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,

PRESENT

 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

          sleeps,

                   sleeps,

                             sle—

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.

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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.

GINGERBREAD MEN

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.

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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.

November 20th—35 days until Christmas—Mr. Saint Nick’s Favorite Holiday Stories

My husband loves a good story. Here are his go-to ones each December. The first two are in the public domain so you can find them for free on the internet—isn’t that an amazing invention? The others, I’m sorry you’ll either have to borrow from the library or spend money for.

  1.  A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens  http://www.stormfax.com/1dickens.htm
  2. THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O Henry  http://www.online-literature.com/o_henry/1014/
  3. THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGENT EVER by Barbara Robinson for elementary age  kids.bestchristmaspageant
  4. COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by John Manders—fun for cowgirls, too.

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5.  MANGER, Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins—for ages 3 to 103

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6.  And last, but not least, the book about me, ‘TWAS THE LATE NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS

Christmas_cover - Copy  Mr. Claus loves that I’m finally getting the recognition I deserve.

Since you will have completed your shopping, hopefully, and written your cards, hopefully, you should have plenty of time during December to read these stories with your family.  Last year I shared some of my favorite Christmas books.  You’ll find them here.

If anyone else has favorite Christmas books to share, please do.

In my next post, get ready for another poem AND a recipe, that I promise is easy and delicious.

November 17th—38 days until Christmas—Christmas Card Bowl

We’re under forty days to the big day and that means soon cards will start to arrive.  I hope you already have yours.  I hope you’ve even started to address them.  Remember we’re trying to do everything in advance so December will be stress-free and love-filled.

Since you’ll be receiving cards, you’ll be needing a place to keep them.  I decoupaged a painted wooden bowl with old cut-out Christmas cards.

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The elves love to carry it away to a quiet place to look at the pictures and read all the greetings.  Decoupage is easy and takes no artistic talent at all–just cut and paste.  Here are the instructions for a box I made last year.

In my next post I’ll take a break from crafts and share some of my dear husband’s favorites for the holidays.  Hope some might be yours, too.

NOVEMBER 13TH—42 Days until Christmas—Holiday Granny Square Throw

I had so much fun making my granny square coasters (See post here) that I went a little crazy with granny squares. First I made some small granny square Christmas decorations that look like this.

DSCN0424Then, inspired by this pattern on the internet,

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I decided to make a throw also.

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Mine doesn’t stick to the pattern of colors and yours doesn’t have to either. I just took all my leftover Christmas yarns and used the colors until they ran out. My husband was mighty pleased with the outcome. I was, too,  And since the yarn was already in my stash, I was thrilled with the cost which was zilch!

So gather up any Christmas colored yarns you have and get to work.  Now!

Anyone out there also had fun crocheting something lovely for the holidays?

November 10th—45 days until Christmas—Star Poem and Decorations

Up here in the north pole our skies are filled with stars, but on Christmas we celebrate one star.  Hence this poem:

Years ago a bright brilliant star

shone down from the blackened sky,

showing wise men and shepherds the way

to the manger where Jesus lay.

And so I hang a multitude

of stars, around my tree,

reminding me of the reason why

we celebrate Christmas day.

© Ann Whitford Paul

It’s still only November but I had fun making these simple star decorations.

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You and your family can, too. Get busy. Directions are here. While you’re busy painting and gluing, listen to  this you-tube song. 

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It celebrates the book about me and is  less than a minute and a half long.  I hope you’ll play it over and over again.

My next post will have another simple craft for decorations and another holiday throw.  The more you do now, the more relaxed your December will be.

November 6th—49 days until Christmas—Last Advent Activity Suggestions

Here are my final suggestions.

  1. Go on a shape hunt in your house—rectangles, squares, circles, triangles. How many can you find?  How many are holiday related—Christmas tree is a triangle, circle wreaths, rectangle and square presents, etc.
  2. Write to a friend telling them how much he or she means to you.
  3. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for.
  4.  Make decorations together for your Christmas Tree—out of pipe cleaners   DSCN0224 or buttons  DSCN0228 (2)  Here are the pipe cleaner directions.  And here are the button decoration directions.
  5.  Tie bright ribbons on your door knobs and bannisters.  012 (2)
  6.  Watch a favorite Christmas movie.  These are mine.  MIRACLE ON THIRTY-FOURTH STREET, HOME ALONE, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, or LOVE ACTUALLY.
  7.  Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  8.  Clean out bookshelves and donate old books to library for used book sale.

Over the last several posts, I’ve given you well over twenty-five activity suggestions.  Pick your 25 favorite and put them in your bowl.  Then each morning pull out one.  Don’t be rigid about this.  If you’re having a busy day and the activity can’t be done, drop it back in and pull out another more doable one.  As the number of papers decrease, you and your family will see how fast Christmas is coming.  And what a fun time you’ll have together!

Join me for my nest post where we’ll talk about stars.