Last Minute Holiday Checklist

Holiday-ChecklistOnly a few days left until Christmas! Are you ready? Here’s a quick, last minute holiday checklist to help you out.

Eats and Treats 

  • Make your grocery list no later than December 21. Include items for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast and Christmas dinner. Remember the grocery store is going to be packed between now and Christmas morning, so include staples like milk, fruit, bread, and anything your family needs to eat daily.
  • Go grocery shopping no later than December 22. This will give you some room for errors — you’ll still have a day or so to get anything you forgot to put on your list.
  • Start dinner prep on December 23. Christmas Eve will be hectic enough without having to think about every detail of Christmas dinner. Cutting up vegetables and peeling potatoes ahead of time will save you from stress on Christmas day.
  • Bake your desserts on Christmas Eve. You won’t have oven space on Christmas Day to do all the cooking and baking.

send-a-giftGifts and Stockings

  • Wrap the gifts for your family no later than December 21. Pull everything out of hiding and cloak your presents in glitter and ribbons to dazzle your kids before their favorite day. Remember to be clever enough with the wrapping that they can’t sneak a peek at what you bought.
  • Test stuffing. Make sure you have enough goodies to fill out the stockings by December 22. If you don’t have enough trinkets to make the stockings swell like Santa’s belly, you’ll have time to buy a few more souvenirs.

Cozy-Cuddler-Lighted-PillowKids 

  • Keep the kids busy. Plan a few crafts for the little ones — they’ll need activities while school is out and you won’t have time to entertain them. If your kids are old enough, involve them in the holiday preparation.

Cleanup 

  • If you haven’t done a thorough house-cleaning yet, it’s too late, but it’s not the end of the world. A quick wipe-down of the bathrooms, vacuuming and dusting should be easy enough to complete alongside your other tasks. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

You may not be ready yet, but you will be! Just remember to prioritize and check tasks off your list as you go. Happy holidays!

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Keeping warm in winter’s chill is on everybody’s mind, and LTD Commodities is full of things to keep you cozy or get you up and moving. Curl up in fleecy tights, or bundle up and head outdoors to play games and explore the season’s wonders. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Step out in style with a pair of Women's Faux-Fur Lined Wedge Boots.

Step out in style with a pair of Women’s Faux-Fur Lined Wedge Boots.

 

Our 3-Pair Assorted Fleece-Lined Tights are comfortable and fashionable.

Our 3-Pair Assorted Fleece-Lined Tights are comfortable and fashionable.

 

This 6-Pair Kids' Glove Set features vibrant designs your children are sure to love.

This 6-Pair Kids’ Glove Set features vibrant designs your children are sure to love.

Your kids will love this dual player Discovery Kids™ Spaceship Laser Tag shooting game!

Your kids will love this dual player Discovery Kids™ Spaceship Laser Tag shooting game!

 

7 Tips to Get Through the Holidays without Overeating

holiday-foodWe’re full of cheer from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day, but with all the parties and holiday dinners, we’re also full of food. From the office party to a friend’s cocktail party, it’s hard not to overindulge on rich desserts and caloric hors d’oeuvres and, by January, we’ve overextended our bellies. We don’t have to eat everything during the holidays — here are 7 tips to get through the holidays without overeating.

Create a Game Plan Plan your meals around your parties according to your party. If you’re the type of person who eats even if you’re full, eat smaller meals that will keep your metabolism going and eat at the party. If you don’t eat a lot when you’re full, try eating a filling healthy meal before you go to the party so you don’t feel a need to eat heavy foods.

Take it Slow When you get your party plate, pause between every action. Take a bite, chew it and pause. Drink a glass of water and pause before you start eating something new. Before you fill your plate again, pause. This will keep your brain and your stomach at the same pace. You’ll notice that you’re full before you eat everything at the party.

holiday-foodBe Picky When you get to the party, don’t eat just anything that’s on the buffet table. Pick out only the things you really want to try and skip all the things you might want to try. Treat yourself because it’s the holidays but don’t eat something just because it’s there.

Hydrate Drink plenty of water throughout the party. It will help you feel full and, with a full stomach, you may not want to eat as much.

Socialize If you’re at a party where you don’t know many people or you’re at a party with a large group, grab someone and start a conversation. It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, but it’s hard not to overeat to keep yourself busy. When you’re talking to someone, you’re likely not going to put something in your mouth while you’re telling a story.

Holiday-FoodFill Up on the Good Stuff Just like eating those bread sticks at restaurants and getting too full for the meal, you can fill your plate with fruits and veggies before you get to the saucy, cheesie, starchy appetizers. The more you fill your stomach with healthy food, the less room you’ll have for the fatty food.

Cut Yourself Some Slack Allow yourself some indulgences… with limits. For instance, if there are 15 desserts on the buffet, don’t tell yourself no, just declare a number of desserts you allow yourself to eat and stop when you hit that number. Or limit yourself to one trip to the buffet table.

Although the holidays are packed with fun fare for two solid months, they’re not as bad as you might think. According to a study from the National Institutes of Health, on average, Americans don’t gain a significant amount of weight during the holidays — we just feel like we do. But what you feel is what counts the most and if that means curbing your appetite during the holidays, it’s not a bad idea to restrict your holiday indulgences.

 

7 Holiday Cocktail Party Essentials

From now until January our schedules are sparkling with holiday activities — between the big dinners and gift shopping, it’s our duty to throw a holiday cocktail party. Anyone can throw a great cocktail party, but here are 7 Holiday Cocktail Party Essentials to make your party memorable.

LED-Plate

Add glitz to your holiday table with an LED Charger Plate. The elegant metallic plate has 16 gleaming LED lights decorating the rim. Set a centerpiece, wrapped treats or nuts on this plate to brighten your snack table!

Buffet Caddy frees up space on the serving table by keeping all of your dinnerware in one spot. The top section organizes your flatware in 4 round baskets, the center section holds napkins, and the bottom section keeps dinner plates easily accessible. The metal frame has a scrolled design and durable balled feet to keep the caddy in place on any surface.

Party-ServerMultifunction Server with Lid is a 6-in-1 hosting essential! The clear server looks like a cake stand with a dome cover, but the cover can be turned over and set in the stand for use as a bowl. The center section also serves as a dip bowl. From snacks to salads, appetizers and desserts, this versatile server makes hosting a holiday party simple with elegance.

These Humorous Wine Accents display witty sayings that get the holiday cocktail party conversation started! The Set of 3 Bottle Stoppers look great on your favorite bottles of wine and provide a laugh each time your guests go for a drink.

Wine-Bottle-CharmThe Get Jingly Wine Bottle Jewelry turns any wine bottle into a part of your holiday decor! The charm loop — with 9 red and green bells — fits over the neck of the bottle for a little twinkle and a lot of jingle! A silvertone plaque is inscribed with a jolly message for the festive season.

Buffet Iced Serving Collection takes the work out of hosting a cocktail party! You don’t have to worry about keeping the cold food cold  — each piece has a tray at the bottom for holding ice! Serve dip or sauce in the stainless steel Dip Bowl, which nests inside its plastic ice holder. The plastic 8-Pc. Serving Bowl Set can be used for anything from a veggie snacks to salad. 4 Servers clip to the side of the bowl to hold garnishes. The Egg & Appetizer Tray has a stainless steel insert that holds 24 deviled egg halves over ice. The plastic tray can also be used alone as a 4-section serving platter for appetizers.

Cocktail-Party-essentials7The Holiday Wine Bottle & Glass Holder is an adorable way to dress up a bottle of wine for your cocktail party! A finely detailed, cheerful face tops a spiral body that fits around a standard wine bottle while two arms hold your wine glasses.

We’re all bubbly with cheer for the holidays, but there’s no reason we can’t add a few more accents to our cocktail party — no one ever complained about having too much joy! Shop LTD Commodities for more entertaining and holiday gift ideas to make your holidays brighter!

6 Personalized Gifts to Add to Your Holiday List

It’s time to start ticking off names on your holiday gift lists, but where to begin is challenging when you want to make each gift personal and thoughtful. We have some ideas to get you started! Here are 6 personalized gifts to add to your holiday list.

LTD-Personalized-sleeping-bagsPersonal Bedtime You don’t have to worry about sleeping bag mix-ups at slumber parties when kids bring their own Personalized Sleeping Bag! Comfortable and cozy, each child’s name is stitched into the top of the sleeping bag.

LTD-Personalized-dog-welcome-matsPersonal Pups For dog owners, show your love through their pets with a Personalized Dog Breed Doormat. Choose your pup’s breed and put his or her name across the bone on the dog’s collar. Rubber backing keeps it in place indoors or in a covered area outdoors.

LTD-Personalized-phone-casesPersonal Talk Snapping selfies has never been so personal with a Picture Frame Personalized Phone Case. Your loved one can easily swap and change pictures whenever he or she wants making it a one-of-a-kind smartphone case. The outer shell protects the phone from damage, and the inner picture frame adds a personal touch.

LTD-Personalized-PendantsPersonal Charm The Personalized Name Drop Pendant is more than an accessory, it’s jewelry that tells your loved one’s story. For a mom with her children’s names or a grandmother with her grandchildren’s names, the necklace is customized with up to 5 pendants, each with a name up to 9 letters long. The necklace comes on an adjustable 18″ chain with a lobster claw clasp.

LTD-Personalized-Pub-PrintPersonal Victories This is the man-cave must-have for the season: Personalized Framed Sports Pub Print. The framed sign features a favorite NFL team along with your loved one’s own printed customization. Pub marquee features the pub name of your choosing and the proprietor section can be personalized as well.

LTD-Personalized-Family-pajamasPersonal Holidays Christmas morning is one of the more personal family days of the year —  matching Personalized Snowman Pajamas! Each set comes with 39 iron-on letters you can use to personalize the long-sleeved top. Long flannel pants have an all-over snowman print and an elastic waistband for a comfortable fit. These pajamas are perfect for lounging by the fire or opening presents.

We have presents for everyone on your gift list. Whether you want to put your loved one’s name on it or you’re looking for a gag gift, LTD Commodities has hundreds of products for you to choose from this holiday season.

6 Tips to Keep Your Christmas Tree Beautiful

Christmas-TreeWe have just one month until Christmas Eve — it’s time to put your Christmas tree up! You put so much work into making it look joyful with all the tinsel and ornaments, you want it to stay pretty as long as you can. Here are 6 tips to keep your Christmas tree beautiful until the New Year!

Make a Fresh Cut When you go shopping for your tree, keep in mind that the trees at your lot were cut down a few weeks ago and where your tree was cut may be a bit dull and hard for the tree to absorb water. After you haul your tree home saw off a few inches of the trunk before you put it in the tree stand. This helps keep the needles moist and green.

Christmas-TreeWater Immediately Trees are thirsty! A Christmas tree can absorb a gallon of water a day so letting it have that first sip after a week on the tree lot is important to bringing life back to the tree. There’s no need to drill any other hole in the base of the tree to help with water absorption; the outer layer of the tree is very efficient in transporting the water from the trunk to the top branches.

Keep it Cool Keeping the tree away from heat sources is key to keeping it hydrated, but also consider lowering the temperature in the room where you keep your tree to help make it last longer. Keeping it cool will slow down the drying process because the water absorbed by the tree won’t evaporate as quickly. In addition, turning the tree lights off at night and when you’re not at home will keep the temperature around the tree down. 

Keep the Water Pure There’s nothing you can add to water to keep your tree greener or make it last longer. Good, clean water is all it needs.

Christmas-Tree-ornamentsWater Daily Make sure the tree’s trunk is always immersed in water. They drink a lot and they drink fast, so keeping an eye on the water level is important to keeping your tree green through Christmas and into the new year.

Give it Some Sun Think of your Christmas tree as your new house plant. House plants need sunlight to survive and so do Christmas trees! If your tree is in a room where there’s a window, keep the windows open during the day so it can soak up the sun.

Of course you can take the easy way out of caring for a Christmas tree by getting an artificial tree. Whether it’s real or fake, tree trimming is the kickoff to the holiday season; make your decor a delight with LTD Commodities!

 

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

It is finally time to get down to some serious holiday shopping. This magical time of year is all about children, and that shows in the variety of toys, clothing, and other delights waiting for you at LTD Commodities. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Your little girl will feel like she's caring for a real baby with a La Newborn Real Life 14" Doll Set or Outfits.

Your little girl will feel like she’s caring for a real baby with a La Newborn® Real Life 14″ Doll Set or Outfits.

Add adventure and excitement to their pretend covert operations with the Military Walkie-Talkie Command Center.

Add adventure and excitement to their pretend covert operations with the Military Walkie-Talkie Command Center.

Jelly Belly® Gift Boxes include 10 or 40 different flavors of the world-famous, delicious candy.

Jelly Belly® Gift Boxes include 10 or 40 different flavors of the world-famous, delicious candy.

Your child can save the day with a Rush & Rescue Remote Control Vehicle!

Your child can save the day with a Rush & Rescue™ Remote Control Vehicle!

 

 

5 Tips for Selecting a Christmas Tree

Christmas-TreeThe temperatures are dropping and even though we’re dreading cold weather, we’re excited for the holidays! We’re putting up all of of our holiday decor, but there’s just one thing missing: the Christmas tree. While we’re getting ready to put one up, we thought we’d share 5 tips for selecting a Christmas tree.

Pick a Spot Before you gather the family to pick out a tree, consider where you are going to put the tree and what kind of help you’ll be getting when you take it home. This will determine the size you want to buy. Standard ceilings are 8 ft high, so you want to select a tree that’s 7 ft or smaller. If you have high or vaulted ceilings, you are open to select taller trees, just remember the taller they are, the heavier they are and an average tree can weigh about 80lbs. Quick tip: Remember when you’re choosing a spot for your tree, make sure it’s away from heating vents so they don’t dry out and become a fire hazard.

Pick a Type There are different varieties of evergreen trees with different characteristics you can choose from:

Fir: Typically triangular, dense with branches, dark green needles, and has a prominent spire — Fraser Fir and Douglas Fir are most popular for Christmas trees

Evergreen-TreePine: Bright green, stiff branches — Scots Pine and Virginia Pine are most popular for Christmas trees

Spruce: Waxy, grey-green, triangular shape — Colorado Blue Spruce and White Spruce are most popular for Christmas trees

Inspect It When you’ve decided on the size of the tree you want and you get to the lot, inspect each of the trees you want:

  • Look for insects
  • Make sure the needles are green and flexible — if they are brittle, the tree is dry
  • The base of the tree should have sap on it

Shake It Off Before you leave the tree lot, shake the tree — with a lot of effort — to get rid of the needles that need to be shed. This will save you some aggravation of having a trail of needles to clean up as you carry the tree through your house that you’ll have to clean up as you prepare for the guests to arrive.

Christmas-TreeAvoid Shock After you shake off the needles, store the tree in a shed or garage if you have one. Trees live outside in temperatures much lower than what you have in your home. Keeping them inside spots with cool temperatures will ease them into the warmth of a festive home, and prevent needles from falling off prematurely. Quick tip: water your tree daily to keep it from drying out and the needles from falling off.

Fresh Christmas trees are a lot of work and maintenance. If you don’t have the time or energy for a real Christmas tree, artificial trees are an easy and practical alternative. Either way, start planning now so you have plenty of time to enjoy your tree this holiday season.

Holiday Gifts You Can’t Forget About

It is not too early to start your holiday shopping. Family is at the top of your list, but there are people on your list you can’t forget and if you wait too long, you probably will forget. Here’s a list of people to buy holiday gifts for that you can’t forget about.

PonchoChildcare Provider This includes nannies, au pairs and babysitters. You leave your little ones in their care, so it’s important to take care of them! (This does not include teachers because they are not personal service providers – gifts to teachers are up to you.) How much and what you give them depends on how often you use the services. If you use your babysitter regularly (more than twice a month), a small gift and/or the equivalent to an evening’s pay is sufficient. Au pairs and nannies should get a small gift and the equivalent of a week’s pay. Gift Idea:  Health and beauty accessories are always a welcome gift for young ladies but if you are confident you know their personal style, new clothes or outerwear might be appropriate.

Home Healthcare Worker Don’t forget about the people who take care of your aging loved ones! Healthcare/elder care workers make sure your parents and grandparents are comfortable when you can’t be there to give them your loving attention.  If your healthcare worker is employed by an agency, check to see if there is a policy for holiday gifts and tips, but  the standard holiday gift is one-week’s pay or an equivalent present. Gift Idea:  Those workers do a lot of physical labor, think about giving them the gift of relaxation; massagers, heating pads or beauty products make their nights off something to look forward to!

NFLHandyman/Custodian/Maintenance Man He is on call all the time. If your dishwasher doesn’t work, he’s there. If your water heater isn’t heating up, he’ll fix it. When your roof is leaking, he seals it up. Your handyman solves your home problems and does the things you don’t know how to do. A gift equivalent to $15-40 is acceptable.  Gift Idea: If you prefer to give him something more personal, think about NFL memorabilia for the sports fan or tools for the guy who likes to take work home with him.

Personal Care This includes the lady who blows out your hair, your nail technician and the lady who gives you a facial. These are the people who make you look good and feel good – it’s important to make them feel good, too! The standard holiday gift is the equivalent of what you would pay for one visit. Gift Idea:  You don’t have to give her cash – perhaps a sentimental gift is in order like frames to show off her kids at work or inspirational artwork.

gift-packsPet Care Our pets are part of our family – taking care of the people who take of our pets is important. Groomers are easy — they should get the equivalent of one grooming session. For the vet, it’s a little bit trickier because it’s an entire office that takes care of your furry family. Gift Idea:  Try getting them gift packs or edibles everyone can appreciate.

Remember that gifts for employees and service providers are a token of appreciation. Don’t forget all the people you don’t see regularly throughout the year who helped make your life a little easier or your day a little brighter.

National Punch Day: 4 Punch Recipes

 

Punch

Image source: Mel McC via flickr

September 20th is National Punch Day! Of course, we’re celebrating the fruity beverage and not what you do in the boxing ring.

Punch actually has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia, punch was brought to England from India in the 17th century. It was a drink made up of five ingredients – originally, they were alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and spices, but recipes have evolved since then and now it’s a generic term for a party drink served in a big bowl. Today, we have 4 recipes we call “punch.”

Non-Alcoholic Punch

Holiday Punch

  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 liter seltzer water
  • 2 liters cranberry-apple juice
Punch

Image source: Stuart Webster via flickr

Combine ingredients over ice in a punch bowl, gently stir and serve. If you are concerned about ice watering down the punch, you can freeze half of the juice in ice cube trays and use those to supplement the ice.

Serves 8-10.

Orange Sherbet Punch

  • 1 liter cold orange juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • ½ gallon orange sherbet

Combine juice and ginger ale and gently stir. Fill glasses with ice. Top each glass with a scoop of sherbet. Pour juice mixture over sherbet.

Adult Punch

Rum Punch

  • 3 cup dark rum
  • 2¼ cups lemon juice
  • 1½ cups grenadine
  • 1½ cups sparkling wine

Combine the first three ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in sparkling wine. Ladle over glasses filled with ice.

Serves 10-12.

Warm Holiday Spiced Punch

  • 2 liters cranberry apple juice
  • 1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cups bourbon

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine first four ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon.  Serves 12.

Punch

Image source: Tymesynk via flickr