friendly way to share just a little something for the holidays.

Purchase only stocking stuffer gifts for your family.  Small functional items such as flash lights, gift cards or chapstick, can be great gifts and require no gift wrap. 

Host a decorating or gift wrapping party!  Have all your family members decorate a different room,   wrap presents together for other family members, or help with the outdoor lights.  Set the music up high, serve some holiday cookies and you are all set!

Want to spend a girls night in?  Host a “girls’ favorite things” party. Just like on Oprah, everyone brings their one favorite thing, from lipstick to gloves.  Attendees wrap their item in a brown bag and they swap items.   What a great idea for a low stress gathering of the girls!

Starting new traditions makes the holidays even more merry and bright.  What family traditions are a special part of your holiday?

Start a new holiday tradition: Clutter free gifts

clutter free gifts


Each year we really want our holidays to be special.  Purchasing just the right gift, being sure it arrives on time, wrapping it, and budgeting for all the gifts can all be overwhelming, paralyzing and most especially not in the spirit of the season.  Is it time to rethink gift giving and simplify?  Start a new holiday tradition with clutter free gifts for your family and friends.

Our family is moving to the next step of gift giving. We are going to share in the fun of creating our Delap Family Cookbook. Everyone contributes recipes for this.  We  will print it and share it with the spirit of the season.

For our grands, we are giving memberships to the Houston Children’s Museum   www.cmhouston.org  and Houston Zoo  www.houstonzoo.org.  It is all about the experiences we will share as we go together to these places.

So here are some other conscious consumerism ideas. What creative and fun ideas will your family share this holiday?






Make some yummy treats to share with your friends and family too!

Ellen’s Banana Bread




½ c oil

1 ½ c sugar

1 t salt

1t baking soda

4 T milk

2 beaten eggs

3 very  ripe bananas mashed

2 c flour



Mix all together n electric mixer in the order given. Bake in 2 loaf pans sprayed with Baker’s Joy.   Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Freezes well!