1. I just discovered that dipping things in chocolate is great. How did I not know this?!
Marshmallow pops, peppermint sticks
& next: shortbread cookies!
Directions: Make a double-boiler by heating an inch of water (medium-low heat) in a small saucepan with a metal bowl resting on top. Put the chocolate chips of your choice in the bowl. Stir. Dip something. Dip everything. How great is that?!
2. When I can, it's fun to give "experiences" as gifts. This year we made orange pomander kits to give our math-y math club friends.
We included: a clementine, 1 yard of thin ribbon, 2 generous Tbsp of whole cloves, a toothpick, and instructions (which I included below).
3. I hope people will keep sending Christmas cards - I know it's extra work, but it's such a joy to receive them. Last year we started a new tradition and kept them up all year. Today I opened six (!) cards & was over-the-moon happy. I browsed them again each time I walked by.
4. This is the felt advent calendar I made in college when I had little money and lots of time. It's as simple as it looks - no instructions required. I'm not religious, but I do have sweet memories of the nice church lady grandmas who made banners to hang outside the sanctuary. The smell of homemade playdough and cupcake liner daffodils always remind me of them, too. But I digress... What kind of scene would you put together?
5. I hear people say all the time that they "hope you don't have to stay up too late on Christmas Eve." I would be so disappointed to go to bed at a reasonable time on Christmas Eve! As much fun as our family time is on Christmas Eve, I also love it after everyone is in bed - but me. Tree lights and candles aglow, It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street on the tv, treats for Santa and his reindeer next to the fireplace, surrounded by wrapping paper and all the trimmings. Aaaaaaaaah. Sleep vs. all this Warm & Fuzzy? No contest. (Bonus thing: one of our family mottos is "Sleep is for suckers.")
6. I have a collection of snowmen, Santas, and Christmas trees for the mantle. Each year, I try to add a little something. Last year I made this tree...
This is the start of a tree I cut from felted sweaters...
This year I started this Santa. Maybe by next year he'll look like Santa!
7. I love Christmas music, and this year we started playing it in mid-November. My favorites this year: Dean Martin's My Kind of Christmas and Harry Connick Jr.'s What a Night! A Christmas Album. When the mood is mellow (well, even more mellow!), it's Yo-Yo Ma and Friends' Songs of Joy & Peace, James Taylor at Christmas and Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas. They're santarrific, if I do say so!
Now I'll pass it on to:
Amber at The Tasty Alternative
Spiralgal at Buddha in a Bowl
1. Cut your ribbon into two equal lengths.
2. Starting at the top of the orange, wrap one of your ribbons all the way around. Tie it in a double knot at the top of the orange.
3. Wrap the second ribbon around the orange in the other direction. The ribbons should be perpendicular at the top & bottom of the orange. Tie it in a double knot at the top of the orange, and then tie it in a bow.
4. Form a loop with the long ribbon tails from the first ribbon by tying them together in a double knot. This is how you will hang your pomander.
5. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the orange. Press a clove into each hole.
6. Have a wonderful holiday season!