December 25—Christmas is here!


In case you need another reminder about what Christmas is really about, here’s my final poem for the holidays.



that’s black with night

and the white of a star

and the golden sheen

of heavenly crowns.

Add the faded blue

of a mother’s gown,

the gray of sheep,

a manger-bed brown,

plus the pink of the skin

of a newborn babe.

Paint me a poem

with a brush of hope.

Title it


© Ann Whitford Paul

As always, I wish you a stress-free, love-filled Christmas!

December 22nd—3 days until Christmas—Ten Reasons Why I Love Christmas

  1. Instead of thinking only of themselves, people are thinking how they can make others happy.
  2. All the world stops so family can be together.
  3. I get to spend time with those people I love most of all—Mr. Saint Nick and our elves.
  4. Candy treats!  I can diet the rest of the year.
  5. Beautiful music.
  6. Amazing decorations inside and outside.
  7. Cards and letters arrive filling me up on far-away friends’ lives.
  8. With all the holiday baking, there are plenty of beaters and spatulas to lick.
  9. People can’t help smiling.
  10. It only comes once a year!

Hope you’re enjoying a stress-free, love-filled holiday.

December 18th—7 days until Christmas—Too Many Sweets

I hope this poem I wrote isn’t happening to you.


I flavor my poem

with candy canes,

and tree-shaped cookies,

big chocolate balls,

then add some fudge,

and peanut brittle,

four popcorn chains,

a pudding, a pie,

and a Santa Claus cake. 

It tastes so yummy,

I gobble it up.


Now all that’s left

of my Christmas poem

is a belly ache.

© Ann Whitford Paul

If you don’t have a belly ache yet, perhaps you’d like to make this peppermint bark.  It’s the elves’ favorite candy and why not when it looks as yummy as this.


Remember, everything in moderation.  That way you’ll enjoy a stress-free, love-filled Holiday.

December 15—10 days until Christmas—Holiday Candles

Every holiday I find lots of useless red and green stubs from the previous year

DSCN0406 (2)

that are too short to stick in a holder, but too long to toss away.  Some of them I tuck them into newspaper and stuff under logs in my fire place.  They’re great for creating big flames.

However there’s another use.  I buy some fat white candles,

DSCN0407 (2)

light the short colorful candles and let them drip all around, until I have this extra special candle for my Christmas dinner table.


These make pretty and inexpensive gifts.

Any one have any candle crafts they’d like to share?

Hope everyone is enjoying a stress-free, love-filled holiday season.

December 11th—14 days until Christmas—Tree Poem and Decoration

If you don’t already have your tree, you’ll probably be getting one soon.  My tree’s bright green beauty and its pungent pine smell inspired me to write this poem.


Wearing my gown

of ruffled green,

draped in necklaces

of sparking lights,

and jewels,

baubles and bells

that shimmer and sheen.

Day and night

I hold my pose,

arms spread wide,

icicle still,

so you can admire me—

your Christmas tree—

the grand dame

of December.

© Ann Whitford Paul

Remember the ribbon pillow pattern I shared last year?           005 (3)

The directions are here.

Well, I had leftover ribbon


and made this tree.  DSCN0418 (2)

All you need is a Styrofoam tree shape, ribbon cut into roughly 1 and 1/2 inch strips.  Glue them on, starting at the bottom and moving up.  At the top add a fabric ball or anything your heart desires.  You’ll whip these up so quickly you might want to make more than one.

Hope you’re relaxed and enjoying a stress-free, love-filled holiday.

December 8th—17 days until Christmas—Holiday Pet Peeves

It’s crazy, crazy December, so I need to tell you my Christmas pet peeves.

  1. Christmas has evolved into a commercial bonanza, so people too easily forget the true meaning of the day—Peace on earth and good will to men, and women, and children, and all living creatures.
  2. Stores start decorating in October!  While I’m all for you preparing early, there’s something about Christmas making its appearance before Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  3. Malls play the worst bland canned music.
  4. Too many people feel the need to overspend.  Remember it isn’t the cost of the gift, but the thought that counts.
  5. When you take the children to see Santa, there’s always someone snapping a picture that you feel compelled to buy.  
  6. Too many holiday parties!  Why can’t at least some people wait until January or February for an open house?
  7. Sugar highs become the normal.
  8. Too much drinking—Please don’t drink and drive.
  9. Egg nog?  Is there anything richer and heavier?
  10. Everyone is frazzled and tempers are short.
  11. Not one single mall Santa is as handsome as the original, my dear husband.

Maybe you have some pet peeves you’d like to share.

Hope that all your early preparation has paid off and that you’re enjoying a stress-free, love-filled holiday.

December 4th—21 days until Christmas—Time to Make Crackers—Not the Eating Kind

On September 8th, I suggested to avoid family fisticuffs and add laughter to Christmas day dinner you start collecting cardboard rolls.


Now you have them and plenty of fun things to stick inside them.


For youngsters you might use stickers, glittery glue sticks, plastic animals, candy, jokes, etc.

For the adults, jokes, candy, fancy paperclips, riddles, etc.

Here’s a great video explaining how to make the fancy English kind.

However, I’m a firm believer that easier is better.  Instead of stiff paper, I used tissue paper, cut the length of the snappers.  If you don’t have them yet, order them here.

Then I inserted one snapper in the middle of the roll, wrapped the paper around and taped it.  I tied one end with green ribbon.  Then, holding onto the snapper so it wouldn’t fold into the roll, I added my gifts.  The last part was to tie another ribbon at the other end.  Voila!  Finished.


An added benefit is that by writing the person’s name on the paper, these crackers also make festive place-cards.

I hope you and your family have fun with these.

December 1—24 days until Christmas—December Weather

Take a deep breath because it’s time for wild weather.  Here’s another poem.  I hope it makes you feel grateful you’ve already finished so many preparations.


It begins with

a light breeze,


brightly colored cards

into mailboxes,

tinkling bells on street corners.

The winds

pick up speed,

pushing people

to stores,

swiping money

from their pockets.

And then

great gusts

pound wreaths on doors,

drop Christmas trees

in living rooms,

toss tinsel on each branch.

With the thunder of door knockers,

blizzards of aunts and uncles

gather together

to share this December storm.

© Ann Whitford Paul

And now’s the time to pull a paper out of your advent calendar and have fun with your family.  Enjoy your stress-free, love-filled month.

November 27th—28 days until Christmas–Thanksgiving

Time to give thanks for family, for loved ones and for all our blessings.  Don’t even let the word Christmas enter into this special day, but tomorrow–black Friday while everyone’s rushing around—stay home and wrap all those gifts you’ve already tucked away.  In honor of the work you’ll be doing, here’s another of my poems,


 Tucked in a hush of tissue,

snug inside a box bed,

kept warm in a bright paper blanket,

wrapped tight by a bundle of bows,

the present sleeps peacefully




until rudely awakened on

Christmas day.

© Ann Whitford Paul

Last year I posted this blog about unique and money-saving ways to wrap.

Here’s another idea.  Take-out plastic containers, cleaned, of course, make great gift holders like these.


Why stop there?  Cans make fun gift holders too.  Here’s a link for easy directions.

So now we’re into December and seriously into the business of Christmas.

May yours be stress-free and love-filled.

November 24th–31 days until Christmas–Gingerbread–Yum!

Start your baking now.  Store your cookies and cakes in the freezer and pull them out when unexpected guests and the big day arrives.  I’m doing exactly that.  Then while I’m off Christmas night helping everyone recover from the big day, Santa and the elves will have plenty of food to keep them content.  The baking inspired me to write this poem.


Their sugar-spice smells

escape from my oven,

slide over the floors,

waft through thick walls,

squeeze under closed doors,

glide up the stairs,

creep into closets,

sneak beneath chairs,

haunting my house—

sweet ghosts of December.

Now a confession . . .

I’m lazy when it comes to baking gingerbread men—all that rolling and decorating is too much for me.  Besides I’ve never found a recipe that isn’t dry and, even though spicy, tasteless.

Instead this year, I’m making these gingerbread cupcakes.  A dash of red or green food-coloring, or red or green sprinkles makes them look festive and they’re delicious.


Our next post is Thanksgiving Day.  I hope you’ll be so busy with your family that you won’t have time to check my blog until Black Friday while everyone else is out fighting the mall crowds.

May you have a stress-free, love-filled Turkey feast.  All the elves are coming so I’d better get back to cooking.