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Family First » holiday http://familyfirst.com Servings Families Online since 1998 Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:25:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 Important Thing You Need To Bring On Your Family Triphttp://familyfirst.com/important-thing-you-need-to-bring-on-your-family-trip.html http://familyfirst.com/important-thing-you-need-to-bring-on-your-family-trip.html#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 05:25:29 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13126

Vacations are usually scheduled on the summer so the entire family can enjoy the warm rays of the sun. This is also the time that the theme parks open because more and more people come to see their rides and different attractions. So that you will truly enjoy your trip, don’t forget the following essentials especially when you are with your family on a vacation.

The first stuff is that is very important are the tickets. It’s no use paying for the reservation when all the tickets that you have purchased have been left behind. Remember that you can’t board the when you don’t have a ticket to show. This is often forgotten because of its small size. Don’t forget to also bring a camera with you. Traveling also includes making memories and you have to make sure that every moment will be captured.

You also need to bring an itinerary with you. This is an important tool to make sure that all the sites that you intend to visit will be visited. This will also help you make your trip worthwhile because your schedule will be filled up and successive. Lastly, you need to bring extra money with you on your trip. You will need the money to pay emergency payments and the small fees that will be needed during the trip. Once you have these essential things, you will surely have a great time with your family on your family trip.

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8 Ways to Observe Memorial Day as a Familyhttp://familyfirst.com/8-ways-to-observe-memorial-day-as-a-family.html http://familyfirst.com/8-ways-to-observe-memorial-day-as-a-family.html#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 19:45:01 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=12314 post thumbnail

Memorial Day for most of us is the start of the summer – the long weekend is about grilling, going to the pool and gearing up for summer. But the real significance of Memorial Day is to honor those who served and died for our great country.

It started as Decoration Day (what my grandmother always called it), the last Monday in May, to honor the Civil War dead. After World War I, it changed to honor anyone who perished in the line of duty.

Myrna Blyth and Chriss Winston , authors of “How to Raise an American, 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips & Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country,” offer the following 8 easy ways your family can observe this holiday. These appear in their section about Memorial Day starting on page 157.

  • Visit a war memorial or veterans’ cemetery in your area.
  • Check with your local American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars posts for special observances or ceremonies going on in your town.
  • Take small gifts such as flowers, cookies or books to the local veterans’ hospital to say thank you for their service.
  • Watch a tv show or DVD about our military or a famous war or battle. They are playing all kinds of shows like that on History Channel and the Military Channel this weekend.
  • Watch a movie together (depending on your children’s ages) such as Saving Private Ryan, Patton, The Patriot, or Black Hawk Down. Since they are about war, these tend toward violence so be prepared.
  • For younger kids, you can have them do a craft such as designing a poster or a postage stamp in honor of our soldiers. You can also find the flags for each branch of the military at www.enchantedlearning.com/usa/flags.
  • Support our troops who are currently serving by sending a care package or a letter. You can adopt a soldier through an organization they suggest called Soldier’s Angels (www.soldiersangels.org) and send them monthly correspondence or goodies.

These are great tips for this special day. At the end of their section about Memorial Day, they have what they call at Dinner Table Debate; this one is about dying for your country and how to answer that question from your child. Here’s what they say about what we can do to honor those who were brave enough to die for us:

“…we honor the fallen of the past by living responsibly and being grateful that there are men and women willing to make the greatest sacrifice to protect us and our freedoms.”

Whoa, while I wrote this, two fighter jets just passed over – just a little reminder of the greatness of our nation. Please remember this today.

About the authors: Blyth is the author of “Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness – and Liberalism – to the Women of America.” She lives in New York City. Winston was the first female head of the White House Office of Speechwriting for President George H.W. Bush. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Please consider buying a copy of this book – it is an amazing guide to helping people instill patriotism in our children. Find it at http://www.howtoraiseanamerican.com/.

Marijo Tinlin is the Editor in Chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of a book about patriotism and teaching our children to love this country called “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American.”  It features 13 interviews with patriotic Americans including Ed Meese, Erick Erickson and Jackie Gingrich Cushman. It’s available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.

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Last Minute Gift Idea Perfect for Family Gatheringshttp://familyfirst.com/last-minute-gift-idea-perfect-for-family-gatherings.html http://familyfirst.com/last-minute-gift-idea-perfect-for-family-gatherings.html#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2011 17:11:23 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=8767 post thumbnail

What happens when your whole family gets together after Christmas dinner? Football? Snoozing? Playing games?

A must-have game for your family is called Morphology. Your creative juices will get going on this game where you use the provided materials to spell out or illustrate the word on the card your team draws.

Morphology was invented during a snowstorm while Kate Ryan Reiling and her roommates were confined to their apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  They wanted a creative activity so they began playing around with the game pieces from Jenga® and Pente®.

This evolved into a prototype of the game that eventually one of Reiling’s professors wanted to have for himself and Morphology was born.

The game includes pieces such as string, glass beads, blocks and small wooden people figurines, among other items.

Players divide into teams and pick one “morphologist” to read and then create the word for his or her teammates. If they guess the word correctly within one minute, the team’s frog jumps ahead one space on the game board.

The website suggests variations to make the challenge a bit different such as using only your weak hand to build the words, using on the string in your creation or try to build the word with your eyes closed (after you read the word, of course).

The website also offers several challenges to get you into the spirit of the game.  See if you can guess the following:

The game has won numerous awards including the 2012 Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family by Learning Magazine, Best Party Game 2010 from About.com, Dr. Toy’s Top Vacation Game of 2011 and Time Magazine’s #2 Toy of the Year in 2010.

You can buy the game from the website www.morphologygames.com or you can find it at your local Barnes & Noble or Marbles® the Brain Store today!

Marijo Tinlin is the Editor in Chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of the new book about patriotism and teaching our children to love this country. It’s called “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American” and features 13 interviews with patriotic Americans including Ed Meese, Erick Erickson and Jackie Gingrich Cushman. It’s available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.

Answers: watching tv, volcano, umbrella

photos courtesy: Morphology website

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Is There Anything Christian about Halloween?http://familyfirst.com/is-there-anything-christian-about-halloween.html http://familyfirst.com/is-there-anything-christian-about-halloween.html#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:42:01 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=8657 post thumbnail

Not much. At least as it stands in today’s culture.

Let me clarify. Halloween is fun and thrilling and scary and usually harmless but to a true Christian, most of what we do doesn’t quite line up to their beliefs.

Some believers don’t celebrate at all, because it acknowledges Satan’s existence and could put into question the superiority of Christ. Others prefer to celebrate All Saints’ Day, November 1st.

According to the website All About God (www.allaboutgod.com) the history of Halloween is purely pagan, except for the name. It says the holiday’s history begins in Ireland around AD 270 with the Celts.

The celebration involved a costume party the night before Samhain, which was their annual feast to honor their departed relatives and give thanks for the summer’s bounty before the long winter took hold.

The costumes were meant to fool the evil spirits into thinking the living were part of the undead realm and therefore, not a target to pick on. It was for protection, in essence. As believers, Christians know that Christ defeats Satan and all demons, so costumes aren’t necessary.

The name “Halloween” is supposedly a variation on All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day. It is also known as Hallomass, which means holy night. When the Christian missionaries brought the Good News to Ireland, the holiday was converted to honor saints and the defeat of Satan, death and evil.

As children, it’s fun to pretend to be someone or something else. It’s not deception. It’s not nefarious. It’s just fun. Kids love dress up!

So, to make it a little about belief, parents can take the opportunity to talk to their kids about Christ’s defeat over evil. Isn’t that what kids hope for in their make-believe superheroes they’re dressing up like anyway?

Marijo Tinlin is the editor in chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of the new book “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American” available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.

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Southwest Colorado – Vacation Away from the Crowds Part IIhttp://familyfirst.com/southwest-colorado-vacation-away-from-the-crowds-part-ii.html http://familyfirst.com/southwest-colorado-vacation-away-from-the-crowds-part-ii.html#comments Sun, 10 Jul 2011 12:33:53 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=8196 post thumbnail

Yesterday, I wrote about the first part of our journey to Southwest Colorado – today is the rest of the story.

A short drive west to Mesa Verde National Park brings you to another version of Colorado’s beautiful mountains, the mesa plateaus. You have to see them to believe the majesty of these gorgeous mountains. It’s like God’s dinner table, rising above the flat land that lies at its feet.

The drive up to the visitor’s center at Mesa Verde opens up to panoramic expanses of the lands to the north. You can see for miles and miles, back to the San Juan Mountains to the east and the Elk ranges to the north.

The park has several fantastic cliff dwellings of the ancient Puebloan peoples, sometimes known as the Anasazi. You can pay for guided tours through several dwellings, although be warned, the climbing and drop-offs may keep you away if you have health limitations or small children. I’ve done the climbing and touring with no kids and it was fine. Because our three-year-old was with us, we opted for the self-guided tour of Spruce Tree House, which is beautifully-preserved and still gives you a great idea of how these ancient peoples lived.

We then went to the Anasazi Heritage Center, near Cortez and Dolores. I have to admit, I thought since it was off the beaten path, it would be cheesy and a quick tour. I was very wrong. It was full of hand-on interpretive exhibits, virtual guided tours, tons of artifacts and up-to-date displays. There were a couple of traveling exhibits that were also quite interesting. Our young one was unhappy with going but once he got in there and got to smash corn like they used to do and look into microscopes at the artifacts, he was in. We had to use the lure of the pool back at the hotel to get him to leave!


Wolf at Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, Pagosa Springs, Colorado


Another short drive to the east takes you to Pagosa Springs, another sweet little town full of fun shops and restaurants. We stopped at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, a private facility just south of town. They have several wild animals such as coyotes, wolves, black bears, elk and mountain lions. Our son preferred the domestic kitties that were very friendly. They also offer feed for their miniature donkey, Dusty, and the goats and sheep. They also had a little flock of ducklings that were super cute to watch.

Our son sat on the porch and colored in their community coloring books while my husband and I wandered and watched the hummingbirds feed. It’s small but doesn’t cost much and it is neat to see the animals up close.

So, if you are looking to get away from the Disney life of long lines and crazy expenses, check out southwest Colorado for a wonderful time at a leisurely pace and with great fellow Americans.

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Fun Facts about the Founders Part IIhttp://familyfirst.com/fun-facts-about-the-founders-part-ii.html http://familyfirst.com/fun-facts-about-the-founders-part-ii.html#comments Mon, 04 Jul 2011 01:40:05 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=8170 post thumbnail

Yesterday I wrote a few fun facts about the Founding Fathers because I love them and can’t get enough of the stories. Today, I’ll write a few more fun things to know about our founders from the book “Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence,” published by Wallbuilders Press, originally printed in 1848.

  • William Floyd of New York was a wealthy landowner when the revolution began. Subsequently, the British invaded his home and slaughtered all his animals for food, forcing his entire family to flee to Connecticut. Lewis Morris, also of New York and John Hart of New Jersey suffered a similar fate.
  • Richard Stockton was captured and held prisoner. Upon his release through a prisoner exchange, he found himself a beggar.
  • At the end of 1779, the U.S. dollar had lost its value by 3/4ths and had to be revalued to a portion of what it had been. The Founders did not like paper money, like many people don’t like our fiat money system today.
  • Francis Lewis of New York was fluent in English and Gaelic and was raised by his aunt after becoming an orphan at age 5.
  • Tories sided with England and the Whigs were patriots of the colonies.  The name “Whig” is a reference to an obscure band of rebels in Scotland from many years before.  
  • Dr. Benjamin Rush, from Pennsylvania, was so popular as a professor of medicine that students traveled from Europe to hear his lectures.  He also tutored more than 50 private students as well. He was also the President of the American Society for the abolition of slavery.
  • Because Ben Franklin was “neither mechanic nor farmer,” he because a soap maker and “tallow-chandler,” as his career. He mastered the printing press and began publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac” in 1732. That publication was printed in the states and abroad and continued in print until 1757.
  • Franklin also began an organized fire company, figured out how to pave streets and light them with gas lights. He also invented a stove you might have heard of.
  • Franklin was also instrumental in keeping the colonies out of war with England when he spent considerable time there protesting the Stamp Act. When he knew war was inevitable, he came back from England to help the colonies prepare. He was from Pennsylvania.

Just a few more fun facts about the brave men who helped fight for our freedom and frame the beginnings of this blessed country. As you see, many made great sacrifices for this land and many fought against things such as slavery that many today try to hang around the Founders’ necks in condemnation.

Please read more about this book and the numerous amazing works from Wallbuilders and Dr. David Barton at www.wallbuilders.com.  Happy 4th of July!! 

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Attention Moms: Find Your Sitter Today – Mom’s Night Out is Next Week!http://familyfirst.com/attention-moms-find-your-sitter-today-moms-night-out-is-next-week.html http://familyfirst.com/attention-moms-find-your-sitter-today-moms-night-out-is-next-week.html#comments Thu, 10 Mar 2011 14:23:22 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=7336 post thumbnail

Soccer practice, ballet, make dinner, clean the house, pick up the dry cleaning, do the grocery shopping, make lunches, go to bed – anything on that list you actually wanted to do (besides go to bed)?

So many times, as moms, we give up the things we want to do because there are so many other things that have to get done.

In 2007, Rachel Wright, author of “Mom’s Night Out: Even Inmates Get Time Off For Good Behavior,” decided enough was enough. Moms have to take time out for themselves too, so she began National Mom’s Night Out on the 3rd Thursday of March.

This is a night specially-designated just for the woman in you to take a night and remember who you really are. This year, it falls on St. Patrick’s Day – what a great excuse to get out with friends.

Wright says so many moms suffer the guilt of leaving their kids for the night, which prevents them from going out and having a little fun with their friends.  “Get rid of the guilt,” she tells Family First. “This is investment spending in yourself. It will make you a better wife, friend and mom.”

If it’s been so long you can’t even remember what might be fun to do with a friend or two, Wright gives us a few ideas to help you get started:

  • See a movie that doesn’t have any animated characters or is rated G.
  • Paint a piece of pottery.
  • Find a fun concert or play in your area.
  • Go see an art exhibit.
  • Go to dinner somewhere that doesn’t have a large stuffed animal in the corner or plastic utensils.
  • Take a yoga class.
  • Take a 30-minute walk with a friend.
  • Have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Dress up and go dancing – wear heels, NO sweats.
  • Extend the night to the weekend and go to a spa somewhere or Vegas.

“The whole point is to reconnect with friends and remember who you are besides a mom,” explains Wright.  She says you need to erase the excuses because it’s not irresponsible to want to have time with your friends. It’s self-preservation and makes you better equipped to be a good mom.

“There is a difference between what something costs and the price that you pay. Moms need to recognize this distinction and realize that taking time for themselves is not only investment spending in their own mental health but it has a positive ripple effect for the entire family,” she says.

Her point is that you juggle all the other things in life – practices, doctor’s appointments, school commitments. Why not find a way to make this night work? In fact, put it on the calendar and make it a regular appointment!

If you can’t leave the house, ask your spouse or a friend to take the kids to a quick dinner and take a 30-minute bath with candles and music, or read a few pages in that book you never get to read.

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day next Thursday, if you spouse insists he wants to go out too, find a way to split the night up, if you want to separate, or get a sitter and go out together. Just make sure no one who is caring for the children is intoxicated.

Wright says there’s always a way to make it work. Don’t give up on your desire to have time for yourself.  So call your sitter and get your night out on the calendar today!

Find out more about Rachel and National Mom’s Night Out at www.nationalmomsnightout.com and http://themotherofreinvention.com/ or find them on Facebook here.

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A Brief History of Valentine’s Dayhttp://familyfirst.com/a-brief-history-of-valentine%e2%80%99s-day.html http://familyfirst.com/a-brief-history-of-valentine%e2%80%99s-day.html#comments Sun, 13 Feb 2011 16:50:50 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=7077 post thumbnail

Is Valentine’s Day a Hallmark® holiday meant as an excuse for wives to get a nice dinner or is there some history behind it?

According to The History Channel’s website, www.history.com, there is quite a bit of interesting thoughts about why we celebrate this holiday of chocolates, flowers and greeting cards, oh yeah, and expressing our love for each other.

In Catholicism, there are three saints named Valentine or Valentinus. In one ledged, the Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed married men from fighting in his army because he believed single men fought harder. A priest named Valentine continued to perform secret marriage ceremonies until he was discovered and put to death.

Another tale suggests Valentine may have sent the first valentine. During his imprisonment, he fell in love with a young woman, whom some say was the jailor’s daughter. Before his execution, he allegedly wrote a love letter to this woman and signed it “From Your Valentine.”

Pope Gelasius set February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D. in what some believe to be an attempt at “Christianizing” a Roman holiday of Lupercalia, the Spring fertility and purification ritual.

Also according to this website, the oldest valentine still in existence is from 1415. It was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. He wrote it during his imprisonment in The Tower of London. It is still in the British Library in London, England.

The holiday continued to grow in popularity throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in Great Britain. Most expressions of love were handwritten notes or small tokens. When the printing press gained greater use, pre-printed cards began to overtake the handwritten notes. The first American mass-market card seller was Esther A. Howland during the 1840s.

It’s interesting that 85% of all valentines are bought by women. What’s up with that, guys? Over 1 billion valentines are sent each year which makes it the second largest greeting card holiday behind Christmas, when over 2.6 billion are sent.  Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, France and Australia all recognize and celebrate this holiday.

So now when you give your sweetheart his or her valentine tomorrow, you’ll know a little more about why we do that. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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6 Tips for Caring for Your New Blooming Houseplanthttp://familyfirst.com/6-tips-for-caring-for-your-new-blooming-houseplant.html http://familyfirst.com/6-tips-for-caring-for-your-new-blooming-houseplant.html#comments Thu, 23 Dec 2010 19:19:43 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=6561 post thumbnail

Plants make a beautiful, simple gift for neighbors, friends and family – poinsettias, African violets, cyclamen, azaleas, holiday cacti, and kalanchoe.

These popular choices bloom around this time of year and make your home look festive but once you get them home, then what?

Kathie Bond-Borie has spent 20 years as a garden writer/editor, including her current role as Horticultural Editor for the National Gardening Association. Here she gives these 6 tips to help keep your new blooming plant looking lovely.

  • Keep the soil moist – not too wet. Bond-Borie recommends watering the plant in the morning so the foliage can dry out throughout the day. For certain plants such as cyclamen and African violets, she recommends watering from a tray to be soaked up by the plant as needed. If you water a plant and the water drains out immediately, the plant needs to be repotted as it is root-bound.
  • Give them light – Most flowering houseplants need light to keep reblooming so place them in a southern window so they get plenty of light during the day. If you don’t have that, you may want to consider an indoor grow light.
  • Set the right temperature  – Most indoor blooming houseplants like between 55 and 70 degrees. Some varieties such as gardenias and holiday cacti like it between 60 and 65 to set the buds.
  • Keep them fertilized – During active growing and blooming periods, use a soluble fertilizer. When the plant goes to a resting period, discontinue the fertilizer. Once a month, flush the plant of built up fertilizer by watering until the water runs through the holes.
  • Keep it humid – Most plants prefer a high level of humidity so consider either running a humidifier or set plants on pebbles in a tray of water.  Bond-Borie warns the water should not touch the plants.
  • Keep pests at bay – to control spider mites, dunk the entire plant upside down in a sink full of  soapy water. Other sprays of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil should work too.

For more tips and garden information visit www.garden.org.

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8 Tips to Treat Your Four-Legged Friends during the Holidayshttp://familyfirst.com/8-tips-to-treat-your-four-legged-friends-during-the-holidays.html http://familyfirst.com/8-tips-to-treat-your-four-legged-friends-during-the-holidays.html#comments Sun, 19 Dec 2010 13:46:00 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=6517 post thumbnail

Over 71 million Americans include some kind of pet as part of their family.

According to a recent survey conducted by PetSmart, 72 percent of America’s pet owners will be including the family pets in their holiday celebrating.

“The holidays are about being with our loved ones – and that includes our pets, too,” said PetSmart Veterinarian and Pet Care Expert Dr. Robyn Jaynes. “Whether it’s including your pet in a family photo, taking them on a family trip or giving that perfect holiday gift or treat, it’s important for pet parents to consider the unique behaviors of each and every pet.”

PetSmart offers these tips for making the holidays the best they can be with your furry friends in the house:

  • Make sure you take precautions for any decorating item that might be interesting to your pets – extension cords, low-hanging small ornaments or tinsel on the tree and the tree itself can be especially interesting. Tape down cords. Keep small shiny ornaments high and secure the tree so it won’t tip over.
  • If you are planning travel, consider the best way to care for your pet. If you decide to board your pet, make sure you choose a facility that is clean and comfortable. If you are taking your pet with you, check out this website to find a place that welcomes four-legged friends: www.petswelcome.com. If you are road tripping, check out pet products to help secure your pet and keep him comfortable while in the car.
  • If you decide to have your pet’s picture taken with Santa, make sure they have a bath, are comfortable with those funny reindeer antlers beforehand and bring a favorite chew toy to help keep them busy while waiting in the line for the picture. To find a good place to have your pet’s picture taken with Santa Claws, check out PetSmart’s website here: www.petsmart.com.
  • If you are planning for a houseful of guests in the next couple of week, make sure you keep your pet in mind. The noise and activity of more people who may be unfamiliar can lead to stress so give you pet a quiet place to retreat. Table scraps are not recommended even though you might think of it as a special treat. Your pet’s digestive system is not used to this kind of food. Also remember the cold if you decide to put your pet out during your company’s visit – consider a sweater for short-haired dogs.

Here are some fantastic gift ideas for your pet, provided by PetSmart. This year’s must-have gifts are:

  • Chance and Lucky – The adorable holiday collection includes stuffed animals, ornaments, slippers, boxed cards or gift cards which are perfect to celebrate the holiday season and support a good cause, too. Ten percent of all purchases will be donated to PetSmart Charities to save the lives of homeless pets. The collection ranges from $5 to $20.
  • Fisher-Price – Inspired by classic Fisher-Price icons, the whimsical toys for dogs feature items such as the Xylobone, Chatter Pup Telebone and Ruff-a-Stack. Available in two sizes – small ($7.99) and large ($11.99).
  • Martha Stewart Holiday Collection – The holiday Nordic Fair Isle sweater from the exclusive Martha Stewart Pets collection keeps your four-legged family members cozy during the cold winter months. Available for just $19.99.
  • Stockings for Dogs and Cats – PetSmart’s classic holiday value pack stockings are filled with an assortment of toys for cats and dogs. Pet parents can pick a theme that matches their pet’s personality, such as the merry pink gingerbread-man or the classic red and green reindeer. Price ranges from $4.99 to $19.99.

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