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Survey: America’s Favorite Modern Christmas Dishes for 2023

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Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Premiere of "Miracle in Bethlehem, PA" on Thursday, December 21st at 8pm/7c! #MiraclesofChristmas

Today's conversation is sponsored by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. 

It's so hard to believe that the holiday season is here and almost over, just that quick! We are all packing in the festivities while we can by attending parties, taking drives to see the lights, eating delicous treats, and partaking in a few traditional events we do each year. Decemember is definitely the most hectic yet the most magical month of the year. My family has been taking a vacation every Christmas to Myrtle Beach for close to a decade now. It is a time we all look forward to to wind down from the holiday hustle and bustle, and reconnect as a family. 

This photo is from 6 years ago, and we have it on a canvas on our family gallery wall. It serves as a reminder of how much magic happens at the beach when we go each Christmas. Outside of our family trip, one of my favorite things to do every year gearing up to Christmas is to watch movies from  Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Miracles of Christmas. There are 9 new original movies premiering throughout #MiraclesOfChristmas and you can view the line-up here

We hope will join us and tune-in to Hallmark Movie Movies & Mysteries #MiraclesOfChristmas original premiere Miracle In Bethlehem,PA on Thursday, December 21st at 8pm/7c! I will be live-tweeting during the movie and would love for you all to watch and tweet along. 

You can connect with me on Twitter/X and use the hashtag #MiracleInBethlehemPA for the chance to win a $25 digital Visa gift card. 

Movie Info: 

Stars:  Laura Vandervoort and Benjamin Ayres

Successful and fiercely independent, Mary Ann Brubeck adopts a baby girl to raise on her own just before Christmas. Due to weather, she and the baby get stuck in Bethlehem, PA for the holidays. When there is no room at the inn, her only option is to stay with the innkeeper’s brother Joe, a quintessential bachelor who lives in a house that he treats like a barn. As Mary Ann learns the value of community by spending time with Joe’s family and participating in the local church’s Christmas events, Joe starts getting his act together with new motivation…and the two begin to see each other in a new light.

You can check out all 9 original holiday movies all season long on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Miracles of Christmas! 

You can repost this tweet to be entered to win the $25 gift card (U.S. Residents only). We hope to see you on Thursday evening where we will annouce the winner at the end of the live-tweet session. 

Unwrapping Joy: The Ultimate Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Men

The holiday season is synonymous with joy, laughter, and, of course, the tradition of stuffing stockings. If you're on the lookout for the perfect stocking stuffers for the men in your life, look no further. We've curated a list of the best stocking stuffers that are sure to bring a smile to the faces of fathers, brothers, partners, and friends. Dive into this festive guide and discover thoughtful and affordable treasures that will make their holiday season even more special.

1. Gadget Gizmos: For the tech-savvy man, consider small gadgets that make a big impact. Think portable phone accessories, like magnetic phone holders or compact multi-tool gadgets. These nifty items add convenience to their daily routines.

2. Whiskey Stones: Elevate their drinking experience with whiskey stones. These cubes, when chilled, provide a way to cool their favorite spirits without diluting the flavor. Pair them with a nice bottle of whiskey for an extra touch of sophistication.

3. Quality Pocket Tools: Compact tools, such as a durable pocket knife or a versatile multitool, are practical and handy for a variety of situations. Choose a sleek and functional design for a stocking stuffer that combines utility with style.

4. Cozy Socks: You can never go wrong with a pair of warm, cozy socks. Opt for fun patterns, luxurious fabrics, or socks that cater to specific hobbies or interests. They're a small indulgence that brings comfort during the colder months.

5. Beard Grooming Products: For the bearded gentlemen, consider high-quality beard oils, balms, or combs. These grooming essentials keep facial hair in top condition and add a touch of luxury to their daily routine.

6. Hot Sauce Sampler: Spice up their holiday season with a hot sauce sampler featuring a variety of flavors and heat levels. It's a small, flavorful gift that packs a punch.

7. Leather Keychain: Upgrade their key game with a stylish leather keychain. Look for options that include additional features like a bottle opener or small tools for added functionality.

8. Mini Bluetooth Speaker: Bring the gift of music wherever they go with a mini Bluetooth speaker. These compact devices offer impressive sound quality in a small package.

9. Pocket-Sized Cologne: A travel-sized cologne in their favorite scent is a thoughtful addition to their daily grooming routine. It's a practical and stylish gift that they can take on the go.

10. Specialty Coffee or Tea: For the caffeine enthusiast, consider a bag of high-quality coffee beans or a selection of gourmet teas. Pair it with a stylish mug for the perfect morning ritual.

11. Fun Desk Toys: Add a touch of playfulness to their workspace with desk toys or stress relievers. Consider items like magnetic sculptures, fidget spinners, or desktop games.

12. Leather Wallet: Upgrade their everyday carry with a slim and stylish leather wallet. Look for designs that cater to their specific needs, such as extra card slots or a money clip.

13. Novelty Socks: Inject some humor into their wardrobe with novelty socks featuring quirky patterns or designs that reflect their interests or hobbies.

14. Portable Hot Sauce Keychain: For hot sauce enthusiasts on the go, a miniature hot sauce keychain is a practical and flavorful addition to their daily adventures.

15. Mini Flashlight: A compact and powerful flashlight is a practical gift for various situations, whether they're camping, working on DIY projects, or navigating dark spaces.

16. Travel-sized Grooming Kits: Compact grooming kits containing essentials like a razor, shaving cream, and aftershave are perfect for the man who values personal care on the go.

17. Magnetic Wristband: Ideal for DIY enthusiasts, a magnetic wristband allows them to keep screws, nuts, and other small metal objects within easy reach during projects.

18. Wine Aerator Pourer: Enhance their wine-drinking experience with a wine aerator pourer. This small device improves the wine's flavor and aroma as it's poured.

19. Bluetooth Earbud Case: For those who love their wireless earbuds, a stylish and protective case is a practical and appreciated gift.

20. Inspirational Bookmarks: Encourage their reading habits with bookmarks featuring quotes or designs that inspire and motivate. It's a small yet thoughtful addition to their favorite books.

Finding the perfect stocking stuffers for men involves a mix of practicality, style, and a dash of personalization. Whether you're shopping for the gadget guru, the whiskey connoisseur, or the style-conscious man in your life, these thoughtful and affordable stocking stuffer ideas are sure to make their holiday season merry and bright. Happy stuffing!


Get Your Last-Minute Gifts from Gourmet Gift Baskets

If you are still falling behind on your gift list, look no further than a special and tasty gift from Gourmet Gift Baskets. They offer a huge variety of gourmet gifts for every taste at different price points to fit your budget. They even provide a card to your recipient, so it's as easy as click and pay. I guarantee that any gift you choose from Gourmet Gift Baskets will put a smile on the recipients face. Such a fun way to share some holiday cheer! 

The Winter Wonderland Holiday gift basket offers an enticing arrangement of wintry treats and delicious holiday snacks at the price of $54.99. This gift basket includes: 
  • Kettlecorn by - 4 oz.
  • Dark Chocolate Cubetti by Fusion Gourmet - .9 oz.
  • Hazelnut Cubetti by Fusion Gourmet - .9 oz.
  • Butter Fudge Slab Annalie's Chocolates - 5.6 oz.
  • Sea Salt Caramel Cookie Straws by Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory - 1 oz.
  • Vanilla Snowflake Cookies by Rustic Bakery - 5 oz.
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels by Marich - 2.1 oz

A delivery from Gourmet Gift Baskets will be well-received and will arrive beautifully packaged. You can choose from meats and cheese, wine and crackers. cookies and cakes, and so much more! Be sure to check out all of their holiday offerings on the website. 

Consider Gourmet Gift Baskets for your holiday gifts, and remember they are great for every occasion. It's a nice way to show someone who lives far away that they are remembered and loved. 

Many thanks for Gourmet Gift Baskets for sending us a sample to review. All opinions are 100% ours. 


Hallmark Channel Original Premiere of "Christmas in Harmony" on Friday, Oct 29th at 8pm/7c! #CountdowntoChristmas

Can you believe that we are in the last couple months of 2021? The holiday season is nearing, and many of us are making plans to attend parties, decorate our homes, and of course, do some baking. Every year we make it a family affair to decorate our house inside and out. It's so much fun coming across those ornaments the kids made when they were in elementary school. We also start prepping and packing for our annual family beach trip. We started that tradition 4 years ago, and always look forward to that family time. It's such a great way to unwind and reconnect at the end of the year. 

Today's post is sponsored by Hallmark Channel

Another tradition that is a must during the holiday season is watching Hallmark Movies with my daughters. We try to catch every new movie, and this year there are 41 ALL NEW original movies premiering on Hallmark Channel and on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. We grab our snacks, drinks and set up our very own watch parties right at home. 

We are extra excited for the  Hallmark Channel movie premiere, "Christmas in Harmony" on Friday, Oct. 29th at 8pm/7c. Christmas in Harmony Stars: Ashleigh Murray, Luke James, Loretta Devine, Michelle Williams, and Basil Wallace. We will be live tweeting, so please join us! Check out the trailer below. 

Harmony is tricked into auditioning for the Holiday Chorus - directed by an ex-boyfriend. By Christmas Eve, they could be harmonizing in the key of love. You have to tune in to find out! 

If you love all-things-Hallmark Channel, be sure to check out: 
We have some great news for our readers. We have partnered with Hallmark Channel to offer a fun giveaway for one lucky winner! The "Holiday Happiness" Package includes:

(1) Hallmark Channel Gift Wrap Package
(1) Hallmark Channel Wines digital gift card
(1) Holiday tea tin from Republic of Teas

This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only and ends on November 10, 2021. Must follow rules in Rafflecopter. One winner will be chosen randomly. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Holiday Gift Idea: FUJIFILM INSTAX mini LiPlay

Have you started buying any gifts for the holidays yet? I have been brainstorming ideas of what to get for my family this year. There are moments where I struggle to think of something different from the usual pajamas, clothes, and beauty products. One thing I do know is you can't ever go wrong with tech gifts, especially since most everything these days is tech-related. Instax has some fun items that are sure to please any gift-recipient.
Have fun on-the-go with FUJIFILM's INSTAX mini LiPlay, the hybrid camera that offers instant print and digital technologies (Retail: $159.95). This camera is super cute and so much fun to use. Charge it up, and insert the instax mini instant film, and you're ready to go!

Just snap your photos and instantly print them out with integrated frames or even sound recording. You can even print directly from your smartphone using the mini LiPlay app. The photos are wallet-sized which is perfect for sharing with friends or family.

It comes with a wrist strap and charging cord. It is so user-friendly, even a kid could use it. My son has been obsessed with taking photos and couldn't wait to take some shots of his favorite subject, our dog!

I can totally see giving this camera as a holiday gift or for a birthday. It is perfect to have at a party where guests can get in a picture with the person of honor and have a photo to take home. There is a nostalgic feeling of having photos develop before your eyes.

Other FUJIFILM items to consider:

Unleash the memories locked away in your smartphone with INSTAX mini Link. Connect the mini instax printer seamlessly over Bluetooth to create fun prints to keep and share with family and friends. (Retail: $99.95)

For those who like big adventure, take your photography to the next-level with the compact FUJIFILM X-A7 mirrorless digital camera . A professional-level camera that takes exceptional images and won't weigh you down on your travels. With an articulating touch-screen, 24.2MP imaging sensor and 4K video recording, users can create amazing content on-the-go. Retailing at $899.00, the FUJIFILM X-A7 with the FUJINON FUJINON XC15-45mmF3.5- 5.6 OIS PZ lens kit is the perfect entry to photography and a great way to capture a trip of a lifetime.

Be sure to follow Instax on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for product updates and promotions.

Thank you Instax for providing the INSTAX mini LiPlay for us to review. All opinions are 100% my own.
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Tips for Decorating This Christmas Season

As the year comes to a close, many people start focusing on the holidays. While it can be a beautiful season, you may also find yourself stressing to get everything done on a limited schedule. One area that tends to frustrate people is decorating. Though it can be fun to invest in decor and display it around your residence, you also need to come up with a plan so you don’t feel like you’re annoyed as you attempt to deck the halls with boughs of holly.

If you need advice on how to improve your decorating process, now is the perfect time to look for help. Explore these tips and see what you can do to get more out of your attempts at decorating.

Start Small

Decorating in some neighborhoods can become something of a healthy competition. One home will put up an elaborate display and other homeowners will try to outdo their neighbors each year. While this can be a fun way to go about creating a beautiful wonderland on your lawn, it can also be a huge point of frustration for you and your family. Instead of opting for a big, complicated display, try to scale back and see what you can accomplish on a smaller scale.

Minimalist decorations are quite popular nowadays. A few strategically placed decorations can create more of a cozy sense of winter magic than a garish display of bright lights and singing Santa Claus inflatables. Sit down before you start putting up and decorations and formulate a plan on how to go about making your home more festive for the holidays. The simpler the plan, the easier it will be for you to get through these tasks without feeling overwhelmed by how much you need to finish.

Artificial Options

Another area where it can be easy to feel stress while decorating is with your Christmas tree. Though you may feel like a natural tree is the best way to go, it can also be a lot of work. Putting up a real tree in your home means you need to go buy one, haul it to your house, put it up, decorate it, and then tend to it in the weeks before and after the holiday. If you want an easier option, then it can be helpful to consider buying an artificial tree from a seller like Balsam Hill.

Balsam Hill trees may be artificial, but they perfectly capture the real deal. Selecting an artificial tree gives you more control over the size and style of your tree, allowing you to maximize the space in your home and find an option that fits perfectly. Decorating an artificial tree is also a lot easier, as you do not need to worry about damaging the branches while hanging your ornaments. Best of all, you don’t need to worry about watering the tree or any of the mess that comes along with caring for a larger living plant.

Make Memories

You may also want to think about making your decorations at home this year. This can be especially fun if you have little ones in the house. Set a night of the week aside for your family to make some decorations together. You’ll be able to create some beautiful wreaths, garlands, and ornaments for the season and make lasting memories all the while. Your little ones will be able to look back on these years with fondness when they remember how much fun it was to make decorations with their parents.

Stressing out about the holidays is an easy way to ruin your season. Find a better way to decorate by opting for simpler solutions and see how much of a difference it can make to your experience.
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What to Give Your Children for Christmas

It is not surprising that children get really excited about the prospect of waking up to find a load of presents neatly arranged under the Christmas tree and the big question you need to find the answer to is what gift items will you be wrapping for your children?

Your child’s tastes and preferences will often change from one year to the next and choosing gifts for 12-year-old boys, for example, will most likely prove to a different buying experience compared to buying for a girl of the same age.

There are also some other Christmas gift options to consider that won’t break the bank, so here are some suggestions to help you decide.
Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash
Go for quality over quantity

It is worth remembering that kids can almost get overloaded with presents these days as they seem to get so many gifts compared to some previous generations.

You might find yourself struggling to find what could be classed as the perfect gift for your child and that could lead you to overspend and buy too many presents in your quest to get them exactly what they want.

Some parents like to follow a formula known as the 4 gift rule to help ensure that they buy certain items that fall into a category rather than randomly buying an assortment of things you think they will like.

The 4 gift rule is simple to follow and involves buying something they want, something they need, an item to wear, and something to read.
Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash
It’s not all about money

You don’t have to spend fortunes on your kids to give them some nice Christmas gifts they will love and taking this route with some or all of your gift options will help teach your kids some valuable lessons at the same time.

If it is cold where you are you could maybe hire some ice skates or get a used pair from a thrift shop and give them the gift of spending some time skating with them and just hanging out together.

The gift of time shouldn’t be underestimated and those magical memories created when you do something fun together are priceless.

Be guided by their age

When you do want to put some presents under the tree it can be a real challenge to find a gift that is appropriate for their age and stage of development.

Teenagers are notoriously difficult to buy for and that is why the default option often tends to be a gift card, which is a bit boring and unimaginative.

A practical gift for a teen could be an external power station external battery, for example, as many kids of this age seem to manage to drain the battery in their smartphone at an alarming speed.

Another age example would be a ten-year-old child, who is often somewhere in between being a kid who still loves playing with toys and becoming a tween with more of a focus on more grown-up gifts.

Think about what gift would be appropriate for their age and then consider if that is where they are at with their development so you can adjust your choice of potential Christmas gifts accordingly.

Start planning for Christmas as early as possible and it should give you enough time to work out what the perfect gift would be for your child.

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How To Prevent Your Turkey From Looking Pale Without Overcooking It

We've all seen it all over social media. The curse of the pale turkey. It's not pretty at all. I admit that I panic every year when it comes to roasting a turkey. I have finally gotten a good handle on how to bake it to the perfect crisp, golden brown while making sure it's super juicy, and fully cooked.
This post contains affiliate links. We will receive a small commission off of any sales made.

My first bit of advice it to ditch the baking bags or aluminum foil to cover the entire bird. Using either of those steams your turkey, and sometimes makes for a chewy, rubbery texture. The entire process really comes down to using the correct oven temperature, as well as baking your turkey with an oven-safe meat thermometer.

Here is the simple breakdown of what I do 

Start with a fresh or fully thawed turkey. Remove the giblets and neck, and discard. Next,  wash the turkey with citrus juice (usually lemon or lime) inside and out. Rinse it well, and dry with paper towels. I use a heavy turkey roasting pan with a rack so that the turkey sits up higher, and the underside gets brown as well. Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

I blend together a small bowl of dry seasonings such as salt, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, Complete seasoning, black pepper, cayenne, and a variety of dried herbs. I sprinkle the seasoning blend all over the outside of the turkey, as well as the cavity, and under the skin of the breast. I also rub some room temperature butter under the skin of the breast, and all over the bird. Next, you tuck your wings under the back, and insert your meat thermometer in the deepest part of the breast. Place your turkey on the rack breast side up, and pour one can of chicken or vegetable stock in the bottom of roasting pan. I also add some rough chopped onion and celery on bottom of roaster, and inside the cavity for extra flavor.

Now you place turkey in preheated oven and leave it for the first hour. Baste with the drippings from the bottom of pan every 30 minutes until your thermometer reaches the correct temperature for turkey which is 190 degrees. I tend to loosely cover the breast area and wings with foil to prevent over browning. For a turkey between 15-18 pounds, it should take around 3 and 3/4 to 4 hours to fully cook. When you remove your turkey from oven, cover completely with foil and let it rest for a good 15-20 minutes before carving. I use the drippings to make homemade gravy.

If you are planning to roast a turkey this holiday season, follow these directions. You will have a perfectly juicy, golden-brown masterpiece you will feel proud to serve your family and guests. I freeze the drumsticks, and wings for later use to make soup. I hope you and your family have a great holiday season! Thanks for stopping by.

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‘Tis the Season for Great Wolf Lodge’s Snowland Extravaganza

Great Wolf Lodge rings in the holiday season with its annual Snowland celebration from November 24, 2018 to January 4, 2019. The Lodge is spreading cheer to families this year with daily snow showers in the Grand Lobby, and visits from Santa Claus along with a life-sized Gingerbread House and more. Families will get into the spirit of Christmas, splash in the 84-degree waterpark, and create memories together that will last a lifetime.

Adults and children alike will be merry and bright as they arrive at Great Wolf Lodge’s winter wonderland complete with hundreds of twinkling lights, Christmas trees, and other jolly decorations in the Grand Lobby. The centerpiece of the Snowland celebration is the life-sized Gingerbread House constructed from more than 600 pounds of gingerbread dough, 1,300 pounds of sugar and hundreds of candies. For a truly delectable experience, guests can also dine in the life-sized gingerbread house with a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House. For reservations, visit

Snowland returns this year with guests favorite complimentary activities including Hot Cocoa with a Great Wolf Kid, the weather outside might be frightful, but the Lodge’s delicious hot cocoa bar will warm even the chilliest of guests up; Cookies with Mrs. Claus, where children have the opportunity to decorate cookies in the Gingerbread House with Santa’s leading lady; the Polar Wolf Walk, a tour of the lobby that teaches children about polar bears penguins and more. Families can wind the night down by cozying up to watch a holiday movie in the Grand Lobby during Festive Family Flicks.

Snowland’s most popular offerings are available including visits from Santa Claus; Santa’s Letter Depot, where kids can mail a letter to Santa in the Grand Lobby; and North Pole University, where kids complete fun, holiday-themed assignments around the resort for the chance to earn a Snowploma. During the howl-iday season, children’s activities such as Story Time, Yoga Tails and Paws on Projects will also get dash of Christmas cheer.

In addition to two days of play in the water park for each night stayed at Great Wolf Lodge, all of the Snowland activities are included complimentary as part of an overnight stay. Activities vary daily and based on location.  A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in, or verified in advance by calling the location directly.

For more information on Great Wolf Resorts and its brands of indoor water park resorts, visit
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The 2018 Holiday Hess Toy Truck Is Now Available For Purchase

Hess Toy Truck has launched its annual, highly anticipated, Holiday Hess Toy Truck. The brand new model, a Hess RV with an ATV and Motorbike, is a three-in-one toy that features a sleek and modern recreational transport loaded with lights, and a dynamic wheelie-popping pair of team mates, eager for on and off-road action.

For over 50 years, Hess Toy Trucks have remained one of America's favorite Christmas traditions. Each year, a new and unique design is revealed, which is collected and gifted by families throughout the U.S. The Hess Toy Truck is known for selling out before Christmas every year, so hurry and get yours while you can.

The 2018 Hess RV with ATV and Motorbike is now available for purchase exclusively online for $33.99 with free standard shipping and 8 Energizer® batteries included.
The sleek and modern RV, loaded with 60 LED lights, comes equipped with three ramp doors that fold down for access to the ATV and Motorbike inside.  The oversized ATV and touring-style Motorbike are both designed with wheelie popping racing motors.  The 3-in-1 toy features green and chrome accents with a total of 73 brilliant lights, the most ever on a holiday Hess Toy Truck.

Hess also has made available for free download a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum with 8 lessons featuring the 2018 Hess Toy Truck. The curriculum can be used by teachers and parents as a learning tool to help teach core STEM concepts

The Hess Toy Truck, offered exclusively online, remains a highly sought-after collectible and treasured holiday tradition that has been shared among families for generations. To stay up to date, sign up for alerts online and follow Hess Toy Truck on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on Hess STEM, visit
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5 Creative Ways to Use Cardboard Packaging Boxes

If you’ve just moved or bought tons of discount appliances during the Black Friday sale, you know how much of a struggle it can be dealing with all those boxes left behind. Chances are you have a lot of different boxes you don’t want to throw away but have no need for any more. Relax, so do thousands of other Americans. But what if you could use the boxes for creative purposes instead of having them gathering dust?

Cardboard boxes come in many styles and sizes, and all of them can be extremely useful if you know how to put them to use. If you want to repurpose those boxes instead of recycling them, in this article, we’ll give you a couple of creative ideas how you can use them.

Great Storage Alternative 
Obviously, the best way to use old boxes is for storage. You could use boxes to store things like old magazines, personal files, clothes you can’t fit into or don’t need this season, dishes you only take out for special occasions, old toys or Halloween costumes and other items you don’t use every day.

Of course, you wouldn’t want old, dull-colored boxes to ruin the look of your home. That’s why you should decorate them a bit before repurposing them for storage. Use paint or decorative paper to breathe new life into those old boxes.

Old-Fashioned Toys 
It’s hard to believe that children used to play with anything else other than smartphones once upon a time. Why not show them how kids used to play when times were simpler. Cardboard boxes make for excellent dollhouses, forts, playhouses or make-believe trains. You can also use them to build an obstacle course for a laser-tag game.

Boxes can also be used for a killer Halloween robot costume. All you need is a little bit of glue, spray color and a couple of markers. You could even go one step further and add led lights. The only limit is your imaginations.

Pets Love Boxes
Everyone knows cats and dogs both love boxes, and enjoy playing with them and taking a cozy nap there. They can be used to make great pet houses, but your cat will appreciate if you just leave it out like it is. The cardboard can also be used to create a cheap scratching post for your cat.

Christmas Gifts
Another fairly obvious choice is repurposing old cardboard boxes to create Christmas presents like those you see in commercials or on the Internet. A great part of the Christmas gift is getting to unwrap it, so why not do more than just wrap it in paper or put it in a fancy bag. Everyone, especially kids, will appreciate getting to unwrap a classic, bulky Christmas present.

Use them to Mail Items 
The main purpose of any box is to protect the item that came with it, so why not use them as originally intended. If you mail a lot of stuff all through the year, you can use the cardboard to protect the items you’re sending. You can also use cut-out cardboard to protect photographs or documents you’re mailing.
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Callaloo Box Makes The Perfect Gift (Giveaway)

I have been living in South Carolina for close to two decades now. It’s hard to believe that so many years have passed that quickly. I have watched the city of Columbia really grow and get a lot more diverse. Sadly it still lacks something very important to me, culturally. We have so few West Indian/Caribbean grocery stores, and the ones we do have aren’t great and don’t carry all of what I need.

A couple months ago, I was so lucky to get connected with Callaloo Box. If you'd like, you can read this post for a little background. Callaloo Box is a U.S. based subscription service that brings you many of those hard-to-find Caribbean sauces, snacks, and other food products right to your doorstep. I can’t even begin to tell you all how excited I get when a box shows up at my house. It’s like Christmas every time! Speaking of Christmas, the December box is themed for the holiday season and they didn’t miss a thing.

I felt so nostalgic the moment I saw the contents. It’s as if I was transported to my childhood during Christmastime. Here’s what is in the December 2017 Callaloo Box:
Dried Sorrel- which is dried hibiscus. You boil it with cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves and ginger, then sweeten to taste. You can also make alcoholic beverages with it.
Mauby Bark & Spices- It is dried buckthorn bark, which is a species of tree found in many Caribbean islands. It’s been likened to root beer by many. You prepare it just as you would the sorrel.
Mixed Essence- Growing up, we called extract ‘essence’. This is a key ingredient in ice cream, baked goods and certain beverages like mauby. I remember my mom used to make freshly squeezed lemonade or limeade, and always added a few drops of essence.
Lime Flavoured Hot Sauce- A blend of hot peppers, lime & herbs, pickled in vinegar. It’s perfect with any dish, especially seafood and fish. It has the perfect zesty kick.
Hot Chow aka Chow Chow- It’s a spicy, mustard-based pickled relish that’s the Caribbean’s version of the English “Piccalilli”condiment. It contains small chunks of vegetables and tropical fruits. It’s got quite a kick!
Split Channa- It’s salted fried chickpeas spiced with pepper. It was a common snack in our house, and my dad used to make it for us and fill it in jars. This one tastes exactly like I remember.
Black Cake- This is a true sign of Christmas time. My mom made this cake every year and would soak her dried fruits in rum months in advance. I can remember the smell in the kitchen as they baked. She made the best black cake ever. Now let me tell you, this cake tasted exactly what my mom used to make. I got a little teary-eyed being transported back to my childhood. It is the star of this box!

The ladies of Callaloo Box did a great job with the items they chose to make this box perfectly themed for Christmas. I think this one is my favorite so far, but all of them are my favorite! You can tell that they hand pack the boxes with love, and leave no details out. They include an information sheet with descriptions and suggestions of how to use or serve each product.  I am also so happy that they are now offering items for sale individually. Their prices beat Amazon hands down! I ordered a couple packs of pholourie mix since I can’t find it anywhere locally. I'm also very proud to help support a small business at the same time. By the way, they have pretty speedy shipping, which is always a plus.

Not only does Callaloo Box offer monthly boxes, they also have a new snack box ($29.99) and product bundles (ranging in prices under $30). If you or someone you know is interested in Caribbean/West Indian cooking or simply can’t get many products locally, Callaloo Box is for you. It makes such a great Christmas gift, and the recipient would LOVE it. The monthly boxes are $39.99 and if you use this code: MOMFILES5, you will get $5 off your first box with subscription or a 1 time box purchase.

Our generous friends from Callaloo Box want you to experience a box for yourself. One reader will win the December box valued at $39.99. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only and will end on December 15, 2017. Please follow entry rules in Rafflecopter widget. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

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