Better Christmas Holidays: Parenting Tips & Picks

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Candy Aisle Crafts: Create Fun Projects With Supermarket Sweets
by Jodi Levine (Crown Publishing Group, $16.99), makes crafting fun and tasty. Serve marshmallow-monogrammed hot chocolate by pressing letter-shaped cookie cutters into Kraft Jet-Puffed StackerMallows, or craft a Cookie Castle Cake with wafer cookies, golden Oreos, graham crackers and wafer cones. Choose from crafts made with hard candy, gummy candy, marshmallows, cookies or cereal.

Facetime Santa
Take communication with Santa to the next level by letting your kids “facetime” him this year using the Video Calls With Santa app, available for $1.99 on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (operating system 4.3 or later). Choose from three prerecorded interactive calls.

Earth-Friendly Toys
PBS KIDS and Whole Foods Market have teamed up to offer a line of educational and earth-friendly toys consisting of classic wooden toys and soft plush animals made with safe, nontoxic materials and inks. All PBS KIDS’ net proceeds will benefit the media brand’s mission of empowering children through knowledge, critical thinking and imagination. Whole Foods Market will donate 1 percent of total sales, up to $25,000, to the Whole Kids Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving children’s nutrition and wellness. Learn more at and

Parenting Toolbox
Parenting for the Digital Age by Bill Ratner (Familius, $16.95), opens candidly: “Our children have too many screens to watch … And they’re spending too much time watching.” As a parent, Hollywood insider and voice of movie trailers and commercials, Ratner would know. He explores why and how advertisers are targeting children “with wanton abandon,” and what problems are associated with excessive screen time. Gain insight and enjoy a few laughs as you read Ratner’s tips on how to unplug and focus on what matters most: human relationships.


Top 5 Holiday Dangers to Pets

1. Holiday tinsel and ornaments. Tinsel, while not toxic, is very attractive to pets, particularly cats.

2. Holiday lighting and candles. Twinkling, shiny and dangling holiday lights may be another source of danger to your curious pet.

3. Gift wrap ribbon. Fashioning your pet with a decorative ribbon “collar” could become a choking hazard.

4. Food hazards. Some of the most popular holiday goodies, such as chocolate, bones and nuts, can be extremely toxic or fatal to pets.

5. Toxic holiday plants. Some holiday plants are poisonous — even deadly. As little as a single leaf from any lily variety is lethal to cats.


Categories: At Home, Home, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Seasonal Fun, Winter