Countdown to Christmas: 1 Final Wish

One more day until Christmas!
Hope everyone is having a fantastic Christmas Eve.  Enjoy the day, get your last minute shopping done, and pretend that this isn’t supposed to be my Christmas Make-Up Look.
Happy Holidays, friends.  Enjoy your deviled eggs and presents!

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Countdown to Christmas: 2 Host/Hostess Gifts Better Than A Bottle of Wine

 

Christmas is looking to be a pretty low-key affair this year with my family.  I’m thinking I may even wear my giant, stained and from-the-men’s-section “Buddy The Elf” shirt to dinner.

However, I know a lot of people will be going to parties, or friends’ houses.  As it is customary to bring a gift, I thought of some ideas better than the usual bottle of wine that most people bring.
Don’t get me wrong, I love wine, but you can really make an impression on the host by getting them something different than every other guest is giving them.  Visiting a boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s parents? Make a splash by getting them something way better than anything else they’ll get.  Suddenly you’re the favorite! Take that, Cousin Judy.
I’ve included some links, but most of these can also be picked up at your local stores.  I suggest checking out TJ Maxx, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Nordstrom Rack, a card store, or little kitschy shop.  Even stores like Walmart or Kmart have great little gifts at this time of year.

Gift Ideas for the Host:

  • Coasters
  • Beer glasses
  • Scotch Glasses
  • Ice ball maker for scotch glasses
  • Basically any kind of fancy alcohol glasses
  • A bar kit
  • Sports-themed Holiday gear, like a NFL team Santa hat
  • Holiday cufflinks, if your host is a gentleman with swag
  • Ice bucket
  • Nice set of cards, dice, or poker set.  Bonus points if you already know how to play the game and can suggest it after dinner
  • Flowers with the vase that they can reuse

Gift Ideas for the Hostess:

Got any more ideas? Leave them in the comments! Happy Holidays, and here’s hoping you impress your future in-laws this season!

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Christmas Countdown: 3 Last-Minute (Super Easy!) Holiday Desserts + A GIVEWAY!

It’s no secret that I am Queen of Procrastination, sitting on her Royal Throne of “I Can Do It Later”. I’m really good at waiting until the very last moment to get things done, usually to my own detriment.  I can only imagine that others are also in my camp.

And as the holidays can be hella stressful, I thought I’d give you something I know everyone needs this holiday season: a few super quick and easy last-minute holiday dessert recipes!  Convince your friends and family that you totally planned ahead with these easy to throw together sweets.  Nobody has to know you bought the ingredients two hours before the party.

3 Last Minute and SUPER Easy Holiday Desserts

You’re welcome!

1.  These delicious sugar cookies from Katrina’s Kitchen that I’ve become obsessed with.  They’re super easy to prepare and the dough doesn’t need to be chilled for hours like other sugar cookie recipes, so you really can make them in a snap! And, if you’re really pressed for time and don’t have time to decorate, they’re moist and flavorful enough without icing,  Just skip the cute cut-out designs, form them into flat cookie shapes and sprinkle on some sugar before you bake.  Nobody will be the wiser!

I’ve made them twice in the past two weeks, and my mom made them once this week.  It’s replaced our old favorite sugar cookie recipe.

2.  This Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge recipe from Cookie + Kate.  It’s freezer fudge, so it whips up super quickly. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Awful people, probably.

Honestly, I have yet to try this recipe, but it’s book-marked for the dessert I plan on bringing to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve! I really don’t see how you can go wrong when the ingredients are chocolate and peanut butter.

3. If you want to really wow them, try some S’mores Bark.  This is a great basic recipe, but it’s so simple you really can’t go wrong.  My mom and I made this all the time when I still loved at home.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay down an even layer of melted chocolate, toss on some broken up graham crackers, and mini marshmallows.  If you want to get super fancy, add some melted white chocolate, almonds, or caramel.  Whatever you’re feeling, go for it! Let it cool and harden, then break into coarse pieces.  Serve with a smile and enjoy the compliments. You’re such an amazing chef!

And to reward yourself after rounding up an awesome dessert, how about another kind of little treat? I’ve teamed up with Jessica and a few others over at SomethingWhimsy.com and we’re giving away a $300 Target gift card! Enter on her blog here!

And now that I am super craving something sweet, it’s a good thing I’m on my way home to Ohio for the holiday where there will be plenty to go around. Anyone else been dreaming of holiday food for the past week or so?

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Christmas Count-Down: 4 Easy Ways to Pay it Forward this Holiday Season

4 Ways to Pay It Forward This Holiday Season
As I’m getting older, I’m getting more and more into the “Giving” side of the holiday season.  I like receiving gifts as much as the next gal, but I really love watching someone’s face light up when they get something unexpected, or they get something they really need.
And because of that, I thought it’d be fun to share some super easy Pay It Forward ideas for this holiday season.  It really doesn’t take much to make someone else’s day, so in honor of 4 days until Christmas (!!!!!) I thought I’d share FOUR ways to Pay It Forward:

1. Be someone’s lay-a-way angel, or pay for someone’s dinner.  Stop in at a major store near you that does law-a-way, and ask if you can make a small payment on someone’s account, or pay off the whole thing if you can.  Or, you can pick up someone else’s check at a restaurant. I witnessed this last year while working at Applebee’s and it made me cry.  The looks on the kids’ faces when they realized someone took care of it was wonderful.  Everyone loves being surprised!

2. Give your leftovers to someone in need.  I always take my leftovers home with me, no matter what is left.  I used to just leave them in the fridge, but now I like to give them to someone in need on the street.  Despite what they are doing or how they got there, everyone needs to eat, and it must be terrifying not knowing how or where you will get your next meal.

3.  Give a big tip to a waiter, waitress, or other service industry worker.  I got a $200 tip this weekend catering a home-party and it was the best surprise ever.  Happy Holidays indeed!

4. Leave a holiday card as a surprise for someone.  If you’re able, maybe sneak in a small gift card or something nice into it as well.  Imagine some’s surprise when they come home from work and find a card with a $5.00 Starbucks card attached from a kind stranger.

Have any other ideas? Leave them in the comments, or please let me know any other stories of Paying It Forward.  I’m a sucker for a good heart-warming story!

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DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland

DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland

I got this idea after having a ton of leftover fabric from making my “Merry Christmas” Burlap Banner last year.  I loved the Christmas colors with non-traditional patterns, and couldn’t stand to see the extra fabric sit in storage all season. It was too cute!

I had been planning on doing a lot of Christmas DIY this season, but the idea of trashing my tiny apartment to do so did not sound fun to me. Then, I was shopping the Target Christmas decoration sale, and saw something super similar to this garland, but with tassels instead of fabric.  I didn’t have any yarn, but realized that I did have leftover fabric, and twine.  Easy-peasy.
You can obviously do this with any color scheme or theme. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, you could do blues for Hanukkah, or any colors for any sort of holiday.  I think this would even be cute for just daily decorations, especially in a kids room.  Customize it as you please!
DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland
To begin, cut your fabric into inch-wide strips.  You can make them as long as you like, just
keep in mind that after you tie them, they’ll be slightly shorter than half of their original length once they are hanging off the line.
I chose a mixture of 16 inch, 12 inch, 10 inch, and a few tiny bits to use up leftover scraps.  It’s going to be a mix-match no matter what, so as long as it is long enough to tie around and leave two little tails hanging off each side, it’ll fit in just fine.
It’s about 12 strips per every 12 inches, so keep that in mind when choosing the length you want your garland, and how much fabric you think you need.
Example: You want a 6-foot long garland? If 12 strips = 1 foot, then you need enough fabric to have at least 72 pieces of fabric.  12 x 6 = 72. #CraftingMath
This is assuming you want your fabric knots relatively close together, like I have pictured.  They are looped around the string, so you can adjust how far apart they are to the look you like, and to help decrease or increase the length.  Use your judgement here and arrange it the way you think is best.
On your twine, begin tying the fabric strips in a fold-over fashion, alternating colors and sizes.  If you want a more structured look, tie them so all the knots are facing the same direction.  I preferred a mis-matched look, so I tied them randomly.
DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland
Continue in this fashion until you have your desired length.  Fluff up your garland, and hang it where you please. Add some bows to each end, or hang a few ornaments. I hung a my tiny hand-knitted stocking from the middle of mine. I recommend getting those tiny clear Command strips to hang the garland, as it’s not too heavy. Works perfectly and super cheap without damaging your walls.
And voila, you have a gorgeous and cheap holiday garland.
If you make this, make sure to take a picture and tag me on social media– all my links are to the left! I’d love to see them all!
Got any other super easy DIY holiday decorations? Let me know!

 

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