family-focused gift ideas

  • A Mother's Favorite Ornament

    Have you ever seen photos from the past posted on Facebook on Thursdays with the hashtag #TBT? TBT stands for throw back Thursday, and it's quickly becoming a big trend! It is so much fun to see old pictures of friends and family, and I decided to get in on the fun recently. I pulled out some old photos when the boys were little and even some when I was little. Time slipped away quickly as I couldn't take my eyes off my incredible sons . . . and how I want to do something special with these photos. I'll put some of them up for #TBT, but was looking for a more permanent way to enjoy them.

    photo ornamentIsn't this lovely?! I think this is one Christmas ornament that any mom would have hanging up year round. I was thinking how fun it would be to have some that feature all of my sons, some that feature each son individually, and then some that feature our family together!

    I think what I'd do is make nice black and white or sepia colored copies of the photos, arranged in a collage. If you are looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift OR a Christmas gift for the mom who seems to have everything or never has any suggestions for you, I think you've just found it.

    I know of no mom who wouldn't just adore an ornament/gift like this. Just follow this tutorial, and give your mom something she will defintely, always and forever cherish.

  • Top 5 Gift Ideas Under $20 for EVERYONE!

    Times are rough, but that should stop you from buying your friends, family and loved ones great Christmas gifts. MerryStockings.com suggests these gifts under $20!

    1. Personalized Christmas Stockings. We all know just how great it feels to get personalized Christmas stockings that we can decorate with all around the house, so why not give it to your friends and help them start a tradition?

    We recommend four designs:
    Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Sequined Santa
    Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Toboggan Trio Stocking
    Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Winter Snooze
    Felt Applique Christmas Stocking Kit: Peace Santa

    2. Spiderpodium. Almost every one has an iPod, iPhone, e-book reader and a host of different gadgets, but there is no single way to hold or store them on their desk, in their car, or everywhere else. The Spiderpodium can take care of that.

    3. Plain Classic Brass Christmas Stocking Holder. Christmas stocking holders make it easy and convenient for people to hang their Christmas stockings. This plain classic brass Christmas stocking holder is an elegant and simple piece of art that will delight your recipients!

    4. Solar Powered Mosaic Jar Globe with Jewel Tones. A great way to light up the evenings outdoors, this is one cool and elegant lamp that is both earth-friendly and captivating to the eyes!

    5. Gift Certificates. As much as you would want to choose the perfect gift for everybody, there will always be those people who you can't seem to find a gift for. Don't sweat it! You can always give them a gift certificate that would allow them to choose their gifts for themselves. MerryStockings.com have just recently added gift certificates to its roster of Christmas products, so that you could truly give them the best gift they want!

  • Christmas Around the World: Philippines

    The Philippines has a notably long Christmas season. Unofficially, Christmas in the Philippines start with the "-ber" months, September through December. Indeed, radio stations throughout the country start playing Christmas songs as early as September. Officially, however, the mostly Catholic Filipinos start their holiday season on December 16, with the start of the Misa de Gallo or Morning Masses and ends it on the Epiphany.

    Filipino Christmas Traditions

    The Misa de Gallo or literally, the "rooster's mass" is a nine-day novena wherein Filipinos wake up at dawn to hear mass at church for nine consecutive days, culminating on Christmas eve. This is considered to be the most important Christmas tradition for Filipinos.

    Families also gather together to have a midnight feast on Christmas eve called the noche buena. After this feast, comes the gift giving and opening of presents for some families, while others wait until Christmas morning to do these.

    Christmas parties are also a big part of the Filipino Christmas, with most schools, offices and stores holding their Christmas parties on different nights once December rolls in. These parties are peppered with parlor games, contests, food and sometimes, production numbers prepared by employees or students.

    Christmas carols are usually sung during the Christmas season, with young and old carolers regaling households with their repertoire of Christmas songs. Filipino children go from house to house to regale their occupants with songs. In return, the listeners give them coins, candies and other inexpensive gifts for their efforts.

    Christmas Symbols

    A country of roughly about 75% Catholics and Christians, the Filipinos put special emphasis on the symbolism and importance of Baby Jesus even in its Christmas symbols. A common Christmas decoration is the Belen (nativity scene), which depicts the manger scene with Joseph, Mary, the Baby Jesus and the whole cast of characters like the Three Wise Men, stable animals and angels.

    Another common decoration is the parol, a star-shaped lantern that symbolizes the star of Bethlehem.

    But the Philippines also have Western-inspired decorations. No house in the country celebrates Christmas without a Christmas tree. Friends also exchange holiday cards on top of gifts. Further, every child in the country knows who Santa Claus is. Some carols even have imagery of snow, while some decorations depict snow even if the Philippines does not have snow.

    But Christmas in the Philippines is mostly about family. MerryStockings.com recognizes this. If you want to wow your friends and family in the Philippines, send them truly personalized gifts of you and your family, like these holiday greeting cards or photo ornaments!

  • Top 3 Gift Ideas for Those Who Love Their Families

    Christmas is a time for family.  It is when people from all walks of life try to make time for their children.  It is when college aged kids and older go back home to celebrate with theirs parents and friends.  One highlight of Christmas has always been the opportunity it affords to bring the family in one roof, sharing the moment and the festivities together.

    We all know of people, friends and family who make their families the center of their lives.  It could be our mom who gave up her well paying job to raise us.  It could be a co-worker who holds down two jobs to make ends meet for her brood.  It could be a neighbor, a close friend, or relative.

    Whoever it is, we could make their Christmases a little bit better by these inexpensive gifts that focus on their love for their families.  MerryStockings.com would like to share with you our top 3 family-centered gift ideas that is perfect for this Christmas!

    1. Silhouette Pictures.  This is fairly simple to do and would certainly mean a lot to your recipient.  Just get a picture of their kids, their significant others, their spouse, their pets or even of themselves, then cut out the shape of the head.  Use that cut out as a pattern on a black construction paper.  Then put it on a brightly colored construction paper, frame it and then put a ribbon on it!  This makes the perfect gift for those who value their families or loved ones.

    2. Family Calendar.  How about a Christmas present that would last for the whole of next year and beyond?  Give your recipient a family calendar!  You can get templates and blank calendars for 2011 and spruce it up with their family pictures.  You could reserve a month for those who are having birthdays on that month, or for special occasions like featuring the Mom on the month of May.

    3. Personalized Christmas Ornaments.  Get into the spirit of Christmas by giving them their own personalized Christmas ornaments!  Nothing really perks up the season for them than to help them decorate their tree with their own memories!

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