December 6th, 2017

Geeky Elf On The Shelf Ideas

Geeky Elf On The Shelf Ideas

My kids really enjoy when we use the Elf on the Shelf. My older two don’t much care what the elves do, aside from laughing when we do something particularly funny, or snagging their share of candy when candy is involved. As we’re a bunch of science fiction geeks around here, so I’m often working on geeky Elf on the Shelf ideas. That way it’s more fun for me.

We have two elves. The first is Peppermint, the second is Cocoa. Cocoa started last year as an elf in training when we couldn’t find Peppermint for a while. This year, Cocoa is still around, helping Peppermint while waiting for a permanent position. I made Peppermint poseable, but Cocoa isn’t

The challenge is deciding which fandom to use. There are so many choices.

I started out simple this year. The elves have been messing with my dragon, Norberta. Peppermint started things out by stealing Norberta’s eggs (the eggs were made in the thumbtack, Game of Thrones style) and putting them in the fridge with the regular eggs. Peppermint hid the next night in the cat carrier because Norberta was after her. She has since tried to use Minecraft TNT to blow Norberta up. The feud continues.

Elf on the Shelf dragon egg

Elf on the Shelf hiding from dragon

Minecraft stuff is easy to make. The TNT is paper. The emerald egg Peppermint is holding was made for a Minecraft themed birthday party some years ago and is made of Perler beads. Perler beads are great for making Minecraft stuff if you can spare the time.

Elf on the Shelf Minecraft TNT

There are so many fandoms to work with, and you may have some of the things you need for geeky Elf on the Shelf poses on hand.

Geeky Elf On The Shelf Basics

Take a look around your house to see what you have to make this easy. Funko Pop vinyl figures make it easy to have characters from just about any fandom. Disney Infinity characters are very useful, as are Lego Dimensions and Lego building sets your kids have made.

Dolls, action figures, and anything else you and your kids have for shows you love help as well. Plan things out so that you can easily reach what you need while the kids are sleeping.

I scout things out while the kids are at school. Usually, even my older kids don’t know what I plan for the next day. This is more fun for those ideas that they actually like.

I do not focus on the idea that the elf is spying for Santa. I’m honestly not fond of that part, so we ignore it. My kids have heard that one from friends, not from me. Our Elf is more fun and has been known to do thing such as replace the ice in the ice maker with candy. That was a really fun one. A lot of work, but worth it.

Elf On The Shelf With Harry Potter

My oldest loves Harry Potter stuff, so we have done quite a bit with that fandom. This one with Harry Potter and Peppermint going up against Voldemort was an easy setup. The elf’s wand is a bamboo skewer cut down to size.

Elf vs Voldemort

The most fun Peppermint has had, however, has been chasing Niffler around. I got my oldest well with that one. Peppermint chased Niffler all around the house for days as Niffler stole shiny things. My daughter was quick to ask to have the Niffler figure when we were done with it. It was a stocking stuffer for her.

Elf vs Niffler

This year I might have Niffler bring in some candy in shiny wrappers. Not chocolate coins – the chocolate in those is usually awful. Some Ghirardelli squares might work. Not that Niffler will make them easy to reach.

Many other people have done a lot with Harry Potter and the Elf on the Shelf. Rather than recreate them, take a look at these links.

A Little Moore has a sorting hat printable.

This Harry Potter meets Elf on the Shelf idea on Pinterest is cute.

Elf On The Shelf Vs. Disney Infinity Characters

As I said above, the Disney Infinity characters give so much range to set up your Elf on the Shelf. Disney owns so many popular franchises that kids adore. We have rather a lot of characters in our Infinity set because my sister handed down a bunch when she got tired of having duplicates.

That means we can do the simple “horde of characters attacking the elf” scene very easily.

elf vs disney infinity

With the various Star Wars characters, I decided Peppermint needed her own lightsaber. This was easy to make.

I used a bamboo skewer and some nail polish. I have a nice, bright green nail polish, so that was the best choice for Peppermint’s lightsaber. The handle was painted with my black polish.

Paint an appropriate length of the skewer for the lightsaber. It will take a couple coats. I stuck the unpainted end into the edge of a cardboard box so the polish could dry. Once it was completely dry, I cut off the excess and painted the ends with the nail polish. To let those dry, I set up some other skewers and laid it across them so the ends wouldn’t touch anything as they dried.

elf lightsaber

Now Peppermint can join the Jedi in battle. Or will she betray them? Who knows.

elf vs jedi

Stitch is another fun character for an Elf on the Shelf to play with. Who else gives the elf so good an excuse to get a little messy or get into the food?

elf Stitch eating fruit

Especially the candy.

elf Stitch and candy

There’s always the good old snowball fight with Elsa and Anna. I used cotton balls because one of my cats would eat the marshmallows if I used those for a snowball fight. My kids like to use cotton balls for summer snowball fights anyhow. It’s kind of a thing around here.

elf vs Elsa

Peppermint also had a nice chat with the feelings from Inside Out. If I had some Orbeeze or other small, colored balls there’s more that could be done there, but without that, they just relaxed together.

elf and inside out

Given the range of Disney Infinity characters that we have, I could probably do the entire season using nothing but them. That would get dull, though, wouldn’t it?

The Elf And The Doctor

We have some Doctor Who fans around here, so naturally Peppermint has to play along. In fact, the Doctor should be careful, because the elf has the Tardis. Okay, it’s just a Lego Tardis, but there still might be a problem.

the elf has the tardis

Peppermint and the Doctor can have a lovely chat, aside from what’s behind them… what was I talking about?

elf doctor silence

I don’t know what Peppermint is doing to my router with the sonic screwdriver, but I hope it speeds up.

elf router

Geeky Elf On The Shelf Ideas With Other Fandoms

Around here, you can’t forget the other animated shows, anime or manga. My kids especially enjoy movies by Studio Ghibli. So naturally, soot sprites make an appearance.

elf soot sprites

They’ll have to hide shoes some other time.

Soot sprites are very easy to make. Black puff balls and googly eyes make very simple ones. You can use black pipe cleaners if you want to give them legs, but I’m too lazy for that. I used a hot glue gun to attach the eyes, but you can use whichever glue works for you. I like how fast it dries and how well it holds.

Peppermint seems to enjoy manga. It’s easy to set an elf up with whichever book your kids like. I’m not sure if I should be concerned that Peppermint is reading Death Note, however.

elf death note

I couldn’t resist bringing Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls into the game. My oldest still loves that character from the show – she dressed up as him for Halloween. So, I had Bill give the elf some advice.

Bill Cipher and elf

Finally, I have to mention the cute, printable Elf on the Shelf superhero costumes over at Simple Made Pretty. They’re an easy way to dress up your elf as the superheroes your kids like.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

December 4th, 2017

Beware The Secret Sister Gift Exchange

Beware The Secret Sister Gift Exchange

I’m seeing the secret sister gift exchange all over Facebook right now. I have a few friends who are participating, and it just makes me wince. Simply put, the secret sister gift exchange is a pyramid scheme, and illegal.

A lot of people don’t understand that. $10 seems like such a small risk, and it is. But the odds of receiving the promised 6 or 36 gifts is poor, especially since it depends not only on how well you recruit people into it, but how well your recruits bring people into the deal as well.

How Is The Secret Sister Gift Exchange Supposed To Work?

The basic premise is so simple. You send your gift to the person whose name appears at the top of the list you receive. When you send the list to your recruits, you remove the person you sent a gift to, and put the second person’s name at the top. Your name becomes the second name on the list.

There is often a push to do this quickly, so that everyone gets their gifts. Your six people send to the top of the list, and their people, now totalling 36 people, send gifts to you. It sounds wonderful.

Legally, however, this falls under the same laws as chain letters and lotteries. It’s not something you want to mess with. Not many people will get in legal trouble for doing the secret sister gift exchange, but why try your luck? It’s a federal crime, according to the Post Office. It also may be a crime by the laws in your state.

Do The Math

If you do the math on the secret sister gift exchange, you can quickly see why it will quickly run out, even if everyone finds enough people and everyone sends their gifts. Both of those are pretty iffy themselves.

Six people each finding six people means they need 36 people. Those 36 people need a total of 216 people, who need 1296 people. Keep this going for five more levels, and you need 10,077,696 people. That’s a difficult number, but not completely impossible. Highly unlikely, of course.

It only takes 13 levels to get beyond the entire population of the planet. Even assuming some people participate more than once, it’s not going to happen.

This means it won’t take long at all for people to have trouble finding someone to send gifts. Many people who try to join in won’t get anything in return. Most will simply fail to get a full six people sending gifts, and their people in return will have trouble finding enough people.

You might get a few gifts, but usually that’s it. Between the number of people needed for everyone to get their gifts and the difficulty in recruiting people, it’s just not going to go that well.

There are also gift exchanges where the focus is on wine. It has the same problem as this one. Just don’t join in. The wine version also presents challenges in shipping it legally.

Talking Friends Out Of The Secret Sister Gift Exchange

It can be hard to call this out as a scam. I’ve seen people call friends names for trying to explain why the secret sister gift exchange doesn’t work or is illegal.

I would imagine that most people have trouble admitting the problems with the gift exchange because they’re already invested in it. They’ve promised to send a gift to someone else, or have even sent it already.

It’s worth a try, even if the friend who posts the gift exchange won’t listen. Someone else might.

Be polite when you try to discourage friends from this. No one will respond well if they feel foolish. You should also remember that the people participating don’t mean to scam or cheat anyone. They’re trying to do something fun. No one in this means any harm by it.

That doesn’t change the legal issues. Or the fact that eventually there are people who won’t get anything in return.

Then there’s the risk in putting your personal information out there for random people. You may know all the people you recruit into the gift exchange, but it’s the people they recruit who will be sending you gifts, and they’ll get your name and address too. Are you comfortable with that?

Alternatives To The Secret Sister Gift Exchange

It may be better to suggest setting up a basic secret Santa gift exchange, where everyone in a group draws a name and buys for one other person. No grand promises of dozens of gifts. Just a simple gift exchange among friends. It’s much simpler and legal when you avoid the chain letter aspects of the secret sister gift exchange. Best of all, you know that everyone gets a gift.

If you want something to feel good about, donate to a local cause. There are lots of wonderful causes out there, and even a $10 donation will be welcome. You won’t get a gift back, but you will have done something good.

As illegal actions go, this is a minor one, and I doubt many people ever get prosecuted for it. But why take the chance when a simpler gift exchange works just fine?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

November 29th, 2017

Medical Transcription Companies That Offer Remote Jobs

Medical Transcription Companies That Offer Remote Jobs

Once you have medical transcription training, you need a job. If you’re reading this, odds are that you want a remote job, something you can do from home. While medical transcription jobs aren’t as common as they used to be, they are still out there. You simply have to find the medical transcription companies that offer remote jobs.

The school you attended, if you’re a recent graduate, may help you find a job. If it has been a while or you’re now an experienced transcriptionist looking for a different position, you have to do more of your own searching.

I’ve found a number of companies that hire medical transcriptionist for remote jobs. Many require experience, but others consider training through an AHDI certified program such as the one through Career Step to be acceptable.

You can generally assume that all of these jobs will require a high speed internet connection and a reasonably recent computer. Many will require a Windows operating system. Some employers will provide you with your foot pedal, headset and other gear. Others may expect you to provide your own.

I do not know which of these companies are hiring right now or if they will be hiring soon. Check back regularly with any companies that interest you if they aren’t hiring when you look. I think medical transcription is harder to get into than when I did it, but still possible.

The Big Medical Transcription Companies

These are the two biggest medical transcription companies out there, so far as I know. There are a lot of smaller companies, which I will list next. Many smaller companies have been merged with or bought out by these two companies.


Back when I was a medical transcriptionist, I worked for a company called Medquist. They merged with M*Modal several years ago, but I didn’t work there at the time. I can’t speak as to how things have changed since I left, years before the merge, but Medquist was a decent employer for a new medical transcriptionist.

They still hire people who are new to medical transcription but have successfully completed acceptable training. Otherwise, you must have at least one year of experience as a medical transcriptionist.

They pay per 65 character line, and payday is every other Friday.

When I worked for Medquist, they were very good at accommodating my schedule. They did, however, expect me to stick to the agreed upon schedule. This is still true of them. They cannot guarantee that they can accommodate all scheduling requests, but they try.

Nuance Transcription Services

Nuance is one of the big companies out there. You may be familiar with their speech recognition program, Dragon. Even with that tool, they hire medical transcriptionists to check the dictations doctors send in, to ensure that they are transcribed and formatted completely accurately.

You must have experience or acceptable training. How much experience may depend upon the position you apply for. Benefits may be available for full time employees. Schedules are flexible.

Other Medical Transcription Companies

Eight Crossings

Applicants for jobs with Eight Crossings must have at least two years of multi specialty experience. If you have graduated from an approved medical transcription training program, you may be considered as well.

You must be able to process 1000 lines per day that you’re scheduled. Your schedule is flexible.


InfraWare provides a dictation plaform for medical professionals. They also offer transcription services bundled with their technology. Transcriptionists who want to work with InfraWare clients must have at least two years of experience in medical transcription. Some positions require at least five years of experience.


Med-Scribe has been around since 1992. Positions are often part time and may be second shift.

Three years of medical transcription experience is required. Report types typically include History and Physicals, Operative Notes, Consults, Discharge & Summaries as well as Diagnostics. They prefer that you have ChartNet experience, but it is not required.

Preferred Transcriptions

Applicants for medical transcription positions must have at least two years of experience. You must have your own equipment, including antivirus software. A minimum of 20 hours a week is required.


Must have appropriate training and at least three years medical transcription experience. CMT preferred. Transcription to include acute care, clinic, radiology and/or pathology.

Also hires editors and QA for medical dictation.


Full and part time medical transcriptionist positions may be available and experience is required. Prefers transcriptionists with either a certificate or certification.

SpectraMedi also hired QA editors and medical billers. Once again, experience is required.


StenTel is another company that has doctors use voice recognition software for their transcriptions, and then uses medical transcriptionists to ensure that it’s accurate.

Medical transcription opportunities with StenTel are generally for independent contractors, not employees. Their application asks about the software you’re familiar with as well as the rates you expect. If you don’t have experience, I wouldn’t assume that you can get top rates for your work. They also want to know if you have a foot pedal, as well as basic facts about your computer.


Ubiqus hires only U.S. based, English speaking transcriptionists. They strongly prefer at least 1-5 years of transcription experience or professional medical transcription training.

Deadlines can be very strict. Pay is every two weeks. Transcriptionist positions are for independent contractors – you will not be considered an employee. Positions are part time and they can work with your schedule.

United Transcription

United Transcription hires U.S. based medical transcriptionists for straight transcription. You must have at least three years of experience and excellent quality scores. This is NOT open to entry level candidates.

This position is best for those who are familiar with ESL dictation.

There are, of course, many other medical transcription companies out there. Some require you to work in the office, but others will offer remote jobs. Take a look around, and see what you can find if none of these work out.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

November 27th, 2017

Get Your Christmas Budget Under Control Now

Get Your Christmas Budget Under Control Now

How well do you keep your Christmas budget under control? It’s often difficult, right? What you want, what the kids want, what you want to give them… it all adds up to something well above what you can actually afford to spend. Most families find it very difficult to keep the Christmas budget under control.

Decide Who You’re Shopping For

If money is tight, you may need to cut back on who you buy gifts for at Christmas. There are a number of ways to do this.

My sisters and I, for example, are assigned family members to shop for. I maintain a list of all relevant family members, and then assign names. This way no one has to shop for the whole family. It means you can spend less overall and yet get a better present from the family.

This also cuts down on low quality gifts. There’s only so much you can give someone if you can only afford to spend $5-10 on them because you have so many people to shop for. Draw names, and each person only has to buy for one, and the gift can be better.

You can also consider cutting the adults out of the list. Usually this is done by mutual agreement. Seriously, how badly do most adults need a Christmas gift? Talk it out and decide if it’s something you still want to do.

You should also look at your extended family, friends and coworkers. How many people can you reasonably afford to shop for? If times are tight or you’re just tired of shopping for so many people, tell them you don’t want to exchange gifts with them this year. Most will understand. Some will be grateful to have fewer people to shop for as well.

What Is Your Christmas Budget?

The first thing you need to decide is how much you can put into your Christmas budget. This is the amount of money you don’t want to go over when you’re done shopping for everyone.

If this is too hard to figure out, start with how much you want to spend on each person. Most families will spend more on kids than adults, since adults can buy stuff for themselves more easily than kids can.

Make sure you include everyone you need to shop for. Depending on your traditions, this may include kids, parents, spouse, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, coworkers, secret Santa exchanges and so forth.

Set an amount for each. Add it up, and you have a Christmas budget. I suggest using a spreadsheet to keep track of your spending on each person. This will make it easier to track.

If this number is more than you’re willing to spend overall, you need to trim that budget. There are a couple ways to do this. Review how much you’re spending per person and how many people you’re shopping for. Get that budget under control.

How Strict Is Your Christmas Budget?

Depending on your financial situation, your Christmas budget may be strict or have some leeway. A little leeway is always fun – it’s so easy to find things that go beyond your budget, especially for kids.

Obviously, you aren’t going to keep to your per person budget to the penny or even the dollar. Things rarely work out that way. So long as things balance out reasonably at the end, you should be fine.

Watch For Sales

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great days for buying Christmas gifts, but they aren’t the only sales of the season, and sometimes they aren’t the best sales of the season.

It’s always a risk, of course, to see if the sale price gets any better on something you want. It may sell out or you may have missed the best price.

The wonderful part about online shopping is how easy it make price comparisons. You can have several websites open to see how much things cost at each.

Compare store prices with online prices while you’re in the store. Some stores will match online prices with select websites. They probably won’t match anyone other than the big sites such as, but it’s worth knowing. I found a list of stores that should price match online prices you should be aware of.

I also love taking advantage of what my local dollar store offers. They get a ton of toys in at this time of year. They don’t all cost a dollar anymore, but that’s so they can get better toys, the same stuff you’d see elsewhere. Usually it’s a great deal, half or less what you’d pay for the same toy elsewhere.

If you see a good toy at a dollar store, get it quick. Most won’t stay in stock for long. Keep your receipt and you can return it if you find a better price elsewhere.

Try to avoid impulse shopping when buying Christmas gifts. Buy because it’s a good gift at a good price, not just because it’s there. If it’s something you want for you, consider whether it could be put on your wish list for someone else to buy as a gift for you.

Be Aware Of Shipping Costs

Make sure you consider shipping when you compare prices. Free shipping can make the difference in your total cost. Many sites offer free shipping if you spend enough. Pay attention to what it takes so that you can get free shipping as often as possible.

This is a great time of year to get the free trial of Amazon Prime if you don’t already have it. If you don’t want to pay for Amazon Prime, be sure to cancel it in time. Many people find it worth the expense because you get so much more than free shipping. Music, video, Prime member only deals… there’s a lot to be said for it as a service beyond the convenience of fast and free shipping.

Amazon limits how often you can get a free trial of Prime. If you’ve done it before, you may not qualify again. But if Amazon is offering you the free trial on your account, you should be good to go on that score.

If you don’t want to sign up for Prime, just remember that many products on Amazon ship free if you spend enough money. This amount changes from time to time, but it’s not hard to reach. It’s nowhere near as fast as Prime, but it’s good enough if you shop early enough. As some products on Amazon are sold and shipped by third parties, not everything qualifies for this or for Prime shipping.

Consider Handmedowns

On occasion, a handmedown can be an appropriate Christmas gift for someone. This is especially true with kids. One year my younger sister gave one of my daughters a bunch of Barbie stuff for Christmas. It had belonged to her daughters, but they no longer wanted the dolls or dollhouses.

My daughter, on the other hand, was ecstatic to get so much Barbie stuff. That it was used didn’t matter at all.

Handmedown gifts can be very generous in comparison to things you had to spend money on. There’s no way my sister would have spent what the dolls and dollhouse cost on my daughter if she had had to buy them. Passing them down, on the other hand, worked quite well.

This doesn’t have to be limited to kids, although they’re usually the easiest. If there’s something of yours that you don’t want and you know someone else would be happy to have, it might work out as a Christmas present.

I suggest discussing handmedowns before giving them as gifts if you think it might bother someone. Done right, they can be every bit as considerate as something you went and spent money on.

Homemade Gifts

Another way to possibly save some money is to give homemade gifts. What you make depends on your skills, but a nice homemade gift can be very thoughtful.

My go-to homemade gift is chocolate truffles. My pomegranate truffles are very popular within my family – they’re usually my contribution to the food part of the celebration. My recipe makes about 70 or so truffles, depending on the mold I use (easier than rolling them!). I make a few types of chocolates so I can mix it up and there’s something for all tastes.

Cookies are also pretty easy to make as a small gift.

If you can knit, scarves are a simple gift, and you don’t have to worry about what size the recipient wears. If you don’t knit, a no-sew fleece scarf is very easy to make.

Make It Fun

Whatever else happens with your Christmas budget, make the holidays fun. Get together with family and friends. Talk. Play games. Get outside if the weather in your area allows. Many of the things that are most memorable about your holiday celebrations aren’t the things that cost money. It’s the time you spend together that really matters most.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

November 20th, 2017

Working At Home During The Holidays – How Do You Balance It All?

Working At Home During The Holidays - How Do You Balance It All?

Here comes the holiday season. A wonderful time of year to see family and friends, share good meals and have fun together. When you work at home, however, the balance between work and family can be especially challenging. Working at home during the holidays can be more challenging yet.

Sometimes the balance must be tilted one way or the other. You may have a work at home job that requires you to work certain hours on a holiday. People who work outside the home face that same problem. Your boss says you have to work, you work if you want to keep the job. It can be that simple.

Other times it’s harder to find that balance. You need to make a living, but you want to form those happy memories as a family during the holidays. Everyone wants you to join in the fun, but you can’t spare as much time off work as they’re asking. Working at home isn’t necessarily as flexible as some think, after all.

Treat Your Work At Home Job As A Real Job

Your work at home job is a real job; prioritize it. Sometimes your work shift will require that you miss the family dinner or whatever. If you’ve ever worked retail, food service, public safety, or healthcare jobs, you know that routine. It’s a part of the job and you deal with it, even if some family members don’t understand.

It can be particularly difficult to explain that your work at home job isn’t always flexible about these things. You may find that some family members still don’t understand that a work at home job is every bit as real as any other job and that it puts certain demands on your time.

Let family members know when you can see them as early as possible. This gives them time to get used to the idea that you may not be able to show up when they want you to.

Don’t call in sick on a holiday if you can help it. It will make you look bad with your employer unless you’re really sick. This is particularly true if you have a seasonal work at home job. If you’re hired to work just for the holiday season, you are probably required to work the holidays themselves.

If you must have holiday time off, ask for it as early as possible. Some jobs won’t give it regardless. Holiday shifts may be required. If a holiday is a busy time for your employer, you’re pretty much stuck. It’s one of the disadvantages of working at home during the holidays.

It’s no fun missing out on family events, but it can be worse to miss out on income your family needs.

Prioritize Your Home Business

Your home business may be extra busy during the holidays, or things may slow down. This depends on the kind of home business you’re running.

If things slow down, you may have it easy when it comes to making family time, so long as nothing comes up. You take the time off and have fun. Make up the time as needed a little later.

If your home business is busy during the holiday season, you need to work on it as necessary. As it is your business, you may at least be able to schedule yourself around the big family celebrations. That’s not true for all home businesses, but it is for many.

Then again, it might be time to consider hiring a virtual assistant. Start using one before the holiday season starts so that they are familiar with your needs.

Prepare In Advance

If there’s anything you can do to prepare things in advance, do so. If you have a blog, work some extra hours before the holidays to set up your blog posts. Load up your Hootsuite account to handle appropriate social media posting for you.

If you ship out physical products, organize and package them so that all they need is a mailing label and postage when it’s time for them to go. The more you do in advance, the less time it will take you when you would rather be with family.

Sometimes you will need to lose some sleep to get things ready in advance. A few late nights or early mornings can greatly increase your family time during the holiday season.

Are You Hosting?

If you’re hosting family events, all of this gets even more complicated. Do your best to avoid hosting during times that you might have to take calls or otherwise need a quiet workspace. The more people there are in your house, the harder it will be to get them to be quiet for you.

If you must have quiet work time, talk it over with your guests before they arrive, especially if children are involved. It’s so hard to keep excited children quiet, and kids are always excited at family gatherings. Make plans for how the noise level will be kept down and everyone will be kept out of your way while you work.

If your home office is the guest room, these discussions are particularly important. You don’t want someone coming in to grab something from their suitcase when you need to work. Even if you don’t need quiet in that moment, they’re all too likely to want to stop and chat a while.

Make Your Celebrations Flexible

I grew up with very flexible family holiday celebrations. Combine divorced parents with grandparents who would like a visit, and these things took days sometimes. Christmas gatherings could take until New Years sometimes.

To be honest, sometimes that was a part of the fun. Lots of parties, food, and presents over many days isn’t a bad thing. Tiring, especially for the adults, but not bad.

Accepting that some of your holiday celebrations may not happen on the day itself can take some of the stress away. Do you really have to see everyone right on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, or any other holiday?

Come to an agreement with family and friends on when you will see them. It may take some time for some family members to accept that they don’t get to see you at their traditional time, but that’s often the way it has to be.

Your religious observances may be more difficult to move, but as your work rarely takes the entire day, you should be able to find a way to manage that part of your holiday celebrations.

Know When To Say No

Family holiday celebrations often come with a lot of requests, even when you aren’t hosting. Bring this, make that, you’re in charge… you know the routine.

If people start asking you for more than you have time to handle, say no. It’s not always easy, especially when it’s something you have done in the past. Saying no, however, can greatly decrease the stress you feel over the holidays, and that’s a huge help.

Relax And Have Fun

Finally, when your work schedule allows, relax and have fun with your family. One of the best parts of working at home during the holidays is that you don’t have a huge commute to get back home. You’re there.

Close your home office door if you have one and make some real time for your family when you don’t need to work. Leave your social media alone. Focus on what your family and your holidays mean to you. Time enough to think about work later.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.