Best Emergency Supplies to Have at the Ready

From Fire Starters to First Aid Kits, These Are the Best Emergency Supplies to Have at the Ready

Emergencies happen — be it snow storms, wildfires, or tornados. Here are some of the best emergency supplies to make sure you’re prepared

Rolling Stones | OSCAR HARTZOG | Emergency Supplies | Shield Insurance Quoting Portal | Shield Home

NO MATTER WHERE you live, emergencies can (and do) happen. But whether it’s snow storms, tornados, wildfires, or hurricanes, the danger of serious emergencies can almost always be mitigated by investing in the best emergency supplies.

But choosing the right emergency gear — or just figuring out what types of emergency supplies you should have — can be tricky. To make things easier, we’ve created a checklist of the best emergency supplies to help your household stay safe in the worst-case scenarios.

What Are the Best Emergency Supplies?

When stocking up on the best emergency supplies, you’ll want to start by considering what needs your emergency stash has to meet. Namely, you’ll need food and water, first aid supplies, and light and heat. If you want to go beyond the basics, we also recommend adding power, shelter (like an emergency tent), and survival tools to your emergency supplies checklist.

No matter what kind of emergency supply you’re looking at — be it a multi-tool, a camping stove, or an emergency food supply — be sure it’s well-built and capable of staying in working order while shelved. The best emergency supplies can be tucked away and taken out months, if not years later, and still function properly.

Read on for a full checklist of the best emergency supplies to stock up on now.

1. Survivor Filter Pro

The most important thing to secure in most emergency situations is clean drinking water. One way to create an emergency water supply is to buy a water tank that you fill up if you know an emergency is on the horizon (i.e. if there’s a tornado warning).

But a more efficient option for securing drinking water is to get an emergency water filter, such as this Survivor Filter Pro. The compact rig uses a pump mechanism to suck up water, run it through a filter, and pump out 500 milliliters of clean drinking water per minute. It’s also very lightweight (half a pound), so you can transport it if need be.

2. Leatherman Wave+

A reliable multi-tool has always been part of our everyday carry, but they become absolutely essential when disaster strikes. Our favorite multi-tool is this Leatherman Wave+, which packs 18 tools in a small package, measuring just four inches when closed. Inside, you’ll find basics like knives, scissors, screwdrivers, and pliers, as well as some good extras like a saw and a wire stripper.

3. Judy Mover Max

Survival kits are a great way to create an emergency supplies stash with just one purchase. Good examples include the Oprah-endorsed Judy Mover Max, which has water and food, safety and warmth, and tools and first aid — all in one ultra-durable, weatherproof backpack. It has enough supplies to sustain four people for 72 hours, and you don’t have to worry about grabbing multiple items during an evacuation.

4. Mountain House Classic Bucket of Emergency Supplies

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Save 20% or more on your heating costs this winter.

Slash Your Heating Costs This Winter

Zen Business.com | By Patricia Schaefer | December 1, 2022 | Heating Costs | Shield Home Insurance

Use these low-cost and no-cost ways to lower your heating bill, regardless of your heat source. Read on if you’d like to save 20% or more on your heating bills this winter.

The cost of heating your home — and your home office — could put a huge hole in your budget this winter whether you heat with oil, gas, or electric. Even if you get the best price for heating oil in your area, for instance, you might need to spend more than $5,000 to keep your home warm.

But there are steps you can take to potentially save you 20% or more on heating costs when those penetrating arctic winds start to blow. For those on limited budgets, there are many ways to lower heating bills that don’t cost a dime. There are also weatherization applications that require anywhere from a small to middling investment of cash, yet these applications will subsequently lower both energy consumption and future heating bills. Over time, these investments can be expected to more than pay for themselves.

Cost-Free Ways to Lower Heating Bills

  • Lower your thermostat. Try reducing your usual daytime temperature by at least one degree. For each lowered degree, you’ll save one to three percent off those heating bills. At night, turn down the thermostat to 60 degrees. It’s much healthier, you’ll feel better when you awaken, and you’ll save money. If you go away for a weekend or more, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees.
  • Run bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans less. Exhaust fans pull warm air out of the house and let in cooler air that will need to be heated. Use fans only when necessary.
  • If you have a service contract with a heating provider, it will usually include an annual check and tune-up of your heating system. Don’t rely on the company to contact you about scheduling this service. Be sure it’s performed annually before winter arrives; doing so can save up to 10% on heating bills.
  • Close the damper on your fireplace when not in use. If not, your chimney will draw warm air out of the room and create a draft.
  • Close off unused spaces (attic, garage, basement, spare bedrooms, storage areas, etc.) or heat only those rooms that you use. If your heating system has vents, close off heating vents in unused rooms.
  • If you have ceiling fans, reverse the switch so they blow upward toward the ceiling. The reverse air circulation promotes heating efficiency in the winter.
  • Reduce your hot water heater temperature to 115-120 degrees.
  • Keep blinds and drapes open on sun-exposed windows during the day. Close these same drapes at night to help impede the escape of heat.
  • Dust builds up on radiators and baseboard heating vents, and then reduces the amount of heat that can get into a room. Dust and vacuum these surfaces often.
  • Prune branches from trees and bushes that block the sun’s rays into your home. 
  • If possible, sign up for a budget plan with your heating provider. Although this will not reduce the actual yearly dollar amount, it will make your bill-paying more manageable when spread evenly over a 12-month period.
  • When you add energy-efficient items to your home, check for possible tax breaks or discounts on homeowner insurance policies.
  • Check with local utility companies for free energy audits. Certain energy-saving devices may also be provided and installed free of charge. Lower-income households typically qualify for these free products and services.

Lower heating costs with energy-saving devices and services

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6 Money Habits to Break in 2023

6 Money Habits to Break in 2023

Get off to a good start by stopping some common (bad) money habits.

AARP | By Karen Hube | December 12, 2022 | Money Habits | Shield Insurance Quoting Portal

You may not be able to do anything about big problems afflicting the economy and the stock market, but little changes to your everyday activities can help shore up your financial security. Consider the following six routines — and why you should ditch them in 2023 for better money habits.

1. Constantly checking your portfolio’s value

During rocky times in the market, it’s natural to want to know how your investments are holding up. But the more often you check, the wider you open the door to counterproductive emotions. Exuberance can fuel overconfidence and unwise risk-taking, while fear of loss can drive you to yank money out of stocks and miss out on future returns, says Chris Orestis, president of Retirement Genius, a financial planning website. Either way, you impair your portfolio’s long-term growth potential.

HOW TO BREAK THE MONEY HABITS

Keep in mind that short-term ups and downs are a package deal when you invest in stocks, but over time the stock market has recovered from declines and resumed climbing. In the past 42 years through 2021, the S&P 500 had intra-year declines in every year averaging negative 14 percent, with dips of 10 percent or more in 23 years, according to Fidelity. But the index ended in positive territory in 35 years, and the average annual return has been around 14 percent.

2. Downplaying the risk of cybercrime

You might think cybertheft will never happen to you, but the older you are, the more likely you are to be a target. Cyber­criminals stole nearly $3 billion from people 50 and older in 2021 — more than all younger age groups combined — according to the FBI. The most common tactic is to entice people into providing personal data by phone or email, or into clicking on seemingly innocent links that let criminals access information on a target’s computer. Paul Tracey, CEO of Innovative Technologies, a cybersecurity company, says scammers have been getting increasingly sophisticated. They commonly pose as employees of familiar companies and drop personal details about you that make them seem legitimate, such as your birthday or where you live (often easily found in an online search).

HOW TO BREAK THE MONEY HABITS

“Anytime you get a request for an account number or personal information, or anytime you are invited to click on a link, you should be skeptical,” says Tracey. Use different complex passwords for each of your sensitive accounts and change them quarterly. That way, if a password for one account is revealed in a security breach, hackers can’t use it to access your other accounts.

3. Making minimum payments on your credit card

A fast way to eat up cash is to keep a large balance on your credit card. One major reason why: The average annualized interest rate on credit card debt was 18.9 percent in early October, reports Bankrate. Let’s say an issuer makes carrying a balance easy by setting a minimum payment of just 1 percent of the balance or $25, whichever is larger; if you rack up $1,000 in charges in a month and then pay only the minimum, you’d need more than nine years and pay nearly $2,000 to close out the balance. Credit card debt surged 13 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to a year earlier — the largest annual hike in at least two decades, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

HOW TO BREAK THE MONEY HABITS

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The Top 2023 Bathroom Trends, According to Designers

The Top 2023 Bathroom Trends, According to Designers

Ultimate relaxation and personal style are high in demand.

Better Homes & Gardens | By Kristina McGuirk | January 4, 2023 | Bathroom Trends | Shield Insurance

Bathroom design in 2023 will continue to build on themes emerging since 2020, including clean lines, easy-maintenance materials, and heavy doses of natural colors. At the same time, an underlying current is shifting our view of bathrooms from task-focused spaces to rooms designed for comfort.

According to Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, a design expert with LIXIL Global Design, the bathroom has transformed into a space focused on health, wellness, and relaxation. At the same time, larger home design trends are influencing aesthetic styles. As a result, personalization is driving a lot of the design choices, encouraging homeowners to create comfortable rooms with custom bathing experiences.

1. Fabulous Walk-in Showers

It seems that everyone agrees 2023 is the year of the shower. Pinterest Predicts identified an “elevated shower routine” among its top trends for the year. Similarly, 2023 Design Trends research by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and 2022 Bathroom Trends research from Houzz both report continued and increasing popularity in shower upgrades. This includes expanding shower sizes—two-person showers are preferred, according to the NKBA–as well as shower seats, multiple showerheads, and zero-entry showers for ageless accessibility

But walk-in showers don’t just have a functional focus: Michele Youell, an NKBA member and designer behind Natural Domain Interiors, points to design elements like sources of natural light, accent lighting, and visually stunning wall tiles that create an eye-catching shower when paired with the popular glass shower enclosure.

2. Removing Oversize Tubs

“While modern standalone tubs have been trending for several years, I have clients requesting removal of their large unused built-in tubs and reclaiming that space,” says Youell. Instead, that area is being repurposed for other trending bath design elements, such as expanded showers or bathroom linen closets. Removing a tub can also open a floor plan to create a bath that feels less crowded and more serene.

3. Spa Bathroom Trends

There’s a shifting mindset when it comes to bathroom design: instead of seeing bathrooms as strictly task-focused, consider them as spaces in which to relax and take care of your body. “It can help heal a sore body when you have the flu, or it can even help with sore muscles from skiing,” says Lauren Schulte, NKBA member and owner and designer of Monarch Kitchen Design Studio.

Although showers are trending in favor of tubs generally, 2023 bathroom design is all about personalization, which means a rainfall shower for some, a soaking tub for others, or both. Steam showers are an increasingly popular solution, often including a bench or seating to encourage relaxation. “I am also designing with a lot of open shelves so clients can roll towels like you would see at a luxury spa and incorporate soft inviting colors to help it feel zen,” says Schulte.

Natural and dimmable lighting, and incorporating more greenery, are similar spa-inspired trends noted by Houzz. Altering the floor plan and creating separate spaces, like partitioning off the toilet for more privacy, is another way to get a spa-like bathing experience. 

4. Wood Vanity Bathroom Trends

Painted finishes, especially white, have been the dominant choice for bathroom vanities of all shapes and sizes for years. But in 2023, expect to see a lot more natural wood on bathroom vanities and cabinets. Both Houzz and the NKBA are seeing wood coming in close second to (if not surpassing) the once-domineering white vanities. Cane and wood-pattern inserts were also added to the NKBA’s vanity styles for the first time this year. This increasing appeal of wood complements the rapid rise of modern organic style and warm colors that we’ve seen in the last two years. 

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38 Organization Tips for Every Room in Your Home

38 Organization Tips for Every Room in Your Home

Organization Tips for each room using these smart storage solutions.

Better Homes & Gardens | By Jessica Bennett | January 3, 2023 | Organization Tips | Home Insurance

Organizing your home doesn’t have to happen all at once. Go room by room with these organizational tips and decluttering ideas for kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and more. Follow these room organization ideas to establish order one space at a time.

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Organization Tips to create Kitchen Storage Zones

Group items in your kitchen by their function. In this cooking space, a stand mixer tucks in the corner by the refrigerator, and shelves above house mixing bowls and baking necessities. On the opposite side of the refrigerator, a breakfast prep zone has all morning must-haves: shelves with bowls and glasses, coffee mugs, and canisters of cereal.

02of 38

Squeeze In a Pantry

If you don’t have space for a walk-in pantry, squeeze one in with this clever organizing tip. Designate a cabinet for dry goods and snack storage, and position shelves at short heights to optimize storage. To boost usable space, outfit the interior of each cabinet door with shelves or racks that can hold smaller items such as spices.

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Incorporate Swing-Out Storage

Swing-out shelves are a clever option for cavernous corner cabinets that might otherwise be underutilized. Rails on these shelves keep items from falling off, and multiple tiers accommodate a pantry’s worth of dry goods. Plus, the swing-out function brings every item front and center.

04of 38

Rethink Kitchen Drawers

Kitchen drawers are typically shallow and narrow, ideal for utensils and linens. But larger drawers can be a smart addition to a kitchen’s storage plan. Ideal for spaces with open shelves or limited upper cabinet storage, these dresser-like drawers can house stacks of dishes or bulky pots and pans. Because they pull out, all of the contents are easily accessible, and the drawers limit reaching overhead. A pegboard and tall, sturdy pegs keep items in place and can be reconfigured to accommodate differently sized and shaped items.

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Pantry Storage Containers

The right containers are key to keeping your pantry in order. Sort items by category into baskets or bins, and add labels to easily see where everything goes. Use clear, airtight plastic or glass containers (like this Better Homes & Gardens Glass Food Jar Set, $17, Walmart), to decant dry goods such as cereals, flour, sugar, and rice.

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Add Wraparound Shelving

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Jet setting over Pet sitting

Jet setting over Pet sitting

AmericanSeniors.org | Pet sitting | Special Event Insurance | Pet Insurance

Say goodbye to pet sitting and hello to jet-setting with your furry bestie! Options abound for your pet to join your vacation, whether you are flying, cruising, or driving to your destination.  Here’s what to keep in mind for traveling safely with your best friend – and how to find the best pet-friendly destinations.

Flying with Fido and Fluffy

Some airlines still have restrictions on pets traveling in their cabin, while others have returned to pre-COVID allowances.  Currently, Alaska Air, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines allow pets in-cabin, as well as some overseas airlines like Air France.  For all airlines, pets need to fit comfortably inside a carrier that can tuck completely under the seat in front of you.  Your pet needs to be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier.  Make sure you double-check with your airline what their specific requirements are since they all vary. 

Allow your pet plenty of time to acclimate to the carrier long before your flight.  Set the carrier out in the house, with treats placed inside.  This positive association will encourage your pet to spend a longer time inside the carrier.  You can also take your pet for a drive inside the carrier to help acclimate to movement as well.  

Label the carrier with your name and phone number, and inside, you can place a potty pad to soak up any accidents.  Your pet’s favorite toy would be a comforting addition too.  

Five hours before the flight, stop feeding your pet, though water should still be made available.  Allow your furry best friend as much exercise as possible until boarding.  It is generally not advised to give your pet a sedative unless it’s specifically recommended by your vet. 

Cruising: Only with Cunard

If you dream of sailing the seas with your furry best friend, there is one cruiser that will welcome humans and pets alike.  Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is actually the only cruiser that allows a limited number of dogs and cats to set sail.  However, they aren’t allowed to stay with you in your cabin.  Cats and dogs must stay in The Kennels for the entire duration of the cruise.  You are allowed to visit during specific hours, but they won’t be able to join you for walks around the deck.  There is a very long waiting list, as there are only 24 kennels aboard the ship.  Costs range from $800-$2000, depending on the size of your pet. 

It is a beautiful trip, which perhaps is another reason why the waiting list for The Kennels is quite long.  Queen Mary 2 sails transatlantically from NY to Hamburg, Germany.  En route, it comes into port in charming Southampton, the British waterfront city that’s home to history abounding, including the Titanic Trail and 950-year-old St Michael the Archangel Church.  Stonehenge is just a stone’s throw away. 

Road Tripping Together 

Of course, the most flexible way to travel with your pet is to enjoy a road trip together.  The most important consideration here is keeping Fido or Fluffy safe.  A strappable crate or appropriately fitted seat belt attachment will make sure your beloved pet stays safe in an accident (and prevents them from distracting you while driving).  The safest place is the back seat for pets, far away from the front airbags that can be fatal for their small stature.  Practice driving shorter distances to help your pets acclimate to the restraint.  Remember the treats! 

Currently, in beta, Go Pet Friendly has a road trip planner that is helpful for planning the best drive for both species.  You can ask for recommendations for pit stops for all of your legs to stretch and play. 

Friendly Tails Pet Sitting

Bring Fido is an excellent resource for trip planning with your furry best friend.   Browse pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, activities, and even events.  

Pet-friendly accommodations are on the rise, with many chains welcoming your pet to stay for free.  Red Roof Inn allows for one free pet per room, as do many Four Seasons properties.  Other chains like the Ritz Carlton and Westin welcome dogs, but have varying fees and restrictions.  The AKC has a full listing of dog-friendly hotel chains and specifics. 

The Pet Sitting Checklist

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Here's How People Celebrate Christmas All Over the World

Here’s How People Celebrate Christmas All Over the World

Turns out, Santa Claus doesn’t visit the entire world for Christmas.

GoodHousekeeping.com | BY LIZZ SCHUMER | Dec 11, 2020 | Christmas | Shield Insurance

Every culture that celebrates Christmas also has its own festive ways to make the holiday special. Some of those involve dishes or treats that only appear once a year. Others give gifts that carry a particular meaning, and still, others decorate in a particular way, and hold festivals, parades or parties to ring in the season. Growing up, I know my family’s holiday season just wouldn’t have been the same if we didn’t hang the Christmas pickle on the tree, if dad didn’t read A Visit From St. Nicholas to my brother and I before we went to sleep on Christmas eve — or didn’t enjoy the Feast of Seven Fishes. In some countries, people can say the same about a visit from the Krampus, eating KFC, or pulling a Christmas cracker.

This year, the holiday might look different for a lot of us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep many of our most treasured traditions. Maybe you’ll even want to try out some of the most beloved Christmas traditions from around the world in your own home. You might just find a new cherished activity that your children and grandchildren (and their grandchildren!) won’t be able to do without.

1Japan: KFC for Christmas Dinner

In Japan, celebrating Christmas is still relatively new. It’s only been widely recognized for the past couple of decades and is typically seen as a time to spread joy and cheer, or even a romantic couple’s day, instead of a religious holiday. Many order KFC for Christmas dinner, or make a reservation at a restaurant instead of cooking a big feast.

2 Poland: People Share a Pre-Dinner Christmas Wafer

In Poland and many Polish communities worldwide, Christmas Eve dinner or (Wigilia) begins with sharing the Oplatek. The paper-thin square wafer is made of flour and water and has an image of the Nativity on it. Everyone at the table breaks off a piece and shares a holiday greeting before passing it along. Sometimes, even pets get in on the fun.

3 Slovakia: Carp for Dinner

All over Central Europe, people enjoy carp for Christmas Eve Dinner, according to NPR. But rather than picking it up from the supermarket, traditionalists let the fish live in the bathtub for a couple of days before preparing and eating it. Legend has it, the scales bring luck and good fortune for the coming year.

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38 Best Christmas Ideas for a Festive Bash

38 Best Christmas Ideas for a Festive Bash

Guaranteed to keep your Christmas party rockin’ around the tree all night

CountryLiving.com | BY JULIA LUDLAM | UPDATED: DEC 1, 2022 | Shield Home Insurance

Are you planning on having a merry little Christmas with your loved ones? Invite friends and family over to celebrate the holiday season with these festive Christmas party ideas! We’ve rounded up some of our best ideas to make prepping for parties just as fun as throwing them. So, settle in for a holiday decoration derby or Christmas movie marathon. Just don’t forget your favorite winter drink recipe and a slice of fruitcake.

For those with a crafty holiday spirit, you’ll love our crafter-noon parties. From making Christmas wreaths to hosting a fun (and helpful) gift-wrapping party, we have enough ideas to last you the entire season—and then some! Relax and make ornaments with your friends (with our favorite DIY Christmas ornament ideas and tutorials to get you started, no less) or kick it old school with a salt dough crafting extravaganza. You can even throw a cookie swap party where guests are invited to bring their favorites and share Christmas cookie recipes.

If your friends aren’t the crafty type, which we can totally understand in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we’ve got ideas for you too. Throw a fun holiday soiree inspired by your favorite Christmas movie, go for a classic holiday dinner party, or get competitive with a Christmas gift exchange. Start the evening by serving your guests some delicious Country Living-approved Christmas appetizers. You can even throw together a hot chocolate bar if you’ve got a slow cooker to keep things warm and toasty. If you’re in the mood for something savory, fondue can feed a crowd and keep everyone entertained all evening long. All your friends will need to do is bring their Christmas cheer!

1 Ice-Skating Christmas Party

Gather your friends for some winter revelry. Embrace the cold weather and serve up some Hot Buttered Rum with Vanilla Ice Cream Balls and your favorite Christmas cookies for an ice-skating party. No snow? No problem. Throw on a scarf and make it a porch party.

2 Movie Marathon Christmas Party

Build a fire, curl up with your family and friends, and get in the spirit of Christmas with your favorite holiday classics, like The Polar ExpressHome Alone, and Miracle on 34th Street. Serve fresh popcorn with optional popcorn seasonings like parmesan black pepper, cinnamon sugar, or everything bagel for a holiday treat. Don’t forget the toasted marshmallow hot cocoa and the theatre candy brownies. To make things extra fun, ask guests to play Binge-Watch Bingo using buttons or popcorn to mark the squares.

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3 Candy Cane Crafting Party

Invite friends over to craft fresh holiday decor out of peppermint sticks and candy canes. The season’s most ubiquitous treat is more versatile than you think! Besides candy canes, peppermint sticks and peppermints, hot glue gunsred cotton stringglass pillar candle holders, and festive ribbons are just a few must-haves.

4 Holiday Snack Exchange

Like a cookie exchange, invite your pals to come over with their favorite savory holiday snack like these sweet and spicy coated nuts. Turn on your favorite holiday playlist, sip on some hot cocoa, and send everyone home with a cute container of treats like these hexagon jars adorned with a cinnamon stick and striped ribbon.

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When Is it Time to Stop (or Start) Hosting the Holidays?

When Is it Time to Stop (or Start) Hosting the Holidays?

Passing the baton and changing traditions can be difficult for families

AARP | By Robin L. Flanigan | December 06, 2022| Hosting the Holidays | Home Insurance

​Hosting the holidays can be a marathon sport. There’s planning the meals, buying the groceries, cleaning the house, cooking the food. It’s a lot of work, especially for older adults who have been at the holiday helm for two — sometimes three — generations.

When is it time to call it quits and let the younger generation take over hosting the Holidays?

That’s a difficult question for all involved. It can be difficult to give up the role of host after so many years; on the other side, it can be hard to take over that role, especially after a lifetime of baking, decorating, game-playing and gift-giving traditions.

“It’s a very emotional topic,” says Andrew G. Celli Jr., a 57-year-old attorney in Manhattan.

The traditions at his mother’s house — the home where he grew up in Rochester, New York — have “a rhythm and a regularity that makes it incredibly special and specific to her and the way she does things.”

But their family is large. Celli and his two siblings each are married with multiple children, some of whom have significant others, which means gatherings draw nearly 20 people. It’s a lot of work for Dolores Celli, who lives alone and is approaching 90, to make her usual lasagna; prime rib, or chicken with lemon, garlic, and rosemary; pizzelles; and the apple pie recipe her grandmother always used in Italy.

“It means taking the house apart and putting extra tables out, but I enjoy every moment of it,” she says, adding that she also provides breakfast for guests in the mornings. “Fortunately, I’m healthy enough to do it. Every year is a blessing as far as I’m concerned, even though I’m sure one of these days one of the kids is going to say, ‘No more.’”

While Andrew Celli says neither he nor his siblings have put their foot down once and for all just yet, he will be hosting Christmas at his home this year.

His mother “is incredibly strong and somewhat stubborn, but at the end of the holiday weekend, she is pretty tired,” he says. “We want her to enjoy the traditions that we can re-create at my house, without her having to do all the work.”​

The importance of hosting the holidays & rituals

Going to the same house, eating the same food, and interacting with the same people for decades brings a sense of comfort and belonging.

“Traditions help create meaning in our lives, and help find and establish family connections,” says William C. Torrey, the Raymond Sobel professor of psychiatry and interim chair of psychiatry at Dartmouth Health and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire. “Any change in how you celebrate the holidays can easily feel disruptive, but it also creates an opportunity for more conversation and expression of appreciation.”

That’s not so easy for Evey Meyer, 76, to believe. “I will be at the edge of my grave when I stop hosting,” says the former biology professor from St. Louis.

Rather than a chore, Meyer views hosting Hanukkah (“It wouldn’t be Hanukkah if I didn’t make potato pancakes”) as an act of survivorship, “something the Jewish holidays are partly about.” She points out that her generation may resist relinquishing the holiday reins in part because subsequent generations are less likely to engage in religious rituals — a worldwide phenomenon confirmed by a Pew Research Center analysis in 2018.

Meyer says that providing meals is linked to her self-image: “I’ve always been the feeder. When people think of me, I hope they think of food.”

At some point, however, the duties can become too much. It may take an older person days to recover, and younger adult guests may start to feel guilty for remaining on the receiving end. When this happens, it’s time for an honest, and possibly tough, conversation.​

Adjusting to new holiday approaches

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How to Tie a Wreath Bow

How to Tie a Wreath Bow in Five Different Styles

Plus, the best ribbon to use for each wreath bow technique.

MarthaStewart.com | By Roxanna Coldiron | November 22, 2019 | Wreath Bow | Visit Shield Insurance

The holiday season means decorating the house with lights, ornaments, and garlands of winter evergreens. And while the Christmas tree may take center stage in your home, it’s the wreath that welcomes your guests at the front door. In most cases, this is the first thing that people see when they come calling at your door, and it’s a hint at the rest of the holiday décor that awaits them inside. “Wreaths are like small, round Christmas trees,” says Cynthia Sheen, owner and interior designer at Cinzia Interiors. “A lot of the bow styles that I do for Christmas trees can be done for wreaths as well.”

Some wreaths don’t seem complete until they are finished off with a large, lavish bow, which enhances the overall look of the wreath and can be complementary to the other décor in your home. A crisp ribbon will make the nicest bow; grosgrain, satin, taffeta, and velvet are ideal choices. You can tie different styles of bows on your wreath. We asked designers for their ideas on styling your own wreath bows.

Traditional Bow

Of course, a traditional bow on your Christmas wreath is a classic choice. Ideally, use a wide ribbon in one of these classic colors—red, green, gold, or white. Cut ribbon to the desired length. (A bow with extra-large loops or extra-long tails will require more length.) Form the ribbon into two equal loops with about 12 inches of ribbon between them. Cross the right loop over the left. Knot the loops by pushing the right loop behind the left, under, and through the hole. Pull the knot tight, adjusting loops and tails to the desired size. Lightly fold the ends and cut, creating a notch. Attach the finished bow to the wreath with a small piece of green florist’s wire.

Rosette Wreath Bow

Rosette bows are tufted with several loops, and therefore, have a lot of fullness to them. Sheen makes large rosette bows using 16 to 19 loops, but you can make fewer loops for a smaller wreathSatin ribbon is perfect for this style because it keeps its shape and does not easily fall flat. To tie a rosette, fold a length of ribbon accordion-style into a stack, with as many loops as you like. Cinch the middle of the stack with wire, and twist to secure. Cover the wire with more ribbon if desired (just glue it in back), and fluff the loops.

Curly Wreath Bow

Kade Laws-Andrews, owner and interior designer at Kade Laws Interior Design, is partial to the curly bow. For a large bow, you will need 24 to 36 inches in length for the ribbon. “Wired ribbon is best,” Laws says. “Cinch the middle with a pipe cleaner.” Then, roll up the ribbon and unroll it to make spiral curls. This style of bow is ideally placed on the top or bottom of the wreath. A bow with shorter curls looks nice on the top of a wreath, while one with longer curls looks best from the bottom.

Layered Bow

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