Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer!

Today I just wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer. I have some goodies to share with you to help you get a head start on your Christmas cards! My little early Christmas gift to you! I love making Christmas cards and nothing is better than some new stamps and paper. I have two prizes to give away to two of my readers. How to enter? Christmas is such a fabulous time of the year but also a very busy one as well. I’d love to hear some of your tips for organizing for Christmas, any ways you make special memories, a great Christmas recipe…anything at all you wish to share. I can’t wait to read all your ideas! Please, one entry per person! πŸ™‚ You have until Tuesday November 13th at 10 am EST to enter. I’ll be announcing my winners shortly after. Winning entries will be chosen by a random number generator. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Good luck! Have a wonderful weekend!

Christmas Card Kit #1

Joy to the World stamp set by Lizzie Anne Designs

6×6 paper pad of Figgy Pudding by Basic Grey

red velvet May Arts ribbon

snowflake brads

jks-figgy-lizzie.jpg

Christmas Card Kit #2

Peace stamp set from Flourishes

6×6 Figgy Pudding Paper Pad by Basic Grey

Red Velvet May Arts Ribbon

snowflake brads

jks-figgy-peace-2.jpg

234 responses to “Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer!

  1. We have really scaled our Christmas down and really just buy for the children in the family as the adults don’t need anything, so we focus on family and getting together. I do try to make something stamping related to give a little something to everyone and also to my hairdresser, mailman, dr. etc. The little nugget boxes are perfect for that. I start planning early and make a little something early. I already have 5 sets of tile coasters made for my daughter to give to our grandson’s teachers. Wish I had better ideas for you. I will be interested in reading what everyone says.
    Cheryl Sims

  2. That is very kind of you, Julia. You gotta love that Figgy paper! I just posted my favorite Christmas recipe on my blog: Homemade Anise Biscotti. I make up a huge batch, melt some dark chocolate to drizzle over top and package it up with tea tins for teacher, busdrivers, coaches and Sunday School teachers. It’s always a hit.

  3. WOW . I can’t wait to read everyones tips. I love my job as a nurse but I have to work weekends and holidays and it can be very hectic trying to make my family and friends feel special and loved. But I set aside one day in December and my daughter invites a couple of friends over and we bake for our family and neighbors. Of coarse I need to dress them up with some fancy packaging ( and yes,it involves stamping) I make cookie trays and biscotti, pizzelle cookies and they love them.
    This will be fun to see what everyone does
    Nancy

  4. Julia, I love to make dozens of Christmas cookies. I keep some, of course, and love to give away others to neighbors and friends on a cookie plate that becomes part of their gift. But, to make all those cookies and keep them fresh! I try and make the various cookie doughs ahead of time and freeze them until I’m ready to bake them up. I used to make the cookies and freeze them, but found they take up too much room in my freezer because of the various containers. I freeze the cookie dough in ziplock baggies. Seems to work well for me.
    Hope you’re enjoying your holiday planning! Thanks for the chance for this yummy prize.

  5. Pingback: Gift Ideas: Unique Personalized Gifts for Men & Women » Spreading a LIttle Christmas Cheer!

  6. Fun idea Julia! A family tradition we have started is to have our family “adopt” another family. We get assigned a family and shop for those kids for thier christmas…my kids have so much fun picking out stuff for other kids and it really shows them the true meaning of the season!
    Thanks for sharing your talent and goodies with us!

  7. Well Merry Christmas to us!! How generous Julia!! Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year and so I try to use my gifts to give gifts to others. I have a lot on the go, especially around the holidays but I try to show my friends and family how much I care about them, even though we are sometimes far apart. So to show them that I think of them often and how special they are to me, I try to make gifts for them. I don’t always have enough time to get everything done that I want to, but I try. Last year I scrapped calendars for people on my list and it’s something they can enjoy all year long. This year I am making notebooks, notepads and address books with my Bind-it-All. Not sure how many I’ll get done….but the effort is there!

  8. Happy Holidays! I really enjoy your blog and am learning so much! We have a Christmas tradition here of making lefse! We eat it with butter and sugar. My son learned how to make this wonderful Norwegian treat at 13 and now, at 18, has all the little cousins help take a turn.
    -Nancy Ann

  9. My kids and I make these special german christmas cookies that were my moms favorite to make. She unfortunately passed away when we moved to Canada seven years ago. That is my way to keep her memory alive with my kids and they love it. Thanks for sharing your talent with us, I always learn a lot from you. Take care, Beatrice

  10. What an awesome idea that we all can share in.

    I love sending Christmas cards and I make this a special time for me. I either get a fire going in the fireplace or light my oil lamp, put on Christmas music and write my letter for the year to send to all our friends.

    My mom and I used to take a Saturday, put on all the Christmas records we had and then head to the kitchen to bake cookies. Mom’s gone now and the children are grown so I don’t bake that much, instead I replaced it with my “cozy Christmas time” writing my Christmas letter and working on my cards.

    Happy Holidays all!

    Joyce

  11. Christmas is such a wonderful time of year and one of my favorite things to do each year is to find a special ornament to add to my kids’ collection. Each of my four kids has a different theme to collect. One collects snowmen, one collects gingerbread, one collects wooden soldiers and last but not least, Santa’s. I actually chose these for them when they were babies. It gets harder each year though. I still love it…and I’ll buy one any time of the year even if it’s early just so I can get them accomplished. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get to a craft show in years and I do mean years. That’s the BEST place to find some really original pieces. Anyhoo, I SOOOO want to get this FIggy pudding paper, etc. What a wonderful treat you’re giving away. Thanks for the opportunity! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for sure.
    Chris

  12. I love to do alot of baking. I also like to decorate our front porch.

  13. Mary Campbell

    My sisters and I get together and make all the family some cookies, cakes and candy. I make each of my sons a new ornament for the tree. I make everyone a handmade gift. Sometimes it is something I have crocheted or sewed. They seem to enjoy the handmade things. This year I am going to make the tile coasters. I also make them a handmade card. Thanks so much for the great blog candy. I love your blog.

  14. Gretchen Belknap

    Our tradition involves ringing the Salvation Army bell. Every year (for the past 6 years)we stand outside of a major department store or grocery store and ring the bell for donations for the Salvation Army! We have 4 small children but we ALL stand there and greet the shoppers! We live in MN so we wear PLENTY of layers! We usually do the weekend after Thanksgiving. It gives all of us a warm fuzzy!

  15. One of our Christmas traditions we’ve started with our kids is to have only three gifts each under the tree. We tell them that when Jesus was born, he was brought three gifts, and since HE is the gift we should be most excited about at Christmas, we give them only three gifts as well. We still do a stocking, but my kids care more about what is underneath the tree. πŸ™‚ It teaches our kids a valuable lesson and also saves our pocketbooks and sanity running around trying to get more “stuff”. I also make my kids clean out some toys and such just before Christmas and birthdays to donate to those who don’t have toys and to make room for new goodies…which has proven to also be a good lesson for them. They generally are very good about that. Thanks for the blog candy chance Julia and Joyeux Noel!! πŸ˜‰

  16. We have cut back on gifts for everyone these last few years and this year will probably be the same. Just gifts for the grandkids. My sisters and one brother & I gather at my mom’s, each having supplies for their cookie choice, make & bake everyone’s and split up! Lot’s of fun and saves on individual baking! Also get in on another cookie exchange with some friends. That’s what the holidays are about anyway!!! Thank you for your holiday generosity!
    Ilene B.

  17. To lessen the stress of holiday shopping, my DH and I make a point to have all shopping done before Halloween. Online shopping has also been a saving grace these past years since we had our son. We know what we are giving everyone early on so that we aren’t scrambling at the Mall and making impulse purchases. Saves us time and money.

    Christmas is more about being with family and friends than giving extravagant gifts to us. We hope to pass on that tradition to our son.

    Thanks for sharing those wonderful treats! I love reading your blog every day, you do such beautiful work πŸ™‚

  18. Organized at Christmas, I’m not Ü But I do love all those great Christmas-y recipes that just make your house smell so cozy and yummy. Here’s one that I guarantee will have you freezing bags of cranberries so you can have a little bit of Christmas all year long :
    Cranberry Relish
    2 granny smith apples, peeled and cored
    1 lb. fresh cranberries
    one package of frozen raspberries, thawed w/juice
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    1/2 cup orange marmalade

    Dump everything in your food processor (or a strong blender) and pulse till chunky, to your liking. Refrigerate and it keeps for such a long time!

    This is so good on pork, turkey, chicken……on top of cottage cheese…mixed with cream cheese for a bagel spread…..just in a bowl with a spoon Γ–

    Love your blog and can’t wait to read everyone else’s posts for Holiday ideas!
    Tracy *Ü*

  19. What generous blog candy! I have a routine that works for me- have my Christmas cards done by Thanksgiving, put my tree up and decorate Thanksgiving weekend, & mail out cards the first week of December. If I stick to this, then I can usually get all the other things done I need to do.

  20. Cindy Haffner

    Our tradition is to make homemade sugar cookies, They take forever but everyone loves them. When the kids were little they loved to help roll them out , put on the icing and then the sparkles.

    They would have more on their little faces than on the cookies. –I’m looking forward to making those same cookies with my Grandsons this year.

  21. My favorite part of the holiday is the holiday baking. I bake and give bakery goods as gifts for many people. Of course a close second favorite is the ‘justified’ spending you can do at Christmas. I love to shop for other people and make work of trying to find the ‘perfect’ gift for everyone.

  22. Wow! How generous! We have several family Christmas traditions. Christmas Eve dinner is Italian–lasagna, homemade garlic breadsticks and salad with cherry cream cheese pie for dessert. After dinner, we all decorate Christmas shaped cookies for Santa. Breakfast Christmas morning is always sausage balls. I love traditions!

  23. Well, as a pastor’s family–we keep Christmas simple yet meaningful. Dh and I are extremely sentimental–so repeating meaningful traditions is something we like to do. Our actual Christmas Eve and Christmas traditions are VERY simple–since I am basically on my own and dh is a bit busy then a bit tired.

    So we do simple things–Christmas eve is home cooked pizza (store bought crusts and toppings) and Christmas morning is Pancakes (from a mix and Christmas cookie sprinkles sprinkled on the pancakes as the first side cooks). They are family activities as well as food.

    They are not fancy foods–but the kids like the tradition.

  24. Shelly Schmidt

    Julia- my favorite thing I do at Christmas is to gather ‘things and stuff’ to send to Iraq to the soldiers. I send out an e-mail to just about everyone I know, and collect anything from toiletries to CD’s, games, mach lll razors, etc……The soldiers in Iraq -well some do not even have it that bad- but they are away from their families- and to me- being with family is what Christmas is all about. I go to http://www.anysoldier.com and pick a group and I am on my way!!! Once that is done, we make cookies- if you take the round pretzels and lay them flat on a cookie sheet, put a hug in the middle of them- put them in the oven at 250 until they are soft- maybe 5 minutes and take them out and put an M&M in the center (I use red and green M&M’s). It is a great treat to take to parties- there are never any left!!!

  25. Awesome, Julia. I would love to win. My best tip is to let someone else host! lol I have a sister who loves to have company and would rather host than go somewhere else. Everyone brings part of the meal. Our personal Christmas is very low key. Usually the only decorating is the tree — and one year nobody wanted to help decorate (had 2 teenagers), so it never got more than lights on it. We survived.

  26. I keep a journal with one page per gift recipiant, then I put it each year what gift I got and such so that I know not to get the same one another year

  27. A favorite gift for hard-to-buy-for friends and family: I make small foil trays of homemade hors d’oeuvres which I freeze. The recipient can just take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven for fresh homemade goodies when they have company. It’s fun to decorate the trays with a pretty wrap or bag πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the great blog candy, Julia!

  28. Cathy Whiteman

    We have a neigborhood Christmas Progressive Dinner with 3 other families. We have been doing this for about 18 years. The oldest kids are now 24 and the youngest is 10. The kids all have a gift exchange (last year we got all of them Nerf dart tag and it kept us all busy and happy for hours). We eat a different course at each house. Houses sometimes plan entertainment too like games or singing. We all look forward to it every year.

  29. It’s just the 2 kids and I so we’ve started “the 12 days of Christmas”. When they get out of school on their break I have them open one Christmas package a day until Christmas. This way they get to play with each new item, know who it’s from and appreciate its value. There’s even time for a thank you card before the next gift is opened! On Christmas day we celebrate the birth of Christ with a nice dinner and a birthday cake.

    Thanks for offering the awesome blog candy!

  30. We have four children…the oldest puts the angel on top of the tree every year…she’s 20. Our second child turns on the lights, our third child puts on the first ornament, and our youngest puts the first gift under the tree. It’s truly amazing that they’re happy with their task and are always so looking forward to getting the tree so they can complete it! Organization though? What is that? I love the blog candy and I’m holding my breath!

  31. My friends and I had a tradition that started in high school. We’d go out and carole around the neighborhood, which is also where alot of our classmates lived. Some thinks we’re crazy and some thinks it’s funny we caroled. But, after we’re done, one of the girls father would make us hot cocoa and peach pancakes.

    To this day we still do the peach pancakes. It’s really simple, Bisquick for the batter and a small canned peach, the trick is to drip some of the syrup in the batter before cooking. Then, when the pancake started to form on the skillet, you drop the peach in, so it’ll stay. Then, viola!

  32. Choose me, choose me!! Wow! What a great way to start out the Christmas season! I love Christmas and always have. I grew up in a small community in the Midwest. My mom was church organist and every Christmas, the church let us use it’s building for a Christmas concert. We gave a twelve concerts over the years I was growing up. It was a big community event and very well attended. It was a lot of work and sooo much fun!!

    Thanks for the great blog “gifts”!

  33. Great idea Julia – I can’t wait to read the responses you get. For the past few years we have started our Christmas tradition a bit early. In November we have been getting together with my DH’s mother and making cabbage rolls – LOTS and LOTS of cabbage rolls. Because this is such a big process, it is great to have 3-4 of us working together. It is always a lot of fun and we end up with a great addition to Christmas dinner.

    This year was different though, because they moved quite far away. Instead of us getting together to make cabbage rolls, my MIL made them and that is what we are getting for a Christmas gift. It’s great because my DH and I would never do it on our own!

  34. Our family is very blessed. There is nothing we really need. So instead of buying gifts just to buy gifts, we take the money that we would spend on each other and provide Christmas for another family. I will buy gift cards so that the parents can choose the gifts to give their children. It has been a wonderful experience for our family and we hope to continue it for many years.

  35. Every year, my husband and I do a shopping night with another couple. The guys go out in one car and the women go out in another. We meet back up for cookies and cider afterwards. It is a fun way to wrap up loose ends (like stocking stuffers), get a second perspective on gift ideas for those people who are hard to shop for, and make sure the guys actually get their shopping done, too πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the fabulous blog candy!

  36. Thanks, Julia, for the chance to win your awesome blog candy!

    I don’t have any tips for organizing around Christmas, unfortunately. This one will be only my second Christmas since moving out of my parents’ home, and I’m a little overwhelmed with everything to do, since last year was not a very good year and I didn’t get much done.

    I have found some delicious recipes on some of my favorite food blogs and I can’t wait to try them. I guess one thing I’m doing to save time is to start my Christmas baking next weekend – bake 1 or 2 things every weekend so I don’t have to do it all at once.

  37. Wow, great blog candy! Great ideas from everyone so far too.
    I wish I knew a way to make Christmas less stressful! As the kids get older, 19, 16, 14, & 13, it gets easier. They are actually asking for less. I think they get the idea of what Christmas is really about now. I buy a little at a time and stash things everywhere.
    For Christmas we get together at my sister’s house and have the most awesome dinner and exchange gifts.
    This Christmas will be even better with a new grandchild due very soon!

  38. Hmm…there are so many things we do since I am in love with all things Christmas. I order all things online and by October so I am done shopping early (I hate fighting the crowds). We always buy goats, chickens and water filtration systems for those deserving African/South Asian developing countries to reinforce with the kids how lucky we are. We bake, trim the tree, cover all our windows in “art”, etc. And when I say “we”, I mean it, my kids are in the muckety-muck of everything! Cheers Julia!

  39. Becky (my4kidzmom)

    Every year for as long as my kids have been babies, we allow them to open 1 present on Christmas Eve from us. It’s a new package of Christmas pajamas!! I love searching for them (sometimes we get them all the same, sometimes not) and then they wear them to bed that night. So on Christmas morning, all the pictures are taken of the kids in new fun pj’s. We also do St. Nick’s day; all the kids get new slippers and an ornament for the tree. The ornament is usually something they ‘like’ (princesses, buzz lightyear, etc) or to remember something from the year. They have come to expect the traditions, but that’s most of the fun anyway!

  40. We don’t do too much for Christmas, I’m usually still on my final exams by that time and usually my father is at work. We just have a nice dinner at home, with my fiancΓ© and my parent’s friends πŸ™‚

    The only “special” thing I want to do this year is to make simple handmade cards for my classmates.

  41. I have been receiving and reading your blog for about a year now. I really enjoy it and get some great ideas from you. I want to tell you something my father always did to make Christmas special. He had this big Sony reel to reel tape recorder. When we opened presents on Christmas morning, he would record the whole thing. He so enjoyed our squeals of excitement and surprise reactions when we opened our presents, that he would listen to it again on tape later. Our reactions gave him great joy, I guess and it was worth it to him to save them and listen again and again. Somewhere at his house now there are reels and reels of about 20 years of Christmas mornings that can never be replaced.

  42. Rather than fixing a large, formal dinner on Christmas day, our extended family has for years enjoyed a buffet of finger foods and appetizers throughout the day and evening. We usually gather at one house in the late morning/early afternoon and everyone contributes by bringing one or two appetizers or desserts while the hostess usually takes care of a sliced ham or turkey (for sandwiches or just to nibble on). We end up enjoying the day much better because we can all spend time together relaxing (rather than the hostess worrying about getting a big dinner on the table, then cleaning up a huge mess afterwards). And we’ve found that we end up with truly delicious food as we experiment with gourmet appetizers that are easier to make and tastier than traditional casseroles. Thanks for the blog candy!

  43. You are always so kind Julia. Thanks for the opportunity of the Christmas stamping goodies. Christmas is my favorite holiday and as a family, we really try to keep the focus on it’s true meaning by keeping things simple. I like to get my shopping and card making done early, usually by the first weekend in December. We keep decorations to a minimum, a tree, wreath, advent wreath and a few sentimental treasures here and there. Each Sunday, we share a time of advent and light our advent candles and several times a week we gather around our tree to add an Adornament (available through Family Life: http://www.familylife.com/articles/article_detail.asp?id=680). During the week prior to Christmas, we do a lot of baking and get together with friends. Christmas eve is always spent at Gram’s house and Christmas morning is set aside for church and family. It’s a wonderful time of year!

  44. Diane Lapointe

    What wonderful candy you are offering,that paper is so gorgeous!!!
    I’m not the organized type either,but being just my hubby and I, I try not to bake much,cause we are left we all of it and gain weight. So ladies in our family (about 8 of us) usually do a cookie exchange. I only have to make 1 recipe and get 7 back ,
    that works for me. And I always dress up my recipie,make it all nice!! Thanks at the chance of your great candy!!

  45. What a generous giveaway. Well, I am a listmaker. I make lists for my Christmas cards so I know exactly how many to make. I make a Christmas list with budget and where I will be buying the items. I always wrap my gifts as I buy them. I always put up my tree, lights and decorations Thanksgiving weekend and I have a baking party with friends to get all of my baking done. It helps that I don’t cook the dinner, my mom does that!

  46. Julia, you are so generous. Back in the 60’s my Mom received a fudge recipe from one of the Dad’s co-workers. Every Christmas since then my Mom has made homemade fudge. I have a couple of times. Also in the past few years I have gotten an angel off the angel tree and bought gifts. I tend to get baby girls since I have a son and grandson. It is so much fun shopping for that angel.

    Janet

  47. One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is Caroling. I rent a bus and a bunch of us from our Church go around to all of our shut-ins and a couple of nursings homes and sing Christmas songs. It is such a great feeling to see how happy it makes the elderly. Some join in and sing, some cry but all are touched in one way or another. Especially me! It also looks pretty cool for a bus to pull up in front of someone’s house and unload a bunch of carolers!

  48. I have a notebook or journal that I keep track of all the gifts that I need to purchase or that I already have purchased. The notebook always reminds me of the things that I have forgotten about, especially if I have started my shopping early in the year.

  49. What a great Christmas present you are sharing with us! I like to think of Christmas as a season not just one day and a very big part of that is listening to Christmas music. I must say that it is my favorite music and it saddens me when it is stopped playing on the 26th. That is just a bit too sudden for me. Another of my Christmas ‘things’ is having the mexican hot fruit punch, which is a Christmas tradition in Mexico. Unfortunately, I have a hard time making it here, as I cannot get all the ingredients, but I do my best. Now you made me think of it, I need some…
    Wishing you a very special Christmas Season!!

  50. What wonderful prizes. I can’t wait to read what people are going to say. Every year, my husband (who is a wonderful writer) creates a scavenger hunt for our two boys. The clues are written so they rhyme and in short poems, and the boys are looking for gifts such as books, video games, DVDs and the like. Each year my husband tries to make them more and more challenging, so he and I are always up until midnight (or later) Christmas Eve. The boys really look forward to it every year.

    Have a great weekend – Regina Davis

  51. Merry Christmas. When you have Children that love to find their presents before Chriatmas and rattle boxes etc. To counter act their being nosy, I put different names on the packages. IF the package was for Jeff (son) I would put his sisters name and vice versa. They could rattle all they wanted and never guess as the package was not for them. It only took one year of fooling them when they were smaller. I love the fun of baking cookies at Christmas. The kids always help (now it is grandkids). We would take cookies to all the neighbors and the kids learn the gift of sharing joy.

  52. well lets see I most of the time start my christmas cards in june or july and they don’t take me more than a month to finnish Christmas shopping I like to start in the summer time but it did not happen this year so I get to go on the 15 of this month I know it is crazy but I am not so crazy to go on black friday!!!!
    this year we don’t know if we will have three or four kids I am due on the 27th and the last three were early

    I have a fav treet this time of the year it is spice cookies with a super yummy pumpkin dip they are to die for I will post the how to on that later on my blog

    I can’t wait to win the lizzyann stamps I love the bells with holly!!! ;D

    http://sarah331980.blogspot.com/

  53. Denise Bennett

    What a generous gift you are offering to us! I love the Christmas season and all it stands for. Years ago, when we werent able to provide much to our kids at Christmas, we began a tradition of giving the kids pyjamas on Christmas eve. We decided, if we couldnt afford anything else, that we could find the money for pjs every year. Now, things are not so tight, we still carry on the tradition and it is what the kids look forward to the most!!!

  54. Regina Ellison

    We make sure to write down all of the names of children/grandchildren on index cards so no one gets left out come time to buy presents. My mom’s side of the family takes up one card and my dad’s side of the family takes up another card. There are so many we would definitely miss someone if we didn’t write them all down at once.
    I don’t really have a fav Christmas recipe I just eat too much of everything!

  55. I don’t really have any tips for being organized at Christmas…such a hectic time of year, but am looking forward to reading other people’s hints for getting organized! Our Christmas tradition is to watch my niece open her gifts at her house…so much fun to watch kids experience Christmas…and after breakfast at their house, everyone comes to our place and we have more gifts to open, followed by a brunch. We usually try to make something different each year for the brunch. It’s lots of fun to have the family together, though I must admit, I usually have to work on Christmas Day

  56. Wow, Julia, that is very nice of you and I would love to win one of these. Our Christmas tradition is for all our children & grandchildren to come to our house for a big Christmas meal and to open their presents from Nana & Papa. We have a large family so it is nice to get together. I have a couple of dishes that I make, that are ususally requested. I make a cornbread dressing from scratch and also a sweet potato casserole. Others bring dishes to go with the turkey and ham. Merry Christmas to you also, and to everyone.

  57. For organizing, we have a list of who we have to get gifts for (besides the kids and each other), we sit down and decide what to get each person, then I go shopping OR hubby and I go shopping. As we get the gifts, we mark them off the list and put them in one area of the house for wrapping (usually in our bonus room), then, lucky ME, I get to sit down and wrap (to give hubby SOME credit, he watches the kids while I wrap). As I get a pile, he comes and gets them and takes them to the tree.

  58. What a fun idea! And thanks for this awesome opportunity- you have picked out some wonderful Christmas treats! I’m not sure I would consider myself organized during Christmas preparations but I do make lots of lists to make sure it ALL gets done then I “give myself a break” if it doesn’t ALL get done. As far as tradition goes, everyone in the family gets a new Christmas tree ornament on Thanksgiving to add to the tree.

  59. OOOO, pick me! Had my eye on the Peace set!! Lovely!!
    For Christmas I love to make different candies and give an assortment to family and friends. We also let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve, pajamas. And everyone picks a new ornament for the tree every year.

  60. Bonnie aka raduse

    Julia, I’ve found the best way for me to organize my Christmas cards/gifts is to start early. I start my cards in Jan by joining the Christmas card challenge right after Christmas every year. If I’m making or buying presents, I usually start that in Sept or Oct. This year I’m behind a bit, but at least have the list of who’s getting what and how many I need.

  61. Darlene Gabriel

    Thank you so much for your generosity. To keep this short I’ll just mention one of our fairly new traditions. We always attend the Christmas Eve services at our church (I have been actively involved in the technical area for years doing PPT etc.) For the last 6 years or so our newer tradition is to do a chocolate fondue when we return home. It usually gets very late but we love it.

  62. Wow you ROCK! You always have such sweet candy. Wow I love this paper and the stamp sets. I’ve been wanting to get these so bad.
    What we do for XMAS is:
    Find a family to help out
    Before dinner everyone has to say something that they are thankful for that year
    Now since by kids are older. I’m trying to get back to what XMAS is all about.
    What a great question to make us stmapers think and remember what it is all about.
    Thanks for a chance.
    [email protected]

  63. I don’t really have any nice Christmas stories. Since we moved out west almost four years ago, we haven’t seen family at Christmas, so it tends to be a fairly quiet day for us. Finally, though, this year we are going home for the holiday! Yay! Family, shopping eating, gift giving… I am so looking forward to it!

  64. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is adding one new ornament to the tree. Every year since we got married, my husband & I have selected one new ornament together — whether it’s something that reflects the year, or something heart-shaped, or just something we both like. Some of the ornaments are store-bought, some are handmade — but they’re all very special to us.

    Thanks for the excellent blog & the nice early Christmas gift!

  65. A tradition in our family is to make bogna cauda on Christmas Eve. It is sort of like an Italian Fondu. We serve it with vegetables, french bread, various lunch meats and cheese. BTW, this fondu is made with butter, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies… sounds gross but it tastes great!

    Happy Holidays
    Julie

  66. We are Jewish, so a lot of my personal focus is more towards Hannukah, but my Christian friends are dear to me, and in general there is a lot of gift-giving… I have a list of folks who get more “temporal” gifts, things that get used up: cookies or treats, bath salts, wine, infused oils, etc. Other gifts are usually things that people would either REALLY enjoy, or have been wanted for ages — or something that represents family.

    I am a big list maker — so I have lists for the special meals, lists for shopping (by person and store) and I usually keep this at the back of my personal Journal, or at the back of my datebook.

    I try to listen throughout the year and pick up certain gifts when they are on sale, and I have a tub in a closet where I store things of this nature.

    Traditions include Chinese Food and a Movie (my husband cooks all the food, and the movie is a DVD) on Christmas Day — we invite friends for this event…

    One year I coordinated and cooked a meal for 40 people at our local “free dinner” — including cooking 4 turkeys, multiple pies, stuffing, and all the works…

    But I also try to do things like drive people to church on Christmas Eve, who don’t drive… and I have been known to take over people’s jobs on the holiday, so they could be with family. It is a blessing to know that my efforts have helped to make a holiday that is so special to others, more special.

    These can be times when people get closer, and though our immediate family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, my husband’s family does, and we can appreciate the special warmth of the holiday through them, too.

    The hardest part is the beauty of the holiday and the Santa tradition. We have two small children, and though I don’t feel comfortable with a Christmas tree in the home, we do invite Santa in through stockings hung on their door… I figure, Santa loves all children… and when the time comes to stop that tradition, we will. My folks did it for me until I was about 6 and we talked about it… then it made sense to stop.

    The holiday is about love, and I want to share that with everyone.

    Blessings to you, Julia, for all YOU share!

  67. The one thing that helps me so much at Christmas is that we have a Christimas cookie swap at work. We all make the same amount of cookies and then “swap” them out. So you always get a nice variety! So much easier to make one type of cookie rather than making 10 different types on your own! Thanks so much for offering the “Christmas cheer” to a couple of us bloggers … love the Figgy paper!

  68. I love the Christmas season. The kids and I start listening to holiday music right after Halloween! I have always made cookies at Christmas time, too (the all out rolled, cut, frosted type). Our new tradition is the kids helping. It can get really messy with a 4 year old and a 1 1/2 year old (think Halloween cookies here), but they love it! It is so much fun.

  69. What awesome Christmas cheer! I love Christmas – it’s my favorite holiday. We’re really trying to steer the focus away from the gifts with my kids, trying to avoid being caught up in the materialism and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. Instead of giving gifts to friends, we try and do outings together (crafts, movies, pottery painting, etc..) and create memories together – after all, who needs more toys? Also a great website is http://www.organizedchristmas.com . Can’t wait to read everyone else’s comments too! Thanks for everything Julia!

  70. As I live far from my family I rely on cards and small gifts that have to begin to me sent on December at first week, to ahead of things always helpso I begin to think about it on september

  71. Well this has become a tradition and it never intended it to be!.. what is it.. On X-mas eve we go to my MIL’s and drop off the kids and head to the mall.. YES THE MALL… it is the most insane day beside Black Friday to be there! and OHHH MY is it an adventure… but we get our last minute goodies (OK so I do 75% of my shopping then! I know I am soo bad!LOL) then head back to my MIL as soon as we get out of the car I tip-toe through the back door downstairs and give my gifts to my SILS to wrap the gifts! They are the wrapping elves! lol If I were to wrap a present.. OH DEAR!lol.. then head up stairs to hear the X-mas music playing and the wonderful smells of yummie X-mas dinner after dinner everyone gets into P.J.’s and then we wait until 12 a.m. and then in order to open a gift you have to sing a carol.. IT really is the best part of the year! lol I love hearing my babies singing for goodies! lol But at the end of the night everyone ends up singing Jingle Bells! LOL.. HMM is it 12/24 yet! lol

    Ellie

  72. Oh, Please, Oh, Please, let me be lucky this time πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ .
    Love the candy.
    Every year, my girlfriends and I take a day off from work to bake together. It’s become quite the celebration. We all bring 2 of our favorite recipes and ingredients to make them. Then we wrap the cookies festively for gifts. In some years, we made homemade khalua and candy apples. We always have a wonderful time aND it’s productive!

  73. Our favorite tip is no formal Christmas dinner- we have a Christmas Eve sit down dinner- but on Christmas day we serve hot aurderves (sp)- prepared beforehand- in copious amounts. This way, we can play with all our new goodies, visit with family- and have no prep and precious little clean up. Works great!!

  74. Two years ago we started what I hope becomes a family tradition… We pray the Christmas Novena, starting 9 days before Christmas. It’s a great reminder of what we are truly celebrating. Thanks for the chance to win some nice goodies. Sandra

  75. WOW, great candy!!!!

    Every Christmas I decorate tins and bags and fill them with cookies and candy my Mom and I make for friends and neighbors, not only do they love them, but we get the joy of creating and making memoires each year, baking with family is one of my favorite parts of Christmas!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season and make many wonderful memories!

  76. Thanks for the opportunity to win such fun candy. I love coming to your blog each morning and seeing your new creations. Christmas is the 1 time during the year that my entire family gets together and with the addition of little ones in the family it is so much fun to see how much they have grown each year. I love to bake and I have a wonderful biscotti recipe that I pull out around the holidays. I also make a very yummy peppermint/chocolate icecream cake. If you are interested in either recipe I can email them to you. Happy Holidays!

  77. The Christmas Eve service at our church is one of our traditions. Last year, one of my daughters was an acolyte and the other two were in the choir with me (we swell our little numbers with as many as we can get for Christmas Eve!) In fact, my son sang so loudly that people were turning around in the pews to see who had the big voice! It was a hoot!

    After the service, the church members gather for what we call “Afterglow” with punch and cookies. Our church really is a family and being there on Christmas Eve is a family celebration for us.

    Love the candy…hope I win!

  78. Oh, I’d love to be entered! What a generous giveaway!!!

    I don’t know if my tips are anything extraordinary. But I try to mix up all of my cookie dough in the mornings over a week span. If I do one or two at a time, it isn’t too overwhelming. Then I can bake them all on a Friday night while we’re watching a movie or something. I also try to get my shopping finished by Thanksgiving and make my gifts before then, too. That way, there is plenty of time for decorating and making last-minute gifts.

  79. It’s hard to have traditions when our families live so far away and we spend a lot of time travelling over the holidays. When my husband and I bought our first house 7 years ago, we decided it was time to create some of our own traditions. One of them was to devote every other Christmas to staying at home. We have our families come visit throughout December and even have a big dinner at our house, but every other Christmas day we are home, with each other, enjoying the day and each moment of it. We also started a tradition of visiting a lovely garden shop that decorates extensively for Christmas where each year we pick out a new Dept. 56 building for our “Christmas In The City” village. Each building gets packed away with a little note inside saying where and when it was purchased (or who gifted it to us), and the following year when they are unpacked again, the notes reminds us of special holiday moments.

  80. What a wonderful idea Julia, ohhhhhh the figgy pudding paper! I must get some of that, it is on so many stamping blogs right now!
    I love Christmas! With that being said i also love to try and take an organized approach, start early so that i can enjoy the holidays too.
    I have Christmas music playing already, including in my truck and for me that is a little reminder, do something for Christmas everyday, small things like: printing off all the address labels one day, buying stamps, picking up an extra box or two for mailing parcels, grabbing a few extra chocolate boxes when they are on sale for my courier fellow. Something that has also worked for me is having alittle wrapping station set up, so when i have an extra minute or two i can wrap a gift and add it to the pile. Nice to have the time to do it, instread of the mad wrapping session that lasts a few hours and makes me grumpy!
    We have had a busy year, we just moved into a new house in the country and just got married on the 20th of October so i look forward to decorating and having people over during the holidays, now back to my list!!!

    Dawn T
    Canada

  81. So nice of you to offer us such great goodies! Thanks, Julia!
    Our Christmas tree is filled with ornaments from all different family vacations that we have taken. Each year, when we go somewhere new, I buy an ornament. That way, everytime we put up our tree, we remember all of our fun vacations that we’ve had along the way.

    Lisa R.

  82. My biggest tip is that I do all my Christmas shopping and wrapping before Thanksgiving. I travel each year for Thanksgiving so I like to bring the gifts to the out of town people. Also when I get back I can just enjoy the season and not have to shop or get anything done.

    For Christmas dinner I finally started accepting the offers for help, people know what they are bringing, I have someone bring pies, I leave it up to them if they purchase them or make them, someone brings olives (we have to have olives at every family meal) and so on. So I make the main dish (ham) and my mom’s special recipe of green bean casserole because Ihave to have that just right, and let other family make other stuff. It was hard to let go but we all have a better time than when I tried to make and buy every single thing.

  83. Christmas is the best time, I love how we all get into the holiday spirit! One thing I have found helps me is making a lot of lists for gifts, Christmas dinner etc. For the past couple of years I have tried to get all my christmas shopping done in November so that I can avoid the crowds and mayhem that are inevitable as Christmas gets closer, doesn’t always work but I usually only have to get a few last minute things. Thanks for the chance to win some goodies : )

  84. My all time favorite scrapbooker, Ali Edwards had a wonderful idea for Christmas that I’ve started doing for the past two years. Create a small scrapbook BEFORE the holidays and that way you can fill it with memories as they happen. It’s so much easier than trying to remember things AFTER the holidays. Plus who has the energy to do all that thinking after the holidays.

    Now that we have a daughter, I’ve also gotten into the habit of noting all the gifts she receives in a notebook. She’s the only grandchild, so you can imagine how spoiled she is around the holidays.

  85. Christmas isn’t the same now that my kids are all grown up. I keep decorations small and to the minimum. Grandkids are newborns so it won’t be unitl next year when they can understand Christmas and presents. Now, I focus more on teaching Christmas card classes at the LSS.

  86. I’m with you, Julia, Christmas is my favorite!! I just found a website called organizedchristmas.com and it looks very helpful. i didn’t get a chance to really follow along this year, but my friend is and she loves it so far! it’s been walking her through some of the planning stuff since the end of Oct. so that she does not feel pressured about the holidays at all. I also make Christmas cookies with my girls every year. They are just for us, so I don’t care if they lick their fingers between each dip of icing or getting a little messy! Thanks for offering such generous candy! I NEED those stamps and paper!

  87. christmas is truly one of the most wonderful of holidays! it’s really a shame that is can also bring so much stress! when having family and friends over for dinner during the holidays, i like to prepare side dishes that i can make the night before and just heat up the next day. i also lay out all the dishes that i will need to use so that i am not scrambling to find what goes where last minute.

    thank you for offering the kits! i LOVE LOVE the figgy pudding paper!! πŸ™‚

  88. Wow Julia – thank you for such lovely blog candy! *fingers crossed* A great organizing tip for me has been to make a “folder” /journal out of cardstock that I have three lists in: a to make gift list, a to buy gift list, and a planner. I also have November and Dec small calendar dates on the bottom. It helps so much and I keep it in my purse and work on it while I am on the ferry or other down time.

    Thanks
    Suzy

  89. Happy Holidays!! What a generous and fun gift! My family puts up our holiday decorations and the tree the day after Thanksgiving (here in the US). That really sets the holiday mood for me. Also, DH and I take one day, and only one day, to shop ’til we drop. My parents take the kids and we go shopping and get it ALL done! We go out to dinner, enjoy our time alone, and finish it all in one night.

  90. Awesome blog candy..but heck, you could never give anything away, and I still wouldn’t miss your blog each day! Love it!
    I just made arrangements with my Stampin Up! demonstrator to hold a special Workshop for me and my 4 neices to make a Christmas present for their mothers..for the past 10 years, my neices have stayed overnight on Thanksgiving, and the next morning we’ve done some sort of craft project, depending on their age at the time (when we started the two youngest were 4-5)..we’ve made applesauce ornaments, birdseed ornaments, painted trees, made candles, itty-bitty scrapbooks, vintage tea cup ornaments..and a variety of other things that have all been fun..in the past few years, we’ve done paper projects, which they’ve really enjoyed! This is my most cherished christmas tradition…!

  91. Hi Julia- what a great giveaway!!! I love Christmas! One of our traditions is to buy a very small live tree and take it to my mother-in-law’s grave. When the whole family gets together all of the grandkids make some handmade ornaments and we go to Nana’s and decorate her tree and sing Christmas carols. It is a nice way to keep her in our hearts. My boys and I also string our own garland out of the clear plastic colored beads- they just sparkle against the christmas lights- and so easy to make. Every ornament on our tree has been handmade (mostly by the kids). It is one of my favorite things ever. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  92. We make Christmas special by decorating our tree with handmade ornaments which we’ve crafted over the years, baking cookies and making candies for friends, neighbors and family, and attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church. Driving around to see the beautiful decorations in our area is part of our tradition too. I enjoy browsing shop windows and stoping for a cup of hot chocolate or tea with my husband too. These are some of the many things we do to help make the season special.

  93. becky cunningham

    Hi Julie!
    AVERY LABELS make Christmas so much easier!
    Computers make Christmas cards move faster for me by being able to print out my address book on labels, i also use the avery labels for gift tags. i come up with a new design each year and then i dont have to sign our names 100 times on the gifts we are giving. our names are on the label with a sentiment and design and all i have to do is write the persons name who is getting the gift. i also make up new address labels for us each year.

  94. Ooooh yummy prizes again!

    I love to organize my Christmas planning and this year is no exception.

    Gifts: I have a little form I email to my friends and family to find out their wishlist. Each person/family sends it back with wishes, sizes, colors, stores they like etc. They also have to fill out what they DO NOT want. This is especially helpful for my friends with kids because they fill me in on what kind of things they have, can’t have and would like to have. It’s made shopping so much easier!

    Cards: I print out my address labels early so I can write, sign and seal each envelope as I make the cards. It’s easy to see by the number of labels left, how many more I have to make.

    Baking: I do a girl’s baking exchange with some girlfriends. Each person has to bake one dozen cookies/goodies for everyone who is attending (ex: 6 ladies coming bake six dozen goodies) and 1 dozen for themselves. The girls come over and we all exchange baking. Everyone gets 1 dozen of everyone elses. Plus they have to provide the recipes so we can all recreate them later! Instant variety!!

    Hope that helps!

  95. When we were kids, we would set up the nativity in the living room, with just the animals, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Starting December first, we would put the camels and wise men at my mother’s bedroom door and each day they would move a little closer to the living room, arriving on Christmas Eve at the nativity. Not exactly historically correct, but it was a fun tradition! Thanks for the opportunity to win such great loot!

  96. Christmas is such a wonderful time, but also very hectic for me so I make lists and more lists. I have one for people that I need to buy gifts for and also leave room to note what I bought and where and keep a receipt envelope attached. I also make a list for food that I need to make for Christmas along with a grocery list just for Christmas foods. Another thing that really helps me is keeping my calendar updated so that I don’t over schedule our family for anything. I try to keep our commitments as few as possible during this time so that we can really focus on being together as a family. hth

  97. I can’t tell you that I’m the most organized person at Christmas, but I do this one thing that has saved me time and time again. When giving gifts, before they are wrapped, we snap a digital picture so that we can remember exactly what we gave. We then immediately download the pictures to our computer, naming them such that it includes the year and the name of the recipient. (We back up these pictures to CD also). When we receive gifts at Christmas, we do the same thing. Before they are taken from the tree and put away I snap a digital picture and it named according to who gave the gift. People think it’s amazing that we remember in such detail what we gave and what we received. Blessings to everyone as we enter this most wonderous season of sharing and caring!

  98. I can get stressed about all the gift buying, so I try very hard to find things throughout the year. My mom taught me this tip. We have a rubbermaid tote in our closet that we fill with all kinds of gift things that we find on sale throughout the year (Bath & Body works big sale, candles & clearance goodies @ Target, etc.) so when someone’s birthday creeps up, we’re not running around hunting for something. I also keep a mini notebook in my purse with a page for each family member with a list of gift ideas… that helps me to keep an eye out for gifts all year round (& take advantage of sales without the rush of other shoppers) πŸ˜€

  99. Here is a really good, and easy, cranberry salad recipe that I am requested to make each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Any leftovers go great with turkey or ham sandwiches. Make sure you use Whole cranberry sauce in the recipe.

    CRANBERRY SALAD

    1 can crushed Pineapple, in it’s own juice
    1 small package Sugar Free Raspberry Jello
    1 can Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
    1 can Mandarin Oranges in light syrup
    1 medium apple, diced
    1/2 cup celery, diced fine
    2 cup grapes, halved if large

    Put pineapple with juice in large skillet and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and add dry Jello and stir until dissolved. Add can of whole cranberry sauce and stir until mixed together. Add drained mandarin oranges, diced apple, celery and red grapes. Mix and refrigerate

  100. Wow, what wonderful giveaways, Julia — all my favs! Hope you have a great weekend, too.

  101. I just wanted to share one sweet tradition that I began with my 2 children when they very teeny, tiny, and they’re now 7 and 10 years old. On Christmas Eve we each have a cupcake or muffin with a lit candle at the top of each one and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. Its a very simple and sweet tradition and we just love and and look forward to it each Christmas Eve, although we of course celebrate Him 365 days a year! Jesus is the reason for the season and there’s no greater gift anyone could ever receive than Him.

  102. Well, I just have to say thanks for the offerings! Each year I buy an ornament for each child in my home that either they’ve picked out or that represents our “year” in some way. Recently I found a printable record sheet where I can record the ornament, who it was purchased for, reason, etc. I love it. Now, when I get around to making that darn mini book I’ll have all the pertinent info!
    Take care.
    Misty

  103. What a great early Christmas present either of these wonderful gifts would make!!! Now that my daughter is old enough to help make cookies, we always make all the holiday yummies together, making it all go so much faster, and we get to spend some really great time together.

  104. Kerry Fitzpatrick

    One of my dearest memories of Christmas is making cookies with my Mom and Sister. We would laugh and talk non-stop while the kitchen filled with wonderful smells. One day is all it took….and we each had goodies for our families and some for friends and we were warmed by the love and laughter. Such a grand way to start the holidays and it set the tone for joy and love for the whole season. My Mom is not with us any longer and my sister lives far away….but I have kept this tradition going with my daughters. But, while we’re cooking, I still hear my Mom and Sister, the memory lives on.

  105. Thanks so much for this giveaway, Julia! One of my fav. things to do at Christmas is getting together with extended family. On my mom’s side with all the aunts, uncles and cousins (her siblings and their children), there are over 60 of us that gather at a time. That takes some organization with delegating who will bring what, but it is always a fun time. I also don’t bake much, but I love baking a special treat for the neighbours on my street at Christmas time. You don’t tend to see your neighbours much in the winter as we keep indoors, so it is a nice way to remind them you’re thinking of them.

  106. I don’t have much xmas advice as I am just starting out on my own as a newylwed for xmas. However, over the years I have learned to shop early then I have more time in December to enjoy the season!

  107. NancyS (momsnack)

    My daughter and I make wreaths or door swags from all the beautiful evergreens and holly in my yard – cedar, fir, cypress, pines, pinecones, etc. Then naturally cookies and breads for gifts. It’s been great reading all these wonderful suggestions!
    NancyS (momsnack)

  108. Heather Leech

    Hi!
    I LOVE Christmas!! I used to be organized BC (Before Children), but now I’ve really tried to simplify. Gift cards for adults (of course presented in a lovely gift card holder!) And as my kids get older, they get easier to buy for as well.
    My birthday falls on December 1, so we have a family tradition that our Christmas Tree is put up on my birthday. It’s kinda’ the official start of the Christmas season for us!
    Thanks for a chance at some great prizes!!!
    Heather L.

  109. I get all my Christmas shopping done on the day after Thanksgiving. I get all the best deals and I only have to go out into the crazy mall once. It is totally worth it!! FABULOUS prizes you are offereing! Thanks!

  110. My daughter (now 15) always helps me decorate the tree. For the past few years I have boughten each of my children a tree ornament. My daughter and I talk about who belongs to each ornament and any memories associated with them. We have a lot of fun. Thanks for the opportunity to win some fabulous prizes!!! Love your blog!

  111. Ooohh, yummy figgy pudding candy! Our daughters are all in their late teens so I have simplified gift-giving for them by giving them gift cards or cash (they love that green paper from Uncle Sam…). The fun part (that involves stamping) is leading them each on a treasure hunt to find the envelope with their gift in it. I plan the clues out ahead of time and number them (so I don’t screw up!- nothing like a clue that doesn’t lead anywhere!!); then I write them out on small stamped pieces of cardstock and hide them. I think they enjoy the hunt as much as looking forward to shopping with the $$. Our other tradition is opening all our gifts on Christmas Eve after services (my husband is a pastor); then we have Christmas Day to play games and just enjoy ourselves.

  112. Hi and thanks for such a fun and generous prize!! I love crafting so every year I pick something I already do or have always wanted to learn to do and make a lot of my gifts – starting in January!! This year it is beaded jewelry – specifically “mother’s” bracelets. I am also making the nugget tins for my co-workers. Another thing that helps is baking lots of cookies!! I have a friend who is interested in baking – so I give her baking lessons each year and I get help with all the cookie baking in return. We both end up with lots of tins of 5 or 6 different types of cookies to package and give as gifts and we have so much fun baking together in the process!! Thanks again for the wonderful offer and for sharing your projects with us!

  113. oh wow!! I’m planning on making up little goodie bags all stamped up pretty for my guest this year…

  114. Sandy Fleming

    Believe it or not it really helps me to shop at the last minute for my gifts. It stops me from overthinking and I don’t have a chance to go back to the store because what I already got isn’t good enough and then buy more. And there are great sales at the last minute.

  115. Wow!

    Okay, we do lots around our household…just like everyone else. ;0)

    It all starts the first weekend of December with putting up the tree. Daddy usually does the lights and we…me and our 2 girls…do the rest. Then we do some more indoor and out door decorating. There is always time for cookie making. Love making Date cookies, Ginger cookies, shortbread and also love my SIL recipe for this awesome White Chocolate mix. Every year I saw that I want the shopping done by December…but alas it never is. ;0) I just really need to get busy on my Christmas cards!!! :0)

  116. What a lovely

  117. Ooh, what lovely candy! You are so generous! I love to bake cookies for family and friends. I make cards, and love to carefully choose Christmas gifts. But my most favorite thing is wrapping the gifts – I love to do elegant sparkly package trims. I do them in a way that they can be removed from the package and used again.

  118. I shop and prepare all year for Christmas. As soon as I see something I know would be a perfect gift for someone special, I buy it. And the same with the gifts that I make. I make things all year long, with specific people in mind and make those gifts as I go. This way, I’m not scrambling around during December but instead, I can enjoy the season and it’s festivities, along with my family and friends.

  119. Here is a quick Christmas cookie recipe that kids love & can help bake.

    l roll of sugar cookie dough
    1 pkg. Hershey’s kisses

    Slice the cookie dough. Cut the slices into quarters. Place dough in tart pan w/pointed side of dough up. Bake 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven & immediately place Hershey kiss. Place in fridge for 5 minutes to cool.

    You can also use Peanut Butter cookie dough & Reese Peanut Butter cups.

  120. rebecca wheeler

    Merry Christmas….the Sunday before Christmas we spend with hubby’s mom who is now in a retirement home…We will attend Church and go out for lunch. FIL passed away last year on Dec 19th, so it is nice to be able to spend time with Mom.
    We go to church Christmas eve and celebrate the Reason for the Season, then watch White Christmas…I almost know if off by heart. Have a blessed season..no matter how you celebrate. Rebecca

  121. To organize gift-giving, I keep a list of people I need to buy gifts for and jot down ideas of what I might want to give them, along with a budget of what I want to spend. Then mid-November I start seeking out those items and check each one off the list until I’m through. Not really an original idea, but it helps me keep track of what I need to get and what I’ve already done.

  122. Besides our regular Christmas tree, I have an angel tree. I decorate it with angel ornaments that I’ve received as gifts, made or bought over the years. Now that I have grandchildren – twin granddaughters, 5 yo – I’ve started a collection for them by giving them an ornament from my tree each year. When they are adults and decorate their own Christmas trees they’ll have some angel ornaments to put on it and I hope they’ll think of their Nana.

  123. My gift list has been simplified in that I now give gift cards to the receivers favorite store, instead of running myself ragged trying to find that perfect gift for everyone. I still buy gifts for my 3 little grandkids, but all the adults and nephews and niece now get the cards. I always have Christmas at my house, but I’ve been doing it for so long that it comes easy for me now. The hard part is getting cards made & sent out, and making all the cookies & candies that everyone looks forward too. I’ll enjoy reading all of your posts to see what great hints your readers will come up with. Thanks for a chance at that super-duper blog candy:) Jesus is the Reason for the Season – something I always remember when I start feeling overwhelmed.

  124. When my boys were little “Santa” would put their filled stockings at the foot of their beds. Mama wasn’t dumb. This little tradition kept them busy for at least 30mins. and gave Mom & Dad 30 mins more to sleep. They have carried this on with their children. I now make all my Xmas cards for family & friends.

  125. Well I guess everyone knows how expensive those stockings can get, especially when your children become adults! So I shop the Dollar Stores, Target’s $1 Spot, Michaels and JoAnn’s $1 aisles and the beauty samples aisles ALL YEAR so that I have a good supply when the holidays come. And you never know when you might need to glean a few items from your stash and dress them up in a little container with a card for someone special. You’re prepared! Please pick me Julia.
    Mary Puskar

  126. I love to make dinner for my family every year… But, I make things that can be made ahead of time and keep. That way I can relax the day of and I only have the main dishes to make that morning… The night before I set almost everything up table, dishes and so on… The next day I just pop everything into place and it is ready and I get to enjoy everyone and not be off in the kitchen alone… I make my cards all year long and by the time Turkey day rolls around I have them to adress and send out….

    refletions:0)

  127. Wow, what a wonderful prize you have put together!! My gift giving has become very simplified in the last couple of years. When you are divorced with no children and don’t have a close family relationship it makes it a very short list. But for those I do exchange with I gear more toward gift cards. Gift cards is a simple and easy way to give a gift that you know will make the person happy.

  128. woo hoo to the winners! But we’ll all be winners of some neat ideas, huh? One of our Christmas traditions is everyone gathering for Christmas Eve dinner…DH is from Norwegian heritage and we make and have lefse; I’m hispanic and we also have posole and tamales & red chili…an interesting combination, but we all love it! Biscochitos for dessert, of course. DH and DD spend one afternoon close to Cmas making lefse.

  129. Well, this year we are going away for Christmas! So it’s going to be really different. No tree, no snow for sure, very little presents… my son will have to learn that Christmas is not all about the presents….
    One thing I did for number of years is I had my step-kids write ‘Santa’ letters even when they were 15-17-18 year-olds and I put those away. I think it will be fun reading those in 10-15 years from now… Can’t wait to have DS start writing ‘Santa’ letters. :o)
    FYI, in Hungary they don’t decorate the tree until Christmas Eve… and they open presents that evening… presents that come from Little Jesus. That’s something different, isn’t it?

  130. Dorothy Freber

    My gift giving routine has turned into a year long project. Immediately after Christmas, I begin to create my next years’ Christmas projects. I make cards kits, personalized stationary, and other gifts while I am still in the spirit. By the time the warm weather comes around I don’t usually feel like making Christmas projects. I am lucky enough to work at a dental office that we take off the whole week between Christmas and New Years and again during Spring Break and that’s usually plenty of time to get most of the gifts and projects finished. I can’t believe the wonderful prizes you are giving, I sure hope I am lucky! Thanks for the great blog! Dorothy Freber([email protected])

  131. We usually all get together and have a big dinner. Everyone brings a dish and I fix the Turkey and Mashed potatoes. Then after dinner we sit around the tree and watch the kids open their gifts. I try to make somethings ahead of time like the desserts or things that freeze well. This year may be different, My parents are moving next week to a condo. The house I was born in and built by my Dad now belongs to my brother and his family. So, I’m not sure where Christmas dinner will be yet. Thanks for the goodies qnd Happy Holidays.

  132. My tips are for gift giving.
    From doing many swaps I have collected a TON of card fronts. I’m mounting them on coordinating cardstock bases and putting them (and envelopes) in cello packages to give away to friends and family.
    For my “baking” this year I’m melting white chocolate and adding crushed candy canes (from last year) into it to make peppermint bark.
    I’ll also be making no-bake Nilla rum balls – my son likes to help roll them and eat them! We’ll be starting these soon since they freeze really well!
    I’ve also found a great source for Kraft paper wine bags that I’m gold embossing with pine cones and pine boughs to put wine in for hostess gifts. I’ll use scraps for tags and emboss with the same stamps and tie on with natural hemp.
    We’ve scaled right back on gifts this year and the gifts I have bought for my kids are ones that can be used to entertain them on our Christmas vacation!

  133. I love Christmas baking but don’t always have time to do as much as I’d like. The one recipe I always try to make though is Apricot Almond Biscotti. My family and friends all seem to just love it and many have asked for the recipe, which I’m always happy to share.

    Thanks for your very generous giveaway, Julia!
    barb

  134. These have been a family fav cookie since I was a kid:

    Elevator Lady Spice Cookies from “The I Hate to Cook Book” by Peg Bracken

    Mix together:
    3/4 c shortening
    1 unbeaten egg
    1 c sugar
    1/4 c molasses

    Then sift together and stir in
    2 c flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon
    powdered cloves
    3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

    Now mix altogether and form into walnut-sized balls. Place 2″ apart on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

  135. Thanks for a chance to win this awesome blog candy !
    A tradition we try to do every year is go out and look at christmas lights , it is so nice to see everyones gorgeous decorated yards . Also the last couple years we have participated in our apartment complex decorating contest and have won 2nd prize twice . It has been fun reading everyone elses comments .

  136. We always pick a child off the angel tree and shop for their Christmas. I let the kids pick the gift and I hope this will teach the spirit of giving at Christmas. I always fill stockings, no matter how old they are and try to pick specific items related to the person. After we open presents, youngest to oldest, they always run to get their stocking!! Great give away…….I’ve been admiring that paper for awhile!!! I hope you post some of ideas listed here, from what I’ve been reading they all are great!!! Wish you and your family an early Happy Holidays!!!

  137. Hmmm Christmas in Hawaii….. It is beautiful weather this time of year…but its beautiful weather all year long too! It would be nice to get into the cold and have a real white Christmas. Our cold is like 59 degrees!:) And oh yes it does snow in beautiful Hawaii. A couple of years ago our friend who is a pilot here called us and told us that there was snow up on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, we flew there for the day and drove up to Mauna Kea and played in the snow! Fantastic! Now we’re talking COLD! I think it was like -3 degrees…in Hawaii even! Then we drove back down and enjoyed the sun and the beautiful beaches. Best of both worlds on one island!

  138. Mine would be I learned how to whip Short bread cookies! if you whip it for like 5 min they are so fluffy and yummy!

  139. Julia, love your blog. I have two traditions that are the world to me: cookie baking with my sister for our families, friends, etc. We started this 20 years ago when we both lived at home, then we would get together, now with 7 children b/w us, we make the cookies at our own homes but get together over egg nog to put the platters together. The tradition we started with our 4 children is we all get into our bed and watch Holiday Movies starting after Halloween. Christmas Vacation, Elf, Muppet Christmas, Frosty, Santa Claus is coming to town, etc. some of the best discussion and snuggles have happened. Now DH, our 16yo,14yo,5yo and 2yo all squeeze into our king size bed for movies and egg nog- 2 cups are sippys because of previous spills. LOL

  140. Wow, what fun offerings!

    One thing we do every Christmas that saves a little bit of time is: we have a chocolate fondue Christmas Eve. Then any leftover fruit is already to go for a fruit salad the next morning!

  141. My family has been shifting traditions a bit over the past few years, as our folks are getting older and don’t have the energy for “all the fuss”. We now have Christmas dinner at my sister’s house, and each family group contributes some part of the meal.
    Makes it less work for everyone, and we have more time to spend with each other.

    Thanks for the chance at this wonderful blog candy, Julia! I love both of these sets. It’s also the only kind of candy I can say “yes” to, at the moment!

  142. Great to read these comments!! I like to keep a notebook with any ideas that come up during the year of things my family and friends like, want, wish for. This way, I’m not scrambling come holiday time! Thanks for the chance for this fun candy!

  143. I love watching all the old holiday movies (The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant is a favorite) I have them all on video or dvd, so I can watch them at any time. This is also the time I wrap my presents. These movies really put me in the Christmas mood and make wrapping fly by!

  144. Thanks for the chance to win such great candy Julia! I always have big plans to be better organized. . . I even made a notebook but then gave it to my MIL since she liked it so much! But it was a nice altered composition notebook with tabs for different sections that could be filled out each year . . recipes, gifts, special celebrations, journalling, etc. – a great way to keep organized and remember from year to year what you’ve done!

  145. There was only one year that I was super organized and that was the year our daughter Noelle was born. She was born one week before Christmas and that year I worked really hard to get Christmas cards done and shopping all done before November 30th. I honestly can’t remember how I did that since it’s been about 15 years! It was probably that nesting thing. My suggestion…have a baby close to Christmas LOL.

    Yvonne Wickenkamp

  146. I have been collecting Hallmark ornaments forever…and every year I buy each of the grandkids an ornament..and wrap and try to give at Thanksgiving…if I cannot then it is wrapped for Christmas…that way, when they leave home someday, they have ornaments to put on their own tree…this is what my Mom did for my kids, her grandchildren and when they left home, I sure did miss the ornaments.
    I know this is not an organization thing, but thought maybe someone would love to start buying ornaments for their grands each year so they will have them to put on thier own tree.
    What lovely gifts, you are giving away..I love the papers and stamps..thank you so much for the opportunity to enter.
    Hugs, Dee (OkieDee) 8^)

  147. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I get out the Christmas music and only listen to it until after Christmas is over. It really helps me get into the holiday spirit. As for getting ready – I’ve been trying in recent years not to leave everything until the last minute, especially when it comes to homemade gifts. I make lots of lists, of what I want to make and who for and what supplies I will need. I try to pick up the supplies using coupons when I have some I haven’t used. I also keep my eye out for good deals that make good gifts or stocking stuffers and stash them away, so at least a small chunk of stuff is collected in advance. And I try to budget so I don’t overspend!

  148. I guess a tradition I’ve had for years is to make something for family presents. But as good as my intentions are, I’m always trying to finish it off Christmas eve. And if I have to put it in the mail, well.. they will get it by New Years. But it is still fun, and I like giving that special gift from me.
    Thanks for your inspiration and lovely candy!

  149. Karen (Karen Stamps! on scs)

    One thing we have adopted after reading about it Canadian Living, is to go with a guideline for presents in my immediate family of 1 book, 1 toy (or adult-equivalent) and 1 article of clothing. It really simplifies things and puts the focus on the celebration instead of a marathon of gift opening. To be honest, though, it quickly got expanded to include stockings (with presents) and a family game.

  150. Our Christams triditions are cutting down our own tree, professional family portraits and staying home on Christmas eve and Christmas day. With two little ones I believe they are happiest in their own home with thier new things from Santa. Visits to family and friends are usually done in the weeks before and after Christmas.

    There’s been some really fun replies so far!

  151. Some of my favorite treats during the holidays are frosted sugar cookies and Wassail. Our wassail recipe includes apple cider, pineapple juice, orange juice, and spices. I LOVE to drink this around the holidays. Oh, and Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete for me without green bean casserole. YUM! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

  152. Best tip I have for organizing at Christmas is to write down what you buy for everyone so you don’t double up, under-buy, or over-buy! Done that a few too many times.. *blush*! lol!

  153. My favorite thing to start of the holidays is to go to all the big day after thanksgiving sales with my husband. this is where we get a lot of our christmas shopping done. When then come home a get out our decorations and work on setting up the christmas tree. I just love the holidays. thank you for offering such a great gift to start off the season!

  154. I dont put up a tree anymore( I have crazy cats) and I dont do the whole shopping thing either as it just nuts to me. But I always make peanut brittle for hubby, and tons of cookies for work. And for me, I maked mashed rutabagas.

    And I write out checks for charity. tons of them.

    and pray for spring to come really fast!

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  157. My secret to getting it all done in time? Having all my family live in Scotland! There is nothing more motivating than picturing my neice and nephew without a present from me at Xmas, so along with their shopping, I shop for the rest of the family and I try very hard to get everything bought, wrapped and ready for mailing by the end of October.
    This year though my mother, her two sisters and a family friend are coming to join us here in Florida – and the USPS stopped the surface mailing option, meaning that whatever I ship has to go airmail. Jeez, I wish I had known that before I started shopping….

  158. I just love Christmastime My daughters bring the Grandkids over and we bake lots of Christmas cookies. I have a cookie container for each of the Grandkids to take home. Best tip I can say is always make a gift list, not to miss anyone you are buying gifts for.

  159. I am lucky to have a husband who bakes. So every year we bake batches and batches of cookies with the kids. We turn the music on and go to town! Great blog candy! I love visiting your blog on a daily basis!

  160. I try to give handmade items to all of my friends. I keep a little notebook in my purse to help me remember what I need to buy and I try to get all of my Chritmas cards made Thanksgiving weekend! Other than that…. I am not someone who is ready for Christmas early so I can’t wait to read the rest of your tips!!!

  161. You have a wonderful blog. I love all the traditions that go with the season, picking out and cutting down our tree, the smells of pine and cookies and the excitement in picking out each gift and wrapping it and thinking about the look on the face of the receiver when they open it.
    Claudia
    [email protected]

  162. OMG This is a wonderful giveaway.. I hope I am lucky enough to win. Here is what we are doing this year. My family is going though some hardships and Christmas is not gonna be a big one gift wise. I realized however we can still give to others. So this year we are gonna leave an anonymous home made gift on one of our neighbour doors and encourage them to do the same. I hope it will bring some Christmas cheer!

  163. What a kind idea for Christmas. I have done a couple of things to make life easier. First, I have gone to online shopping for my of my gifts, especially the ones that will have to ship anyway. That way the shopping and shipping is all done at once. I have an agreement with my SIL that I send her a box of fudge for her wrapping trouble. It is great!!! I also have created dinner out agreements with most of my friends in town. We commit to having a nice dinner together at a favorite place during the holiday season in place of gifts. Makes like easier for all of us and it is a nice break fro mthe hassle of holidays.

  164. As my family grew and left the nest to start their own traditions, they still like to come home and always ask that we do everything the same since they were little. The traditional thing is that the way I do things for my family is the same way my parents did it for my sister and I in the 50’s. That is what tradition is all about, perpetuating the memories of our loved ones past and present. Wishing you all a wonderful and memorable holiday. Thanks Julia, for your generosity and creativity. I love hearing about your family and seeing all of your wonderful creations.
    Sincerely,
    Susan

  165. My best christmas idea is to always go to your in-laws!!!!! especially this year!!! lol Now I am at work 20 hours a week, during the main part of the day, I do not have the time to do anything (well so it seems) so just knowing that we will be going to our in-laws for christmas lunch is fantastic, she is a wonderful cook and the kids always have a great time, plus it takes the pressure off of me to cook, lol

    Ooh loving that Figgy Pudding paper, that is one of the pads I don’t have

  166. Every year my son and I bake cookies to set out on a plate on the TV table in front of the fireplace for Santa. We also decide what drink to put out for him — chocolate or plain milk? One time Santa got cookies, choc milk AND french fries! My son’s getting to an age where he’s starting to *question* Santa, but I hope the tradition will continue nonetheless!
    Love your blog!

  167. My favorite memories are just being together as family. We eat, Christmas Carol for the neighbors, bake and share cookies, karaoke and just have fun! With all of our extra curricular activities, school and jobs; it seems like it doesn’t happen often enough. This year I have a new grandson so it will be great getting him started in all the memories. My Favorite recipe is for Soft Sugar Cookies.

    4 C flour
    1 t baking powder
    1 C butter
    1 heaping C Sugar
    2 eggs beaten
    1 t soda
    ΒΌ Cup milk
    Β½ t salt
    1 t vanilla
    Sift flour, baking powder and salt; cut in butter with a pastry blender as for a pie.
    In another bowl, add the soda to the sugar and when well mixed add to eggs, milk and vanilla. Now pour this into the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Roll out and cut with cookie cutter. Bake at 350 until lightly browned. Approx 10 minutes. This is a very easy dough to roll. Frost with Butter Frosting

  168. Thanks Julia for your lovely give -aways. Now that I’m retired I try to enjoy the Christmas season one day at atime . I love putting up the tree and remembering all the memories attached to each ornament. I enjoy making my cards but right now I am in to making Thanksgiving cardsbecause Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. After that I will Make Christmas Cards and of course I love receiving homemade cards. I love going to NYCity every year to see all the sights and sounds that only the city offers at this time of year. However the best part of my Christmas is going to mass at 5:00 on Christmas Eve and having our delicious fish dinner after church with family and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and then enjoying HIS birthday cake. (the true meaning of Christmas)

  169. Favorite tradition is making Christmas cookies!!! We have made them for soooo long, and the best memories were when we made them with my grandma and aunties long long ago…and when I made them with my kids when they were little!!!! πŸ™‚

  170. Wow you already have several comments! Yay for you! Knowing how many Christmas cards to send out is a challenge so I sit down before I even make my cards and determine who should get a card. I always make “special” cards for my family and close friends and then I do a simple design for the rest. Helps me….and maybe you too!

  171. What great blog candy. I love that paper!!!

    My mom and her brothers and the extended families have been gathering together for more than 40 years now. What used to be potluck dinners, games and gift exchanges (pulling of names) has now been turned over to three groups consisting of us cousins, who rotate chairing the event.

    The team sets the date and determines the theme and venue. Since many cousins are now becoming grandparents themselves, Santa has reappeared at our parties for the little ones. And grab bags for adults have changed to collecting canned goods to deliver to our local Food Bank.

    My boys are adults and like my hubby and I, just love seeing the little ones enjoying the magic of the season. BELIEVE!

  172. This blog candy is awesome! As a family we have taken the gifting out of the event and made the get together the important part, being with everyone is very special. I do make personalized cards for everyone to tell them how much I love them.

    Cheers!

  173. To keep costs down, most people on our list get a goodie basket that includes cookies (i bake bunches at one time), Chex mix and Russian Tea. The Russian Tea is inexpensive and simple to throw together, then i package it up in half-pint mason jars. i decorate the jars and add the mixing directions, tie a ribbon and it’s done! Here’s the recipe:

    Russian Tea
    1 1/2 c sugar
    1 1/2 c Tang
    1 packet lemonade Kool-Aid
    1/2 c plain (no sugar) instant tea
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. cloves

    i buy cheap baskets at second-hand stores and add tissue paper, ribbon and bows to pretty them up, then fill them with goodies and a handmade card. Most people we know have come to expect these baskets from us every year!

    Thanks for a chance, Julia!

  174. WOW ~ What great blog give-aways! I love Christmas baking, haven’t gotten to the last few years though. This year, some family may be able to come visit!! Julie ~ your creations are amazing, tfs!

  175. I’m a sucker for all of the “traditional” traditions — decorating the tree, decorating sugar cookies with the kids, etc… When we got married we didn’t have many ornaments for the tree. We let the children pick out and buy one new ornament for the tree each year. They get so excited now when we haul out the old ornaments and it’s time to decorate the tree. They pick out all of the ornaments they acquired over the previous years, and hang them on the tree. After they go to bed that night, I have to reposition some of them as they’re still little and the top half of the tree is never decorated. I just love Christmas!

  176. Crystal (SCS happy2stamp4ever)

    What great candy!

    Our Christmas traditions…well, DH and I have only been married 7 years…so we don’t have that many yet…but one for sure is that we go out and cut down our own C’mas tree. Every year that we’ve added a kid, they come with us. We have two kids now, and I think it’ll be a little more “fun” with an almost 4 year old, and a 15 mo. old!

    Last year, DH and I started a tradition of once the kids were in bed on C’mas Eve, we turned out all the lights, turned on the C’mas tree lights, and just sat there, enjoying the peace and quiet…talking about this and that, but mostly just enjoying the “QUIET” together time! =)

  177. What a kind thing for you to do! The Christmas tradition that I brought to our family of 4 is from when I was a child. My sister and I had a stereo (remember those days?) in our room and would leave the radio on all night listening to Christmas music on Christmas Eve. We do the same thing now, but downstairs and leave it on while we open our gifts. Also, my husband is a the breakfast maker of our house and makes us a yummy breakfast of Belgian waffles after gift opening.

    There’s so much more, but these are the first things that came to mind.

    Enjoy your holiday season!

  178. Making cookies and cookies and cookies until we have so many we give them to everyone we know!

  179. Christmas Traditions…getting together with family to do some holiday baking [fudge-cookies-quick breads-cakes] …
    of course getting together brings old memories and stories and laughter. Nothing better than the homemade goodies.
    We try to wrap a little at a time…
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!
    Thanks for a chance to WIN your holiday Blog Candy.

    Dee

  180. Wow! Nice treats!

    This is our first Christmas in our first house so we’ll be making new traditions. We have always celebrated Christmas together, baking cookies and eating them.

    Glorie

  181. Such generous Blog Candy! Christmas traditions, not much here. Just get the house decorated right after Thanksgiving and getting together with family and friedns during the holiday season.

  182. For our business Christmas party we alway give white elephant gifts. We have SOOOO MUCH FUN! I think the most that we laughed is when the “new” people came for their first Christmas and brought usable white elephant gifts, like food that they bought for the exchange. The rest of us save up our junk or the stuff from last year. One guy always seems to pick the package with the perfume or jewerly in it. Now he’s married, so he can just pass it off to his wife, but for years it was really a hoot! I don’t think we would ever have that much fun buying a $$ gift for exchange. Some even “fight” over the junk!

  183. Michelle -sf9erfan on SCS

    Cookies, cookies, cookies! I bake lots and give away in goodie bags to neighbors, my DH’s co-workers, and my fellow stay at home mom friends. As for a tip, I agree with another poster, go so someone else’s house! LOL! We go to my mom’s every year and we just leave all the boy’s toys there that we don’t want to take home and clutter things up here. Thanks for the blog candy, that Figgy is the BEST!!

  184. I work on buying Christmas gifts all year as I see things that I know people will like. That way – I am usually done with most of my Christmas shopping by about October and just need to evaluate, wrap, and pick up last minute stuff- Thanks!

  185. Our holiday tradition is to have a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake at the very beginning of Christmas morning. It began when the kids were very small and we still do it even though the kids are grown. For one, it tells the kids that this day isn’t all about them and two, they get to eat cake for breakfast. They still love it. Thanks for your blog. It’s one of my very favorites!

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  187. My Mommy-in-law shared her Angel Rolls recipe which has been renamed 4AM Rolls. The dough rises overnight, I get up at 4AM to make the rolls. Nothing like waking up to the smell of baking dinner rolls. They’re either packaged by a dozen for gifts or frozen for holiday get togethers. By the time the holidays are over I usually have baked 120 dozen of these. I also listen to my Elvis Christmas CD the entire time.

    Congratulations on your CHF position!

  188. Pingback: Belle Papier {pretty paper} » A Webster’s Christmas

  189. canadian_stamper

    Cookies I like to “bake” at Christmas, no oven required.

    Buckeyes

    Cream:
    1/4 pound of margerine
    2 cups icing sugar
    2 cups crunchy peanut butter
    Add:
    3 cups rice krispies

    Roll into balls and dip in:

    Melt over low heat
    1 package chocolate chips
    1/2 block of wax I use less (makes them shiny like chocolates)
    Dip the balls in chocolate mixture cool on wax paper lined cookie sheet.

    This is a great one for a cookie exchange, I can’t remember how many it makes and it depends on how big you make the balls.

    Great Blog, I love your way to use it challenge every week.

    Barbara

  190. Since I am from norway but live in usa.. We do two things.. In our house we do christmas nigth with a big dinner and we normlay have like 20 people comming over from the family. We serve a special pork dinner that is normal in Norway. Then for Christmas morning we all go to Grandmas house.. there we do only present for the kids.. The family is soo big that it would be to much to do for the whole family. But we do have a gift game. Which is kind of fun. Eveyone brings one gift.. per person. and whe get 3 number each. When your number get pickt.. you can eather open a new present or take on from another person. it fun.. So we get two special days in this family.
    This year we are not going to be here in usa we are going to Norway..
    Thanks for a great page.

  191. We have a small tradition (and I’m sure a lot of people share it)… but we always get a live tree for our home right after Thanksgiving. We tie strips of homespun fabric on the branches; dry orange and apple slices to hang; string popcorn and cranberries… and of course add white lights. Our tree topper is a tin-punched star. I just love the old-fashioned look it has! Someone suggested sawing a small slice of the tree trunk off each year after christmas and creating an ornament with it. I think it would be neat to add a picture of the kids at Christmas and see how they change throughout the years.

  192. What a fab idea to have everyone leave tips for holiday happiness! Our family continues some traditions from the past as well as new ones my husband and I have started with the children. One year I handmade felt Christmas bags for all of my nieces and nephews as well as my kids, and presented them on Christmas Eve. Every year since the Mom’s and Dad’s put a little something in them and present them on Christmas Eve. The bags to my kids are filled with hand made items that I have created just for them. They truly look forward to this little gift every year and I love making things for them. The girls and I together make their gifts for teachers, Nana and Papa , Grandma and Grandpa, and friends. This special time we spend together is one of the traditions that I hold most dear. Thanks for all the tips you supply all year round for my card making!

  193. What an awesome gift! Christmas is such a special time of year and I feel it is for children. I always try to find time to visit my grandchildren on Xmas day and share their joy! When my children were small, we always spent Christmas day at home and the grandparents came to visit. So, I guess this is sort of a tradition passed down. Of course, the parents can feed us too!

  194. A very fun question!

    Our tradition has to do with the fact that my mother’s birthday is Christmas Day. We always make sure to wish her a Happy Birthday and give her all her birthday presents to open before we begin our Christmas festivities. When we were younger, it was too hard to restrain 3 children from ripping open their stockings so we celebrated Mom’s birthday at Midnight and then went to bed to wait for Santa!

  195. WOW What wonderful give away. Since this is my second Christmas as a “stamper” my new tip is that I start making my cards way early in the year. I make two sets one for my grandchild who got me into stamping and one for myself. They have to be different as we send a lot to the same people I have them finished by October and that saves me a lot of stress during the busy Holidays. My cooking tip is I make my pie crust and freeze them (raw) way in advance of the holiday that way I only need concern myself with the filling when I am so busy. Love your BLog. Thank you for taking all the time you do to inspire and teach us.
    Laurie

  196. I love to bake for a lot of my friends for Christmas, I bought some of the coffee bags from Papertrey and the Holiday Treats stamp set, so I hope to make some fancy packaging for my treats this year. I am also making ornaments and Christmas wreaths for presents this year with styrafoam balls and fake snow.

  197. Hi Julia, I love your work! Belle Papier indeed!

    One of the things that helps me prepare for Christmas is that I keep a spreadsheet of gift ideas for friends and family throughout the year. It reduces the pressure of coming up with ideas last minute and gives me a chance to find the “perfect gift” on sale at my leisure.

    One other thing that we do as a tradition is make a TON of toffee treats. They’re super yummy and make great gifts to bring to the various holiday parties that we attend each year.

    Happy holidays!
    Mimi

  198. Hello, I LOVE the holiday season and enjoy teaching my DD (who is 4yrs old) that it is better to give than receive. Last year (and from now on) we will either ‘adopt’ a child off of a giving tree or find someone who needs some cheer. Last year it was 5 ladies at a nursing home who would not be receiving anything for CHristmas. I took my DD and the shopping list and we got some times, wrapped them and then dropped them off at the nursing home.

    WE are looking forward to doing the same this year.

    Thanks for asking.

    Bobbie πŸ™‚

  199. Wow! the most awesome goodies I’ve seen. Thank you for sharing with others. Since I live in Hawaii and my family lives in San Francisco, I only get to see them every other Christmas. So we’ve started a tradition to gather at Tahoe for a few days with all the sisters/brother & their spouses & kids. It’s so much fun with 11 grandkids all together for my parents & gifts galore! Here’s a new recipe from a friend that is sooo easy and so yummy:

    Cowboy Salsa:
    2 T. red wine vinegar
    1 1/2 – 2 tsp. hot sauce (I use tabasco)
    1 1/2 tsp salad oil
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    1 firm, ripe avocado (I like more so use more)
    1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas, drained
    1 can (11 oz) corn kernels
    2/3 c. thinly sliced green onion
    2/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2 lb. roma tomatoes, chopped
    salt to taste

    mix first 5 ingredients together until well blended. Then toss over the rest of the ingredients. the longer you let it sit in the fridge, the yummier it gets. but should consume within 24 hours.

    Serve with 1 bag of torilla chips. Yum!!

  200. What a great giveaway! My best tip is to get the shopping done early – it’s great to have that chore finished before Thanksgiving (and makes things much easier on the budget, too!)

  201. really really scaled back my holiday giving. As we moved this year and its been really crazy, I have given myself permission NOT to make everything…I just went and gasp* BOUGHT gift tags…I am sure no one will care, LOL…I may be on to something!!
    Hugs,
    Holly

  202. I’m hoping that this year i’ll have an organized Christmas πŸ˜‰ lol… i started picking gifts up in July and slowly getting thru the list. November for the most part, is when things really get going. a tradition for the last 11 years, that on our rememberance day holiday, i start making my xmas cards, and begin working on the family newsletter. I couldn’t live without my spreadsheet of who we send cards to each year. It has their addy’s and a column for the sent and rec’d cards from. Each year, it gets a few names added, and sometimes even a couple get dropped. gasp.
    thanks for sharing.

  203. WOW, Julia! You offer the most awesome blog candy!!!
    Thank you for a chance to win.

    My family has dwindled down to just 5 of us, and 3 of those are out of state. The way we organize is decide whose house we will travel to.

  204. Ooohhhh….. what a yummy giveaway! Every year right before Christmas I have an all-day Christmas cookie baking marathon… I turn on an All-Christmas-music radio station and make tons and tons of Christmas cookies using recipes that have been handed down through the generations, it’s so nostalgic thinking that my great-great grandmother made the same cookies years ago. I usually don’t keep any of the cookies, I make them all to give away to friends and neighbors. I can’t wait to pass these recipes and this tradition on down to my sons and daughter. ~rae

  205. Ooooooo, great blog candy!!!

    Here’s the best tip of all and the only one I find that really works!! Ready????
    START EARLY!! ;o)

  206. Several years ago, we bought those red and green plastic tubs, I numbered them and then made index cards detailing what was packed inside each tub. I do my decorating in stages and will want a few things Thanksgiving weekend so I am prepared to start our advent season celebration but we won’t put up the tree until early December. Now that I’m organized, I can ask my husband to retrieve just the boxes I need and I don’t have to dig through all the boxes, looking for the advent items. Thanks for offering the great candy!

  207. Every year my parents and my sisters get together to make pierogies. We then freeze them for Christmas Eve. My nieces then come one day and we bake all sorts of cookies. I try to get the tree decorated for Thanksgiving, as after Thanksgiving the days fly buy.

    I also have 12 relatives that get together and we swap Christmas Ornaments. We have been doing this for 15 years and it is great to have a tree with just homemade ornaments. My grandmother passed out ornaments to everyone until she passed away, so we kept her tradition.

    The church also collects toys for the underprivileged kids in the neighborhood.

    Thanks for the chance to win a blog gift.

  208. I love to start shopping very early and and I love to buy lots of little presents for everyone on my list – it is just so much fun to have a big old stack of presents to give!! πŸ™‚

  209. What fabulous blog candy! My favorite thing about Christmas was this giant batch of cookies our next door neighbors back home used to bring us every year. There was such an amazing variety, and their whole family worked on them for at least a week… and then handed them out to their neighbors. The four of us at our house would talk about the cookies for weeks beforehand, and we were negotiating the whole time who would get which cookies. Oh man! They rocked. Dad moved several thousand miles away from our old house just before Christmas of 2005, so sadly the cookies are but a sweet memory now. Thank you, Babish family, for the tasty treats!! πŸ™‚

  210. One wasy I keep organized for Christmas is to keep a list in MS Word of all the presents I have purchased. I generally begin my shopping in August and wrap it all right away so a list is really helpful. I also keep it password protected so little (and big) eyes can’t peek! What beautiful papers and stamps! Thanks for sharing them.

  211. I get so excited about Christmas coming that getting organised is easy. I love making lists so I can guage how well I am doing with the planning of it all. I start with a large book usually back in October and start planning what gifts to give, then I tick them off as I get them, noting how much I am spending and how many gifts each child has. I have 4 children and like them all to have the same number of parcels and roughly the same amount spent. Next I work out my Christmas menus and plan my grocery shopping list. I even have a christmas lunch timer which is printed out every year, I stick this to a cupboard door in my kitchen on Christmas eve so that while all the distractions are going on during Christmas Day I can stay on schedule making sure there are no burnt offerings for lunch!
    My favourite family tradition is when the Christmas Fairy comes on Christmas Eve and leaves a parcel under the children’s trees (they each have their own tree in their bedroom) which contain their brand new PJs, some smelly items ie bubble bath etc, a new toothbrush and a new DVD. All of which encourage them to get ready for bed early! I love Christmas so much I could go on and on, but I will stop there!

  212. We have been having a “Sisters Dinner” in our family for years! I am 1 of 6 sisters. We take turns hostessing the fun event – a nice dinner, gift exchange, 3-dozen cookie swap and just plain getting silly & crazy together! I try to keep things fresh and so I love to make handmade gifts for my sisters. They’re always blessed and that continues to inspire me to do my holiday gift-giving projects a bit earlier every year. Love your blog. I’ve said this before but you look just like a long time friend of mine. So I get blessed everytime I see your pic when I visit your blog. God bless~

  213. Hi Julia,
    Christmas is a time for traditions, and my family has been going to the children’s Mass at our church on Christmas Eve since we had young children. The children’s choir is featured, and there is a re-enactment of the Bethlehem story done by the Sunday school kids, and the sermon is geared to share the Christmas message with the children. I never get tired of it!

    Thank you for sharing. Blessed holidays to you!

  214. We have several Christmas traditions that we’ve been doing every year since the kids were little (they are all adults now!). Two that seem to have become their favorites are their Christmas stockings (all knitted years ago by my Great Aunt Emily), and an egg casserole we have on Christmas morning. My son is home for 2 weeks before he deploys to Iraq with the Army, so we’re having Christmas for him while he’s here. One of his sisters asked him if he wanted us to make the egg casserole, and he said definitely yes! He was also surprised to see his stocking hanging on the fireplace yesterday, and thanked Santa for making a special trip just for him!

  215. Hi Julia,

    One of our family’s favorite traditions is attending the Christmas Eve program at our church. We never miss it. The program varies from year to year, but there is always singing whether it’s a choir, soloists or small groups. Usaually someone shares memories from their Christmases as a child or young person. It’s just a wonderful evening of worshipping God and praising Him for his amazing gift of Jesus. We love every moment of that evening. Also I make almond bark candy every year as our family really enjoys it.

    2 cups white chocolate wafers
    1 cup toasted almonds

    Melt chocolate in double boiler then add almonds and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Cool in fridge and break into pieces. Yummy!!!

    Thanks for the oppotunity to win such fabulous bolg candy. Have a wonderful day!!!

  216. Not having a family to share Christmas with, I go to my friends on Christmas Eve for dinner and card games. When I was a child, my Mom would make red jello with sliced apples, walnuts and shredded carrots. So I always take that along with me to dinner as a fond memory.

  217. Please enter me in your Christmas give away contest. You are so sweet to offer them. A Christmas tradition that I have been doing with 4 other ladies at work – we call ourselves GOSIP (girls out socializing in public) – is to go out to eat lunch at a new restaurant and exchange gifts. We used to work together 10 years ago and as the years go by we’ve changed jobs, went to part-time, took time off, etc. We used to eat lunch together every month but now we are down to about twice a year. We make sure one of the times is our Christmas lunch. We don’t spend a lot of money on the gifts since we all have families but it is so fun to get a little Christmas present for ourselves. We take this time out of our hectic Christmas schedules to get dressed up, talk, laugh and catch up with each other. The friendship with my GOSIP girls is very special to me.

  218. Hi Julia, Its a lovely idea that you have to share some goodies with us at Christmas. I am quite organised, I cook and freeze it all. I make at least 24 dozen mince pies, no one will let me have a Christmas without supplying them with mince pies. Some go to my husband’s office, my sister’s office, my office, my church, friends and neighbours, a lot to get round but it’ has become a tradition. Everyone starts to remind me about September!! Its a wonder I find time to stamp. Best wishes to you and your family. I love your cards

  219. Well, I guess the ways we make Christmas special are we either take part in the shoebox Christmas project (you choose an age of a child in 3rd world countries, and fill a shoebox with items they don’t have and are in desperate need of. Such as, school supplies, hygiene products, shirts, hats, books, etc) These boxes get mailed to kids who have never had a Christmas gift in their lives. It really makes you feel great to be a part of something so huge. Also, in the past we have taken a huge bag of dog food and huge box of dog treats and donated them to th SPCA at Christmas time as well.
    For each other, filling our stockings, just being with family.

  220. Our Christmas tradition is to make my DH grandmother’s Chex Party mix. She used to make a huge batch every year when they came to visit for Christmas. It was always my husbands favorite. Now that his grandma has passed away, my DH now makes a big batch and packages it up for his brothers and sisters (all 11). It brings back happy memories of Christmas and they love it!

  221. I usually bake something or make a cookie “kit” for teachers, and I try to make things ahead of time where possible. My daughter and son and I usually plan a get-together with my mom, too, to make the peanut brittle and chocolate peanut butter logs that have become family favorites. Another favorite recipe that I love to give as a gift is the cranberry bread right off the cranberry package! I’ve been making it for years, and it never fails to get rave reviews!

  222. I just love reading everyone’s responses! I love to make sugar and gingerbread cookies with my kids. As far as keeping organized, which is so hard to do esp. this time of year, with so much extra stuff to do, I make a list of each person that I have to buy a gift for and what I’m planning on buying them. Then I check each one off as I purchase their gift. This avoids buying one person three large different gifts and someone else, only one small thing. Next to avoid hours of wrapping, I wrap each gift soon after I buy it. I take a large moving box and start to fill it up with the wrapped presents. I usually get all my present buying done by the day after Thanksgiving so I have plenty of time to decorate the house and tree and bake more cookies!! We started drawing names for presents in my family and my husbands family. Each person draws one name and so each couple only has to buy two presents, instead of eight. We’ve also tried to buy “couple” gifts for our siblings, rather than an individual gift for each person. Grandparents still buy a present for each grandkid. My mom has started a great tradition with my kids. She buys them one new clothing outfit, one new game, and one new toy for Christmas and birthdays. They know what to expect, and are not disappointed when one present is clothes. Can’t wait to see if I’m a blog candy winner!!!!

  223. Our tradition began two years ago at the suggestion of my 9 year old son. We are so proud of him and humbled by his goodness. Every night we gather around the advent tree as a family and say a special prayer for a needy soul before adding the ornament. This simple act really helps keep the holiday in perspective for us. God bless and Merry Christmas to you all!

  224. Janet Berezowecki

    The one tradition that I reallylike is that I buy a christmas video and watch it with my teenage boys on christmas eve. It’s a great way for the three of us to spend some time together.

    One tradition that has gone by the wayside that saddens me is that we used to always have a tube of smarties in our stockings ever year. I haven’t been able to find them for a couple of years now. It was something I always looked forward to. Just wish I could find them.

    Thanks for the great blog. I love your creations! You do beautiful work!

  225. I love to gather my friends and family together for an afternoon of card making. I plan it for the end of November – before the onslaught of busyness. I make a small Christmas cake just for this day and we declare ‘Christmas is here!’. Of course we have to make a toast (I’m not going to say what we toast with but it has bubbles). I have all the supplies spread around – it’s a BIG spread. These forums are WAY too enabling. It’s a good time for all of us and the excitement generated puts us in the right mood and gives us energy for all the other things we need to do.

  226. My favoirte tradition is to watch the movie White Christmas with my girls. It isn’t Christmas until I see the move.

  227. I love reading everyone’s comments on their traditions and oganizing hints. My family loves to watch “White Christmas” as well as “Christmas Story”. We really just like to be together as a family as much as possible in this hectic time of year. Thanks for offering the great gifts!

  228. How sweet of you Julia! I guess my Christmases have evolved over the years. Now there are no young children in our family, and none in our house any more. BUT…next year I’m gonna be a grandma!!! Our baby is going to be the best gift of all! How wonderful to see the wonder of Christmas again, through a child’s eyes! I love the holiday, sending homemade cards out, lighting candles that permeate the air with unique and delightful scents, adding wrapped gifts underneath the tree, seeing my sisters and their families, getting our boxes ready for Operation Christmas Child, collecting items for the troops…And through it all just remembering what the season is truly about, the celebration of a babe’s birth 2000 years ago!

  229. Stephanie (steffie1027)

    Julia, you rock! The card kits are fabulous! Our Christmas seems to consist of the same things every year…making cookies, decorating a gingerbread house, giving to others through charity organizations, decorating the tree and being together as a family.

  230. How sweet of you Julia! I make some shortbread cookies to have around the house every Christmas. I enjoy making easy treats for family members. In past years I have made truffles as well as fudge. The fudge recipe is from my SIL:

    Quick Nut Fudge:
    1 lb powder sugar
    1/2 cup cocoa
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    6 Tablespoons butter (soften)
    4 Tablespoons milk
    1 Tablespoon vanilla
    1 cup nuts (optional, I usually don’t use)

    Combine all ingredients except nuts in top of double boiler. Place over simmering water and stir (using lg. metal spoon) until smooth. Add nuts and mix. Spread in buttered 9 x5″ loaf pan. Cool and cut into squares. Double recipe and put in 9×9 pan. (TIP: watch out for water dripping from bottom of pan when pouring into pan!) πŸ˜‰

    My Chocolate Truffles recipe came from the newspaper on December 9, 2002, but which newspaper I have no idea! LOL! (DH was stationed at Fort Lee, VA at the time.)

    1.5 cups whipping cream
    1 lb semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    COATINGS:
    unsweetened cocoa powder
    chocolate sprinkles
    grated dried coconut (DH Doesn’t like so I never tried)
    finely chopped nuts (didn’t try this one as well)

    1. To prepare chocolate candy base: in large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Add chocolate in small pieces. Then add butter a little at a time. Stir until smooth. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

    2. For cocoa-powder coating, sift cocoa onto a plate. For other coatings, place a layer of each one onto separate plates. Use a teaspoon to scoop up small amount of the chocolate mixture. With clean hands and working quickly, shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls; chocolate will melt slightly when handled. Roll balls into desired coating. Place coated truffles on a tray lines with parchment paper, chill until firm (15 to 20 minutes). Place truffles in an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 1 month or in freezer for up to 6 months. If frozen, allow to warm slightly before serving.

    GRAND MARNIER TRUFFLES: In step 1, before chilling chocolate mixture, stir in 1/4 cup Grand Marnier and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest. The proceed with recipe.

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