Dec 18

Easy and Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas

If you’re like many of us, wrapping a holiday present means placing the gift in a bag with some tissue paper and calling it a day. Or, there’s always the option of shopping at a retail store that offers a gift wrapping service and watching in utter amazement as the professional works their magic on your beloved gift. Also among us, those talented, crafty folks who consider gift wrapping to be an art form and wince while the recipient tears through their meticulous creation. Then there’s some of us that hand the gift over in its raw, unwrapped form, with a sheepish, “Merry Christmas! I heard you needed socks.”

Regardless of which gift wrapping group you belong to, we thought you might enjoy these  EASY and creative gift wrapping ideas!

Cosmetic Gift Bags. Cosmetic companies constantly have giveaways to promote their new product lines and will often package their “free with purchase” promotions in glitzy cosmetic bags. If you frequent the fragrance and makeup counters, you know what we’re talking about. At the end of the year, you may end up with 10 or more unused cosmetic bags. Varying in size, shape, and color these bags are perfect for a collection of soaps and creams, monogrammed golf tees and golf balls, make-up items or makeup brushes, clunky jewelry items like bracelets, small gift books, and everyone’s favorite – cash and gift cards! You can tie a bow on the zipper or handle, attach a gift tag, and your wrapping task is complete.

The Funny Papers. Next time the Sunday newspaper arrives, grab the funny papers and use them to wrap your gift. This is a big hit with kids and adults, alike. If your loved one has a favorite comic strip, you can glue or tape it across the front of any wrapped gift for that extra personal touch.

Colorful Pillowcases and Sheets. For bulky items like dollhouses, skateboards, trikes, and garden tools, try wrapping your gift in some colorful sheets or pillowcases. Dare we say it – make sure the sheets are clean! Scoop the gift item up in the sheet and tie it at the top with some colorful thick ribbon or for garden tools, you could add an outdoor element and use live twigs or ivy and attach a few live flowers or pine cones to the top with tape or twine.

Sheet Music. Sheet music adds a sweet personal touch for the musically inclined people on your gift list and is pliable and easy to work with. Add a ribbon to your creation and move on to the next person on your list.

Maps! Travelers will love this special touch. The great thing about wrapping presents with maps, is everyone knows that a map never really folds back in place, so a few wrinkles here and there are to be expected.

Extra tips:

  • Tie a box with a jump rope.
  • Finish a gift off with bejeweled hair ties.
  • For food gifts, write your holiday message on a Christmas napkin.
  • Any box is fair game for your gift: empty cereal boxes, peach crates, etc.
  • Decorative bowls work for movie-package gifts, just add popcorn and a movie gift card.
  • Decorative mugs work with cocoa mix, coffees, and tees.

What is your gift wrapping idea? Share it with us at #LifeatWeidner.

Happy Holidays!

-The Weidner Team

Dec 18

‘Tis the Season of Giving: 5 Notable Charities


The holiday season is often considered the “Season of Giving.” Nothing spreads holiday cheer more than investing in the happiness of others by providing support in their time of need. Here are five notable charities to consider donating to this holiday season, not to mention the many volunteer opportunities in your local neighborhood.

The American Red Cross is perhaps one of the most well-known international charities for their work in aiding those who suffer loss amid national disasters. Their mission statement reads, “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. ” An estimated 91 cents of every dollar donated is reinvested in humanitarian efforts.

Toys for Tots provides toys, books, and other gifts to children in need. Numerous events are held nationwide that help facilitate the gathering of these gifts, with an estimated 97% of your donation going directly to the children and 3% spent to support their fundraising events.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s mission is to “advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.” Families never receive a bill from St. Jude Children’s Hospital for treatments, housing, travel or food “because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.” We couldn’t agree more.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a “nonpartisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States” through a comprehensive, solution-based approach ranging from connecting individuals to available housing and services, to crisis response and employment opportunities and assistance. Similarly, in Washington State, Hopelink “has served homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities in King and Snohomish counties; providing stability and helping people gain the skills and knowledge they need to exit poverty for good.”

World Wildlife Fund is well recognized for their efforts in “protecting the future of nature for more than 50 years. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally.” WWF’s mission is to “conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.”

From all of us at Weidner, we are grateful to each and every volunteer, donator, and charitable organization committed to the greater good of our communities.

What are some of your favorite charities or volunteer organizations? Let us know at #LifeatWeidner.

-The Weidner Team


Dec 18

Holiday Tree Safety Tips!


All is calm, all is bright. The lights are shimmering on your Christmas tree. Presents are neatly wrapped and stacked underneath, and the festivities are about to begin!

But wait, let’s cover some quick holiday tree safety tips!

  • If you are choosing a live tree, ask for a freshly cut tree with green needles. If it’s not freshly cut, ask the tree lot owner to re-cut the tree a few inches above the old cut to keep the moisture moving throughout the foliage.
  • Place your tree in a leak-proof container designed for holiday trees and check the water level daily. Keeping your tree moist is the key to reducing fire hazards.
  • Make sure your tree is securely fastened and positioned inside the container.
  • Keep all trees, decorations, presents, and lights at least 3 feet away from heat sources. Do not place your tree over or near the heating vent. Choose the coolest place in the apartment to set up your tree.
  • Never, ever leave a lighted tree unattended. Turn the lights off every time you leave the house and when you go to bed at night. (We’re pretty sure Santa won’t mind and that he can see in the dark. )
  • Please follow your leasing office tips and requests for tree removal. Also, never keep a tree beyond its natural cycle. If the needles are drying and falling off sooner than expected, replace the tree or invest in an artificial tree.
    Decorating your tree, safely:
  • Choose flame resistant or flame retardant decorations for your tree. Never place a lit candle on or near your tree.
    Keep all decorations, presents, and lights off the vents and heat sources.
  • Check your holiday light’s labels and make sure to use lights that read “independent laboratory testing.”
  • Use indoor lights for your indoor decorations and outdoor lights for outdoor decorations. Check with your community leasing or maintenance supervisor before putting up outdoor decorations, as the community must comply with various insurance ordinances.
  • Check to make sure all electrical cords are in good working order with no frays, cracked wires, or broken sockets. Do not “repair” broken light sets.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets with too many lights. Don’t plug an electric device into the same outlet as your holiday tree.
  • Keep all exits clear of decorations.

From all of us at Weidner, please have a safe and happy holiday season!

-The Weidner Team

Dec 18

Holiday Shopping Like a Pro!

One of the most rewarding things about holiday shopping is the spirit of giving and the joy that it brings. Unfortunately, that spirit can get weighed down quickly in shopping lines that wrap around the store and stretch your budget way beyond the limits. Here are a few holiday shopping hacks that can save you time, money, and energy –and help keep the spirit of giving alive!

  • Make a list and check it thrice. Make out your gift list in advance of hitting the stores or going online. It will keep you focused, efficient, and on budget. Consider what the recipient’s passion or hobbies are and see if you can match that to your budget. Once the list is complete, organize it by store or what online sites you’re going to hit, so you’re not in excessive holiday traffic, albeit on or offline.
    If you’re planning on shipping your gifts, try to take advantage of free shipping deals. Of course, Amazon offers free shipping with a Prime subscription, but other stores often offer the same service. For example, Barnes & Noble bookstore offers free shipping to the store or the recipients’ address. Be sure to gather the addresses you’ll need ahead of time, so you’re not halfway through the order process before you realize you have an outdated address.
  • Shop local stores during Open House events. Local businesses usually allocate a particular day or weekend to show their wares and often offer deep discounts to encourage shopper loyalty. It’s also an excellent opportunity to support local small businesses.
  • Consider using reward points to shop for gifts. While it’s nice to see those reward points accumulating all year long, reward points can save you a lot of money during the holidays. Check the fine print for any restrictions and avoid frustration during the check-out process.
  • Check out the deals on coupon sites. This 20 Best Coupon Sites list from Money Pantry has been updated for 2018 and boasts an up to 90% savings. A little tip on coupon sites – to redeem the coupon, it’s usually necessary to click through to the retailer’s website from the coupon site. Also, coupons and their codes expire when the deal runs out, so even if the deal is still listed on the site, make sure to check that the deal is still active.
  • Shop with the right credit card. If you’re shopping on credit, make sure you’re using the credit card with the lowest interest rate or offers a cash-back option.
  • Make it yourself. You knew this one was coming! Homemade gifts never go out of style, and depending on what ingredients/materials you’re using, DIY holiday gifts could save you hundreds of dollars. has 20 ideas for gift giving on a budget, and House Beautiful boasts that these 60 DIY gifts are so fabulous, they’re not likely to be re-gifted!Whether you decide to join the masses at the mall or you prefer to shop quietly online while sipping your eggnog, we wish you a joyful and economical season of giving!

-The Weidner Team



Dec 18

You’ve Been Elfed, Apartment Style!

christmas gift

If you’ve never been “Elfed,” you haven’t experienced the holidays to their fullest – or so says the neighbor showing off their awesome basket of treats.

In its raw form, Elfing is a game of Pay-it-Forward mixed with a little Secret Santa. The game starts with one anonymous neighbor leaving a basket, bag, or box of treats for their neighbor with a note or poem on how to play the game, what to do next, and how to spread the cheer to the next neighbor. Organized Christmas and Pinterest have poems and printable “We’ve Been Elfed” signs to help you spread the holiday fun, or you can always make your own.

Elfing Gift Ideas
Traditionally, treats are defined as sweets like candy, gourmet popcorn, and cookies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative! Here are a few easy gift ideas for Elfing your neighbor:

  • Cozy, fun, colorful socks or hats. They come in a myriad of themes, sizes, and colors and are easy to transport. You could also fill them with wrapped candy treats.
  • Herb garden kits for the kitchen window. The benefit of this gift is that it keeps on giving and when they start growing, you can borrow those same herbs.
  • Fun, festive welcome mats.
  • Garden Gnome, a traditional Secret Santa favorite.
  • Coffee mugs filled with teas, coffees, and biscotti.
  • Cookie jars filled with cookies or dog treat jars for pet lovers.
  • Festive, blank journals.
  • How-to Build a Snowman kit.
  • Coloring books with crayons and pens.
  • A basket of cooking utensils and a family recipe.
  • A collection of cocoa mixes and a bag of marshmallows.
  • Holiday Puzzles.
  • Holiday hand towels and soaps.

Share Your Elfing Stories at #LifeatWeidner

We want to hear all about your Elfing ideas and how the game played out at your community at #LifeAtWeidner!

Have a safe and happy holiday, from your friends at Weidner.





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