Regular Customer Shows Christmas Spirit By Tipping Diner $3,000 On $39 Check

A diner’s regular customer stunned the restaurant when he tipped the staff $3,000 on only a $39.60 check.

When the 12-person staff at Encounter Café in Bellevue, Washington received the generous gratuity, they originally thought it was a joke, until they saw the note left on the bill.

“You guys do a great job! When I was 7, I washed dishes and my mom cooked in a diner like this. We were dirt poor and didn’t have money for Christmas. Hopefully, this will help all of you have a better Christmas,” the customer wrote.

Eventually the diner’s owner Melanie Bard figured out who the mysterious tipper was.

Christmas Comes Early For Texas Woman Who Wakes Up To Find Her Yard Fully Decorated

Even if you love the holiday season, chances are there’s at least one aspect of it that you could do without. Maybe you’re not a fan of all the money you have to spend on gifts for your extended family, or perhaps the onslaught of Christmas carols that seems to start earlier every year does nothing for you (other than give you a headache that is).

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For my money, easily the biggest pain of the season is decorating the outside of the house. Every year, it means another trip into the disorganized depths of your basement, a frantic search for whatever box it was that you decided to store the lights in this time, a silent prayer as you plug them in that they’re still working even after all this time, and of course, the deluge of cursing that comes as you try to get the lights all up around your house.

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The end results almost always look spectacular, but sometimes it’s hard not to wonder if maybe it isn’t worth all the effort it takes. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of having to go through the whole process every single year, you could just wake up one day and have it all done for you? That’d be living the dream, right?

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Well as it turns out, sometimes dreams actually can come true. A Texas woman recently woke up one morning to discover that Christmas had come early: some unnamed individual had decorated her entire yard in the middle of the night with lights and decorations…

Generous Tippers Are Making Life Easier For Workers In Need This Christmas

The holidays are especially hard for low-income families, and when you are a single parent or student trying to make it in the world as a server in a restaurant, you know every little bit counts this time of year.

Even though it gets busier, and people get crankier, servers will go above and beyond to try and make your experience as good as it can be to have some extra cash for their families over the holiday season.

Some altruistic customers have noticed this trend, and have shown their appreciation with huge payouts, just in time for Christmas. And some of these tips have been extraordinarily generous.

Kay-Dene Lewis is a student at a TGI Fridays in Massachusetts, and she was doing her best to make sure all the customers in her section of the restaurant were being looked after. One particular family of four felt she had done an especially good job, so left her a tip she wouldn’t forget any time soon.

“It was the biggest tip I have ever had,” Lewis said. “I am so grateful.”

When one patron overheard that Ben Millar was working extra hard to get him and his eight-month pregnant girlfriend home to Ireland for the holidays, he knew what he had to do.

His girlfriend said there was no one else who deserved it more. “I think it’s a blessing and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy than him. He works really hard,” she said.

At nine-months pregnant, Sarah Clark had some heavy expectations on her for the holidays. Her baby was due any week, and her boyfriend was in need of knee surgery, and with the holidays upon her, it just didn’t seem manageable.

She was blown away when a couple decided to do what they could for the struggling soon-to-be mother. The text reads: “This is God’s money – he gave it to us so we could give it to you. God Bless.”

It seems these two states are known for their generosity, because these weren’t even the highest donations this year…

5-Year-Old Church Shooting Survivor Wants You To Send Him A Christmas Card

The family of a little boy who lived through a horrible experience needs your help to give him a merry Christmas this year.

Ryland Ward was one of the youngest survivors of last month’s church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Ryland lost his mother and two of his sisters in the attack, and was shot five times – once in the elbow, twice in the stomach, and twice in the leg.

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The 5-year-old has already been through more surgeries and treatments than most adults to help him recover. He was put on life support machines, including a breathing tube, had a stint placed in his kidney, and needed skin grafts. Ryland will also need to use a wheelchair for months once he’s sent home from the hospital.

While his family expected Ryland would be home for Christmas, trouble with the young boy’s kidney and shattered femur mean he’ll spend the holidays in a hospital bed.

The church in Sutherland Springs was decorated to honor the shooting victims.Bloomberg

Ryland’s grandmother, Sandy Ward, reveals that he hasn’t even heard the worst news yet. “They still haven’t told him yet that his mom and sisters are dead,” she explained to KSAT 12, “but I’m sure he’s kind of getting some kind of idea because he’s 5.”

It’s clear that this tough little guy could use a Christmas pick-me-up, and his family wants your help to make his holidays merry and bright.

Parents Warn About Dangerous Counterfeits Of This Year’s Hottest Christmas Toys

There’s no doubt that Fingerlings are this year’s hottest Christmas toy, but if you’re still shopping for one of these adorable baby monkeys, be careful.

When we shared our list of toys that would be on every child’s Christmas list this year, Fingerlings stood out right away. The tiny animatronic critters blink, speak, and shriek when you flip them upside down, all while hanging onto your finger.

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And like Hatchimals last year, the toy has made big business for retailers, as parents are rushing to get this year’s “Cabbage Patch” toy before they’re all sold out.

But some parents are warning others to be on the lookout, after they were tricked into buying counterfeit Fingerlings. Even some reputable sites run by big stores aren’t safe from the phony monkeys, as third party vendors have been unloading their counterfeit toys to clueless shoppers.

One mother described receiving a package with misspelled labels on her doorstep, with fake Fingerlings inside. When she handed the toys to her kids, she said the “color was leeching off the product onto their hands.” While this parent got a full refund for her phony toys, you might not be so lucky.

That’s why everyone should learn how to tell apart real and fake Fingerlings, to avoid being scammed.

Mom Replaced Her Elf On The Shelf With A New Tradition, And Says You Should Too

Inventor Chanda Bell drew on her family’s own Christmas traditions to create the Elf on the Shelf, and in just 12 years it has become a global phenomenon.

The smiling sprite with a tall, red hat sits in a family’s home and watches their children. The idea is that the Elf will note any “naughty” behavior and report it to Santa, so he helps keep kids in line until Christmas Eve rolls around. Of course, parents also have fun putting the Elf in all kinds of silly situations while their children are in bed.

Over 11 million elves have been sold since 2005.The Baltimore Sun

Parents and kids have fallen in love with the little Elf, and he’s become an annual tradition in millions of American homes. But some parents also have a bone to pick with Santa’s littlest helper. Many complain that the Elf teaches children they only need to behave when someone is watching, or when Christmas presents are on the line.

A pair of researchers from Canada even suggest the Elf prepares kids for a life of constant surveillance by the authorities.

Jingle the Kindness Elf.Lauren Elberspacher

Blogger Lauren Elberspacher, who writes at the website From Blacktop to Dirt Road, has her own complaints about the Elf, and took him off her shelf this year. In his place, she’s set up her own creation: the Kindness Elf.

And she’s proposing a new set of family traditions that we can all get behind.

Pentatonix Introduces Their New Member In New Christmas Cover

If you haven’t heard of Pentatonix in the past couple of years, where have you been? The a cappella group has become an international sensation with their pop-style arrangements of classics and their spine-tingling harmonies.

The group has sold more than 6.4 million albums in the United States alone. They have also won three Grammy awards, and have been nominated for a Daytime Emmy. The group had its first big break when they won the reality show, The Sing-Off, in 2011. They won $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony, but they were dropped almost immediately after.

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After they were dropped, the group started up their YouTube channel and gained over 2.7 billion views. Their music began getting distributed through Madison Gate Records, and in 2012 their first EP was released.

The original members were Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Avi Kaplan. They really shot to fame after covering Dolly Parton’s Jolene, with Dolly herself. But after years of service to the group, Avi decided to leave. Fans were left broken-hearted, wondering who would replace the vocal bass and percussion hole.

After about six months of speculating, Pentatonix finally revealed their new member, and they did it with a new cover of a Christmas classic.

14 Dogs Who Will Probably Get Coal This Year

When Christmas approaches, you can usually use that as a tool to help your kids behave. Reminding them that Santa is watching can put them in their place pretty quickly.

Dogs? Well, not so much.

#dogshaming

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10 Ways To Pet-Proof Your Christmas Tree

As the holiday season rolls around, we’re all starting to put up our decorations. For those of us with pets, it’s a constant struggle of making the house look nice while making sure your cat or dog won’t totally destroy it or make themselves sick.

While we can’t give you tips on every Christmas decoration you may have, we can give you some tips on keeping your tree upright.

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This may seem obvious, but putting your tree in the right spot is extremely important. If you can put it in a room that can be easily closed-off to your pets, that’s a good option. If not, make sure you’re putting it somewhere away from shelves or other things the animals could use to climb into your tree.

Bored Panda

Make sure your tree is fastened to either the ceiling or a wall to prevent it from toppling over. It’s not only better for the tree, but it can prevent potential injuries to your pets if it were to fall on them.

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If you can’t tie your tree down, make sure it is heavy enough that it won’t fall. You can add sand bags to the base to weight it down, or just use a wide, sturdy base to begin with. The extra effort could save you many a headache in the future.

PetGuide

If you are using a live tree, you’ll have a water bowl to keep it hydrated. Though in theory it helps the tree, it doesn’t do a lot of good if the dog or cat drinks it all up. Make sure you somehow section off the water bowl, whether it be through boxes or a tree skirt that fits nice and snug around the trunk.

9 Fruit-Cake Facts That Will Make You Love The Treat Even More

When we were younger, we all seemed to shy away from this colorful and strange ‘dessert’ that our weird relatives would bring over. As we got older though, we figured out how delicious this seasonal treat really was!

You may now understand why people love fruitcake, but what else do you know about it?

The earliest records we have of something resembling the modern-day fruitcake are recipes of Roman satura. Made with nuts, barley, fruit, and honeyed wine, many historians believe this is where we get the name satire, because of the sweet and sour elements in both!

No, the dessert your aunt brought last Christmas wasn’t made in Roman times, but it does stay very well preserved! How well? Apparently, it can last for over 25 years if stored correctly! But it’s much too tasty to last that long.

Someone has claimed that they own a fruitcake that was once a gift to President George Washington. The esteemed general sent it back however, saying it was “unseemly for Presidents to accept gifts weighing more than 80 pounds, even though they were only eight inches in diameter.”

Fruitcake has been a staple to the royal diet for many generations of rulers. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria had it at almost every major event, and Kate Middleton and her beloved Prince William even had it at their wedding!

It is likely due to how expensive the ingredients were at one point in history. Fruit, nuts, and sugar were at one point really hard to get a hold of. But that may have also been what inspired its popularity…

Many sailors travelling between the Americas and the European mainland in the 1500’s found that they were subject to a terrible sickness called scurvy. They would develop ulcers and other oral hygiene problems from not getting enough vitamins on their travels.

They found a way around this by preserving fruits in sugar, which was plentiful in the colonies. But they didn’t want to just eat the sugary fruits all the time, they needed something to expound it in. Thus, baking it into cakes became the norm for them and their families both home and abroad.

If you’ve ever offered to help bring this treat from the kitchen to the table, you’ll have an understanding of just how much food is contained within the one cake.

According to Harper’s Index, the density of fruitcake is the same as hardwood mahogany! This year, try cutting a slice off yourself, it is really thick!

Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Will Have A Star-Studded Lineup

Every year, New York City lights up for Christmas. The buildings, the trees, absolutely everything is decked out to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Perhaps the most iconic moment of the holidays is when Rockefeller Center lights up their stunning Christmas tree. To many, it marks the beginning of the season and signifies that Christmas is quickly approaching.

This year’s tree is a 75-foot Norway Spruce from Pennsylvania. It’s 50-feet in diameter and weighs between 12 and 13 tons. The tree will be arriving in New York City on November 11th, 18 days before the official tree lighting ceremony on November 29th.

But aside from lighting the tree, viewers can always count on amazing performances from big-name stars during the event. Last year, performers included Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban, Tori Kelly, Sarah McLachlan, Dolly Parton, Jordan Smith, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, the Rockettes, and more.

This year’s lineup looks like it’s going to top the last, and we can’t wait!

10 Hacks To Save You Time (And Sanity) While Shopping For The Holidays

With Halloween now a distant memory and Thanksgiving soon to be over, before you know it, the holiday season will be looming on the horizon, meaning the shopping must begin. You’ll rarely find a time of the year that’s so divisive amongst people, and a lot of that usually has to do with the stress of finding that perfect gift for somebody on your list.

Fret not dear readers, because we’re here to give you some helpful tips to make your holidays just a little more relaxed, while making sure you get that special someone exactly what they want!

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Seriously, I can’t stress this part enough. You don’t have to hunker down and do all of your shopping in say, September; just pick up the odd few things throughout the months leading up to Christmas. That way, by the time the massive rush hits, you’ve already stashed a few things away and will have that much less to worry about.

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I’ve never understood why some people are so opposed to this idea. In my personal experience, people are always more than happy to give a list of things they’d like for Christmas; it means they get something they want but it’s still a surprise, and it saves you plenty of time and effort trying to even figure out what they want.

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Between Black Friday in November, and the multitude of other holiday sales that come along every year, there should be no need to have to pay full price for just about anything you’re looking for. Just make sure to keep checking flyers or websites for hints about upcoming sales.

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If you don’t want to ask for a list, see if you can get it touch with a person’s friends, parents, siblings, or kids to try to get an idea of what they might like. They might even think of things that you would have never imagined before!

These next few suggestions will definitely save you some stress.