Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views of my employer.

You’re a new homeowner and now you’re stuck hosting the holidays. This is a great opportunity to show off your new home, but, you’re overwhelmed. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Step One: Get Organized.

Make a list, and check it twice! Write down any decorations, food, drinks, or other items you need to pick up before the big day. That way you won’t be running back and forth to the store four times that day (yes, that will really happen.)

Step Two: Decorate.

Show off your new home with holiday trim. Keep it modest, you don’t want to overshadow your beautiful new home with red and green streamers.

Step Three: Use Your New Kitchen.

Find EASY holiday recipes online. Don’t feel like you need to cook and bake everything, ask for help! Assign each of your guests a menu item to bring.

Step Four: Enjoy!

Enjoy spending time with your family and friends in your new home!

Everyone knows that Christmas is the time for giving. Maybe so much so that many of us get so wrapped up in buying the most lavish gift or spending more than we planned. Whether you stood in line for hours on Black Friday for a cheap Xbox for your kids or a new flat screen for your hubby, the mindset among Christmas shoppers is always the same: get a great gift to make someone you love happy. But what about a perfect stranger?

I really felt the power of the Christmas spirit when my office, Primary Residential Mortgage, raised $2,200 in just two days to “adopt” a needy family of six and another family of two through the Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston.

But the one thing that was more astonishing than the generosity of my co-workers was the actual wants and needs of the children and mothers of these families. Before sending over the Christmas wish lists, one of the program employees explained to me that the children already understood that they had simply made “wish” lists, and that they would not likely receive everything on their list.

As I quickly skimmed the lists, I was surprised to never come across the words “Ipod” or “Wii” like I would with my nieces and nephews. I gazed through them again, intently looking for “Xbox” or “Iphone”. But none of those words were present on those short lists. What I did see was that each child had checked boxes including coats and underwear, bedding and pajamas. The biggest “big- ticket item” out of all of the children was a train set- a wish
list item bordering extinction from today’s high-tech gadgets. For these families, love and happiness was counted in hats and gloves rather than Xbox games or flat screen TVs.

Sometimes Christmas is not just about the ones we love, but also the ones who need love. Our company is honored to be participating in the Adopt A Family program at the Comprehensive Community Action Program, and each of our employees became a little more grounded while reading through the family wish lists.

If you would like to join us or stay in the loop for any of our upcoming fundraisers and charitable partnerships, please feel free to  contact me at Sbagwell@primeres.com.