Long Distance Holidays

I’ve always loved the holidays, the festive clothing and Christmas decorations, the warm drinks, and the time spent with the people I love the most. This year, I’m finding it a little more difficult to get into the holiday spirit. The issue I am having is that my nephew, sister, and brother-in-law, are so far away. They moved to British Columbia a few years ago and will live there while my brother-in-law finishes law school. My fingers are crossed for a move back home and family getaways after that…

Baby E and I checking out toys!

My sisters and I have always been very close, we talk about everything, and spend hours just hanging out. Being a long-distance sister and now aunt is tough, even more so now that the holidays are quickly approaching. I don’t get to personally give them presents that I’ve carefully chosen and I won’t get to share in the festivities and love that make the holiday season special.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) dropping hints to my sister to come home for a little while. I have tried everything and I won’t lie; there have been a couple bribes in there too, including offering to pay for her flight as well as sending her info on the cheapest flights I could find and finally resorting to promising endless diaper changes of my nephew. Guilt tripping, bribing, nothing seems to be working. So we’ve decided to compromise.

We’ve settled on a Skype and pajama date on Christmas morning. The three sisters all have matching onesies and a love for a good cup of coffee. It’s not as good as having my whole family together during the holidays, but I can settle for that.

Do you have far away family relationships? How do you make sure to celebrate special holidays with them?


About the Author:

Sandra Barbera is the Social Media Coordinator at Mabel’s Labels. She is an avid traveler and lover of the internet. You can find her on Twitter @sandrabells

The Divorced Family Christmas

Christmas is a sentimental time of the year.  For many divorced parents it’s a painful reminder of the gap between the ideal family life we had wanted and the reality of the strains and severed relationships that are a part of divorce and separation.  Here are some tips on how a parent can cope this time of year:

  1. Make plans for the holidays with your ex well in advance.  If this is not a part of your separation agreement or if this is a difficult topic consider mediation. Children need stability and predictability.  Advance planning helps them get their head around how the holiday will unfold and should reduce any potential anger and anxiety.
  2. Try alternating years so that both parents get the joy of opening gifts on Christmas day.
  3. If your children are travelling with the other parent over the holiday, create a “mock Christmas” to be celebrated like the real thing with all the traditions such as Christmas decorations and a Christmas tree, just held on a different date
  4. If this is the first Christmas you are not together as a family, try creating new traditions so that you don’t experience the absence of one parent while doing all the same ole holiday things.  Ask your children for input.  My kids wanted all new ornaments on the Christmas tree as a “fresh new start” so as to not look sentimentally at the family ornaments from the past.
  5. If this is your first Christmas alone without your children, reach out to your extended family and join their festivities.  You should have supportive people around you. You could volunteer at a shelter or visit friends, basically anything is better than being home alone and sad.
  6. You can’t win a child’s love with material objects.  Yes, it’s gratifying to see the look of joy on your child’s face as they open gifts, but don’t try to outdo or compensate/apologize with gifts.
  7. It’s generally not recommended that you include your new partner in the first family Christmas since the divorce/separation.   If you are in a serious relationship, ask you children how they would feel if you invited your new friend over for some part of the day.   Their reaction will give you your answer.

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com


Cyber Monday is almost here!

December in all of its merriment and craziness is almost upon us! We hope our American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving. But before we say farewell to November we can’t wait to take part in Cyber Monday Madness offering great deals just in time for the holidays!  It starts this Saturday so don’t miss out!

Tis the season to give

All year long we like to give back and the holiday season is no different. This holiday season the Community Relations Committee & ML staff worked together to pack shoe boxes full of goodies to contribute to Operation Christmas Child.

To date, Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed over 100 million shoebox gifts worldwide. In 2013, Canadians donated more than 664,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for hurting children around the world.

This year the shoeboxes will be distributed in Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, Costa Rica, Guinea, Haiti, Nicaragua, Chile (including Easter Island), and Senegal.

We are so happy to have been able to contribute this year.

What’s new?

Earlier this month we launched some cute new icons, take a look at www.mabelslabels.com

Gift ideas

If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer, party favours and personalized add-ons to other gifts then look no further.  Available in these festive designs and available for a limited time our Stocking Stuffer Combos make the perfect gift! Don’t miss out!


Enjoy the season everyone!

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