Tag Archives: Holidays

What is Hanukkah?

By • 7 months ago with no replies yet

How does it make you feel when someone asks you to change something about yourself that isn’t broken or wrong? Do you feel anger rising up within because you are being told that something about yourself isn’t right? Do you argue and fight back?

That is exactly what happened to people of the Jewish faith during the reign of Antiochus IV. Out of fighting against this oppression came the celebration of Hanukkah.

How Did Hanukkah Become a Jewish Holiday?

Hanukkah snowstorm menorah satin ribbon - What Is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah Snowstorm Menorah Ribbon

The history of Hanukkah begins with the rule of Alexander the Great. Once Alexander was done conquering Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, he didn’t force Jews to convert or abandon their faith. Thanks to this freedom, Jews were able to assimilate into the Greek culture while still retaining a modicum of self-identity.

100 years later, under the reign of Antiochus IV, this freedom was taken away. Violently. Antiochus, living up to his nickname Epimanes (The Mad One), massacred many people of Jewish faith, placed a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, outlawed the practice of Judaism, and forced the sacrificing of pigs at Jewish altars, which is sacrilegious as pigs are non-kosher.

Two separate groups opposed Antiochus and fought against his despotic rule. The revolt succeeded, and the Temple was rededicated. During the rededication it was found that there was only enough oil to light the menorah for a single night, while the menorah was supposed to stay lit. In a minor miracle, the oil lasted eight nights, enough to allow for the making for additional oil, and to celebrate a festival was created, which we now know as Hanukkah.

How is Hanukkah Celebrated?

Hanukkah peace round magnet - What Is Hanukkah

Hanukkah Peace Round Magnet

Unlike celebrations for Yom Kippur, Passover, and Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah has little religious significance. It is not mentioned in recognized Jewish scripture, and the story of its inception is recorded in the book of Maccabees, which is not recognized as scripture. The only observance made during Hanukkah that has a hint of religiosity is the lighting of the menorah.

Modern menorahs are made to hold nine candles: one for each night the oil lasted, and a shammus that is held in the menorah at a different height. On the first night a candle is place on the menorah to the far right, then the shammus is lit and three berakhot, or blessings, are said. After the recitation of these blessings, the shammus is used to light the single candle. Every night another candle is placed on the menorah from right to left, but they are lit from left to right. On the eighth and final night all nine candles are lit.

In addition to lighting the menorah, fried foods are consumed to signify the importance the oil played in the genesis of this celebration. These foods include latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam-filled donuts). Another tradition is playing dreidel. The dreidel is a top with four sides, each one covered with a different Jewish letter: Nun, Gimel, Hei, and Shin. These four letters symbolize the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,” which translates to “a great miracle happened there.”

Hanukkah holiday card with menorah - What Is Hanukkah

Hanukkah Card

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Superior Stocking Stuffers

By • 8 months ago with one reply

With the stockings all hung by your chimney with care it’s time to start thinking about what’s going to fill them. Like the appetizer before a meal, stocking stuffers set the tone for the Christmas morning. Make it a joyous tone with superior stocking stuffers from our marketplace! Spoil your children with fun toys, games, and clothing or shop for your significant other. Check out some of the great options available.

Stocking stuffers for children

Clothing – Babies grow into infants grow into children grow into teenagers. All that growing means that you’ll need to keep them in clothes almost constantly. For every stage of their lives keep them in clothing with our amazing selection. How about a baby bodysuit for your young child?

The Snuggle is Real Baby Bodysuit - Superior Stocking Stuffers

The Snuggle is Real Baby Bodysuit

We also have fun dresses for your daughter in sizes ranging from newborn to 24 months.

I’m a Warrior Princess Baby Dress - Superior Stocking Stuffers

I’m a Warrior Princess Baby Dress

If you are a parent who uses cloth diapers, or just loves to take your child swimming, a couple of diaper covers as stocking stuffers would be a great gift for your baby.

Panda Diaper Cover - Superior STocking Stuffers

Panda Diaper Cover

Toys & Treats – No child wants to receive only clothes in their stocking. Why not hide a few cool surprises underneath the new clothes to bring a smile to their face? Start off with a mini basketball hoop.

Michelle’s Room Mini Basketball Hoop - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Michelle’s Room Mini Basketball Hoop

Playing cards are also a great stocking stuffer. Teach your kids games like “War,” “Go Fish,” “Crazy Eights,” or “Old Maid.”

Black Backed Playing Cards - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Black Backed Playing Cards

 

Stocking stuffers for adults

While Christmas is primarily about children adults love receiving gifts too. The stocking stuffers may be different than what you would give to children, but they joy they’ll cause is no less memorable! Let’s take a gander at some fun stocking stuffer ideas for adults.

Drinkware – The holidays can be very stressful, so why not take the edge off with an adult beverage or two? A cool hip flask in a Christmas stocking may garner a huge smile!

This End Up Hip Flask - Superior Stocking Stuffers

This End Up Hip Flask

For the family member who is always on the go, and is always swilling coffee to stay energized, gift them a cool travel mug.

Morning Coffee Status Travel Mug - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Morning Coffee Status Travel Mug

Is someone you love a gym rat? Keep them hydrated during their workout by giving them a water bottle.

Gym & Tonic Water Bottle - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Gym & Tonic Water Bottle

Clothing & Accessories – Great for lounging, or for wearing underneath a dress during colder weather, our leggings will be a welcome stocking stuffer.

Monopoly Money Leggings - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Monopoly Money Leggings

For fancy occasions an exquisite pair of cufflinks can turn heads. They’ll be a pleasant surprise in any Christmas stocking.

Aztec Calendar Cufflinks - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Aztec Calendar Cufflinks

No one ever went wrong buying someone they love a beautiful piece of jewelry! We have options from rings to bracelets to necklaces.

Peonies Round Charm Bracelet - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Peonies Round Charm Bracelet

Copper Heart Seven Ring Set - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Copper Heart Seven Ring Set

Skinny Cuff Metal Bracelet Set - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Skinny Cuff Metal Bracelet Set

Music Speaks Silver Plated Necklace - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Music Speaks Silver Plated Necklace

Electronics & Accessories – Holidays are usually the time when brands release new versions of their old tech. Make sure you are also on the cutting edge with custom electronics and accessories. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus just came out and you’ll want to protect your investment. Grab one of our iPhone 7 cases!

Purple Irises OtterBox iPhone 7 Case - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Purple Irises OtterBox iPhone 7 Case

We also carry Samsung cases.

Modern Mosaic Samsung Galaxy S7 Case - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Modern Mosaic Samsung Galaxy S7 Case

Help them play Christmas music with a pair of headphones or a bluetooth speaker.

Stars Headphones - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Stars Headphones

Beach Sunset Bluetooth Speaker - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Beach Sunset Bluetooth Speaker

Electronic devices take a whole lot of juice. Does someone you love always complain that their phone/laptop/smartwatch is always dying on them? Stuff their stocking with a power bank or a USB charger.

Gray Flower Power Bank - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Gray Flower Power Bank

Birth of a Star USB Charging Station - Superior Stocking Stuffers

Birth of a Star USB Charging Station

*Whew* What a list of fun stocking stuffers, and there is something there for the whole family! Enjoy the holiday season and the smiles as your loved ones pull these gifts out of their stockings.

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Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa Claus

By • 8 months ago with no replies yet

My parents were pretty awesome at being Santa. I still remember the year my brother and I got our Nintendo — never have you seen happier children. Of course, I didn’t truly appreciate all the work that went being Santa until I had children of my own. At 3 months old, my daughter is still too young to fully appreciate it. But my 3-year-old son is at the perfect age to fully grasp the magic — and believe me, we are using it to our full advantage. You don’t want to eat your dinner? Fine, looks like Santa won’t be coming. Not picking up those Legos, huh? Are you suuure you want to make Santa mad? Ahhhhh, the power that comes with being Santa. It’s like the One Ring, only you don’t turn into Gollum and you get cookies and milk. All kidding aside, there really is nothing like reliving the magic of Christmas morning through your kids’ eyes. For you parents and grandparents who may be playing Santa for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) here are some parent-tested tips for pulling off the ultimate Santa.

Step 1: Help them with their list.

Once your kids get to the 2 to 3-year-old range, it’s easier for them to verbalize what they want from Santa. My 3-year-old wants literally everything he sees on TV. Lion Guard Training Lair? “Mommy, I want that!” SnuggieTails? “Mommy, I want that!” Cereal? “Mommy, I want that!” My job is to help him narrow it down and get to the heart of what he really wants by sitting him down and turning it into a list. Make sure you sign it, seal it and pop it in the mailbox!

Dear Santa Letterhead - Beginner's Guide to Being Santa

Dear Santa Letterhead

Letter to Santa Letterhead - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Letter to Santa Letterhead

Red holiday envelope - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Red Holiday Envelope

Gold holiday envelope - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Gold Holiday Envelope

Vintage Santa Claus postage stamp - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Vintage Santa Claus Postage Stamp

Pro parenting tip: Don’t be afraid to pull the Santa card as needed. If they refuse to eat their spinach, brush their teeth or get their hands out of their pants, it is completely within your rights to threaten them with a lump of coal for Christmas. Until they get older, they won’t realize you won’t follow through on this.

Step 2: Hide the gifts.

First, if you’re shopping online, make sure you leave plenty of time for shipping. Next, find a spot to hide the gifts. If your kids are smaller, this may be an easier task than if they’re, say 6 or 7 and possibly starting to wonder about whether this whole Santa bit is really legit. You may want to ask a friend if you can hide your toy stash at their place.

Step 3: Download a Santa tracking app.

Keeping the Santa jig up is all in the details. Early on Christmas Eve, download a Santa Tracking app. This way you and the kids can track Santa all day long.

Step 4: Make sure the kids are asleep.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of putting gifts out too early. The kids will be super amped up, so it may take them longer than usual to drift off to la la land. Once they fall asleep, sip your eggnog for another 30 minutes before you start assembling and putting toys under the tree.

Pro Santa tip: If you have a co-Santa, assign them to be a lookout and keep their eyes and ears peeled for any wandering children trying to sneak a peek at Santa. Got a baby monitor? Use it.

 Step 3: Eat the cookies. Drink the milk. Nibble the carrots.

And make sure you leave a few crumbs on the plate. For extra Santa points, leave a trail of light soot, dirt or grass.

To Santa Claus plate - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

 

“To Santa Claus” Plate

Santa Claus chocolate dipped Oreo - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Santa Claus Chocolate Dipped Oreo

 Step 4: Fill the stockings.

For many Santas, stockings are an afterthought, but the best Santas know great things come in sock-like packages. Load up on stocking stuffers and make these as important as what’s under the tree.

Deer patterned Christmas stocking - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Deer Patterned Christmas Stocking

 Step 5: Relax and pour yourself a cup of Santa’s special sauce.

Santa Claus frosted beer mug - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Santa Claus Frosted Beer Mug

Christmas wine label - Beginner’s Guide to Being Santa

Christmas Wine Label

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Announcing the Holiday Design Contest Winners!

By • 9 months ago with 6 replies already

Hello all! I’m here to proudly announce all the winners of our Holiday Design Contest. We had over 1,200 submissions this year, so thanks to all the designers who spent time creating these wonderful works of art! We are very fortunate to have such talented people designing for Zazzle.

Get ready to have your mind blown at these fantastic designs. Drumroll please!

*Silence*

Let’s just pretend that a drumroll is happening, shall we? Our first winner is Jen Gebrosky of Blush Paper Co. We loved the colorways, the color options, and the fact that the designs are a nontraditional take on a traditional holiday. It’s uplifting, fun, trendy, and easy to customize. It was a very thoughtful collection that allowed you to purchase a whole holiday suite in one place.

Colorblock Christmas card - Holiday design contest winners

Colorblock Christmas Card

Colorblock monogrammed sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Colorblock Monogrammed Sticker

Colorblock address label - Holiday design contest winners

Colorblock Address Label

Colorblock postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Colorblock Postage Stamp

Our second winner is…Tracey from Orabella Prints. The breadth of products, the festive designs, and the use of different messaging makes the collection more versatile. The color palate is very traditional, and the use of photo templates across various products is great!

Pine wreath monogrammed holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Pine Wreath Monogrammed Holiday Sticker

Berries and pine holiday return address label - Holiday design contest winners

Berries and Pine Holiday Return Address Label

Berries and pine postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Berries and Pine Postage Stamp

Berries and pine holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Berries and Pine Holiday Photo Card

Our third Holiday Design Contest winner is…Amber Barkley! The modern, minimal design is a different twist on the normal holiday messaging and design. It’s very simple, but striking and elegant. We love that Amber thought outside the box and used a familiar New Year’s song for her holiday messaging. And that hat, tho!

Auld lang syne holiday card - Holiday design contest winners

Auld Lang Syne Holiday Card

Auld lang syne postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Auld Lang Syne Postage Stamp

Auld lang syne holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Auld Lang Syne Holiday Sticker

Auld lang syne address label - Holiday design contest winners

Auld Lang Syne Address Label

If you thought the winning was done, think again! We’re always happy to announce 10 editors’ picks and recognize their beautiful entries into this year’s contest. First off we have Shelby Allison of Origami Prints.

Kaktovik holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Kaktovik Holiday Photo Card

Warm wishes holiday postage stamp

Warm Wishes Holiday Postage Stamp

Kaktovik holiday address label - Holiday design contest winners

Kaktovik Holiday Address Label

No peeking holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

No Peeking Holiday Sticker

Our next editors’ pick is…Kristen Juckiewicz of Redwood & Vine.

Holly and pine holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Holly and Pine Holiday Photo Card

Holly and pine holiday return address label - Holiday design contest winners

Holly and Pine Holiday Return Address Label

Holly and pine holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Holly and Pine Holiday Sticker

Holly and pine monogrammed postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Holly and Pine Holiday Monogrammed Postage Stamp

The holiday spirit just keeps coming! Check out some designs from our next editors’ pick…Stacey Hill!

Holiday postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Coral Holiday Postage Stamp

Holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday Photo Card

Holiday address label - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday Address Label

Holiday greeting sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday Greeting Sticker

Next up we have…Phronse Ras of Phronse Ras Design!

Floral holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Floral Holiday Photo Card

Floral holiday address label - Holiday design contest winners

Floral Holiday Address Label

White floral holiday postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

White Floral Holiday Postage Stamp

Floral holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Floral Holiday Sticker

The next editors’ pick is…Jess Letterman of Carded Designs!

Gold confetti holiday address label - Holiday design contest winners

Gold Confetti Holiday Address Label

Gold confetti holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Gold Glitter Holiday Photo Card

Gold confetti holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Gold Confetti Holiday Sticker

Gold confetti holiday postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Gold Confetti Holiday Postage Stamp

Up next in our editors’ picks is…Allie Richardson!

Merry and bright holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Merry and Bright Holiday Sticker

Merry and bright holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Merry and Bright Holiday Photo Card

Merry and bright postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Merry and Bright Postage Stamp

Merry and bright holiday address label - Holiday design contest winners

Merry and Bright Holiday Address Label

Next on our list of editors’ pick is…Carly!

Mod tree holiday photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Mod Tree Holiday Photo Card

Mod tree holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Mod Tree Holiday Sticker

Mod tree address label - Holiday design contest winners

Mod Tree Address Label

Mod tree holiday postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Mod Tree Holiday Postage Stamp

Our next editors’ pick is…Nicole!

Holiday 3-photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday 3-Photo Card

Holiday to/from label - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday To/From Label

Holiday postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday Postage Stamp

Holiday sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday Sticker

Our second-to-last editors’ pick is…Lindsey Whitney of Whimzy Designs!

Winter sprigs holiday stickers - Holiday design contest winners

Winter Sprigs Holiday Sticker

Winter sprigs photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Winter Sprigs Magnetic Photo Card

Winter sprigs postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Winter Sprigs Postage Stamp

Winter sprigs return address label - Holiday design contest winners

Winter Sprigs Return Address Label

And our final editors’ pick is…Sarah Brown of Banter & Charm!

Family newsletter photo card - Holiday design contest winners

Family Newsletter Photo Card

Round holiday address sticker - Holiday design contest winners

Round Return Address Sticker

Holiday gift label - Holiday design contest winners

Holiday Gift Label

Red holiday postage stamp - Holiday design contest winners

Red Holiday Postage Stamp

Congratulations to you all on creating such stunning designs for our holiday contest!

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What is Dia de los Muertos?

By • 9 months ago with no replies yet

If I must die/I will encounter darkness as a bride,/And hug it in mine arms.

William Shakespeare Measure for Measure Act III, scene 1, line 83

Dia de los Muertos Stone Coaster

Dia de los Muertos Stone Coaster

For most Americans, death is something to grieve, especially if we have lost someone particularly close to us. When my brother passed away I was inconsolable for weeks. I couldn’t listen to certain music that reminded me of him, and looking at his picture was enormously difficult. We don’t really celebrate the life that was lost as much as we mourn what was taken from us, in our minds, way too soon.

Ghosts and spirits are unwelcome in most of the dominant American culture as well, with movies, plays, and songs abound with tales of hauntings and angry ghouls reaching out from the grave to terrorize us or plague us with their problems. Hamlet Sr. comes back from the great beyond to task his son with avenging his untimely death. Freddie Krueger haunts the dreams of his potential victim’s decades after being burned alive. Charlie Daniels sings a song about an old man, killed for his money, getting instant revenge against his attackers.

Bless the Mesoamericans, for this wasn’t the way they felt about death. For them, death was not separate from life. Death was just the next step in the journey, and every life that was lost would lead to the growth of new life in the form of plants, trees, and crops that spring up from the same earth a body is buried in. The ancient Mayans, Aztecs, and Toltecs had different times of the year when they would celebrate the dead and the manner in which they died.

That practice survived the Spanish Conquest and lives on today as Dia de los Muertos, or “The Day of the Dead.”

Dia de los Muertos iPhone 7 Case

Dia de los Muertos iPhone 7 Case

When is Dia de los Muertos Celebrated?

While the Spanish conquered the native peoples of Latin America, they weren’t able to destroy their whole belief system in the attempts to convert them from paganism to Catholicism. The celebrations of the dead were curbed from multiple events throughout the year to match up with two existing Spanish holidays: All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day, which fell on November 1st and 2nd, respectively. Since these dates are close to our traditional Halloween, many people who aren’t familiar with Dia de los Muertos believe it is a Mexican version of Halloween. That is not the case.

Las Calaveras Throw Pillow - Dia de los Muertos

Las Calaveras Throw Pillow

How is Dia de los Muretos Celebrated?

Preparations for Dia de los Muertos begin weeks before the actual days of celebration. Families make their way to the gravesites of their deceased loved ones and have a picnic among the tombstones. They also clean and decorate the graves, leaving behind flowers, candles, and incense. In Mexico the Campaschitl is the flower used for decoration, as its fragrance and color is said to help guide the spirits to their respective homes.

Once those spirits make it to the homes of their loved ones they are greeted by an Ofrenda, which is an altar filled with gifts for the deceased spirits visiting during Dia de los Muertos. The ofrenda also holds items that relate to the four classical elements of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air:

  • Earth – Symbolized by offerings of food, including pan de muerto, literally “bread of the dead”
  • Fire – Symbolized by candles on the alter
  • Water – Symbolized by a clay or glass pitcher of actual water, given to the spirits to slack the thirst earned by travelling from the afterlife to the physical world
  • Wind – Symbolized by papel picado, this perforated paper is made into elaborate designs

 Papel Picado Save the Date Card - Dia de los Muertos

Papel Picado Style Save The Date Postcard

Assorted food and drink like fruit, chocolate, atole, and mole are placed on the altar, along with copal incense and flowers. For the spirits of children, toys and sugar skulls (calaveritas de azucar) are placed on the ofrenda. Pictures of the dead are also displayed.

As Dia de los Muertos is meant to honor the dead, not to mourn them, music is played and there are a couple of different dances performed during the celebration:

  • La Danza de los Viejitos – Popular in the state of Michoacan, the name of this dance translates to “the dance of the little old men.” Children and adults dress up like old men and walk around bent over and holding their backs. All of a sudden they will jump up and dance vigorously
  • La Danza de los Tecuanes – A colonial dance meant to symbolize the hunting of a jaguar or tiger by farmers. Dancers will portray the farmers while others will take on the role of the tiger or jaguar

Dia de los Muertos Coffee Mug

Dia de los Muertos Mug

Now that you know a little bit more about Dia de los Muertos, you can add the celebration to your winter holidays. And maybe, just maybe, honoring the dead will help lessen the pain of a lost loved one, knowing you are giving back to their spirit and paying them homage.

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