Happy New Year!!!!!

Friday, December 31, 2010
Best wishes to all for a successful and Happy New Year!!

"Happy New Year!!!"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas Eve "2010"

Thursday, December 30, 2010
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Should I Paint or Read?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Painting workshops in beautiful locations always present challenges.  While it's relaxing to sit in the sun and read a good book, it's also stimulating to paint the enticing scene.  Decisions, decisions!

"Should I Paint or Read?        Kathy Dunham 2010

Italian Hibiscus

Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I'm always fascinated when I find plants native to one part of the world growing profusely in another part.  Like this hibiscus.  It was growing in a small hilltop park above the harbor in Sorrento, Italy. Noted for growing in the tropics, hibiscus can be found in native habitats ranging from Africa, to Argentina, to Jamaica.  Some are even hot-climate varieties. 

"Italian Hibiscus"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Looking Through the Glass

Monday, December 27, 2010
My sister-in-law collects glass balls and I was fascinated with the light as it bounced off and reflected on her collection.  I just love the way she displays them.  Very creative.

"Looking Through the Glass"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Our Pets on Christmas Morning

Tropical Flowers

Sunday, December 26, 2010
Cool weather seems to bring on thoughts of balmy warm places.  For most of us in the U.S., Christmas is always on the cool side. But that doesn't mean we can't dream of a nice tropical climate where we could be wearing shorts and sandals.  These Plumeria have a great home, Bermuda, with a mild tropical climate most of the year.

"Tropical Flowers"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas "2010"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Most of these pic's were taken at my brother's house on the Sunday before Christmas. The collectible bears I had given him a few years ago because I just had to much STUFF to decorate with and I just didn't know where to put them without my animals getting their hair all over them or my dear dog maybe lifting his leg to pee on them....ugh...!! So I knew that they would get a good home at my brother's house and he has sat them around his tree year after year! My brother did all the decorating at his house and he did a very good job. He put up two big trees and two small ones. I loved his little steeler tree. I'll be posting more pictures soon. Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Only in Florida

Friday, December 24, 2010
Where else would you find pink flamingos at Christmas but in Florida.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

"Only in Florida"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas in Gibraltar

Thursday, December 23, 2010
I think this was the scraggliest Santa I've ever seen.  Yes, the hair and beard are real but I think a wig would have looked better.  Being a melting pot of cultures, we saw a little of everything in this tiny British commonwealth.

"Christmas in Gibraltar"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Best Christmas Gift...

Finally, back with a new post after a long gap... As usual, I was busy with stuffs... Anyway, it's Christmas tomorrow!!! Let's end the year with an awesome celebration!!! To add essence, I've come up with my very first Christmas story... I used to write stories quite some time ago... Once I entered college, I never really had enough time to do so... Hence, I decided to grab this opportunity and come up with my very first typed story... It was all hand written before this... I had to do it in a short period of time... Hence, please ignore those grammar or spelling mistakes if there is any... I couldn't afford to spend much time checking out the grammar and so on... Had many important things to do... Anyway, I hope that you would give positive reviews on my story... And one important thing... This story is purely fictional... Any Resemblance to any character, living or dead, places, events or whatsoever is Purely Coincidental...And the images are all from Google Images Search... Hence, the author is not responsible for any damages.... And all rights reserved... This story should not be published in any forms using any kind of medias... And yeah... This story is written in a different way... Hence, you gotta understand this first... in order to understand the story...

The ones in a bolded writing - present events
The ones in a slanting roman itallic writing - the letter content
The ones in an ordinary writing without bold or slanting roman itallic- past events

Now, sit back and enjoy... Lolzzz

The Best Christmas Gift

It was a usual dark, snowy day... Houses and roads were all white... An old couple came to sight..; Mr and Mrs Wilkinson. They’ve been living here for almost 50 years. Their faces were wrinkled and the effects aging had on them were crystal clear... What can you expect from a couple in their eighties?? The couple had 5 children. John was the eldest followed by Jacob, Anna, Mary and Kristina. The Wilkinson family has always been regarded as a rich family. They were the high class citizens of Yorkshire... The aristocrats... As a result, 4 of their kids were successful doctors..; Dr John, Dr Jacob, Dr Mary and Dr Kristina... They moved out of the house once they were married... Mr and Mrs Wilkinson were proud grannies... Yes, they had cute grandchildren... Christmas was just around the corner...

Hence, they were working laboriously in cleaning their house... Gearing themselves up for Christmas... The couple themselves were very excited for the upcoming Christmas... Being in their eighties, they realised that every Christmas matters from now on. They wanted a special gift from Santa... Even their kids had planned a wonderful Christmas this year for their beloved parents... It took them hours to clean up their house because they had not done this in years... The house was quite dusty... Finally, they reached Anna’s room... As it has not been occupied for quite some time, it was in a terrible condition... Spider webs and etc... The couple entered her room and started their task... Mrs Wilkinson mopped the floor while Mr Wilkinson cleared the dust and spider webs... The room had wooden ceiling with many wooden bars... As some of the wooden bars were already damaged, Mr Wilkinson decided to replace the damaged ones... He moved them one by one... All of a sudden, to his surprise, a purple coloured bag fell on him... He was wondering who might have placed a bag there... The bag has been there all this while... None of them knew it.. It was very dusty and you can see a few holes on it... ‘It must be the rat who made those holes’, he thought... Mrs Wilkinson was taken aback too... Without any hesitation, the couple decided to check the bag out... They cleaned it first and unzipped it... There were 5 things in it:

a) A Photo Album
b) A Man Made Red Rose
c) A Diary
d) A Cassette
e) A Letter

Mr Wilkinson flipped the album... These things apparently belonged to Anna...

19th December 1984
The hospital was crowded... Many people waited with anticipation... Anna was born at 5.43 am... Anna’s father, Mr Wilkinson, was extremely happy with a broad smile on his face...

Both of them never knew that Anna had the habit of writing diaries and so on... Anyway, the photo album was somehow very nostalgic... It brought back those good times Anna and her siblings had during their childhood... Anna has tagged each and every photo perfectly... For instance, My parents, Loving brother, Naughty sis and so on... A smile curled on the couple’s lips... And then they moved on to read the letter... It sounded:

Dear Dad and Mom,

I am sorry... I’ve never told you certain things which I kept in my heart... Both of you didn’t know what happened in real... I never had the chance to explain... You never gave me a chance to do so... I am sorry... Don’t think I am putting the blame on you but this is the truth... You never understood me...

30th December 1984
The naming ceremony was held... Mr Wilkinson proudly said, ‘ Hereby, I, Mr Wilkinson name my princess... Anna Rossalia!!! The crowd cheered...

I still remember... During my childhood, I used to cry asking both papa and mama to give up on your business.. I wasn’t matured at that time... But all I wanted was for you guys to spend time with me... I loved both of you to that extent... The love gestures from mama were priceless... She used to brush my hair when I was 8 and tell me that everything is fine and God is with me at all times... But the gestures were no more as I grew up... Maybe mama was trying to treat me like a grown up... But trust me when I say this... A child needs her parents the most during her teenage years... That’s the toughest period... But you guys concentrated on your business and often left me in sadness... I know my siblings could take it but not me... I am sorry... I am not the same as them... Even Mary and Kristina never complained being younger than me at that moment... But I felt the pain... Family has been my priority at all times... Both of you often went overseas and it was painful to see you going... You forgot that babysitter can never match up a father or a mother...

14th April 1994
Anna Rossalia was 10 years old... There was a family gathering and Uncle Robinson, Mr Wilkinson’s younger brother, asked Anna,’ what would you wanna be when you grow up lil girl???’ Anna said with a cute smile on her face, ‘ I wanna be a singer!!!” Out of the blue, all of them started laughing at Anna... Anna felt embarrassed... But she was puzzled up too... Why are they laughing??,’ she wondered.... ‘Is it wrong to be a singer??’

You never spent enough time with me... I never had many friends in my life too... You guys had much to think about and many people to communicate with... For me, my life revolved only around bros, sisters and both of you... But all of you never showed enough interest on me... I became a lonely girl... You’ve always asked us to consider ourselves lucky for being rich, unlike many people... You’ve always proudly said...’ I’ve provided you with everything you want, Shirts, Toys, nice food and so on... What else do you need??’ But you never knew that life isn’t all about that... Money can never provide an everlasting happiness... It can only provide a short term happiness.. The real happiness is the one that emerges deep down the heart and it can only be formed by love... I would have been much happier if you provided me with love instead of money,... even a small gesture like brushing my hair would have done the job..

15th October 1999
Anna Rossalia won the first place in a debate competition... She showed her parents the trophy proudly... But her parents had to rush to take a flight... They left... Anna Rossalia cried the whole day in her bedroom.

I could still remember we had an argument when I was 18... You asked me, ‘What do you wanna be Anna?... I told you that I wanna further my studies in Performing Arts... I wanted to be a singer... But you brushed the whole thing off saying that I should be a doctor... You said that I should keep the legacy of my siblings going... Then why on earth did you ask me what I wanna be? Is it hoping that I would follow the rhythm of my siblings who never opposed you?? Ever since I was young, I’ve recorded me singing... But you wanted to scrap of that interest from me saying that singing would not contribute even a penny... That night, the argument developed and I shouted at you... ‘You can never take hold of me... I will become a singer!!!!!!!!!!!’ and I closed the door....

29th May 2003
Anna Rossalia entered the Royal Medical College... Her face was dull... Mrs Wilkinson told her daughter, ‘Make sure to take good care of yourself... You are now on your own in a different country... Make sure you don’t get influenced with alcohol... Understand?? Anna Rossalia nodded...

You never knew how much I suffered being away from both of you and my siblings... I knew my siblings were in the same situation... Just that we were sent to different countries... But then, I can’t take it like them... I felt lonely amidst a lot of people around me... I got a few good friends... However, the study pressure was always there... Medicine wasn’t my thing... I knew it... And both of you have always advised me not to get into a relationship... If you had provided me with enough love, why would I wanna get into a relationship???

14th December 2003
Anna Rossalia went on her first date with a Spanish lad, Raul Babioska...

Being away from all of you was very tough for me... The best time is always when I get back to Yorkshire... Home is always the best place... Going back to my college was very depressing... If I was like some kid who wanted to pursue his studies in overseas, then I would have been happy... But all I wanted to major was in Performing Arts in some local college.. You sent me overseas to retain your social status...

9th March 2004
Anna Rossalia’s father received a letter from the Royal Medical College.. It was a warning letter from the administration that Anna has been skipping classes... Mr Wilkinson phoned Anna and scolded her... Anna was giving some lame excuses... Anna thought in her mind, ‘father started his usual dialogue, ‘ “I’ve provided you with everything..... blablabla...

You never knew how I felt... I was angry, frustrated for not being able to major in something I like and scared how am I gonna fare well in the exams... Mama once told me not to even try alcohol... But none of you knew that I went a step higher and started taking drugs... It felt good at first but soon it destroyed me... I was addicted... I couldn’t do much... I was helpless... And yeah... I’ve never told you one more thing... I had a boyfriend... His name was Raul... Once he knew I was into drugs and stuffs, he broke up with me... I didn’t shed even a single drop of tear when he went away from me... Know why dad? I was smiling thinking that, “ even my own family members couldn’t understand me, how would a stranger understand?’ Friends moved away from me... I soon isolated myself from everyone and I was tagged as the quiet kid... Even some of our relatives used to tag me as a quiet kid... Uncle Robinson was one of them... Haha.. I can still remember crying under the rain so that no one would spot me... If only you had talked to me and understood me...

Reading Anna’s letter, Mr and Mrs Wilkinson could no longer hold their tears... Tears flowed out... They never knew their kid had gone through so many things... All they knew was Anna was the most quiet kid in all their 5 kids... But they can still recall Anna crying as loud as possible asking them not to go to work... And the day they rushed to airport ignoring Anna and her medal.... They continued reading the letter...

2nd December 2004
Anna Rossalia came back to Yorkshire for Christmas holidays... Her siblings were very excited during the celebration except for Anna... She reflected a dull face.. All of them were medical students at that time...

Everything became a problem then after.. Studies, Boyfriend, Friends, Parents and so on... My life was secluded with darkness... I never shared with any of you as I had a strong belief that none of you would understand me... I cried almost everyday... I couldn’t tolerate the absence of love in my life like my other siblings... I wished God would end my life... But no matter what I motivated myself saying that life has to go on no matter what happens...

4th February 2005
Anna Rossalia met with an accident in Yorkshire... She was pronounced death at 5.43pm... Her parents, Mr and Mrs Wilkinson claimed her body and mourned her loss... Her siblings were all in tears.... Her room was locked since then and her brother John placed a ‘Rest In Peace’ Sign on her room door... John was the closest to his sister among all his siblings and he knew how loud his sister was despite being labelled as quiet... He knew his sister had a great voice...

I am sorry Papa and Mama... I am a coward.. I admit... I am stupid to have taken such a silly decision... But I couldn’t help it... I never had enough strength to endure this pain... So, I’ve decided to end my life here... And yeah... I have attached this letter with a photo album which I’ve always cried with... realising how much I missed all of you when I was in overseas... I was forced by papa to go overseas which I never wanted... My diary... I’ve picked up this habit since I was 6... You guys never had ‘enough’ time to notice it... A rose... As my remembrance, and a cassette... You might be wondering what is in the cassette.. I’ve always wanted papa and mama to listen to me singing.. but both of you never showed enough interest... I hope that at least when you get this letter... you would hear it... at least once... pls.... And yeah.. I wouldn’t tarnish your social status by hanging myself to death or something like that... I would make it look like an accident... I know it’s gonna be painful but I hope that it would end things once and for all... At the same time, I don’t want you to feel yourselves as a failure in being good parents... I don’t want my mama and papa to feel frustrated... But at the same time... I really wanna tell you how I’ve felt all this years... I am not sure whether I should or should not tell you.. Therefore, I would place this bag in a hidden place and I leave it to God whether to enlighten you by revealing this bag or not.... Whatever it is, I love you all till the very last breath.....

Your Loving princess,
Anna Rossalin

Both Mr and Mrs Wilkinson regretted their mistakes in raising their sweetheart.... But it was too late... It has been 15 years since Anna passed away and everyone thought that she met with an accident... But none of them knew the truth... No one had entered Anna’s room since then... Even her parents thought that fate brought their sweetheart away...The grief and sadness that was in the old couples hearts would not be able to be put into words... Their world crashed down in a second... Feeling despair, Mr Wilkinson proceeded to Anna’s diary... Mrs Anna played the cassette... It was Anna singing her favourite band, Westlife’s song... ‘You Raise Me Up’.. The voice was so sweet that tears kept flowing out of her parents’ eyes... Mr Wilkinson randomly opened a page... Anna’s hand writing was horrible but it was still readable.. Anna wrote;

23rd June 1994- Went hiking with dad... Best day of my life...

Mr Wilkinson quickly searched for his diary... He had a diary too which he kept mostly his business accounts... He flipped to the same date... It said;

23rd June 1994- Anna was so desperate of goin hiking... Wasted my time with the kid in a jungle doing nothing... Ended up getting body aches... Haizzzzz

A drop of tear fell from Mr Wilkinson’s eyes... He opened up another page in his diary...

29th May 2003- The happiest day of my life... Sent Anna to the Royal Medical College... Another doctor on the run!!! =)

He flipped up the same date in Anna’s diary

29th May 2003- The worst day of my life... Felt like dying... I told him how much I wanted to major in Performing Arts and become a singer... He never listened... I am cursed with bad luck I suppose...

Mr Wilkinson wept in front of his wife for the first time in his life... His wife cried too... They hugged each other holding the rose Anna had put inside the bag with the song ‘You Raise Me Up’ playing in the background...

They realised that the purple bag was the best Christmas gift Santa has given them... Yes, this might sound a little odd to some of us to call a grief causing object as a gift but it is... It made them understand who they were to d lil girl they’ve known for years... who their sweetheart was.... and many other things which they never knew... They realised their mistakes which they can never correct... They’ve understood their life on earth... Most of us might not have noticed that it is the purpose of our lives... To understand our lives, to have our lives explained.. This creates the inner peace in each and every single human being... And this exactly what Mr and Mrs Wilkinson had gone through the means of the purple bag... As all of us knew, the greatest thing on earth are not seen by our eyes, they are felt deep inside our heart... And that is exactly what the couple had experienced... It took them 80 years to discover and understand their lives... After 15 years of losing their kid, Anna Rossalia...


Whose fault was it?? Anna’s parents or Anna? What do you think??? It is usual to see a father or a mother holding the tiny hand of a kid to ensure his or her safety in public places... But is it usual to see parents doing the same thing to a grown up teenager???...Definitely ‘no’... But literally, it is important for parents to keep holding their kids’ hands even once they grow up as a teenager.. Yes... You can’t leave your kids’ hands all at once... Then they would be lost in a thick forest... That’s exactly what seemed to happen in Anna’s story... At the same time, you can’t be holding it tight all the time... As time passes, you gotta leave his or her hand gradually so that they learn to live independently... This is how life should go on... at least in my opinion...

This story is not only to serve as a usual Christmas story... We should look back and think how a person’s life drives him or her to an extent of ending up his or her life... There are many Anna Rossalias among us... It is just that we don’t know it at this time... They don’t express it much... So, what should we do?? Are we gonna have campaigns and all to stop those people who choose to kill themselves... Hell no... Campaigns wouldn’t work in this problem... Once a decision is taken, it is tough to change it unless you strike the right coin... However, it is wrong for one to end his or her life... We don’t have the rights to end our life... We are gifted to have been given a life by God... No matter how tough it is, we have to cling on... We have to let time play its role... Killing ourselves will never be a solution to our problems... It would only worsen things... Sometimes, the solution is just the other side of our problems... We just don’t know it at that moment... Hence, we should not even think of ending up our lives... Only God has the power to do it... Live like a legend... Don’t end your life like a coward... Everyone has his or her own problems... No matter what, life has to go on...

Hence, is it impossible to stop Anna Rossalias from killing themselves?? The answer is... No.. It is possible.. Have you ever heard of the saying ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’... I could still remember my discipline teacher repeating this saying again and again back in school... haha.. yeah... It is better to prevent it.. How to prevent it??? Easy... Shower everyone with love for that it is the greatest gift you can give a person... You might have hard feelings on a person... Maybe you might hate him and so on... But think again... Do you think you are his one and only problem?? The answer is ‘no’... We don’t know how many problems one single person might face... He might not express it but it is in him... Most of us are not expressive when it comes to life... You gotta agree with me on this one.. Hence, at least as a friend, we can support and cheer him up... That’s what friends are for...

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are... Do your role as a friend, brother, sister, father, mother or whatsoever... And learn to cherish the wonderful bond called as family... Most people are very materialistic nowadays... They eye money and not love... Try doing the opposite and you can make wonders... Be polite to your family members, not just to outsiders... Most people are humble when it is come to outsiders but not to their very own family members... For example, when a woman accidentally knocks down a stranger on the street, she says sorry in a humble manner... But when her kid interrupts her while cooking, she yells at him... This is one small example... This happens in most families nowadays... These might look like small, minor things but the impact it brings can never be described... When we correct things like this, life would be more colourful...

Hence, as told in Anna Rossalia’s story;

To the world, you maybe just one person..... but to one person, you might just be the world.....

Let’s make a change this Christmas and turn into a new leaf...I don’t know when I’ll post my next blog post but I am sure it would take a long time as I will be busy in the coming moths... Some important exams on the run!!!

Wish me luck and pray for my success!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!!!

Peace out ;-)

Celebrate the Reason

Wishing all of you who follow my blog and to all of the people who visited, a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a blessed holiday and a Happy New Year! xoxoxo

You will need to pause the music player on the left side of this page and there is a mute button on the ecard to stop the music when the ecard is done.

White Peony, Red Heart

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I saw my first peony when I was in France several years ago and fell in love.  What an exquisite flower. And the beautiful colors.  Too bad they don't grow here in the desert.  But then maybe it's a good thing as I appreciate them even more when I see them.

"White Peony, Red Heart"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Norad Tracks Santa

If you would like to find out where Santa is on Christmas Eve, follow this link to keep track of him: http://www.noradsanta.org/ When he's close to your area, you better get to bed fast. He won't come until you are sleeping.     GreetingSpring.com

A Wet Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
We get very little rain in the desert so having several days of  liquid sunshine actually feels good.  It certainly puts me in the mood for Christmas.  And I have a legitimate reason to light a fire in the fireplace.  Ho, ho, ho.

"A Wet Christmas"       Kathy Dunham 2010

Christmas - New Orleans Style

Monday, December 20, 2010
They have a way of decorating for the holidays in the French Quarter.  Bright, bold and with spirit.

"Christmas - New Orleans Style"       © Kathy Dunham 2010

Shopping for the Holidays

Sunday, December 19, 2010
I had some extra time yesterday and stopped at Home Goods when I came upon this gal.  She was color coordinated from head to toe.  Including the shoes.  It certainly makes a fashion statement but I'm not sure what kind of a statement she was trying to make.

"Shopping for the Holidays"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

Orchid Tree

Friday, December 17, 2010
The orchid tree is so named because the large, fragrant flowers bear a likeness to orchids.  The Bauhinia variegata is native to India but grows in many climates in the world, even here in the desert.  They are stunninly beautiful when in full bloom as the tree is usually covered with the blossoms.  I was lucky and caught a bee in the act of gettin up close and personal.

"Orchid Tree"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Cactus Blossom

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Christmas cactus are about the only cactus in bloom this time of year and this isn't one of them.  It's just a tiny blossom, about 1 1/2" in diameter that pops out in late spring on my patio.  

"Cactus Blossom"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Desert Lightening

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We're due to get some rain later this week and I don't think we'll get a light show like this but I'm hoping.  I love good thunder and lightening displays.  We just don't get enough of them.

"Desert Lightening"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe

This is a video of my FAVORITE place to shop ANY TIME of the year. It's in Amish country in Ohio. This store has three levels of glorious Christmas collectables, lights, and just about anything you might be looking for will be here. Themed Christmas trees galore!! Williamsburg trees and decorations...ahhhhh!! I bought some things here for my tree. The lady in the video says you could spend a couple of hours easily in this store...I could spend at least half a day in this store. There is so much to see!


New Growth

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The greens of nature take on many different shades but the greens of new growth are always fresh and clean.  They almost speak a different language in the world of plants.  Older growth greens just don't seep to carry the excitement of the new stuff.

"New Growth"      © Kathy Dunham 2010

10 Christmas Tips For Cutting Down Holiday Stress and Enjoying the Season

Monday, December 13, 2010
For many modern families, Christmas is magical, wonderful and also filled with stress. There are so many last minute things to do, traditions to uphold, expectations to be met and relatives to appease. But how do you minimize the crunch and pressures without sacrificing holiday joys? Here are ten tips to help you get there.

1. Start early. Most people don't plan an important vacation to an exotic locale right before they expect to leave on the trip. They realize to get the best reservations at a great price, they have to make arrangements in advance. Yet so many of us feel we can crowd all the holiday shopping, baking, card writing, entertaining, decorating and wrapping into a few short weeks. Give yourself more time to do these things, and it will automatically be less stressful.

2. If you're doing photo Christmas cards, eliminate the big picture taking session. Instead, look at some of the great pictures you have already taken over the summer or during fall excursions. If you don't have one fabulous group snapshot of the family, take advantage of the trend in multiple photo holiday cards and use individual pictures you like of each of your kids.

3. Make sure you get your Christmas cards early. You can find deep discounts right after the holidays on boxed greetings or you can order them in advance online. As soon as you get them, address all the envelopes, sign and seal and put aside to mail later.

4. Keep a gift idea notebook. All year long, if a friend or loved one mentions they like something or they have an new interest or hobby, jot it down. Keep lists of gift possibilities. That way, when it's time to shop for presents, you don't have to spend lots of time wandering around malls, wondering what to buy.

5. In fact, avoid the mall. Yes, black Friday deals can be very enticing, but that item will probably be long gone by the time you get there. Even if you haven't done much shopping online in the past, this is the time to do it. There are even better discounts in internet stores, some with free shipping, and you won't have to deal with the traffic, parking or crowds.

6. Instead of wrapping presents, use dollar store gift bags. Just add a bit of tissue paper and you're done. If you do decide to wrap your gifts, wrap them as you buy them or when the package arrives in the mail. That way you avoid letting them pile up and having to do it all at once.

7. Simplify your decorating. Pre-lit Christmas trees, wreaths and garland have big impact and are quick and easy to set up. But it might be time to consider cutting back on the little holiday knick knacks that take hours to place around the house.

8. Trade holiday tasks with a friend. If you enjoy baking cookies, but dread stringing the lights, and she hates the kitchen, but loves to decorate, then swap jobs. The result is that you're both doing a project you like and passing up one that causes you stress.

9. Lighten your holiday entertaining burden. If your entire family is descending on your house for Christmas, announce it's potluck this year and ask everyone to bring a dish. Or spend a little extra for once and let your favorite deli or gourmet food shop make some of the food. Remember, there's nothing wrong with slice and bake cookies or cutting other corners.

10. Make a list of all of the holiday things you feel compelled to do every year, and then go over it carefully and see what you can cut out or at least, where you can cut down. Then, find the one thing on that list that may take a lot of time and effort, but it brings you and your family joy. Concentrate on doing that with all heart.

If you plan ahead, simplify, ask for help and cut down, you'll be free to enjoy the family traditions you truly love. Instead of losing sleep, running around and rushing to make it through the holidays, you'll have some extra time to create wonderful new Christmas memories.

Linda Kling, as the owner of http://www.photo-party-favors.com/, has offered ideas to people planning celebrations since 1992. Besides unique photo Christmas cards and personalized holiday candy bars, her website offers free printable Christmas gift tags, party recipes and much more.

Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Linda_Kling   Seasons Greetings

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