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The Hows and Whys of Holiday Tipping

Christmas Comes But Once a Year by Charles GreenHoliday tips have been controversial since they were introduced into the U.S. in the 1930s and 40s. While you should never feel obliged to give a gift, holiday tipping is an important way to show your appreciation to the people in your life who work hard to make your days a little bit easier. After all, a holiday tip is really a “thank you” for a year of good service. Experimental Wifery explains who to tip, what to tip, and how to tip if your budget isn’t up to the expense. Read the rest of this entry

How to Build Your Own Holiday Traditions

When you’re living away from home, and especially if you’ve started a new family, setting up your own holiday traditions can be a special challenge. If you’re married, you want to honor customs from both of your birth families but come up with something special for your the family you now share. If you’re single, you want to adapt your family’s customs to fit your new lifestyle and community. Read the rest of this entry

Can’t Wait for Christmas? 8 Holidays to Celebrate before December 25

Christmas is a “season” in many Christian churches that lasts, not from the beginning of November until Christmas day, but from Christmas Day until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. In those Christian traditions, the weeks leading up to Christmas are part of Advent, a period of fasting and reflection in preparation for the holiday. Read the rest of this entry

Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

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Like most exciting holidays where we give and receive, Halloween is a tempting time to get so caught up in the occasion we forget our manners. But Halloween has rules of etiquette all its own for candy-givers and trick-or-treaters.

Giving out candy

  • Before sunset, be sure to clear the path to your door of anything that might be hazardous in the dark—electrical cords, wet leaves, bikes, and skateboards can create quite an obstacle course when trick-or-treaters can’t see.
  • Read the rest of this entry

The Examined Life

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Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. His advice still resonates today. It’s so easy to get caught up in a routine, even if those routines make us feel isolated, unwell, or unhappy. Developing a habit of thinking about our course as a person or as a family can help us dramatically improve our lives by making us more reflective and more thoughtful people. Read the rest of this entry

A Cozier Home for Winter in Seven Easy Steps

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Even though most of us have only just started to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and the cooler weather, now is the time to start thinking about making your home warm and cozy for your friends and family. These seven easy steps will keep you and those you care about safe and snug all winter. Read the rest of this entry

How to Sterilize Your Home after an Illness

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Even days after our son, Thomas, stopped showing symptoms of a recent bout of stomach illness, people who came into contact with him started dropping like flies. First, Adam and me (I even landed myself in the emergency room!), then Thomas’ grandfather and both of his grandmothers, Thomas’ godmother, and three family friends. My best efforts to keep a clean home clearly weren’t up to the challenge of this persistent virus. So with a little research, I made a check list for how to get my family healthy and stop spreading our illnesses to the people we care about. Read the rest of this entry