Lifestyle

FFF 13th Annual Holiday Gift Guide (and a Check-In)

I thought I’d take a moment to check in with readers this fall, since it has been awhile between updates here on the blog on life in general. First, I really truly hope everyone is doing okay. That you’re healthy, and safe, and navigating this new school year and upcoming holiday season as best you can. At this point, that is what I aim for when people ask. I’m doing okay. Life is different, much has changed, but overall my family is doing okay.

When Covid-19 first hit the news, my family was in Mexico on a winter holiday at the end of January. I remember it being mentioned briefly on CNN, in-between coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death. I remember traveling home and noting one family in the airport wearing masks and thinking that was…different. Who knew that over the course of the next ten months, our world would change so much and that I, a mommy-blogger here in Saskatchewan, would become such a fierce advocate for masks and Covid-19 safety within our schools and communities?

I have done several TV and radio interviews over the summer and fall about this (here’s one, and another, and another), and have been vocal on social media.

It hasn’t been easy. Being an advocate brings with it some criticism, and it’s been a task to navigate some of the things sent my way, which I’ve shared with followers on Twitter and Instagram stories. Many of you have engaged with me there and shared your own stories of online interactions with trolls and generally unkind people. My advice, always, is BLOCK. No one is allowed in your life on social media unless you permit it. Blocking is a beautiful thing and it’s good for your mental health.

On that note, I’ve also been vocal about my own mental health this past year. I’ve described myself as a self-professed germophobe and that of course was kicked into high gear with Covid-19. But I continue to share that anxiety on radio, TV and social media because I know I’m not alone, because of the countless messages and emails I get from others feeling the same, and because I feel that I owe it to others who are dealing with it to be a public voice in this province. Anxiety is no joke. It’s not the punch line to a joke, and sharing my anxiety should not be described as “not a good look” by people on social media or even on the radio. It’s unkind to attack anyone for sharing their feelings about anxiety publicly, but it happens.

My own health journey with epilepsy doesn’t make me any more likely to have a more severe case of Covid-19, but it does mean that Covid-19 and it’s effects on the body can be dangerous for me. Fevers, illness, and lack of sleep are all seizure triggers. If I have a seizure, it can be life-threatening. If I have a seizure, it means I can’t drive until a neurologist has cleared me to be safe on the road. It means my life turns upside down when I’m doing everything in my power to prevent that. Covid-19 doesn’t care about all the things I’m doing to keep my epilepsy under control.

I have an 80 year old mom who lives alone. My sister is a cancer survivor. 2 of my 3 kids have asthma. I, and so many Canadians, have every reason to be concerned and uneasy in 2020.

Like many of you, my own income and business has been affected by Covid-19. I was one of the 8.9 million Canadians who applied for the CERB benefit to help pay the bills when I had zero income. This is not something anyone should be ashamed of, and the benefit helped millions of Canadians stay afloat in a very uncertain time. I’m extremely grateful for the benefit and am disheartened to hear people look down on others for accessing it or those who received it be embarrassed that the needed the help.

In the summer, I was unsure if a Holiday Gift Guide would even be possible this year with so many businesses and brands having to pull back their marketing budgets and laying off people to try and stay afloat during these tough times. It’s been so tough for so many, no doubt adding to even more anxiety and worry among everyone. The Holiday Gift Guide has always been such a fun and crazy-busy time of the year for me, but it’s such a wonderful way to work hard and give back to my readers and social media followers every year. A full month of giveaways for you!

I am so happy and excited to share that I am launching my 13th Annual Feisty Frugal & Fabulous Holiday Gift Guide for my readers this November! This year’s gift guide will have one small change, the guide will run November 1st to November 30th (in years past I ran it until Dec 15th) with a new great gift idea and giveaway added every single day. That means every day that you return to the blog, you’ll find a new opportunity to win something for yourself, your family, or someone special on your gift list. Many of my readers also enter to win prizes to donate to local charities in their area.

I am still taking submissions as well, which means even more great gift ideas and giveaways will be coming your way throughout the month that I don’t even know about yet!

It’s something, a little bit of glitter and fun to usher in the holidays in 2020. I choose to focus on the good, the spirit of the season, and the blessings it brings – health being a very big one this year. I hope you’ll jump into the fun of the Holiday Gift Guide too, enter the giveaways, and share with your friends and family to do the same.

As always, you can also find me on Twitter and Instagram (@RealTenille) where I am quite active on all topics beyond the mommy-blog stuff, and I look forward to engaging with you there as well. Stay safe, stay healthy, and yes – wear a damn mask. 🙂

16 Comments

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  • Yay! Glad you are healthy and staying safe. Thanks for all of the time and energy you put into this each year. 🙂

  • How exciting! There is so little to look forward to right now – so this news brings a little joy to my life!

    Thank you as well for being such a strong advocate for staying healthy – we need more people feeling those same feelings to help curb this chaos!

  • I’ve been following your mask advocacy on Twitter mostly. Good for you, I say. Who knew there were so many asshat MAGA men in Sask, lol.

  • Glad to hear you are “ok” – we are doing “ok” too. Welcomed a new baby boy in August, and while it’s been hard not being able to introduce him to family, attend baby groups, etc., he is definitely a bright light in a dim year. Looking forward to your gift guide and giveaways as always, will be an extra nice little distraction this year!

  • I’m so happy you and your family have stayed safe and healthy this year. It’s been a crazy one that’s for sure!

  • Glad to hear you and your family are doing good. I like what you are saying about CERB. There is too much unnecessary shaming. Stay safe.

  • I’m not really on twitter much anymore, but I’ve noticed your tweets specifically, and thought, good for her! I have a brother in SK, so I’m very happy to see people like you advocating for mask wearing there. Keep doing what you’re doing! It does make a difference.
    I deal with anxiety too, and I thought it was bad before. Panic attacks in grocery stores happened somewhat regularly before COVID hit. I was just getting used to them, really. I had figured out that I wasn’t having all of these heart attacks at Sobeys 🙂 Now it can happen if I just leave the house on the way to a hike. Or just every day. Or twice a day. I am ready for this to all be over! But I also realize how lucky we are – we have few cases where we live. For now, anyway.
    Thanks for doing the gift guide…they are fun to read and a very welcome distraction! I hope you and your family stay healthy! 🙂

  • I’m so happy that you are again publishing your Gift Guide at least not everything is cancelled because of COVID. It’s been a rough year for so many, myself included. Glad you and your family are healthy and continue to do everything possible to stay that way.