5 Tips For Enjoying and Embracing The Holiday Craze!

It’s that time again! The holidays are a fun and crazy time of year!  From Thanksgiving to New Years, people are running around non-stop to get everything that they need to get done complete. It is important to remember to embrace the holiday spirit in the midst of all the craziness. Shopping and wrapping and events — Oh my! We have some great strategies to keep the holiday light and bright during this busy time!  

1. Remember the most important thing is not how much something cost

Giving presents during the holiday season is just as exciting as receiving them. It is hard when your loved ones deserve so much and your price range is not quite that high. That’s ok! The gifts you buy do not have to cost a lot.  It is not about the price tag, but rather about spending time with your loved ones and enjoying each other’s company. Whether you buy someone a $200 purse or a $8 candle, it is the thought that counts and they will love it either way because it came from you! With that being said, make time to visit your family and friends if you are able too! You may see them every day or you may only see them twice a year, either way your company, especially during such a special time of year, is the perfect gift!

2. Give back to your community

Giving back makes the holiday season all the more special and magical. Anything from food, toys, clothes, time– it is more than welcome! A lot of people go without during the holidays and as easy as is to get wrapped up in materialistic items, sometimes taking a minute to step back and put things in perspective is extremely helpful. If you are interested in giving back, check out our last blog, “Tis The Season For Giving!” to learn more about your closest food bank donation location as well as other ways to give back!

3. Fill your home with holiday scents and music

There is nothing that makes a home feel extra festive and warm than the sweet smells of the holiday season! Sugar cookies, peppermint, balsam and cedar, cranberry– oh my! No other feeling beats walking into your home after a long day and relaxing to the heartwarming scents of the holidays! Yankee candle has an extensive holiday candle collection that is sure to fill your home with cheer! Music is also another great way to boost your mood! If you have a list of housework to get done, blast some holiday music throughout the house! This is a for sure way to not only make your to do list more fun but a great way to feel more cheerful! Dance and sing your heart out to “Rockin Around The Christmas Tree” like nobody’s watching!

4. Have a cookie baking party with your friends!

Baking cookies is a classic holiday activity that many people around the world love to take part in. Call up your closest friends and put together a holiday cookie baking party! Ask them to bring their favorite recipes with them so you have an assortment of delicious cookies! While the cookies bake, pour a glass of wine, tune into the Hallmark Channel, and watch one of their cheesy holiday films that you cannot help but cry over! The holidays are about spending time with the ones you love so why not make a party out of it!

5. Take time to embrace the holiday spirit

The holidays are one of the most magical times of the year. Take some time out of your busy day and take a walk around the neighborhood with a cup of warm hot chocolate in your hands. It is amazing to see the effort people put into festively decorating for the holidays. With lights and decorations everywhere you look, it is hard not to embrace the holiday spirit. Don’t forget to compliment someone’s decor if you see them! That is a great way to spread the joy of the holidays!

Tis The Season For Giving!

If you will be sitting down to a delicious Thanksgiving meal this holiday season, remember to count your good fortune, as not everyone will be enjoying what you are. The food that we take for granted is something that others may dream of having. During this season of giving, consider donating food or giving your time to help out and feed those who are going without.

Food banks are always looking for Holiday food items. If you made too much food or bought one too many cans of cranberry sauce, bring it to your local food bank. This one action will not only help someone but it will make you feel good as well. Food banks are a located around the country. If you live in Brunswick at our LIVE Golden Isles community or in Jesup at our Village at Sunset Place community, you’ll want to head to Savannah to the America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, Inc. foodbank! Around the Conyers area where our Village at Iris Glen community lies, there are two locations to choose from! In Atlanta, there is the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank— both of which are great organizations! Located in Macon, right near our 3 Warner Robins communities, is the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank— a short drive away from helping somebody out! LIVE Victory Apartment Homes, LIVE Marathon Apartment Homes, and The Village at Holly Park are our 3 communities located in Columbus! Feeding The Valley Food Bank, located in Midland, is just a short drive away for the residents in these communities! If you live at our PROSPER Azalea City community in Valdosta, you’ll be happy to know that the Second Harvest of South Georgia Inc., is right here in Valdosta and ready for your donations! Last but not least, our Augusta communities, The Village at Charlestowne and The Village at Cedar Grove, are also within a short distance of Golden Harvest Food Bank! Not only can you go to drop off food, but you can donate your time as well by volunteering! Seeing the grateful faces of those getting a hot plate for the first time in however long is a feeling that will stay with you for a long time. If you will be traveling this holiday but still want to donate, check out the Feeding America website where you can enter your zip code and the nearest donation locations will be available for you to choose from!

You can take matters into your own hands and pack up some plates of delicious Thanksgiving food, take a drive around the neighborhood, and give it to those who you feel may need it the most. It could be someone who is homeless, someone who is eating alone because they just lost their spouse, a new friend that just moved to the neighborhood, give to anybody who you feel could use some extra magic this holiday season! Speaking of Thanksgiving, are there any Thanksgiving themed runs going on in your area? If so, get your running shoes on and participate! These events are often held in sponsorship of a good cause! This is one healthy way to give back!

Of course, all of these suggestions are not just for Thanksgiving! Christmas is another wonderful opportunity to give. As mentioned you can help your local food back, but you can also donate toys for children whose families may not have the funds to give them anything. Toys For Tots is a great organization to donate and volunteer with! There are plenty of donation sites throughout the state. On their website, there is the option to put in your location so they can direct you to the nearest donation spot in your state where you can donate a toy for a child this Christmas! There are also multiple places around the country to donate any clothes you are not wearing anymore. As winter approaches and the temperatures drop, any warm clothes that you can donate will be much appreciated.

The magic of the holiday season begins with you! Donating food, your time, toys, clothes, etc. is may seem like one small gesture but to someone else, that one gesture could be absolutely life changing. Set aside some time in your busy schedule and think about what you can do to give back. After all, Tis the Season for Giving!

7 Tips For Hosting Thanksgiving in Your Apartment

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! It is a time for family, giving thanks, and a lot of delicious food. Hosting can be stressful! If you’re living in an apartment home, space constraints can add to that. A million thoughts will be racing through your head of what needs to be done but try not to get overwhelmed! Here are 7 tips to remember when hosting Thanksgiving in your apartment home:

1. Try to keep your guest list to the right size, inviting your closest family & friends!

Though you would love to have everyone over for Thanksgiving, space can be limited. If your apartment community has a clubhouse, look into renting it! This will give you plenty of space to entertain your friends and family! If it is warm out and your community has a pool, bring Thanksgiving poolside– a fun and unique way to spend the holiday!

2. Have guest bring extra tables and chairs

You can never have too many tables and chairs. Ask your guests to bring any folding tables and chairs they have with them. This way you are guaranteed to have plenty of seating for everyone and you can set up a fun game night or an after-turkey movie! Also, homemade name cards are useful and will help keep everyone knowing their place while maximizing space!

3. Rearrange furniture to make more room

Before your guest come, take a look at the main area where you will be hosting. Can couches be pushed back? Can that chair fit in another corner more out of the way? Maneuver your furniture to make as much room as possible for a comfortable experience for your guest and less worry for you. Then you may even find enough space for a kiddie or card table as well!

4. Create to-do lists

When it comes to hosting a gathering, making lists of to-do’s, food to make, guests to invite, etc will make your life a lot easier. This is the perfect way to make sure that you are not forgetting something and you will not have to do last minute running around on Thanksgiving. Also, make your list a week in advance. Making it the day before the holiday, when you are frazzled with preparation, increases the chance of forgetting what you need to do or buy.

5. Prep as much food as possible in advance!

Think about what food you are going to be making and decide which items you can make a day or two in advance such as pies, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc. This will decrease the load of the things you need to get done on Thanksgiving. If certain foods need to be made the day of, prep your ingredients! If the recipe calls for onion, chop it up the night before and put it in the fridge. Doing as much as you can ahead of time will be a huge help to yourself.

6. Try not to stress over the little things

Things may not always go your way especially when hosting an event. But, try not to sweat the little things that are out of your control. For example, trying to have everyone sit around one table. While it would be great to have everyone sit around the table together, it may be tight. Place some people in a room close by– that way they can take part in the conversation, and potentially even meet new friends, while insuring your guests are comfortable while enjoying the meal.

7. Send your guest home with leftovers

Insist your guest take some leftovers home. Since they will be celebrating Thanksgiving at your home, they may not have leftovers for the next day waiting for them… and let’s be honest, the leftovers are one of the best parts! Not only does that make a good host, but guests will appreciate the gesture as well!

Holidays will always be a busy time but a joyous one! It is a time to make memories with your family and friends. Do not forget to be thankful that you have a roof over your head and food in your stomach this holiday season. We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving, Residents!