You Snooze, You Lose

Something exciting happened last night at my house. It’s one of those rare things in life…well, in my life, anyway. I can honestly say it has occurred less than ten times (maybe less than five) in my adulthood.

I slept through the night.

And when I say I “slept through the night,” I mean, I did not wake up even one time. I didn’t look at the clock once. I didn’t wake up to roll over once. I didn’t get up to go to the bathroom once. I slept through the night! And when I woke up at 8:40am (my husband tiptoed around the room so I could sleep, and he always takes our daughter to school), I was confused. I knew where I was, and I could tell by the clock it was 8:40am, but I was wondering, “How did that happen?”

I wrote about sleep once before. And when I did, I wrote about the things I have to do to try to get better sleep: exercise, spend time outdoors, take melatonin, and take my restless leg meds. But yesterday wasn’t like that. In fact, I’ve had to stop taking melatonin, because it was causing me to have vivid, sometimes scary, dreams.

I’m wondering if there are other adults out there who have rarely slept through and entire night without waking up once? Or am I odd? Before you even think it…yes, I know I’m odd, but is it odd that I rarely sleep an entire night?

I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but generally speaking, I don’t have trouble falling asleep. My husband always jokes that as soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m out. And lots of my friends know I can fall asleep almost anywhere…planes, cars, chairs…anywhere I can get still and quiet. But not tents. I can’t fall asleep in a tent, as far as I know…and I don’t want to find out. But sleeping through an entire night rarely happens.

I have a cold right now. I guess it’s a cold; I can’t ever tell the difference between a cold and allergies. I have a runny nose and watery eyes, and I’m sneezing. So last night, I took some NyQuil before going to bed. NyQuil usually works great for me when I have a cold. It usually stops my runny nose and coughing, and it helps me sleep, but usually, about five or six hours after taking it, just after the medicine wears off, I wake up. But not last night!

I don’t know why I slept so well, but I’m saying a little prayer of thanks right now for that good night’s sleep!

But now I’m thinking about the saying, “You snooze, you lose.” Yes, I know it has nothing to do with sleeping through the night. I know it means that if you move too slowly, you miss an opportunity. The early bird gets the worm. And that’s true in most cases.

But today, in my world, I snoozed and won! I usually wake up at least two or three times a night, so any night that I’ve slept the entire night? That is a big win!

 

 

 

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Mother/Daughter Fun

I was talking with a friend in carpool today about my recent vacation with my 15-yr-old daughter. We met my friend, Jennifer, and her 15-yr-old daughter in Los Angeles for several days. Jennifer and her daughter used to live in Charlotte, but they moved to Ohio about 11 years ago. Luckily, we still get to see them at least once a year, when we go on a mother/daughter vacation with them.

While I was talking with my friend in carpool today, she said she had never gone on a vacation with just her daughter, and she didn’t know how her husband would feel about it. I said, “Call it a mother/daughter vacation, and it takes on new meaning!” And it’s true! There’s nothing wrong with a little special mother/daughter bonding time, right? My husband never seems to mind. Of course, he is probably grateful for some peace and quiet around the house. He’s probably thinking, “Don’t let the door hit ya in the …”

We’ve been lots of places on mother/daughter vacations…Los Angeles, New York, Upstate New York, Vermont, Maine, Puerto Rico, and more. Every trip is different, but my goal is always to have lots of opportunity for us to share some fun and chat too! For example, it’s fun to shop in Los Angeles, and it becomes a shared experience. On our last trip there,  Jennifer and her daughter introduced us to a new store, and it turned into an all-morning shopping experience! My daughter found a few things before heading to the fitting room, and I just kept finding more stuff for her to try on! We chatted as we shopped, and then we went to a nice, leisurely lunch…another good chat opportunity. When we’re home, going out to dinner or lunch with me doesn’t sound so appealing to my daughter, but on vacation, it’s fun, because we can try new restaurants and new cuisines.

In Puerto Rico in the summer of 2017, we bonded over climbing a waterfall and exploring a bioluminescent bay. At night, we always played games together…Scattergories, Spot It, Pictionary, etc. Great fun…and we made some awesome memories together.

But sometimes a vacation isn’t possible. Maybe there are time constraints, or it’s just not in the family budget. Maybe you need to have some mother/daughter bonding time near home, and that’s fun too. There are some things we can do without having to go on “vacation”:

  • Have a staycation together.  There’s something special about staying in a hotel and ordering room service. There are some great hotels for that in the Charlotte area. Our two favorites are the Ballantyne Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, but there are lots of options out there. Most cities and towns have relatively inexpensive places nearby, if that’s what you’re looking for. Maybe you don’t want room service. Maybe you want to order takeout through PostMates or bring in your own food? When we go for a staycation, we check in as early as possible. Sometimes we just hang out in the room and watch movies or football games together. Sometimes, we go down to the pool or spa. Sometimes we go out for dinner. But we always order breakfast through room service. Even a one-night staycation is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with my daughter.
  • Thrift store shopping together. This is a total bonding experience, because thrift store shopping is no fun alone. It’s a lot more fun to dig through all the merchandise with someone else. And when you find something absurd or interesting, it’s fun to turn to your daughter and say, “Oh my! Did you see this?” We love thrift store shopping. My daughter has purchased some of her very favorite t-shirts at thrift stores in the Charlotte area, and you know how teens love t-shirts. At the Salvation Army Family Store, located at 1011 Central Avenue, we have found some great items. Also, one of my very favorite pairs of pants, some cute stretch cotton camouflage jeans, came from Buffalo Exchange, located just down the street at 1521 Central Avenue. I get more compliments on those camouflage jeans, and I paid about $9 for them.
  • Binge watch a series together. Different people enjoy different series, but I have friends who have loved watching Gilmore Girls with their daughters. I will propose it to mine, but I’m not sure how much interest she will have. We used to watch iCarly, Zoey 101, and Drake & Josh together. And later, we would watch Pretty Little Liars together. Neither of us watches a lot of TV these days, but maybe we should schedule a TV marathon. Lots of series are offered on Amazon and Netflix. Find one you will both enjoy. Maybe we should revisit some of those old shows! My husband occasionally leaves town, so next time, I’ll let my daughter pick a series, and we can watch that and eat popcorn and Sour Patch Kids to our hearts’ content!
  • Spend time outdoors together. In Charlotte, we are fortunate to have the US National Whitewater Center nearby, but most cities have some sort of outdoor activities. Atlanta has Stone Mountain. Find an activity that would be fun as a mother/daughter duo or with another mother/daughter. We’ve done the Whitewater Center with friends several times, and it’s always fun! We love zip lines and ropes courses, so this is right up our alley. If you’re anywhere in the southeast, it’s pretty easy to get to Abingdon/Damascus, Virginia…bike the 17-mile (downhill) Virginia Creeper Trail together. It’s a little over three hours from Charlotte, but easily done with a one-night hotel stay in the area. And there are lots of inexpensive hotel options in and around Abingdon and Damascus. Or spend a night in Asheville, NC, and visit the Biltmore!
  • Take a class together. I have friends who have taken cooking classes or exercise classes with their daughters, and they loved it. If you live anywhere near a Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table, it’s likely they offer one-day cooking events or classes. Just taking a quick look at the Sur La Table website (click on the name of the highlighted business), I see several upcoming opportunities, but you must sign up in advance. Same with Williams-Sonoma…check the website. Learn to cook a new dish or set a beautiful table! Cooking’s not your thing? Maybe try a spin class at Cycle Bar or Flywheel. Or learn how to knit together at a local yarn store. In Charlotte, my favorite is Charlotte Yarn on East Boulevard. If you don’t want to take a class together, maybe you take an afternoon to teach your daughter a skill you have or teach her how to cook a favorite family recipe.

So, if you can do a mother/daughter vacation, I highly recommend it. If not, maybe you just find some bonding activities to do. I love knowing I’m making memories with my daughter. She will be leaving for college in just 3 1/2 years, and I want to make sure we’ve done as much as possible before she flies the coop!

 

 

 

 

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Santa’s Riding An Elephant In My Yard! (My Favorite Lawn Decor)

There are several houses in our area that go all out for Christmas. One of my favorites is a couple of miles away, and the gentleman who lives there dresses up as Santa at night, standing out by the road to take donations for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, one of my favorite causes. And the lights! Wow! It’s insane! (That’s the house in the picture above.) When our daughter was little, we told her it was Santa’s second home, where he goes to prepare for Christmas, because she couldn’t understand why he was standing outside a house in Charlotte. See bottom of page for a list of several places to see great light displays in the Charlotte area. 

When I was growing up, my parents would decorate our lawn for Christmas. My favorite decorations were those 40″ Noel Candles everyone had in the 70s. I have some now. I haven’t put them out this year, but there’s still time. Maybe tomorrow. I was absolutely fascinated with them when I was a little girl.

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My daughter and a neighbor’s daughter, several years ago, with the Noel candles.

I also remember my parents putting blue lights on the shrubs across the front of the house. The big blue bulbs that would steam a little when rain hit them. That’s because bulbs got hot back then.

As an adult, I still love lawn decor, but sometimes, like this year, I’m slow getting it out. I found the multicolor bulbs today, but it was already getting dark, so I’ll likely put them on the shrubs out front tomorrow. And yes, I said “shrubs,” not “trees.” I’ve never been one to do lawn decor that’s up too high. I don’t want to drag out a ladder. Maybe I’m lazy. Or maybe I’m smart, since this year, my vertigo seems to be in high gear. It flares up every now and then, and it only bothers me when I look up or lean my head back, so climbing ladders to hang stuff up high isn’t a good idea.

I’ve mentioned before that I have lighted animals I put out front every year. One friend who lives down the street looks forward to seeing our Christmas pig. We usually have a fox too, but this year, I let him stay inside. I put out a small lighted elephant and a couple of small lighted cardinals instead. Quite a menagerie. And my leg lamp…the one from the movie, A Christmas Story, is always in the front dining room window. A mom came to pick up her daughter at our house yesterday and said, “That’s an interesting lamp.” I laughed. “I’m guessing you haven’t seen the movie?” She had no idea what I was talking about. I explained, but I think she still thought I was crazy. Maybe she’s right?

But here’s what I’m excited about this year: when I was in the attic yesterday looking for some wrapping paper, I came across something I ordered a few years ago ( at an after Christmas sale) and never opened. In it? A giant inflatable elephant carrying Santa and some presents!

I carried that box out to the front yard and got that inflatable elephant anchored down and inflated in record time! He is glorious! Did I mention the thing is over 10 feet tall? It makes me happy.

Anyone who knows me knows I went to The University of Alabama, so of course, I’m a Crimson Tide fan…the elephant is perfect for my yard. My husband gets back home today after a few days away. Surprise, honey!

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It’s tacky. And I love it. The neighbors probably hate me. My husband might hate me too; tacky decorations are not his favorite thing. Oh well, at least I waited till well after Thanksgiving to put it up! Frankly, I hope it will last till Christmas. The last time I put up a giant inflatable pig, my next door neighbor called to inform me it had blown into her yard!

A friend who lives in the neighborhood has an inflatable Airstream in her front yard, and it makes me happy every time I see it. If I get a call, I’m going to say she set the precedent. There’s just something about outdoor holiday decor that’s fun, and for me…the tackier, the better.

So, it’s tacky Christmas decor at my house. I like it. I think it’s a lot more fun than perfect, little twinkling lights spaced perfectly on every tree and shrub. Those are beautiful, but this is fun! And one thing’s for sure… everybody can look at it and know we did it ourselves. Nope…not gonna hire someone to make my yard look perfect. Anyone can do that. Not just everyone can kneel in wet grass for 20 minutes while untangling tether lines for a giant inflatable elephant.

I think Santa likes it too.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

***The photo at the top of the page is a house on Sherwood Forest Drive in South Charlotte, off Colony Road. Drive toward that road at night, and just follow all the cars turning into the road. The neighbors’ houses have lots of lights too.***

***The town of McAdenville, just off Interstate 85, south of Charlotte, is a former mill town, and the whole village participates. It’s free! Traffic is heavy, so plan to be in line for a while, and don’t drink a lot of liquids beforehand.***

***Hillside Avenue in Myers Park has beautiful outdoor decor. Just drive down the street at night and see how the neighborhood comes together to decorate. Beautiful!***

***Another popular decor area is Thomas Avenue in Plaza Midwood. ***

Other great places to see lots of Christmas lights: Carowinds’ Winterfest, Billy Graham Library, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, and Charlotte Motorspeedway. 

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Ten Days Till Christmas!

I love thinking about how exciting Christmas was when I was a little girl. I also love remembering my daughter’s excitement leading up to Christmas…and Christmas morning…wow! There’s nothing else like it. It’s magical. Even if you stayed up till 2am putting together toys, it’s magical. Even if you stayed up all night with a sick child, it’s magical. Even if you had to search frantically for all the gifts, it’s magical. Seeing your child’s face on Christmas morning is magical.

Ten days till Christmas!

And kids have no idea how much goes on behind the scenes. They couldn’t even begin to fathom all we do in preparation for the holidays. They wouldn’t believe how much prep work goes into that “magic.”

Most of my purchasing is done this year, so I’ve been spending the last few days wrapping gifts…and wrapping gifts…and wrapping gifts. That sounds like it has been drudgery, but I have loved every minute of it.

Last year, on December 30, I lost my mom. And while I’ve dreaded this Christmas and the approaching one year mark, I’ve told myself I’m going to find joy in everything about the holiday.

My husband put up the tree and some of the decorations while my daughter and I were away a few weeks ago. We came home and found the tree waiting for us, poinsettias in the foyer and living room, our light-up animals on the front steps, and my glorious leg lamp in the dining room window. Fra-gil-e! It’s a major award! My husband had shared a little joy by surprising us.

Then Christmas cards started arriving…more joy from friends and family, near and far! I love Christmas cards.

Even though my husband put up the tree, he didn’t decorate it. I got out all the ornaments and decorated it recently, surprising our daughter with lots of ornaments from her childhood. There are ornaments my mother gave us, and I smiled every time I hung one. There were two ornaments left on the tree from last year…cardinals. My mother always said when cardinals come around, they are loved ones we have lost making a visit. I was thrilled to find those two cardinals on the tree. And there were lots of owl ornaments. I don’t remember buying them, but there are lots of them. After three or four, I wondered if they had any significance.

I’ve purchased gifts from links our teenage daughter has texted us. And I’ve added a few surprises for her too, to give her a little extra joy…and to make it seem a little magical. I know Christmas isn’t about the gifts, but we didn’t have much of a Christmas last year, since Mother fell on Christmas Eve and was admitted to the hospital. I’ve purchased lots of gifts, in fact. And I’ve been doing lots of gift wrapping.

Gift wrapping was always something I dreaded, but this year is different. This year, I’ve found gift wrapping (and making gigantic bows!) to be therapeutic, and since it’s our first year without Mother, I’ve needed the therapy. Of course, I’m sad she’s not here to talk on the phone with me while I’m wrapping, but it has still calmed me. It has been downright joyful to wrap gifts, because the busy work relaxes my mind.

And those owl ornaments? Well, last night, I was searching for a necklace my mother gave me, and I came across a charm bracelet I brought home from her house after she died. I had never seen it before she died, but I found it in a jewelry box at her house. I picked it up last night and looked at all the charms. There’s a tricycle…I have pictures of her on a tricycle as a little girl. There’s a nurse’s cap….she was a nurse. There are lots of charms, including a sunflower, which was her favorite and Daddy’s too. And there were two owls. I smiled. I had my answer about the significance of the owl ornaments. They were somehow special to Mother. I don’t know how, but that doesn’t matter. I made a connection.

I’m going to be joyful this holiday season. It’s my goal. And so far, I am. There have been a few tears, but I feel like these little signs…the cardinals, the owls…are telling me to be happy, so that’s what I’m going to do. Mother used to always say that if you decide to be happy, you’ll be happy. I’ve decided to be happy.

Anybody have any gifts that need to be wrapped?

Same Gift, Different Year

Every year of her life, our 15-yr-old daughter has received a sled for Christmas. It’s a staple. It’s just part of Christmas at our house. Without a doubt, every year, she knows she will come downstairs on Christmas morning and find a sled. She has quite a collection now.

Did any member of your family receive a yearly  gift?

When I was growing up, we always knew, without a doubt, there would be an electric train for my brother under the tree on Christmas morning. And Santa never failed. There were countless trains, but the best ones were the ones with a fat power box with a switch that just made them go forward or backward, fast or slow.

For whatever reason, it was always the most popular gift in the family. What’s so entertaining about watching a train go in a circle? But there was something about it. I think we set up little people at different “stations” around the track and pretended we were picking up the people or cargo when we made stops.

While I don’t remember the all the details of how we played, I know we played with those trains a lot…on Christmas Day.

Usually, about halfway through the afternoon, we’d smell something burning. The first couple of years, we weren’t quick to identify it, but later, we knew right away…the control box was on its last leg. It was an electrical “fire” we were smelling…inside the overheated control box, and we knew the fun of the train was almost over. It usually happened when Daddy was playing with it, but he would never admit it. As adults, we laugh about how he enjoyed the train more than any of us.

Fortunately for our daughter, a sled doesn’t cause electrical fires. And most Christmas mornings in Charlotte, there’s no snow, so no one even touches the sled that day.

But when it finally snows, it’s always the most popular gift in the house!

Because my husband and I grew up in south Alabama, we didn’t have the opportunity to go sledding when we were growing up. In fact, when my family moved into one house, my brother and I found a couple of sleds that had been left by the previous owners. We had a big, tree-filled hill behind our house, and since we rarely had snow, we would go “leaf sledding.” We’d “sled” down that leaf-covered hill, dodging trees along the way. It was fun (and dangerous), but it wasn’t snow sledding.

Sure, you can visit ski resorts, but there is nothing as much fun as “home snow.” There’s nothing like racing down the neighborhood hills on sleds in the snow…with all the neighborhood kids. We know that now, because now that I live in North Carolina, we get to go sledding occasionally. We buy lots of junk food and hot chocolate mix beforehand, and we invite friends over…young and old…and we go sledding. Our daughter now has a big collection of sleds, so there are plenty to go around, but you know what happens…we all want to take a turn (or two) on the new sled.

Generally speaking, my husband stays out for about 15 minutes. I’ll stay out for an hour or two. Our daughter stays out all day with friends. She always knows our sledding time will be short, so she doesn’t mind letting us take the new sled for a trip or two down the hill.

This year, she’ll get another sled. It’s supposed to be even faster than the super-fast one she got last year, which was faster than the super-fast one she got the year before.

And we’ll wait for snow…

***If you’re interested in a toy train for someone in your family this year, Amazon has an assortment. You can shop here. I’m not in the market for one, but if I were, I’d probably purchase this one. They also have an assortment of sleds here.***

My Favorite Fun Things To Do At Christmas

Our daughter is a teenager now. No more trips to Southpark Mall for her to sit on Santa’s lap. Oh, that used to be one of the highlights of the season…and she did it 15 or 20 times a year.

She doesn’t want to hang out with us like she used to, and we’re cool with that. She’s growing up, and I’m glad she is becoming more independent every day. During the Christmas season, she’ll join me for a few fun Christmas things, but we used to do a lot when she was younger. Every city has its own places to visit, but here are my favorite fun things to do during the holidays that can be done anywhere:

  • Neighborhood Lights. Riding around looking at Christmas lights never gets old. Image-1Fortunately, our daughter will still do this with us. She will invite a few friends, and I’ll get a mom friend, and we will drive around looking at lights. Sometimes, we might even stop for the girls to “carol” at a friend’s house, which really means they want to visit with someone for a little while.
  • Host a Cookie Swap. This is something we haven’t done in years, but when we did it, it was fun. Maybe this year, my daughter and I will pick a weekend day to invite friends over and have an old-fashioned cookie swap. We’ll make a few dozen of our favorites and ask our friends to bring their favorites, and we’ll swap them out while we drink hot chocolate or coffee…or maybe champagne for the moms!photo-1510545724575-ca1a01b0cd1e.jpeg
  • Decorate the Tree. I know, lots of people hire folks to decorate their tree and do their outdoor lighting, and that’s great if that’s what you want to do. Not me. Part of the fun of the holiday is doing that stuff! Sure, it’s frustrating at times, but it helps with the spirit of the holiday. Often, teenagers think they’re too cool to help decorate the tree or help with outdoor decor. At our house, it will be a family event…again. Besides, the best memories are made when the tree isn’t perfect! I remember when our daughter was four, we let her hang the ornaments on the tree, and they were all on the bottom third of the tree. Good times!
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  • Christmas specials. Maybe I’m the only 51-yr-old mother who loves the old Christmas TV specials more than my child does. She cares nothing about watching the old animated shows I watched as a child, so I usually end up recording them and watching them by myself. My husband thinks I’m a nut, but it never really feels like the holiday season till I see some of my favorites: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, and The Year Without A Santa Claus. Those were the ones we could hardly wait to see every year when I was a little girl. We’d get an early bath and get into our pajamas. Mother would turn off all the lights in the den, and we’d lie in front of the TV, watching the special of the night.
  • Christmas Movies. When I was a teenager, I still looked forward to those specials, but I loved staying up late at night with Mother, watching classic holiday movies. Our favorites were Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Holiday Inn…all on TBS. One year, when It’s a Wonderful Life was on earlier in the evening, Daddy came in and wanted to watch something else on the television in the den. I pouted, but I went upstairs to finish watching my movie. He ended up coming upstairs and telling me we’d watch the movie in the den. He watched with me, and it became one of his favorite movies of all time. His other favorite Christmas movie? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Daddy had a good sense of humor. I can remember his laugh like it was yesterday.
  • Bake, Bake, Bake! Every time I go into Target between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I pick up some baking supplies: sugar, flour, butter, Karo Syrup, or even just cookie or cake mix. I have some favorite things I like to bake for the holidays: Fudge Pecan Pie Bars, Cardamom Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Buttermilk Pie, and Beer Bread! Maybe I can get my daughter to stay home long enough one weekend afternoon to do some baking with me. I’ll share some recipes soon too!
  • Knitting. In Charlotte, December is when it starts to get a little cold, which puts me in the mood to do some knitting, and this year is no exception. I’m dragging out the yarn and knitting needles, getting ready to make a new snow beanie for my husband. He has one I made last year, and surprisingly, he loves it. He actually  requested another one. It’s very relaxing for me to knit, and it’s great to know he likes what I made him.
  • Visit Local Holiday Sites. Every city has different things to enjoy during the holidays, and every year, something is added. I love to get online and search for holiday fun in Charlotte every year. Maybe it’s a tree lighting or candlelight tour of a local attraction. There are so many fun things in Charlotte around the holidays. Lots of them are listed here. Our favorites are Winterfest at Carowinds; Christmas at the Library, Billy Graham Library, click here; Christmas in the Gardens at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens; Gingerbread Lane, Holiday Tea, Hot Chocolate and Toddies, and more at Ballantyne Hotel…see their events here; Charlotte Christmas Village (click here), and the drive-thru Nativity at Carmel Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Carmel Road and Sharonview Road (click here).

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    Live Nativity at Billy Graham Library

Now, I’m getting my calendar out to schedule everything we can possibly do between now and Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Even MORE Stocking Stuffers!

Who knew?!?! Lots of folks are looking for even MORE stocking stuffers! After my recent post about stocking stuffers (see it here), I got requests for even MORE! So here’s what I’ve found:

Urban Outfitters Cat-Eye Glasses. When my nephew and his 22-yr-old female friend came to town for a concert recently, the friend was wearing some cool glasses from Urban Outfitters. Apparently, these type glasses are all the rage with the teen and 20-something set. Starting at just $16, they’re inexpensive, so they make great stocking stuffers. Get them here.

Clean Screen Wizard. My husband is always cleaning his glasses, phone screen, and iPad screen. This is a set of six cleaning cloths and one sticker screen cleaner for devices. The sticker screen cleaner is designed to adhere to the back of devices, for easy access but no sticky residue. Everybody can use these, and my husband will be grateful to find these in his stocking. Get them at for $9.90 at Amazon here.

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Urban Decay Cosmetics Naked Cherry Eyeshadow Palette. Every year, the newest Urban Decay Cosmetics Eyeshadow Palette is a popular item…especially with teens and 20-somethings. This year is no exception. This year’s palette is called Naked Cherry, and it has been very well-received. Priced at $49, it’s not a cheap gift, but my daughter thinks it’s worth every penny. Get one at Ulta here.

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Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray. If you’re not familiar with Poo-Pourri, you need to be. It’s a great product. I won’t get into the details of how it keeps a bathroom smelling fresh, but if you don’t know, watch a really funny commercial here. Every time I watch it, I laugh till I cry. And the small bottles are the perfect size to carry in your handbag. To get your 2 oz. bottle of Poo-Pourri for $9.98, purchase at Amazon here.

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Stainless Drinking Straws. We all know California has banned the plastic straw, and I get the reasoning behind it. Whether you have friends in Cali or not, there are lots of folks who would like to cut back on their use of plastic straws to help the environment. If you know those folks, these stainless drinking straws can be the perfect stocking stuffer. Priced at $5.35 at Amazon, they’re a good deal. Get them here.

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Dry Divas Shower Cap. Earlier this year, I wrote about how much I love my Dry Divas Shower Cap…functional and pretty too! It does a great job of keeping my hair dry in the shower, which most shower caps can’t seem to do. I also use it to keep my hair off my face while I’m applying makeup. And they’re so well made that each cap should last about three years. Last year, I found these at a different store for $30, but I’ve found them at Dillards.com for $20, and they have a lot of designs! Shop them here.

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AirComfy Daydreamer Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow. Priced at $21.95 on Amazon, these are a deal. I know…lots of folks have those foam travel pillows, but this one’s better, because it takes up less room in a carry-on bag! Just carry it deflated, and inflate it when you get to your seat! Plane lands…deflate the pillow and stuff it in your carry on. Shop it here.

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Emergency Themed Souvenir Set of Float Pens. Because I’ve loved a good float pen since I was a kid, I always think they make good stocking stuffers. I was reminded of how much I love these things when I was cleaning out a drawer in my closet over the weekend. Priced at $19.99, this set is a fun stocking stuffer, or break it up, and drop one in each stocking. Shop it at Amazon here. And if someone in the family loves Stephen King’s It, there’s an It-themed float pen on Amazon too, but it’s priced at $15.06. See it here.

Who’s Most Likely To… Card Game. I’ve seen variations of this game on talk shows. It’s a lot of fun if you have a group of people who aren’t super sensitive. Touted as “a hilarious way to get to know your friends on a whole new level.” Decide who among the group would be “most likely to be a horrible doctor” and more. Get it on Amazon.com for $31.79 here. It’s guaranteed to bring hours of laughs for folks ages 17+.

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Worldwide Travel Adaptor. Does someone on your list have an international trip planned? Take the guesswork out of travel adaptors by getting the traveler one that works everywhere! The one I like is the JOOMFEEN, because not only does it have adaptors for everywhere, it also has USB ports for your electronics. It will fit perfectly in a traveler’s Christmas stocking and luggage. Priced at $12.99 on Amazon, it’s a great buy. Shop it here.

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You asked for it! You got it! More stocking stuffers! I hope these suggestions help take some of the anxiety out of your holiday shopping!