WINTER IS COMING!!!! And if you just want to get away for it, why not book a Christmas holiday and give yourself a little bit of rest and relaxation? For those of us who live in the... shittier climates... sometimes a change of scenery during the dark season is just the ticket to ward off those winter blues.
If you are, in the words of Harry Nilsson,
Going where the sun keeps shining
Through the pouring rain
Going where the weather suits my clothes
Then grab your favourite Christmas shirt and check out some of the best sun holidays money can buy. Your holiday doesn’t have to be expensive either. Here are some of the best warm and sunny places to be during Christmas.
You can book yourself a fantastic deal at a resort in the Caribbean. Often times the rates are lower to entice more people to come, especially during the holiday season. Not only will you be booking at a lower price, the trip itself will be financially reasonable since many resorts are usually all-inclusive.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Another beautiful tropical destination, Punta Cana has all you want in their majestic and luxurious all-inclusive resorts. Plus the beaches for these resorts are much more secluded and quieter since only resort members are allowed on sight. The best time to book your trip is in November when prices drop on average $100 per night.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Known to be a popular tourist attraction, this is a great place to spend your holidays. The resorts are considered authentic and also very safe, making it ideal for families to go. The weather is perfect during Christmas time and even chain hotels have reduced prices compared to peak times.
Montego Bay, Jamaica.
This island has weather similar to that of Mexico during the holiday season which makes it another ideal candidate for a holiday vacation. Montego Bay is not only beautiful, but it is also where the main airport is, which makes it a better option if you want to stay close. It’s best to look for resort package deal early since they do sell fast because of low prices.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
Another place known for its resort life. Located along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, you are bound to enjoy beautiful sunny weather even in later December or early January. Tamarindo is a great tourist place filled with culture and history in the Guanacaste province. You also have volcanos and national parks you can visit as well to take in the entire beauty of the place.
Caye Caulker, Belize.
Not as tourist friendly but much quieter. This is a great place to go if you want to snorkeling or spend long hours on the beautiful sandy beaches. This place is a little pricier compared to some of the other locations listed. Many resorts start at about $200 a night.
Sometimes you just want to take a break for the holidays. Why not book a vacation with your family (or solo) and take a break from the norm and experience the festive season from a different cultural perspective? All your friends will be green with envy from the great tan you got laying on those beautiful beaches.
Whatever it is you decide, remember to do Baz Luhrmann proud and... pack your feckin' sunscreen!
You know what time it is… it’s quality time with the in-laws during Christmas! Let that sink in for a moment…
It may seem like an impossible dream, but you CAN survive Christmas with your better half's family. While being criticized or critiqued by your partner’s parents is not the way you want to spend the holidays, sometimes it’s required. Instead of brooding, a great way to survive your pending Christmas trip is to come with a positive attitude and lesser expectations. So put on your favourite Christmas shirt and cheer up!
Don’t argue with your in-laws to win a point.
You may not see eye to eye with your spouse’s parents and that’s all right. Instead of arguing with them on a point you may not agree with it, pick your battles. Don’t agitate the situation more by feeling you need to express how much you disagree with their political views. It just causes friction and is not flattering to your image at all.
Don’t pick fights with your spouse.
The last thing you want to do is fight with your partner in crime before you even get to your destination. Remember that you are on the same team and if things get pushed too far, your spouse will stick up for you.
Ever think you may be the one creating all the tension and stress because of your attitude? If you go into the visit with a negative mindset, negative things are most likely to occur. So look at that glass of eggnog as half full instead of half empty. You may be surprised at how different the situation can play out.
Don’t be antisocial.
Your in-laws will look at you unfavorably if you decide to be a wallflower or uninvolved. It displays disinterest and that you are not having a good time (and you are supposed to be having an excellent time). If you are unsure as to how to get yourself involved, ask for help from your partner. This may mean that he/she will tell a funny story about the two of you or invite you to speak about your newest hobby. Be creative and see where it goes. The worst that can happen is that you move on to a new topic.
Cooking for a family takes a lot of effort and time and frankly can be extremely exhausting. At least offer to help out. You are technically apart of the family. Regardless of how small the chore is, your in-laws will take note you are helping them, which can earn you points in their favour.
Your holiday visit to your in-laws doesn’t have to end in tragedy. Go in with a positive mind-set and no expectations and see where it takes you. It may not be everything you want or expect but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or pleasant. Have fun and may all your troubles be out of sight.
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your Christmas decorating. Sure you have to be little frugal with your choices but it also means you can be creative as well. Here are some tips and neat tricks for holiday decorating on a budget.
Stick with a certain theme.
Reflect and think about the theme or colour scheme you want your decorations to be. Once you lay the foundation of the theme you are already ahead of the game. By planning ahead you eliminate the chances of you spending unnecessary money.
Don’t be afraid of mixing old and new decorations together.
If you have decorations from previous years you would love to use again, by all means do so! No one is stopping you. If the older decorations fit with the current theme you have, they would make a great addition and help you save a bit of money.
Set a firm budget.
One of the errors people do about a budget is not sticking according to plan. So decide what the limit is and stick with it. Keep all your receipts and continue to add whatever new additions to the overall total. If you find yourself getting close to the limit, you’ll need to decide and eliminate any excess decorations you don’t need. Your wallet will thank you for it.
Make a wreath out of gift bows.
If you have a bunch of gift bows you can get creative by making a bow wreath. All you need is a Styrofoam circle, hot glue gun, and a bunch of gift bows in different colors. Make various sizes to place them in different parts of the house.
Sometimes less is more.
You don’t want to overwhelm your home or guests with decorations so sometimes less is more. Doing things such as stringing multi-colored lights around the room can make it feel festive.
Remember to incorporate your centerpieces.
Do you have a beautiful bowl in the middle of your dining room table or on your coffee table? Why not use it for your holiday decorating. You can make it more Christmas-like by placing festive looking pinecones in it. The pinecones are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at the craft store. You can add a bit more flair by spray painting them gold.
Make a card wall.
Instead of leaving all your Christmas cards in a pile, section off a part of your wall and hang the cards there. Not only will it be a piece of art, it’s a great way to showcase the thoughtful messages from your family and friends. You can do this with the current Christmas cards you have or with previous ones you just could not let go of.
Decorating on a budget does not have to be boring or frustrating. It can take a little more planning, especially if you are trying to stick to a certain price threshold. However, you can still have fun and beautifully decorate your home to make it festive and cheery!
Sometimes even those of us who have a ton of Christmas spirit can even fizzle out. The obligations of seeing family and friends along with other tasks like shopping, card mailing, and cooking can send anyone into a tizzy. Just when you think you’ve had enough, another invitation comes in the mail or worse, you get a phone call from the in-laws that they are coming over a day early. While some things are inevitable, you should let it ruin your holiday spirit! If you find your Christmas spirit fading fast, we have some ways to help alleviate the Christmas burnout you may be experiencing.
Choose what your priorities are.
We all know we can’t do everything we want. So make sure to streamline your priorities. Figure out what you really want to do and take it from there. The quickest way to set yourself up for a holiday burnout is to spread yourself too thin. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, it’s time to sit and look over all the things you have to do and cross out the ones you don’t need or really want to do.
Don’t do everything yourself.
If you are married, ask your partner for his/her help. We all think we can do it all but ultimately trying to do everything ourselves leaves us running on empty. Instead, delegate tasks to your spouse or even to family and friends.
Be careful to not overcommit.
The last thing you want to do is overcommit yourself. Remember you don’t have to attend every party you get invited to. If you feel bad for not attending every party, make sure to send a thank you note for the invitation. If you try to go to all these parties, you’ll get up like this cat.
Spend some time alone.
Sometimes you just need a little bit of rest and relaxation from all the holiday hustle and bustle. So make sure to segment some time where you can have some “me” time and do whatever you want…as long as it not more holiday chores! Your mind and body will thank you.
Communicate with your family about your plans.
Often times, things do not go according to plan because no one communicates with each other. Instead, be direct and tell you family exactly what you expect or want to do. This can eliminate unexpected surprises. If they try to guilt you about being honest, talk to them about their emotions and explain why you want things a certain way.
Get your shopping done early.
Want an easy way to avoid burnout and unwanted stress? Do all your shopping early to get it done and out of the way. You don’t want to deal with the hassle of crowded malls and last minute gifts. If you prefer to not deal with the mall at all, there’s always online shopping as well.
You don’t have to get burnt out during the holidays. Just make sure to not stress out if you can’t accomplish everything on your list. We hope you keep your holiday spirit burning bright as ever!
If you are involved in a Secret Santa gift giving event at work, you may be stumped as to what to get the person you are assigned. While Secret Santa’s are a great way for you to get into the spirit of the holidays, it can be stressful to find a gift for someone you don’t know that well. Don’t worry! We have some tips on how to find the perfect gift for your Secret Santa.
Purchase a practical item.
This is probably your safest bet. Get something the person can use, whether it’s something in the office or a nifty gadget they can tinker with at home.
Get something that has to do with their favourite series or movie.
Chances are you know some of the general information about the person. A great gift idea is to get some memorabilia that has to do with their favorite television series or films. Or if you know the person is really into seeing the latest films, why not give them a gift certificate to the movies?
Ask around the office about their past.
Sometimes the smallest gift and gesture commemorating a moment or past experience can be more touching than any other pricey gift.
Look to their desk or office space for ideas.
Chances are there are plenty of gift ideas already around the person’s work space. Is there a particular picture the person loves? Why not make it a gorgeous canvas print? Even if you don’t know the person that well, you can still get them a touching gift.
Give them a gift where they can learn something.
Maybe you overheard they wanted to take cooking classes or learn to play an instrument. If the budget allows, why not buy them some classes? You’ll be giving them something they wanted along with the gift of learning.
Get them something tasty.
Don’t get something cliché or typical like an average box of chocolate. Is there a confectionary by you? Make a sample box of their top treats and give it as a gift. Or is there a pastry shop with petite pastries to die for? You want their gift to be memorable and delicious.
If the person has everything they need or you are completely stumped, make a donation in their name to their favourite charity.
Sometimes you just don’t know what to get and that’s all right. Why not give a donation to a reputable charity? You can make the gift even more special with creative wrapping.
Or you can make your own gift.
Are you crafty? Has the person commented about your talent? Why not make them something? Not only will it include a bit of yourself, it will also be unique and a one of a kind gift that no one else will have.
Secret Santa events do not have to be stressful. Have fun and be creative and see where the journey takes you. You never know, you may come up with something totally unexpected!