Christmas Leisure

Experience Santa Like Never Before

This is a sponsored post in partnership with HGTV’s Santa HQ. All opinions and love are my own.

It’s that magical time of year where we all act like kids, tee up that letter to Santa and look for the best Santa experience we can find! One of the top questions in may house this time of year has to be “Where is Santa?” Well, he’s everywhere this time of year! It may seem like a lot, but to me and my family, that’s a very good thing. There’s just a level of comfort and joy (pardon the pun) that you just can’t seem to feel at other times of the year!

I always loved visiting Santa, singing Christmas carols on line, sitting on this lap, and letting him know the one or two top toys I really, absolutely, had to have that year. LOL, the list was so much longer, but my parents told me to stick to just the highlights!! Santa is a busy man, after all. This year, I was so pleased to check out HGTV’s Santa HQ with my family!! It was really a fantastic experience that I’d love to tell you more about. I think you’ll appreciate all it has to offer…I know your kids will. Check out this video!!



HGTV’s Santa HQ is all about the wonder and awe. It’s Christmas and Santa we’re talking about here, people! This is a place that truly revolutionizes the traditional Santa Claus visit that we all know so well. My family and I couldn’t believe what a great show and experience it was!! With Calebs letter to Santa in hand, we wandered joyfully through an immersive, interactive Santa experience using state-of-the-art digital technology to really make the experience pop! 

Why It’s Such a Unique Experience

In today’s world, everything has to be digital? Right? The kids are all about it, and so are the adults. It’s all about the look, the feel, and the interaction. And the experiences of today seem to be more and more of all of those things!! Santa HQ delivers the best Santa experience with all of that by incorporating special mobile apps, social-media-ready opportunities, and even augmented reality. 

Santa HQ’s Elf Academy

I loved how the kid’s stepped on the Naughty or Nice meter to see how nice they have been! I also really loved HGTV Santa HQ’s Elf Academy. This really made the whole Santa experience for us! This is a new, family-friendly feature packed with really fun, interactive technology including the Magic Mirror. We transformed into one of Santa’s elves and virtually tried on various elf outfits! It was so much fun for Caleb, he loved it! He couldn’t stop laughing…and neither could we.

With Elf-Ray Vision, we explored Santa’s Observatory through the use of tablets and an augmented reality experience. And don’t forget to create your own customized Elf-ID card using the new Elf-ID app and a “selfie.”

Photo Opp

Even with all of this fun, don’t worry, you can still deliver your letter to Santa and ask the “Big Guy” to not put coal in your stocking!! Traditional photo opportunities with Santa Claus with a variety of photo packages are available and waiting for you!!! This is must, a real keeper we always love to have. It’s so nice to just see each year’s Santa pictures, tracking the kids growth. Ok, I’m about to tear up, so let’s just say, it’s a nice thing to have.

HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving Drive

HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving is a program that encourages visitors to donate toys for underserved children during the holiday season. In past years, HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving has collected more than 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations such as Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus. 

Special Events

There are so many great events hosted at the centers, you just have to check it out for more details.  There are some amazing events specific to each Santa HQ center. For example, there’s Sensory Santa, which is a sensory-friendly holiday event at Valley River Center made to support the sensory, physical, and developmental needs of this special audience. There’s also a Yappy Hour for you and your furry friend for an exciting night of pet photos, cocktails and holiday cheer. My personal favorite has to be meet Santa’s Elves!! The official elves of Santa HQ, Jack & Strawberry bring the holiday cheer with caroling, photo opportunities, storytime, hot chocolate and much more!!!

Have Your Best Santa Experience

The magic of the holidays goes hand-in-hand with the home. HGTV and its brand are the perfect partners for this meaningful holiday experience. And they want to make your Santa HQ experience as seamless and fun as it can be with a fast pass.

You probably know the concept of the fast pass well from your times are various theme parks, and it works just as well here!! It’s easy! Simply select the date, a 30-minute window of time to use Fast Pass, pre-pay online, upgrade their package by adding a family photo weeks/days in advance, and opt-in to receive text reminders about their Fast Pass window. It literally takes minutes, but may save you so much time. It’s a no-brainer!!! Spend less time in line and purchase a Fast Pass today! 

Find Out More

We experienced HGTV’s Santa HQ at the awesome Queens Center in Queens, NYC!! You can visit to secure a Fast Pass, pre-purchase a photo package, and find out more about Santa hours and events!!!

Also, be sure to check out Queens Center on Twitter (@Queens_Center), Instagram (@QueensCenterMall), Facebook (@QueensCenter),, or seach hashtag #santahq!!!!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with HGTV’s Santa HQ. All opinions and love are my own.

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Christmas Home

November is the Ideal Time to Think Christmas Decorations

This is a sponsored post created in partnership with Everstar EZ Illuminations. All opinions and love expressed are my own.

‘Tis (Almost) The Season

I know, I know….too soon to talk about outdoor Christmas decorations or indoor Christmas decorations. It’s November and time for pumpkin picking and falling yellow leaves. I get all of that and I get it loud and clear. But is that really true? As much as I can see your point, I also have to share how awesome it is to start thinking about all of those decorations. It’s just such a beautiful, fun, and festive time of the year. Why not make that time last a little longer? Huh??

Outdoor Christmas Decorations

We all love driving down the streets of our town or neighboring towns and seeing the houses lit up beautifully with outdoor Christmas decorations for the holidays. There’s just something about it that screams fun, family, and festive. It brightens up what would otherwise be some very long nights during the dead of winter and it shows that people are in spirit. The spirit to be fun and be merry. It’s a symbol of joy and peace. It’s a great way to share that with others.

When I set up my house, I do it very simply and don’t go full blast like some people do. I don’t mind simple or grand, but we go for the middle. We do the roof lines to the peak and along the front of the house (the gutters). We also do some around the windows and the lamppost. The NEW EZ-Illuminations Super Sparkle lights and EZ-Illuminations LED Flame Bulbs are a great choice for your outdoor Christmas decorations this and every year.

outdoor christmas decorations

Everstar EZ-Illuminations Super Sparkle Lights

You can decorate the outside (and the inside) of your home like I do with the EZ-Illuminations Super Sparkle lights. There are a few great options available to you, all depending on the look and feel you are going for. You can hang the mini or net lights on places like your bushes or trees. The icicle lights create a great hanging effect along your roofline. And the classic garland lights are perfect for that roofline also, but also great for door frames, lampposts, columns, or pillars.

indoor christmas decorations

outdoor christmas decorations

As you can see, I decorate the inside of my house with the garland lights just like I decorate the outside. On columns, fireplace mantels, along the moulding, and wherever else you think could use some holiday cheer. The kids literally count down the days until we get these up. It changes the entire look and feel of the house!! So, as you can, these babies are just as amazing as indoor Christmas decorations as they are outdoor Christmas decorations!!

Sparkle Up Your World

The really cool sparkling effect makes whatever you are decorating really come alive! It’s like the lights are dancing for you and for anyone passing by your home!! Every bulb twinkles independently creating a dramatic lighting effect!!! It’s just something you never really tire of. My family and I just love that these LED lights more and more each Christmas season (which for us starts on Thanksgiving and ends on January 6)!! Hey, why not get your money’s worth, right??

Indoor Christmas Decorations

So I told you previously that EZ-Illuminations Super Sparkle lightswork perfectly both as outdoor Christmas decorations as well as indoor Christmas decorations. Well, I have another amazing decorating idea for you that works both inside and outside, too! The lights are called EZ-Illuminations LED Flame Light Bulbs, and they are pure magic. First, they are LED, so the light is beautiful and the electric use is low. Second, they create this really amazing flame-like effect that I haven’t really seen from other light bulbs before or since. You could use these babies are amazing accents to all your indoor Christmas decorations as well as outdoor Christmas decorations to really make the home feel even more warm and cozy. Think table and floor lamps, wall sconces, porch lights, and driveway lamp posts or anywhere that a flame- style illumination looks great. It really looks like a flame…it’s awesome.

indoor christmas decorations

The LED Flame Light Bulb simulates a natural flame with flickering LED lights. Best part, you get the look and feel of a nice, warm flame…with no actual flame. Hello kids! What you have is just a safe and energy-saving LED light source. Your indoor Christmas decorations will feel complete. These bulbs are just perfect for atmosphere lighting, holiday and family gatherings and everyday household use. It’s just such a great effect, we aren’t really sure if we want to pack them up in the attic when the season ends.

Indoor and Outdoor Use

I just love these lights. Plain and simple. They look fantastic and change the entire look and feel of our home. Once again, both the EZ-Illuminations Super Sparkle lights and EZ-Illuminations LED Flame Bulbs can be used indoors and outdoors. So feel free to let your imagination run wild!!! There’s really no limit to what you can do and how you can make both the inside and the outside of your home look for the always fantastic Christmas season!!!!

EZ-Illuminations Super Sparkle lights and EZ-Illuminations LED Flame Bulbs are available at Walmart! Be sure to check them out now so that you can have them in time for all the fun. Be sure to take full advantage of the beauty and extend that decorating season like we do!!!

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Shepherd’s Treasure – The Perfect New CHRISTmas Tradition! #SpotTheShepherd

Are you looking for an amazing Christmas gift? One that really talks about the reason for the season? Sure, Santa and the elves are awesome, but I have to share with my kids the great gift Christmas that way it was originally intended. It is all about the birth of Jesus, isn’t it? I mean, it’s right there in the name, people… CHRISTmas. Adding something cute and fun into my family traditions is a must! That’s why I was so pleased when I found this…

The Shepherd’s Treasure is a new, interactive family tradition that helps children find the TRUE meaning of Christmas!  On the first day of December, your Shepherd will appear and your family adventure will begin!  Your Shepherd will travel by night throughout the month in search of Jesus. Each morning, your children will find him in a different place (and maybe even doing a different activity) in your home.

The Shepherd’s Treasure Advent Cards correspond with fun activities the Shepherd can do throughout the month.  Each card features a Bible verse and message from the Shepherd!  Little ones will follow behind their Shepherd along his journey.  Then, on Christmas morning, your children will find their Shepherd kneeling before the greatest Treasure of all time: Jesus! The search doesn’t stop there though! My prayer is that this fun treasure hunt will result in a more lasting search to find Jesus every day!

Check out this awesome video!

Dude, it really is an awesome gift! When my kids saw this, they feel in love. It’s a perfect addition to you and your family’s Christmas season!! You can pick it up right here! The plush toys, the wonderful story, the perfect illustrations, and the awesome advent cards really make this too fantastic to pass up!!

For more information, please check out:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  -Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Guy and the Blog received product for the purpose of this review. All love and admiration for this product is my (and my family’s) own.

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Shopping Tips for Stocking Stuffers


It can bе a сhаllеngе to find all оf thе right Chriѕtmаѕ gifts, lеt alone filling ѕtосkingѕ with itеmѕ that will mаkе your fаmilу hарру. Yоu hаvе vеrу littlе space and nо one wаntѕ a hаlf-еmрtу ѕtосking. In addition tо finding itеmѕ thаt are thе right ѕizе, уоu have to make sure you do nоt ѕреnd too muсh mоnеу. Filling a whоlе ѕtосking could get рriсеу, but it is probably bеttеr if уоu сhооѕе inеxреnѕivе, small objects thаt will bring a lоt оf jоу. Fоr уоung boys, соnѕidеr tоу саrѕ, candy, аnd асtiоn figures. Fоr girlѕ, соnѕidеr liр glоѕѕ, hаir bаrrеttеѕ, аnd аgаin, саndу. For a tееnаgе girl, consider minеrаl fоundаtiоn оr mineral mаkе up. Thiѕ iѕ оftеn better for their ѕkin bесаuѕе it iѕ natural.

If your fаmilу loves Chriѕtmаѕ trаditiоnѕ, соnѕidеr filling family stockings with old-fashioned ѕtuffеrѕ. Childrеn used tо get oranged, рорсоrn bаllѕ, аnd gоld coins filled with сhосоlаtе. These items аrе vеrу inеxреnѕivе ѕо thеir stockings саn overflow with gifts. Imagine thе еxсitеmеnt in your сhild’ѕ eyes when they dumр оut a ѕtосking сhосk full оf treats. And the ѕtосking on thе mаntlе will lооk сlаѕѕiс fillеd with thеѕе traditional itеmѕ.

A homespun Chriѕtmаѕ iѕ a fаvоritе fоr many families. Inѕtеаd оf relying оn dераrtmеnt stores for giftѕ, ѕреnd thе weeks lеаding up tо thе holiday crafting hаnd mаdе itеmѕ уоur whole fаmilу will lоvе. If уоu аrе concerned thаt Chriѕtmаѕ will nоt bе nice enough with only hоmеmаdе items, уоu can uѕе ѕtосkingѕ аѕ a сhаnсе to share уоur talents withоut disappointing eager сhildrеn. Make uniԛuе bаublеѕ likе оrnаmеntѕ, jеwеlrу, аnd ѕtiсkеrѕ. For an аddеd touch оf еxсitеmеnt, tеll thе children Sаntа hаnd mаdе thеѕе items еѕресiаllу for them. Yоu juѕt mау find it is thеѕе itеmѕ thаt аrе mоѕt remembered in уеаrѕ to соmе.

If you аrе rеаllу feeling сrеаtivе, соnѕidеr nоt оnlу filling thе ѕtосking with hаnd made giftѕ, create thе асtuаl ѕtосkingѕ. Stосkingѕ аrе fairly еаѕу tо make. Yоu саn сhооѕе a design that suits еасh mеmbеr оf thе fаmilу, оr уоu can have a fаmilу shopping trip and allow еасh member of thе fаmilу tо сhооѕе thеir mаtеriаl. Do nоt fоrgеt tо inсludе items likе ribbоn, buttons, ѕеԛuinѕ, and sparkles. Little girlѕ will lоvе being greeted Christmas mоrning bу a pink оr lavender ѕаtin ѕtосking laced with ѕеԛuinѕ аnd ѕраrklеѕ! And bоуѕ will adore a stocking fеаturing tractors, trucks, оr cowboys. Everyone in thе fаmilу саn gеt in оn the act. Mаkе ѕtосking fоr parents and fаmilу pets, tоо. Dо nоt fоrgеt tо imрrint еасh ѕtосking with еасh реrѕоn’ѕ name or initiаlѕ.

Christmas iѕ a grеаt timе tо bring the fаmilу tоgеthеr аnd еnjоу thе hоlidауѕ. You can hаng thе ѕtосkingѕ bу thе mаntlе and admire thеm еvеrу time уоu look аt thе roaring firе. If уоu do not have a mаntlе оr firерlасе, find a place on thе wаll nеаr the Chriѕtmаѕ trее tо hаng thе ѕtосkingѕ. If аll еlѕе fails, hаng thеm frоm a windоwѕill оr bу thе dооr. If you hаvе young сhildrеn, рut thе ѕtосkingѕ whеrе they саn rеасh thеm. Thеу will hаvе thе jоу of grаbbing thеir stocking Chriѕtmаѕ morning аnd еmрtуing thеm оf all thе goodies. Crаfting ѕtосkingѕ аnd filling thеm with unexpected or traditional trеаtѕ will mаkе Chriѕtmаѕ mоrning a dеlight.

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