The Zeitgeist Blog

Zeitgeist's Tips to Ease the Holidays!

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Hi guys, Julia here! As the winter holidays are some of the most anticipated times of year, I have been looking for many ways to prepare, but keep on my effective schedule. However, with the snow falling, children bursting with Santa excitement, family in town, and tons of holiday gatherings with delicious food, it can be difficult to stay sane.
Don't fuss. Take it easy, use all the help you can get and still stick with your routine. With all of this activity going on, are you ready? Use some of my favorite tips to avoid stress and be prepared this season.

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Stay stress-free this holiday with all the help you can get

Each year, my family trades off hosting our annual Christmas Eve party to ease the stress of having loads of people over. Use this awesome holiday-themed app called Santa’s Bag that gives you a countdown, helps you track your budget and stay organized with gift giving. Gather up your children as elves and have them help you with organizing
and planning meals, decorations and gifts!

Try to make some holiday favorites healthy

Every family has those food traditions over the holidays. Whether it be baking cookies or that Christmas roast, there is always room for improvement. Try to make your cookies on the healthier side: use coconut or almond milk instead of dairy milk. Try to find other alternatives for your flour and sugar, so they’re less processed and more healthy. Experiment with plant-based recipes and try to make a new tradition your family will love! Get inspired with these new options from Eating Well. With the holidays being heavy on sugar and carbs, do your best to make this time of year a healthier holidays. Check out better cookie recipes here and others using almond milk.

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Discover stocking stuffers that won’t break the bank

Here at Zeitgeist Gifts, we know that getting quirky gifts for those who have everything can be difficult. What about some funky wine stoppers, unique candles, paper watches or cookie cutters? Discover something special in our Gifts Under $10. Order a bunch of different items and create your own gift basket for friend who just moved or workmate who loves cooking!

Plan a white elephant exchange to avoid stress on gift ideas

There are many forms of a white elephant gift exchange that are practiced in the United States. A good friend of mine told me how they celebrated here in the US:
Once we all turned 18, we were allowed to join the gift exchange with our aunts and uncles, and it is an ongoing tradition that we practice every year. We each bring a gender neutral gift that is worth around $50. When we get together on the night of Christmas Eve, we all choose a number 1 through however many people brought a gift. We put all of the gifts in the middle of the room and number 1 chooses a gift. Number 2 can either steal the gift from number 1 or choose a gift from the pile. If number 2 chooses to steal, number 1 will have to go back into the pile and choose again. It’s best if you get the last number, because then you can see all of the gifts and choose the best one! The white elephant is an amazing way to bring everyone together and at least have one gift when leaving your party!

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Secret Santa

Secret Santa is another common tradition in the US, and is a fun and secretive way to give someone a special gift. You basically write all participant's names on a piece of paper and everyone goes around picking a name. Once you’ve chosen your person, you have a few weeks to think of the perfect gift and leave it on their desk (if at work), or bring it to your holiday party. View some of our gifts for under $20 that you could use in either a white elephant or secret santa exchange, depending on your budget.

Advent, Advent!

Buy or create your very own Advent Calendar to countdown the days until Christmas!
Advent is a big tradition in Germany and it still reminds me of my childhood. Some advent calendars have little goodies and toys for children, or chocolate for you! Advent calendars can be for any type of person and any family! Find the right one for you and celebrate this holiday with some of your favorite things! At Zeitgeist, we have an stylish advents calendar, perfect for a modern home. Best part is that you can reuse it each year and continue the tradition. This will definitely get your child excited for the countdown!

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The holidays can be a bit stressful for many, but once it’s all over, you’re already counting down the days until next year! Create new traditions, make your own gifts, and help make this year’s Christmas one you and your family will never forget!
Cheers, Julia

6 Amazing Tips to Survive the Holidays!

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The holidays should not be survived, they should be enjoyed! It's true that there's a lot going on in the months of November and December, but you shouldn't spend them counting down the days until January. Enjoy the season! We're all busy and we enjoy being busy! If you're privy to the Zeitgeist-lifestyle (and I know you are), then you can multitask with the best. Don't let the holidays tip you over the edge! Consider these tips for surviving the holidays and you'll have time for every tradition this holiday season.

1) Use Apps to Stay Organized!

Embrace 2015 and all of its technology goodies, it'll help you stay organized this holiday season. There are a number of apps available to help you keep track of who is left to buy for on your list, how much you've budgeted to spend on them, and whether or not their gift has been wrapped. Check out the app "Santa's Bag" for the ultimate organization help when it comes to gift-giving.

2) Don't Stress About the Unhealthy Food!

It's true, the holidays will make you pack on the pounds if you're not careful. So be careful! Gingerbread cookies, baked ham, egg nog, and candy canes should all be enjoyed. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Plan ahead of time. Give yourself a few key cheat days during the season where you can eat whatever you want. You'll look forward to those days and you'll be more likely to eat healthy on the other days in preparation.

3) Volunteer!

Nothing puts the consumer-heavy holidays in perspective like volunteering. Try a local food drive or soup kitchen. It'll help you appreciate the true meaning of the season. Plus, the people you help will be so grateful for your services that it’ll really make the holidays extra special.

4) Ask for Help When You Need It!

So you're hosting a party, running the school's Christmas pageant, and buying gifts for 20+ people and you're thinking you can do it all on your own? Ask for help! Nothing kills the Christmas spirit faster than stress. Have some close friends stop by to help with party prep. Change the menu to a potluck, and implement a Secret Santa gift exchange instead of buying each person a present. There's no need to take it all on yourself, people are happy to help!

5) Enjoy the Baking!

Baking Christmas cookies should be about the experience, they don't need to be gourmet. Yes, you may have your great-great-aunt's famous recipe for Snickerdoodles in hand, but don't feel bad if you don't have time to make cookies entirely from scratch. Depending on your expertise and amount of free time, a box cake or premade cookie dough is fine. You can still make it your own with fun toppings or decorations!

6) Get Creative with Decorating Hacks!

2015 has been the year of hacks! Whether on Pinterest, Facebook or YouTube, there are tons of creative minds coming up with small ways to make our lives easier (such as using a plastic bottle to suck out egg yolks when separating them from the whites, or using a tie-hanger to store your tank-tops). The same is true for decorating—things like turning your festive cookie cutters into ornaments, turning muffin trays into advent calendars, or using photos to make a Christmas tree garland. The possibilities are endless. There are countless ways to cut corners without losing any of the holiday cheer!

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