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    4 Reasons We Chose Reindeer in Here for Our Christmas Tradition

    When I had RJ I COULD NOT WAIT for him to be old enough for Christmas traditions. Y’all know how I feel about Christmas, so I was excited to have a little person to share in the Christmas excitement with. I just knew it was going to be epic. Fast forward to when he was about two and I NEEDED an Elf on the Shelf. Daddy however, was not having it. The whole look and idea of the elf was deemed “creepy” and my little holiday dreams were shut down. Sadness. Until I had a chance to go to TTPM’s Holiday Showcase this year and meet Adam Reed, creator of Reindeer in Here.

    If you aren’t familiar with Reindeer in Here, it was written by a father who (just like me) wanted to create a positive Christmas tradition with his family. The whole concept of reindeer in here promotes uniqueness and individuality, embracing the concept that everyone is different. On top of that, it is a much less creepy and stress free tradition you can start with your little ones. I’m about to give you all the reasons we chose to embrace Reindeer in Here over our little elf friend.

    Honestly, ain’t nobody got time for that.

    And by that I mean the elf shenanigans. I am team #givemelesswork and the Elf on a Shelf idea is exhausting to me. I’m almost positive I would give up halfway through the nightly moves and then my kids would be left to wonder what happened to the elf, if it went back to the North Pole and if Christmas is ruined.

    It gives my children something to look forward to

    Reindeer in here makes connecting with Santa Claus essentially, your children’s job. There is no creepy “spying for Santa”, and your children do all the work of telling their Reindeer there biggest Christmas wishes so that he/she can deliver them to Santa every night. So much more positive and way more cuddly.

    There is no ‘No Touch’ rule

    With Elf on a Shelf the children aren’t allowed to touch the elf or it loses it’s Christmas magic. SOOOOOOO I don’t know about your kids but these, the magic would be lost day 1. RJ would think it was hilarious, I would be angry and the tradition would be down the drain. Reindeer in here encourages children to show their reindeer something new every morning and the reindeer takes all the notes back to Santa at night.

    There is a positive story behind the reindeer

    Like our elfy friend, reindeer in here comes with a book so you can share with your kids the magical story behind Santa’s favorite helper. I won’t tell you guys the whole story but it is super cute, embraces the idea that being different is beautiful and at the end you get to give name your reindeer. My boys loved that part.

    All in all, reindeer in here was clearly made by a parent FOR parents. It makes Christmas magical without the stress of an extra thing to remember at night and for me that is a HUGE plus. We’re loving ‘Nick’ and RJ has shared so many wishes with him I stopped counting. I’m glad we have a new tradition that everyone loves and creeps no one out haha.

     So what say you? Do you participate in Elf on a Shelf? Have you heard of Reindeer in Here? What are some of your holiday traditions? 

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    My Favorite Items from #TTPM Holiday Showcase

    I attended TTPM Holiday Showcase as press. All opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect any of the brands represented.

    I am ALL about Christmas!! I LOVE seeing how excited my kids get about Santa, Christmas movies, I love matching Christmas pajamas and I work HARD all year because I love to see how excited they are when they open gifts. When I had the opportunity to check out TTPM’s Holiday Showcase I literally sprinted to take RJ to school and hop on the train so I could get there EARLY. I mean, with no Toys R Us this year, I jumped on the opportunity to check out some of the latest and greatest in the toy industry so I can make all my toy orders online EARLY. There were SO MANY brands in attendance at this event but you know me, being a boy mom I’m going to share all the things with you that I know our little ones will love this holiday season.

    For the Minis That Love YouTube

    Kid’s nowadays have a WHOLE app dedicated to programming JUST for them on YouTube so it’s no surprise that toys based off of some of their favorite YouTube channels are popular right now. Ryan’s World & Feisty Pets can both be found in online retailers like Amazon but also locally at Walmart. Right next to the exhibit for Feisty Pets there was also a HUGE selection of toys for Roblox lovers, which is RJs favorite right now and I honestly can’t believe I dont have a picture of it. I may have to look through my archives again.

    For the Builders, Young and Old

    From Go! Go! Smart Wheels, to LEGO Brickheadz, if you or your little love building then there’s something for you. I fell in love with all of the Harry Potter LEGO items and if I had a room where I could display them away from these two wild children, I’d definitely get them for myself. Something different that I know RJ would definitely love is Magformers. The cool thing about Magformers is that the pieces are magnetic, so that you there are no complicated puzzle pieces to connect, you can build it up as high as you want and the sky track set comes with an airplane that goes around the track. I definitely spent time at the table moving pieces around to test out the ease.

    For the Dinosaur Lovers

    When I found out that I was going to be attending TTPM I went with one thing in mind. DINOS! If you know RJ then you know he is obsessed with Dinosaurs and he has soooooo many different variations, however he didn’t have any of these! Playmobil, Mega Construx and Wowwee (the makers of fingerlings) had tons of dinosaurs on display and I got some great ideas for stocking stuffers and gifts for my future paleontologist.

    Of course, there were glitter and slime and dolls galore at TTPM but being the mom of two little boys, that just isn’t my ministry. If you want to see more then a good place to search is using #TTPM or #TTPMHolidayShowcase onInstagram, you will see tons of posts from the day of the event. For more holiday gift ideas and to see the latest in greatest for toys, tots, pets and more feel free to follow TTPM on social media | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |.

    What’s on your little one’s holiday wish list? Have you even begun to think about Christmas shopping? Lets chat. xoxo

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    Representation Matters: Why I’m Excited for Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

    I probably repeat this a million times a day but the holiday season is my absolute favorite. I cannot wait for Christmas and I’m slowly but surely getting my kids excited about Santa and Christmas trees and all things Christmassy. 2018 is looking to be an amazing holiday season with so many new movies dropping this year but Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has particularly caught my eye.

    All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

    The Nutcracker has been adapted and readapted and remade and performed more times than I can probably count. From Barbie, to the Carebears you have probably seen a version of this tale before. I am so excited because I have never seen it done like this. The cast of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is bursting with diversity and is taking this classic tale and elevating it to the next level.

    I hate to go there but we’re living in such a crappy time. I try to be super conscientious of the things my kids absorb via online and even what they watch on tv. Children are so smart and it amazes me the way my son processes things in a way I don’t even imagine some time. So I am excited to see that this adaptation of the Nutcracker is being done so beautifully. It makes me happy to know that my son will be able to see himself in the soldier, or that it’s possible for little Clara (Marie) to have Morgan Freeman as her Godfather. Seeing ourselves depicted in such amazing and significant roles light up the eyes of children and adults alike. I marvel in amazement every single time I see Misty Copeland as the Ballerina.

    Aside from the story in itself being a classic holiday tale, I’m looking forward to seeing another take from Disney (because do you remember the Mickey version?) and I’m loving all the live-action adaptations to films that we loved. Times are definitely changing and I’m excited that my children are going to love these classics in a whole different way than how we remembered them.

    Are you excited to see the live-action film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms? Are you looking forward to the holiday season? Lets chat! xoxo

    Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms opens in theaters everywhere November 2nd, 2018.

    Follow #DisneysNutcracker on Social: | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |

    ** Check out these fun coloring sheets and family activities inspired by the film. Click to download and print for yourself and your little ones **

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    A Whole New Way to Experience Santa! – Santa HQ Queens Center Mall

    My family and I were invited to an exclusive preview of Santa HQ in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

    If you know me, you know I LOVE Christmas. I count down the days until next Christmas starting December 26th, its that real. I love everything about the holiday and when I had RJ I couldn’t wait until he was old enough to take pictures with Santa. 

    HGTV has REALLY stepped up the Santa experience and made the dreaded wait in the mall line worth it! Santa HQ takes you through an interactive experience which allows kids to be scanned at the Naughty or Nice O’Meter, check out Santa’s world through special tablets and even download the Elf Ray Vision app to get a sneak peak at what Santa’s elves are working on in 3D in designated areas throughout Santa HQ. 

    IMG_2401 from Tanay Howard on Vimeo.

    The whole experience is truly amazing and we’ve been 2 years in a row now because kids are so hands on and the experience is WORTH IT! Check out some additional pictures below. 

    Santa HQ is open from November 10 through December 24 and is located on Level 2, Center Court. For hours, to make reservations, or how you can have breakfast with Santa check out all the information here

    IMG_2396 from Tanay Howard on Vimeo.

    Are you taking pictures with Santa this year? Have you been to Santa HQ? As always, love your thoughts down below in the comments! xoxo

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    NYC Toy Shoppers Rejoice! Your Two Favorite Toy Stores Returned to NYC for the Holidays

    Holidays in NYC are iconic. I can remember watching Christmas movies from when I was much younger and seeing kids/families toy shopping and 9/10 it was in one of the BIG toy stores in NYC. I’m pretty sure New Yorkers everywhere were slightly heartbroken when FAO Schwarz, the most famous toys store in the world closed its doors in July of 2015 due to the cost of rental in the city. Shortly following, Toys R Us closed the doors of their Times Square location, another huge store that drew tourists in with its huge Ferris Wheel and 4000 square foot Barbie dollhouse. 

    Alas, the silver lining….

    Both iconic toy stores announced they would be having pop up shops for the holiday season. Shoppers have the opportunity to get the same Christmas magic feel of F.A.O. Schwarz in Bergdorf Goodman from now until December 31st. The pop up shop for Toys R Us is located at the corner of 42nd and Broadway in the famous Knickerbocker building! 

    Get your holiday shopping on y’all! Holidays in NYC are like none other!  

    Thoughts, comments, concerns? Leave them down below! xoxo

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