Eat, drink and be tacky with your closest friends by hosting an ugly holiday sweater party. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, there's a sweater for you. So hit the thrift store, the attic or one of the online stores and start planning.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Make an impression with your invite
Feature yourself – in your ugly sweater, of course – on a paper or online invitation (both Evite and Paperless Post have a whole section of pre-made options to choose from).
2. Deck the halls
It's not just about the sweater. Raid the dollar store or thrift store for the most garish holiday decorations you can find and go nuts. Wrap your doors and fridge in loud holiday paper and ribbon, transform a room with tinsel and don't forget the bathroom. Remember, you're aiming for over-the-top, so items like this fun toilet seat cover are just a start.
3. Give awards
Hand out prizes in different categories, like Loudest Sweater (with jingle bells!), Scariest Sweater and Cutest Sweater. Mini versions of the holiday's tackiest dessert – fruitcake – make great trophies.
4. Go retro with refreshments
Authentic ugly holiday sweaters date back to the '80s (and maybe earlier), so focus on that era for food and drink inspiration: a retro wreath of pigs in blankets, topped with a bow; red and green cups of Jello (with or without holiday spirits) stacked in a Christmas tree-shaped tower; and so on.
5. Holiday pictures
Make a giant frame from cardboard and tin foil, accent it with Christmas lights and mistletoe and you've got an irresistible photo prop to commemorate the evening with. If you happen to have old holiday pictures of you and your family sporting ugly sweaters, be sure to display them.
Do you have the will to party but lack the space? Maybe Santa will bring you a bigger house for the holidays. If he doesn't come through, Melissa Johnson your Local RE/MAX agent can help.
While it won't guarantee them a place at Harvard, having a room or designated space in your home for studying can help kids focus on their homework. Here are a few suggestions for putting together an A+ study space.
1. Brighter room, brighter mind
Lighting is one of the most critical features of a productive study space, especially as night comes early during much of the school year. Add a desk or floor lamp if the room's main light isn't bright enough.
2. A door – that closes
Shut out distractions – such as the sound of dinner being made or younger siblings watching TV – with a solid door that minimizes outside sound. If a door is not possible, foam earplugs, white noise machines or soft background music can help fight encroaching buzz.
3. Banish distractions
Make the room a phone-free zone and if there's a TV, take the remote during study time to reduce temptation.
4. Consider color
The color of the room can affect kids' ability to concentrate. Elementary school-aged kids do best when surrounded by warmer colors, like yellow and peach, while older students focus best with cooler hues, like blues and greens, according to psychological color studies.
5. Clear clutter
Towers of magazines, piles of mail and even baskets of laundry can distract kids from homework. Help them focus by keeping the space, especially the desk, as clutter-free as possible.
6. Talk to an expert – your kid
Perhaps the most important factor in creating a great study space is finding out your child's unique preferences. You might love the expensive ergonomically correct chair, but your kid might find it easier to read for long periods from a giant beanbag on the floor.
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