Day 25 Advent: Thank You Note Template

 

And at the end of our 25 Days of Toad Advent Calendar, we’re helping you kick off  your good habit of 2017: Writing Thank You notes. Consider this your first good habit of 2017. Here’s a template that will work for any person and any gift – even if it was a fruitcake! Be genuine and share a few things about what you’ve been up to and what you’re up to in the new year! Happy Holidays, from our family to yours!

Willarde Carlson, known locally as "Sunny-Man", uses a branch to whip seaweed from his fishing nets. Local fishermen claim that increased river temperatures are causing more seaweed to appear than they have ever seen before. It must be cleaned daily or it will alert salmon to the presence of nets in the water.

 

Dear ____________,

Thank you so much for the _______________. It’ll be absolutely perfect for _____________. Really, you nailed it! I hope you had a great holiday – this year celebrated ______________ with _____________. It was a great way to ring in the holidays and kick off the new year. Speaking of the new year, hope to see you soon! Perhaps I can persuade you to _____________? Could be fun! Thanks again and Happy New Year!

Love,

Your Name

Day 24 Advent: Santa Tracker

 

It’s Christmas Eve which means two things: Tomorrow is the last day of our 25 Days of Toad Advent Calendar AND it’s finally Christmas Day! So for our Day 24 treat, we figured we’d pass only something useful… We already gave you the best places to see Santa, but check the NORAD Santa Tracker to see when he’ll be in you neck of the woods.

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And though there are a lot of Santa Trackers out there, we trust the NORAD program – it’s been around since 1955 and is based out of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado (primo spot with all those dark skies out there). NORAD, or The North American Aerospace Defense Command, is a bi-national organization tasked with monitoring the skies of North America.  Or perhaps it’s Santa’s elves. We’re really not entirely sure… Check back tomorrow for the final Advent goody and have a wonderful Christmas Eve with your loved ones.

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Day 23 Advent: Best Airport Bars

 

December 23rd is the busiest travel day of the year. If you’re traveling by air, then you need a drink. Mini bottles aside, for Day 23 of our 25 Days of Toad Advent, here’s our list of the Best Airport Bars in North America. Sit back with a cold one and marvel at the wonders of flight, count your blessings, and keep an ear out for last call – boarding, not bar service. Traveling for the holidays sure does have its perks.

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LAX: Vino Volo

Located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, Vino Volo is the place to get an amazing glass of wine. With a sommelier on staff, sidle up to the bar and ask the som’ what’s new and what’s good. Or better yet, do a sampling. No Two-Buck-Chuck here. Best part about it? You’ll find Vino Volo in a handful of airports around the country.

Atlanta International Airport : One Flew South

Make your way to Terminal E for the best southern cocktail east of the Mississippi. After a couple of drinks at One Flew South you wont even remember that you’re in an airport. Get an Old Fashioned and the Pulled Duck Sliders for some good southern cookin’, right on the concourse.

San Diego International Airport: Stone Brewing

Wander over to Terminal 2 for Stone Brewing, a scaled-down version of San Diego’s beloved farm-to-table craft brewery. Sit at the bar and order a cold one from one of their 12 taps (10 from Stone Brewing, 2 rotating beers from other craft breweries). We like their IPAs, but you really can’t go wrong.

PDX: Rogue’s Public House

Portland is known for it’s killer food trucks and unrivaled craft beers, so it’s no surprise that the Portland International Airport would continue the tradition. Grab a beer at Rogue’s Public House in Concourse D. They start serving booze at 6:30am, so if you’re on London time then you’re just in time for a lunch beer. Grab a local ale, charge your phone and watch whatever game is on. Bring on the layovers.

SFO: SF Uncork’d

If you’re into cozy wine bars, you can’t beat SF Uncork’d located in Terminal 3. It’s sleek, has views of the runway, and will leave you niiiiiiice and relaxed before your flight. Get a flight of local California wines then buy a bottle of your favorite for the plane (actually opening it is between you and the flight attendant).

Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Whiskey River

Modeled after the popular nightclub in Uptown Charlotte, Whiskey River is a little slice of Charlotte smack dab in the middle of Concourse E. Good beer, live music and tater tots with pulled pork. Better re-route through Charlotte.

Chicago Midway: Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub

Only in Chicago can you find a traditional, Southside neighborhood tavern in the back of Concourse B. Belly up to the bar for a pint of Guinness or an Irish coffee – better make it a double if it’s a long layover. They don’t serve food but you can bring your own, and if you ask nicely, the bartender may make you a “to-go” cup when you’re off to catch a flight. This may just be the best bar ever.

Day 20 Advent: Crowd Pleasin’ Pie Recipes

 

Sure, cherry pies get all the glory at summer BBQs, but the undisputed Pie Season is winter. (In fact, we’re part of a formal petition to officially change the name of Winter to “Pie Season”, but that’s neither here nor there.) We love Pie Season because there’s no limit to what you can do – savory, sweet, 24 blackbirds, maybe it doesn’t even have a pie crust at all! The choice is yours. For Day 20 of our 25 Days of Toad Advent Calendar, here are just a few of our favorite recipes for Pie Season.

 

From Bon Appetit, Gentl & Hyers
From Bon Appetit, Gentl & Hyers

Cock-a-Leekie Pie

Think of this as Thanksgiving dinner in pie form. Bacon, leeks, chicken, thyme, prune and butter. Lots and lots of butter. Aren’t you hungry just thinking about it? Get the recipe here.

Frito Pie

Some people will tell you that a Frito Pie isn’t a real pie. Well those people are missing out on one of the BEST pies around. Just image you’re eating a pie straight from a pie tin and then it all makes sense. Crack open a pack of Frito lays, then dump in cheddar cheese, homemade chili, more cheese and serve. What it lacks in formalities in makes up for in pure tailgate bliss. Your inner 10 year old will thank you.

Cornbread and Beef Skillet Pie

Again, traditionalists will balk at the skillet pie, but true aficionados will embrace the inverted pie. With the meat and potatoes (literally) baked on the bottom, the cornbread “crust” bakes on the top, soaking in all the delicious flavors. The best part about this recipe? Fry up an egg and serve some breakfast pie in the morning.

Lobster Shepherd Pies

Since we’ve got roots in Freeport, ME, we’d be remiss if we skipped out on the Lobster Shepard Pies. Just ask Ponch, our flagship store manager for the last 15 years, there’s nothing better than potatoey, buttery lobster. Who needs pie crust when you have this?

Wild Mushroom Pie

Equal parts mushroom and more mushroom, this pie brings it home with a parmesan crust. Yes, a cheesy, perfect, flaky joyous parm crust. This recipe also features a handy guide for egg washes. Wanna make your pie shiny with soft crust? Brush with an egg and milk. Want more of a deep color? Just milk. Check it out here.

Mile High Apple Pie 

And for the true pie purists, go big or go home. This recipe for apple pie puts all other apple pies to shame. Ok, maybe not shame, but when this pie intimidates even the eagerest of pie eaters (that would be our marketing manager, Steve), you can bet that it’s doing something right. Featuring 6 pounds of apples and as much butter as you can stomach, the Mile High Apple Pie is a real crowd pleaser.

Sustainable Gifting: Eco Wrapping Tips

 

 

Investing just a little thought into your wrapping can help our planet and up your  gifting game. Everybody knows the old newspaper trick when it comes to sustainable wrapping. And we’re not knocking it – who doesn’t love a present wrapped in the comics section? But if that’s been your M.O. for the last few years, it’s time to change it up. Jumpstart your eco-friendly creative juices:

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Make your own  reusable bags. The traditional Japanese art of wrapping cloth, Furoshiki, is a great alternative to wrapping paper and ribbons. Use some beautiful fabric that you’ve found or even a silk pillowcase. Check out a few different techniques here. 

Sew up paper bags. No ribbon or tape required. Just take a paper grocery bag and flip it inside out (carefully). Then stick your gift inside and sew up the open side.

Who says the gift isn’t wrapping? If it’s clothing you’re gifting, get crazy and wrap a box with the clothing itself! If that ruins the mystery, use some old fabric or pillow cases as wrapping “paper”. 

Use old maps or calendars. Don’t let good paper products go to waste. Tape together a few calendars or old subway maps and cover up a small package. Bonus points if you can make a bow out of paper, too.

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Borrow from nature. Instead of plastic bows, use objects you’d find on a walk around the neighborhood. Springs of oak, pine cones, dried flowers, seed pods, ferns… see just how creative you can get.

Collage on brown paper bags. Ok, you still have to wrap a gift in a paper bag but decorate it with more than just ribbon. If you’ve got old National Geographic magazines lying around, cut out some neat images and place in the corner. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a leaping gazelle.

typeo-featureTypographic Gift Wrap – Again, wrap a present in brown paper bags, but instead of using a name tag, cut out people’s names in big letters from newspaper or other types of paper. Just make sure you’ve got your spelling correct – it’s trickier than you think to cut out letters!

If you must choose wrapping paper… Choose vegetable based inks, wrapping paper made from recycled paper, or paper that doubles as seed for wildflowers. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled because it’s dyed, laminated, or contains non-paper additives. So choose wisely – we like these recycled (and recyclable) options.

Day 16 Advent: Holiday Mad Libs

 

Everyone’s heard “Frosty the Snowman”, but how about “Frosty the Bartender”? Maybe “Rudolph the Red Nosed Komodo Dragon”? Remix classic Christmas carols with our Day 16 Advent Goody: Mad Libs! Excellent for post-dinner lounging or pre-dinner happy-houring, and great for kids from 1 to 92.

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Check back tomorrow as our 25 Days of Toad Advent Calendar continues! 

 

Best Holiday Performances

From classic SNL skits to MTV’s Christmas Specials, great holiday performances abound. We culled together a few of our favorites the other morning while commiserating in the kitchen in the wake of our company holiday party (tequila was a bad choice). Grab your coconut waters and get your groove on.

Bing & Bowie, “Little Drummer Boy” 1977

There has never been a sweeter meet-cute than when Bing and Bowie met to sing Little Drummer Boy. Perhaps this performance really is the key to peace on earth.

Hall & Oates, “Jingle Bell Rock”, 1983

It’s so kitschy you cant help but love it. Daryl Hall and John Oates host a Christmas party, complete with Santa and the whole band dressed as rockin’ old people. Grandma can shred!

Frank & Bing, “Jingle Bells”, 1957

The holidays aren’t complete without some classic croons from ol’ Blue Eyes and Mr. White Christmas himself. Watch the two share a few laughs over what looks like very strong punch…

Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, 1984

Recorded by English artists as a fundraiser to aid the Ethiopian famine of 1984, the hope was that “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” would raise £70,000 for Ethiopia. It raised £8 million within twelve months of release. That’s the spirit of the holidays at its finest.

Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, “All I Want for Christmas is You”, 2012

You either love or hate this Mariah Carey Christmas hit. But there is no question that Jimmy Fallon and The Roots make this song 10x better by using classroom instruments. Everyone needs a kazoo this Christmas.

Twisted Sister, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, 2006

The holidays suffer from a lack of head banging. So thank goodness for Twisted Sister. In case you need more, they also do amazing renditions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Silver Bells”. Killer.

Ray Charles, “Merry Christmas Baby”, 1979

In an old church in Germany, Ray Charles may take the fruitcake as the King of Christmas. Soulful, spirited and jolly, but in that cool, Ray Charles kinda way.

Day 13 Advent: Elf Yourself

 

Sure it’s hokey, but nothing brings us more joy than seeing loved ones as dancing elves. For Day 13 of our 25 Days of Toad Advent Calendar we just couldn’t help ourselves: we had to make some Toads into dancing elves. Watch Anthony (our graphic designing elf), Guin (our women’s designing elf), Daisy (our copywriting elf), Kira (our product line elf) and Steve (our marketing elf) do a little jig around the office… Make your own at elfyourself.com and send us the link of your creation. We just love to see these little dancing elves (guilty pleasure)… Check back tomorrow for more hijinks as our advent continues. No promises that it wont be another elf video.

Day 11 Advent: Best Letters to Santa

 

Ahhh the classic letter to Santa. The blank canvas on to which children can paint their hopes and dreams, air some grievances or beg forgiveness for the “naughty times” (no judgement, we’ve all been there). But make no mistake, writing letters to Santa is important business. For Day 11 of our  25 Days of Toad Advent Calendar we’ve gotten a few letters back from the big man himself, just to share some of our favorites. Check back tomorrow for more advent fun and don’t forget to put your letters in the mail!

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