Caught in the Web

'Tis the Season to be Surfing

The World Wide Web is a virtual world full of holiday hints and festive fun!

by Laura Emery, Field Editor


It’s All About the Kids


This is a great, interactive holiday website for children of all ages. With animated graphics and corresponding sounds, there are 10 different areas of interest for kids. They include: Village, Workshop, Santa’s Den, Weather Station, Toy Shop, Mailroom, Clubhouse, Reindeer Barn, Kitchen, and Elf Pal Academy. In the Reindeer Barn, your child can click on animated graphics within the barn scene to go on different adventures. These adventures include reading holiday stories, or having an elf read the story out loud. You can even submit basic information about your children and have printable, personalized stories created for them. At the Elf Pal Academy, you and your children can play educational activities (math riddles, learning letters, concentration, sound recognition, mazes, flashcards, word search, etc.) that combine learning with colorful artwork. In the kitchen, you can take a peek inside Mrs. Claus’ cookbook for delicious cookie, cake, pie, candy, and bread recipes. Or, kids can chat with Santa’s elves, Bonnie and Bif, through ElfChat, and send holiday cards to their friends, family, and teachers.


Holiday Safety


Each year, 1,650 individuals, on average, are injured during fires occurring around the holiday season. These fires cause over $990 million in damage. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. This website has a number of valuable fire safety and prevention tips worth reading.


A Canine Christmas


Don’t find yourself enjoying your holiday with your family, only to look down and see your beloved pet giving you his or her most heart-tugging puppy-dog eyes, the look that could melt even the coldest heart. There are websites out there focusing on Christmas gift ideas for children of every age, but what about those special canine companions? They don’t necessarily have to settle for a cold bone on Christmas morning, because this website offers plenty of great ideas for making sure your pets have a special Christmas, too.


From the Heart, Not the Wallet


If you have to go cheap this year, this is the way to do it! This website has a list of brilliant ways to be frugal, while still honoring the spirit of the holiday with humor and cheer.


Here are eight great, inexpensive gifts and corresponding notes to be lovingly attached.

1) Plate of homemade cookies: “Wishing you a wonderful holiday, from your ‘crummy’ neighbors!” 2) Loaf of bread: “For being there when you were ‘kneaded,’ for ‘rising’ to the occasion, large or small. No matter how you ‘slice’ it, you do a terrific job loving others — and we love you!” 3) Snickers Candy Bar — “Don’t ‘snicker’ — just be glad you got something!” 4) Jar of homemade jam — “Hoping your Christmas is jam-packed with cheer!” 5) Gourmet pasta with a bow and wooden pasta spoon — “Have a ‘pasta-tively’ happy holiday!” 6) Candle (in holiday color or scent) — “Best Wishes for a bright and beautiful Holiday Season!” 7) For the teacher in your life, try stuffing Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses in a coffee mug, bag, or box with the following note: “A teacher can’t live by apples alone. She/he needs ‘hugs’ too! Merry Christmas!” 8) Or, give a soup packet with gourmet crackers in mug or soup bowl with the following card: “Wishing you a ‘Souper’ Holiday Season!”


There are hundreds more of these ideas at this website. It’s definitely worth a look! 

In Good Fun


Take a few minutes and look through the posted Christmas-light photos here. Some will awe you; others will make you laugh. The website says it best: “This site is here to show those houses where the residents are likely celebrating a happy holiday, but have no sense of decency in how they choose to celebrate. We will show the garish, the ugly, the weird. For your own sake, and the sake of your neighbors, do not try this at home.”


Bows, Bells, and … Budgets?


Take it from Santa. It is time to make that holiday budget and check it twice. Otherwise, you may wind up with some post-holiday bills that are naughty, and not so nice. ‘Tis the season of holiday gift giving, battling crowded malls, and shoppers blowing their budgets. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. For those of you who dread opening the mail after the holidays, due to the abundance of bills you know you have accumulated — you are not alone. To help keep your holiday bills in check, consider implementing holiday- budgeting techniques and strategies.


“Tablescape” Tutorials


Nothing adds personality and elegance to a table like elegantly folded linens gracing your favorite holiday “tablescape.” When it comes time to plan your holiday meal, you can have all the delectable dishes one could possibly imagine — but you enrich the dining experience even more by having elegantly folded linens inserted into wine glasses, standing alone on plates, or set to the side of plates holding silverware. This website will walk new napkin-folders through the process, and features a variety of napkin designs.



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