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How can it be possible that the holidays are nearly upon us? Summer flew by at breakneck speed, followed by a whirlwind fall, and now we find Thanksgiving perched on our doorstep. Once we push back from dinner – we’ll jump feet first into gift-giving season. So what better time to unveil the 2014 Mom Central Holiday Gift Guide For the next month, we’ll roll out cool, clever, and creative gift items for everyone on your list – offering you a non-stop selection of gift ideas. As an added bonus, we’ll feature a selection of giveaway items throughout the Gift Guide where you can enter for a chance to win.
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Influence Central received a complimentary sample of the Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds from Nuts.com in order to write this review. All of the opinions expressed are our own. Nuts.com, known for its friendly and quick customer service, colorful packaging and delicious treats, offers a variety of treats perfect for the holiday season. With dozens of products and holiday gift baskets to choose from, the most difficult decision proves deciding which of the many treats will satisfy the sweet tooth of your favorite chocolate lover. We were able to try Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds from Nuts.com, and they truly did not disappoint. These tantalizing sunflower seeds are coated in smooth milk chocolate and a playful rainbow candy shell. The incredible taste, fun and colorful look, and even more adorable packaging, make these the easy choice in holiday snacking! The addictive, crunchy and nutty chocolate treat did not last very long in our office (and the bag is now missed terribly).
Influence Central received a complimentary sample of the 3.4-Quart Microwave Pressure Cooker from SilverStone in order to facilitate this review. All of the opinions expressed are our own. Most of the time, we have the luxury of advance notice and time during which to prepare for dinner parties, special meals or other social events. Over the holidays however, we’re not always afforded the time to plan, as relatives who may be in town for only a short time might decide to drop by on the fly. When that occurs, of course we’re always happy to receive them (“Quick! Hide the mess!”), but can be left at a loss as to what to serve. Luckily, SilverStone has designed a pressure cooker for the microwave that solves this time crunch as its 3.4-Quart Microwave Pressure Cooker is designed to help create favorite dishes in a matter of minutes.
Finding a toy that an 18-month old boy, 3-and-a-half-year-old girl and five-year-old boy can all enjoy playing with feels nearly impossible. I found myself in this predicament when our “big boy” neighbor came to play with my toddlers the other day. This seemed like the perfect time to test out the new VTech Switch & Go Dinos. I knew our five-year-old, rough and tumble boy neighbor would think that transformer-like toys were cool, but wasn’t so sure about my own kids. The Switch and Go Dinos did not let me down! All three kids were mesmerized. The older two loved changing to characters from cars to dinosaurs. As he explored all of the buttons on the toy, the five-year-old took to repeating the fun dino facts and the three-year-old loved “customizing” the LCD screen with different dinosaur eyes and car driver faces.  
One lucky Mom Central reader will win a Mr. Clean gift basket to help her keep up with daily messes and spills.
United States In the U.S., we love to show Mom that we appreciate her with flowers and gifts. The holiday is widely celebrated by things like breakfast in bed, homemade cards, taking Mom to lunch, and other tokens of our love. Americans have been celebrating Moms with an official holiday since 1914.   India In India, Moms are celebrated in October during a 10-day festival called Durga Puja. Durga, the goddess of mothers, serves as the original focus of this event, which has been in place since the 16th century. This holiday includes a religious ceremony and time for gifts, food, and family reunions. Families often spend weeks preparing for the festival and decorating their homes. South Africa
If your Mom enjoys writing, Paperblanks offers elegant journals that make a thoughtful and practical Mother’s Day gift. This line of beautifully crafted journals offers a sophisticated home for notes, stories, or daily to-do lists. Thanks to their compact size, they easily fit in your bag or purse but allow for plenty of room to capture all your thoughts. Each Paperblanks journal has its own artistic cover inspired by historic and cultural designs. The books also lie flat thanks to the smythe sewn binding instead of the more modern practice of gluing the pages to the spine. The paper creates the best writing experience possible with extra smoothness and eco-friendly material. Two lucky Mom Central readers will each win a gift set of Paperblanks Journals. The gift set features three unique products from the Paperblanks collections including:
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note Smartphone!
Meaningful Beauty Skin Care Moms have so much to worry about, we rarely take any time for ourselves.  Once in a while, take a minute to care for your skin so you can look and feel your best! Meaningful Beauty, the advanced anti-aging skincare system by Cindy Crawford and anti-aging specialist, Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh, can help make your skin look young and refreshed.  The beauty line helps boost skin’s resilience and reduces the visible signs of aging, leaving you feeling revitalized and ready to take on another day. Ten lucky Mom Central readers will each win a Meaningful Beauty gift pack! This gift package includes the entire 5-piece system to getting younger-looking skin. You will be equipped for everything from cleansing and hydrating to repairing and brightening your skin. To enter, leave a comment below by Monday, May 14 and tell us which beauty product plays a role in your daily skin care regimen. The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email.
Moms throughout the world share a central value- supporting and caring for their family.  Sometimes amidst the chaos in our own lives we forget that mothers in other countries need more help than we do.  Just putting food on the table can be a challenge for mothers in Njabini, Africa, where opportunities to earn money are scarce.  If you want to help Moms from these other cultures, here’s one way you could make a difference.
A Mom may wish for nothing more than a quiet afternoon this Mother’s Day, looking to escape from the constant go-go-go lifestyle and catch a few hours of serenity. Wind down from your hectic week by swapping chores and carpools for a relaxing day of reading with your child this May 13th. One lucky Mom Central reader will win a “Mommy and Me” Eric Carle-themed prize package, complete with gifts for both Mom and child to relax with. While your child enjoys Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Around the Farm sound book, or the Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzle, you can curl up with one of Penguin’s bestsellers such as The Help, Eat Pray Love, or The Witness. To enter win your own "Mommy and Me" gift pack, leave a comment below by Friday, May 11. The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email. Please note, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Keep up with the latest news from The World of Eric Carle on Facebook.
This Mother’s Day, give Mom a break and let her indulge in a delicious yet healthy treat from Peeled Snacks. These organic, gluten-free dried fruit snacks allow Mom to enjoy exotic fruits without leaving home. No need to feel guilty after enjoying these all-natural snacks with lots of vitamins and no added sugar. The tropical flavors include Much-ado-about-Mango, Apricot-a-lot, pine-4-pineapple, and more.   Tea Time Gift Tin This giveaway includes an assortment of Peeled Snack multi-serving bags that blend favorite fruit flavors to make Paradise Found (pineapple, mango, and banana), Farmer’s Market Trio (cherries, apples, and raisins), and GoFigure (figs, dates, and apricots). A single-serving bag of each fruit will also be included in this prize so Mom can try all the Peeled Snack flavors. A Tay Tea tin, filled with hand-blended loose tea, completes this package for a perfectly relaxing Mother’s Day gift.