Tips for storing your Christmas Decorations

Take a deep breath, the most stressful holiday of the year is over! Now that the eggnog is gone, presents are unwrapped and kids are happy with what has Santa left (let’s hope!), it’s time for just about everyone’s least favorite part of the holiday season…taking down decorations.

Here are some tips that will hopefully make your life easier!

For the Decorations:

  • Take pictures! A lot can happen in the span of the year, especially the memories of exactly where that tinsel was placed…so make it easy on yourself and take pictures so you don’t have to rack your brain on remembering what went where!
  • Make a Plan! Figure out what you will need to pack in boxes and make sure heavy items that will not easily break are on the bottom. If you plan to stack, items that may break easier should be on top.
  • Use nice boxes and storage tubs, not garbage bags. In the long run, you will take up less space and be able to store more.
  • Wrap your breakable ornaments, angel and Santa decorations, or anything you think is fragile in bubble wrap or tissue paper. That way, when you go to decorate the following year you won’t be surprised with broken pieces!
  • Label Your Storage Boxes. List what is in each box, and if you’ve got a ton of boxes, number them! You can even unpack them in the order they are numbered to make things even more simplified!

For the Lights:

This is where things get frustrating, especially during the unpacking stages. Make things easier by packing them up a certain way so the unpacking process isn’t too brutal.

  • Wrap each set of lights individually and put them in separate plastic bags. No tangles!
  • Cut a rectangle out of a leftover box those Louis Vuitton pumps came in (in my dreams!). Cut a slit in one side of the rectangle and thread the end through that slit. Wrap the lights around then thread the other end back through the slit,
  • Wrap the lights around an empty tube of wrapping paper!

Hopefully your holiday was merry and bright and this tips help the taking down and packing decorations seem like a piece of cake!

-Morgan

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Tips for Safe Holiday Travels

Holiday travel can be such a drag, whether it is heavy traffic, terrible weather conditions, distracted drivers or the “are we there, yet?” comments coming from the back seat. We’ve got some tips to help you prepare and keep your stress level below the clouds.

First off, make sure your home is prepared by:

• Unplugging items that aren’t needed, like televisions and computers, to avoid a power surge. Also straighteners and curling irons to prevent fires!

• Purchasing a couple of timers and setting up a few lamps to turn on and off at certain times. Nextag.com has a list of a variety of light switch timers available for purchase online.

• Having a close friend or neighbor keep an eye on your home, just to keep your mind at ease.

• Removing your spare key from under the door mat or plastic rock, you’re not pulling a fast one on anybody, we know it’s there!

If you’re flying:

• Make sure you have important items with you on your carry on like medication, a cell phone and charger, and even an extra change of clothes. If your luggage gets lost in the midst of the crazy holiday rush, be sure to have what you can’t live without if your luggage accidentally gets shipped off to Timbuktu.

• Pack light. Follow the guidelines provided by your airline, to avoid hassle, make sure you know what is and isn’t allowed in your carry-on bag. Also, be aware of the weight and dimension guidelines; they will make you check your bag if you do not obey them! Visit http://www.tsa.gov/ to view the most up to date regulations.

• Stay Healthy! Make sure to stay hydrated. The air in the cabin is not humidified, so drinking water is very important. Kill germs by using anti-bacterial soap, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds when you hit the ground, and maybe try boosting your immune system with an Airborn to pump your body with vitamin C!

• If you are traveling with kids, make sure to have some healthy snacks available as well as some entertainment so they don’t scream and shout into your neighbors’ ear. A portable DVD player is a good way to keep the little one entertained for hours.

If you are driving:

• Whether it’s a 2 hour trip or a 12 hour haul, make sure your car is in good shape for travel. Inspect the oil, get your tires rotated, windshield washer fluid full, check belts, fuses and hoses as well as lights, wipers and brakes, the battery, heater and lights.

• Don’t rush. Driving rushed can be dangerous, so leave at a decent time so you are not speeding to get to your destination. The presents will still be under the tree when you get there!

• Check the weather and road conditions before you leave. For traffic updates, download the  “Beat the Traffic” App to your phone to outsmart traffic, check the latest conditions, incidents, and learn the fastest routes.

• PAY ATTENTION! Long trips can be long and tedious, but don’t lose focus. Keep the phone out of reach or rely on your co-pilot to be the vehicles DJ, man the navigation system and answer phone calls or text messages.

• Have an emergency kit handy. Make sure to have a first aid kit, water, non-perishable food items, extra batteries and a flash light.

• Prepare some fun games to play, DVD’s to watch and books to read for those restless passengers.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and safe travels! Follow these travel tips to ensure a stress-free trip this holiday season!

Great Places to Shop Local for the Best Christmas Gift!

The Hilton Head and Bluffton areas are full of neat and local shops that carry the perfect Christmas gifts for men, women, children and that weird cousin you are forced to keep in touch with. Here are some great local brands to look for and shops to scour for the perfect Christmas gift.

For any woman in your life, I would highly suggest shopping anywhere that carries Spartina 499! What woman doesn’t like a new handbag, wallet, or some fashionable jewelry? Spartina has everything a woman could ever wish for! The inspiration for Spartina 449 began at a seaside cottage on Daufuskie Island. What a great local product! In fact, a portion of proceeds are contributed to the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation which is a non-profit organization created to preserve and protect the islands invaluable historical and cultural heritage. Visit their website here to see what they have! And if you are perusing the Island and Bluffton area, here are some great local shops that carry Spartina 449: Fresh Produce (Coligny Plaza, Hilton Head), GiGi’s (Old Town Bluffton), Lettrs (Main Street, Hilton Head), Currents (Harbour Town, Hilton Head), Island Girl (Coligny Plaza, Hilton Head)

For the Golfer: Gift Certificate to golf at one of the areas great courses! I couldn’t begin to name them all – and I’m sure you know the local favorites!

For the Kids: Skip the crazy toy stores this holiday season and check out the Story Book Shoppe in Old Town Bluffton! Not only do they have an array of children’s books, they also have hand crafted toys!

For the Artist: Stop into the Pink House in Main Street to see their fine art selections; Also check out Old Towne Bluffton for the local artwork displays.

For that crazy aunt that is off of her rocker: grab a wacky and fun gift with a creative flare at ArtWare in Main Street! Bring on the funk! There are also many cute little gift boutiques in Main Street as well as the Wexford Shopping Center you are bound to find something!

Need something to be personalized? try Lettrs. Lettrs carries personalized gifts that are sure to make even the most unappreciative person appreciate!

For the outdoorsy person:  Visit Outside Hilton Head ! They’ve got the best of the best outdoor gear and sportswear as well as recreational Kayaks, Stand-Up Paddleboards and fashionable and practical shoes. You could also send someone on a Kayak Tour, Paddleboard adventure and much more. For all outdoor needs check out Outside Hilton Head.

For the Fisherman (or woman!): Gift Certificate to a fishing charter! Try one of these: Bonnie Rae Charters, Bulldog Charters, Flat Spot Charters, Off the Hook Charters, Pole Cat Charters, Top Shot Charters, Stray Cat Charters, or Miles Offshore

For the sports fanatic: There’s always at LEAST one in every family! Visit Palmetto Moon for the best South Carolina and Clemson sports gear. For mementos you may not be able to find anywhere else for your sports lover, head to Legends Sports Gallery in Main Street. They’ve got what you’re looking for!

Still not sure what to get someone? Gift Cards to restaurants are a great go-to! Try a local restaurant like Captain Woody’s, Mellow Mushroom, Fat Baby’s Pizza, Stellinis, Kingfisher, Hudson’s Seafood, Street Meet, R Bar, HogsHead Kitchen and Wine bar, or Mulberry Street Trattoria.

I know the holidays can be stressful, but visit these local shops and you’ll be sure to find something for everyone on your nice list! For a full list of stores in the Hilton Head/Bluffton area, click here or here.

Happy Shopping!

-Morgan

Bluffton Self Help-2013 Christmas Toy Drive

Nothing feels better than the gift of giving during the holidays, especially to those in need. A perfect way to give back to the community and help our Bluffton neighbors needing short term financial assistance, food and clothing, and toys for Christmas Day is to donate to Bluffton Self Help.

To be sure the less fortunate are not forgotten, Bluffton Self Help is partnering up with WSAV-TV to provide toys for Children who may not receive anything from Santa otherwise. This is the third consecutive year this program has been in effect.

Last year, 4,500 toys were provided to 1,500 children in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton Counties. 500 more children are expected to join in and increase the toy inventory due to four agencies in Jasper and Hampton County signing up children in their area.

What can you do to help? Buy a toy before December 13th at a value around $30.00 or less. Toys can be dropped off unwrapped so that the staff and volunteers at Bluffton Self Help can match the toys with requests from children that are registered in the program. (Toys for ages 9-13 are always in demand)

There is no better way to spread holiday spirit and cheer than giving to those in need. For more information about donating food, toys, or sponsoring a family, please call 843-757-8000 or email lili@bluftonselfhelp.org. You can also click here to visit their website for more information. Happy Holidays everyone!

Holiday Events in the Lowcountry

Even though there’s no snow, holiday cheer is still sweeping the Lowcountry! Don’t miss all the fun and festive events the Lowcountry has to offer.

1. Holiday Weekend in Old Town Bluffton: December 6,7,8

Kick off the Holiday Weekend Friday, December 6 at the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Grand Marshal Announcement for the Christmas parade the following day. The Christmas parade is perfect for a fun and festive family outing. Shop the streets, stop at the Dispensary or Vineyard 55 for a drink, and enjoy the parade which starts at 11am. Wrap up the weekend with the Christmas Celebration at Buckwalter Place and get ready for a visit from Santa! For more information about the Holiday weekend in Old Town Bluffton, click here.

2. Harbour Town Lights: December 6-January 1

Enjoy the illuminations of seasonal figures and the 30-ft Christmas tree located in the center of Harbour Town. Stroll along the shops and enjoy live entertainment and other activities. It’s the perfect way to enjoy holiday lights along the water!

3. Island Rec Center Winter Wonder Festival: December 7

Santa is going to be a busy man as he will be visiting this fun event as well!  Bring the kids for tons of activities including moon bounces, carnival games, face painting, a Children’s parade starting at 4:45pm and Golden Candy Cane Hunt which starts at 5:30. There will be hot chocolate, s’more’s hot dogs, pizza and much more available for purchase. For more information, click here.

4. Holiday Lights at the Hilton Head Fire Station

This is the best spot on the island to view tons of holiday lights! Make sure to stop by, this will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. This facility is located next to the First Presbyterian Church and across from Port Royal Plantation. Check out this Facebook page for more information. https://www.facebook.com/hhilights

5. Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl: December 14

This event just keeps growing! The tour starts at 5:30 and will definitely be something you don’t want to miss! There will be an award for best dressed and koozies will be available for purchase as well. Over 100 people attended last year and the event will most likely have an even bigger turnout this year! Don’t miss it! Visit the Facebook page for more information. https://www.facebook.com/events/356798971131093/

6. Jingle Jingle Run: December 21

The 5k race starts at 9am and it is encouraged that elf and Santa costumes be worn! Holiday prizes are presented to the top three overall male and female finishers. To learn more, click here.

Don’t be a scrooge and be sure to take advantage of all the holiday festivities the Lowcountry has to offer!