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10 Amazing Gifts That You Can Bring To Your Families’ Christmas Parties!

10 Amazing Gifts That You Can Bring To Your Families’ Christmas Parties!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a… OH NO! You forgot to get Uncle Daryl’s gift for the family Christmas party!

As the holidays are approaching, it is time to begin brainstorming all of the possible gift ideas to bring to the family Christmas party. Let’s face it – although they are delicious, the family might be a little bored of Santa-shaped cookies. It is time to step it up a notch. This is the year to knock your family’s socks off with some unique & amazing Christmas gifts! Thankfully, we were able to create a list of ten incredible gift ideas that will ignite a great deal of inspiration in this year’s festivities.

1. iPad Foosball Table

iPad Foosball

    Photo Courtesy of: Uncommon Goods

    This first gift idea is one for the whole family, and would make a great additional gift to anyone receiving an iPad for Christmas. Simply placing an iPad in the tray and turn it into a miniature, virtual foosball table. This can make for some great competitions during the downtime of the party.

    Place to get it: Uncommon Goods

    2. Personalized Photo Book

    Soft Cover Photo Book

      Photo Courtesy of Artifact Uprising

      A photo book can always serve as a unique and fantastic gift. Providing an opportunity to showcase your family’s most-cherished memories into a neat little book. Photo books can be a great gift for anyone in the family, but I’d argue that Grandma will enjoy them the most.

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      Place to get it: Artifact Uprising

      3. 3D Printing Pen

      3D printing Pen

        Photo Courtesy of: Hammacher

        For all of the tech-lovers in the family, a 3D Printing Pen is an extremely unique gift that will be sure to turn heads at the Christmas party. These pens allows the family artist to create three-dimensional plastic drawings – they can even use it to create napkin holders for next year’s party!

        Place to get it: Hammacher

         4. Matching Dog/Human Bow Tie

        Dog and Owner matching Bow Tie

          Photo Courtesy of: Wool & Water

          The only thing cuter than a dog is a dog in bow tie. If you’re anything like myself, your family’s little furry friends are quite spoiled during the holiday season. An adorable (slightly ridiculous) bow tie can make for a great stocking stuffer for Fido. You can even get a matching bow tie for yourself!

          Place to get it: Butch Basix

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          5. Pinpointing Metal Detector

          Metal Detector

            Photo Courtesy of: MetalDetector.com

            For the adventurer in the family, a metal detector can be a unique gift that keeps on giving (literally). Back in my day, nothing was better than returning from a family camping trip with a pocket full of shiny, new metal objects that were uncovered throughout the campsite. All thanks to a metal detector.

            Place to get it: MetalDetector.com

            6. Selfie Stick

            selfie stick

              Photo Courtesy of: Nicolas Mirguet

              Oh, the selfie stick. Perhaps one of the smartest inventions of our generation. These can be used virtually everywhere. On vacation? Take a selfie. At the dinner table? Take a selfie. The opportunities are endless with this gift. Who knows, maybe your selfies will end up in next year’s family photo book.

              Place to get it: Kirklands

               7. Ollie

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              OLLIE

                Photo Courtesy of: My Trendy Phone

                Ollie is a remote control device that performs rolls, flips, and various tricks – all through a smartphone app. Such a toy could be the perfect gift for the racing fan in the family. These things takes on all types of terrain. I know I would have loved this thing when I was growing up!

                Place to get it: Sphero

                8. Polaroid Camera

                Polaroid Camera

                  Photo Courtesy of: Stephane Venne

                  The technology of the mid 1900’s seem to be coming back with a bang, and with it comes Polaroid cameras. After all, nothing is more satisfying than capturing a photograph, and watching it print and develop right before your eyes. A Polaroid camera would make a great gift for the photographer in your family – if you’re feeling extra generous, I have one on my gift list this year!

                  Place to get it: Skymall

                  9. Tracking Tiles

                  tile

                    Photo Courtesy of: Tile

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                    Every family has the family airhead. Constantly misplacing their keys, wallet, phone, or car. Thankfully Tracking Tiles are available as gifts this year. Attaching a tile to any item will allow it to be found in a matter of seconds. Someone let me know when they invent a time machine so I can go back and put one of these on that car key I lost last year.

                    Place to get it: Tile

                    10. Cuddle Clone

                    Cuddle Clone

                      Photo Courtesy of: This is Why I’m Broke

                      This is the perfect gift for the animal lover in the family. A Cuddle Clone is a personalized stuffed animal, made to replicate your pet (can also serve as a loophole for pesky “no pets” housing restrictions). These furry creations can double as a gift for your pet as well – everyone needs a companion!

                      Place to get it: Cuddle Clones

                      Featured photo credit: Dr. Wendy Longo via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                      Video Summary

                      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                      One Exercise, multiple benefits

                      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                    How to hold a plank position

                                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                      • Prolapse
                                      • After prolapse surgery
                                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                      • Previous childbirth
                                      • Overweight

                                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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