Monthly Archives: December 2011


This is the week when most everyone resolves to make big, new, triumphant changes in their life .  Generally, myself included.

So as I was contemplating yet another list of goals that I will never really fully accomplish, I got to thinking  … who came up with this concept anyway?  Could it be just another “Hallmark Holiday”?

You know… an occasion conjured up to get consumers to spend money on something they normally wouldn’t but then they do only because “everyone else is doing it” so they better get on board ….

So anyway, I googled it.

It’s actually been around forever.  FOREVER!

“The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future.  The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.”

{ courtesy of ArcaMax }

Huh.  Who knew? Definitely not Hallmark.

So in the spirit of Roman times, I guess I better start my list!

During my quest for resolutions I can keep, and a plan on how to do that, I came across many blogs and other postings of “Tips for Keeping Your Resolutions” {see one here}

AND even one that so ambitiously had 52! One for each week of the year!

{see that one here}

Here at Stuff Etc, we have come up with a list of our own resolutions that we believe we can help you with this year.  And after doing all of my research, the one thing I’ve concluded that is necessary to be resolution savvy & successful, is keep it simple, manageable and realistic.

SO …

It will be our goal this week to suggest ways we can help you be successful.

Our list is as follows:

We look forward to being your partner on the road to 2012 resolution success!

What is A White Elephant Gift?

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a white elephant is

“an object no longer of value to its owner but of ‘value ‘to others

And the word ‘value’ is subjective.

To me, the value of the white elephant gift is the joy of giving something that creates sheer horror to the recipient, or the cheek to cheek grin they can’t wipe from their face out of embarrassment or the lack of words they have for what they have just so nervously unwrapped!

If you are throwing this type of party,  I recommend including both the rules and gift budget in your invitations to eliminate any confusion or crazy fighting happening at your holiday party.

When attending a party of this nature, here are the basic rules for a legit and enjoyable  “White Elephant” gift exchange:

1. Each party guest brings an un-labeled, wrapped gift of the same monetary value.

2. Everyone draws one slip of paper from a hat (slips of paper are numbered to match guest count).

3. The person who draws #1 is the first to select a gift from the pile.

4. Once the first gift is opened, the person who draws #2 gets the choice of either “stealing” person #1’s gift or choosing their own wrapped present from the pile to open.

5. Next, person #3 gets the choice of “stealing” ANY unwrapped gift or choosing a new wrapped one to open.

6. Turns proceed until everyone has a gift. A turn is ended when a gift is opened.

Additional rules:
* If a gift is stolen from you, you can steal a gift from someone else, or open a new one!
* A gift cannot be stolen more than once in a turn.
* The third owner of a gift gets to keep it and it cannot be stolen again.
* At the end of the last turn, the first person (who had no choice at the beginning) can choose to put back his or her gift and steal ANY gift that is still available.
* Then the gift “exchange” is started again (see #3 and #4 above) and ended when someone either chooses or is forced to take the gift given up by person #1.

Bonus Tip: Encourage your guests to purchase really kooky and unique gifts. This makes the exchange a lot more fun!

Still need a WHITE ELEPHANT gift?

All of our Stuff Etc locations have you covered!  Stop by Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, or Davenport to get the special something everyone will WISH it were theirs.

We are open on Christmas Eve until 2pm – be sure to let us know if we can help!

AND we’d LOVE to hear some of your “White Elephant” stories!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at Stuff Etc!

Gift Giving Guide

So this week I finally sat the kids down to make a Christmas list..

(little last-minute, I know, but that’s how I roll)

The little ones had no problem spouting off a few fantastical toys they’ve recently seen on tv, but the older ones struggled to come up with ideas.

This got me thinking…

Are they spoiled and already have everything they need or want?

It’s possible I could be responsible for that …

(or rather, the grandparents are to blame??  just kidding, mom)

Anyway, it got me thinking about my Christmases as a kid and what gifts I remember, what gifts really stood out to me as unforgettable.

Granted, I am 40 and those Christmases are a little challenging to recall at times,  but the only thing I could come up with, the one thing that I was OVER THE MOON about once I ripped all the paper off was …

a Donnie & Marie lunchbox!

I was 7.  It was AWESOME!

But really, that’s about all I can recall.  And it made me kind of sad actually.

Mostly because my parents probably spent a lot of time and money every year making sure my sister and I would have the best Christmas EVER!  and NOW I spend so much time, money and energy trying to make sure my kids have fantastic gifts  (and lots of them) under the tree Christmas morning and for what?!  So they can recall one thing they got when they were 7?

So my gift giving guide to you this Christmas is …

Keep. It.  Simple.

Focus on the one thing that they will love & cherish for more than 2 weeks or til the batteries die.  What will make a difference for them?  And for you?

I think THAT will be a memorable Christmas.

Merry Weekend


I saw these Santa Hat Brownies and HAD to share … this is for those of you who are holiday baking this weekend, heading to a get-together, or like me …

plan on making them just for fun!

Go { HERE } for the how-tos!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

p/c MadeByGirl

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Brrrrrrrrrrr…..  it’s snowy and cold today here in Iowa!

But NOTHING makes me feel toasty warm quite like a scarf!

During this time of year, you rarely find me without one, IN or OUT doors.

This video is a long-time favorite of mine and I have found it VERY helpful on more than one occasion.  Enjoy!


All of our Stuff Etc locations have a wide selection of scarfs in all sizes, styles, and colors.  Stop by this weekend and take advantage of 20% off your entire purchase of full-priced items when you donate $1 to our Charity Umbrella.

This month we are supporting the Visiting Nurses Association in Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids and Davenport AND Samaritan’s Purse in Waterloo!

Have a great weekend!

17 Days Til Christmas

I can’t believe there’s only 17 days til Christmas!  Doesn’t hardly seem possible.

Once the realization set in, so did a bit of panic….

Very little shopping done and so… so… SO much still to do!

And then I start to get the shakes and small beads of sweat appear on my brow and multiple thoughts race through my head of the who, what, where, and the whys and then…

I stop.

Take a breath.

Erase my mind of all the chaos.

And focus on the simple basic JOY of the season …

the smiles on my children’s faces, the sound of their laughter filling our home while we decorate the tree and share our favorite Christmas memories and

All. Is. Well.

p/c Everything Fab

Frank’s Picks in Davenport

Frank dropped by our Davenport store this week to bring in some special items to sell and we set up a special section just for him (and you!) …

For those of you who are left wondering, who’s Frank?

Well …. he’s no “Joe Schmoe”!

He’s Frank Fritz, part of the Mike and Frank duo, as seen on the popular TV show, American Pickers, on The History Channel.

And Frank selected a few of his personal items (some may have even been picked on the show) to share/sell with us at the Stuff Etc in Davenport!

What’s the phrase?

“The early bird gets the worm”

Basically, don’t waste any time getting over to the store… people were grabbing the goodies as the pictures were being taken!

Not sure where we’re at?

3568 Brady St, across from the football stadium, next to Big Lots, Davenport, IA


p/c Frank Fritz Finds

American Girl for Christmas

The Coralville Stuff Etc has just received a rather large and amazing American Girl collection from a local consignor!

I won’t bore you with my awe and all of my ramblings,

I will let the pictures do the talking!

No doubt these will go FAST, so stop by today!

Our Coralville, Iowa,  location is:

2818 Commerce Dr, across from the Super WalMart.