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.

October 20th—66 days until Christmas—Rag Wreath

Oh, my!  Oh, my!  We’ve moving closer—just over two months before the big day.  I hope you’re busy planning for the holidays so you can relax in December.

We’re super busy up here at the North Pole.  They elves are hammering and stitching and choosing just the right books and toys for your children.  Being married to Mr. Saint Nick all these years has made me crazy for Christmas.  It’s also made me crazy for making decorations each year.  And guess what?  I have a closet full of leftover unused fabric, silently demanding, “Don’t forget about me!”

So I this year I vowed not to.  I made these two rag wreaths from fabric scraps.  This one is big enough to hang on my door.

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 The other one will look beautiful on our tree–Yes, we do have a tree each year–or on a window handle.

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Easy directions are here.

And because I still had oodles of fabric left, I decided to make something else–here’s a hint.  It’s perfect for my husband or for a baby too.  Find out what it is, next post.

October 6th—80 Days Until Christmas—Stocking Stuffers for Teens

This last post in our series of Stocking Stuffers is for teens, probably the most difficult group to please.

I suggested balls for kids, but teens don’t outgrow them.  Now though, they’d probably like a stress ball they can squeeze to release tension.  Ariel makes them with several different faces.

stressballs

What about a Peace Sign Key Chain by Dan Morris.

peacesignkeychain

Go to wonderful Etsy for the largest selection of unique earrings anywhere.

There’s always a handy pocket swiss army knife.

swissarmyknife

If all else fails, think gift cards—Starbucks, Itunes, movie theaters, clothing stores, and fast food and restaurants and almost any business you can imagine.  They’re bound to please.

So that’s it with Stockings.

I hope everyone in cyber space is doing some things now to get ready for Christmas.  If not, my next post will offer ten reasons why you should be preparing.

See you then.

October 2nd—84 days until Christmas—Stocking Stuffers for Adults.

All the elves hang stockings and it’s up to me to fill them, because Santa Claus is too busy delivering gifts around the world.

Here are some of the things I think they and other adults too, will love.

WalterDrake makes very useful Toothpaste tube squeezers, especially helpful for those who can’t stop squeezing from the middle of the tube.

tubesqueezer

I love this credit card size, wallet bottle opener by GiftGuys

bottle opener

and Supreme Housewares makes these charming cheese spreaders.

cheese knives

If you’re looking for soap, try these pure olive oil soaps from Kiss my Face.

kiss soap

Last year I suggested how to make book marks.

006They fit easily into a stocking.  Download the instructions here.  And don’t forget a book under the tree for each member of your family.  Mr. Saint Nick and I always look forward to reading our gift books the day after Christmas–when were both too exhausted to do anything else.

Any suggestions you want to share about stocking stuffers for the mature ones in your family?

Next post, I’ll suggest some stocking stuffers for teens.

September 29th—91 days until Christmas—Stocking Stuffers

Here are a few ideas for small stocking stuffer gifts for kids.

Everyone loves super bouncy balls.

small balls

These Plan Toy dollhouse people are fun to play with even if there is no dollhouse.

dollhousepeople

What young boy won’t love racing these Mattel Hot Wheels around the tree?hot wheels

Here are some darling animal erasers by Iwako.

ERASERS

And cute insects by Z Wind-ups.  wind ups

Even necessities like toothbrushes can be fun if they’re these Dora the Explorer brushes made by Colgate.

toothbrush

Anyone else want to share stocking stuffer ideas for kids?

Next post I’ll have suggestions of those adults on your list.  We can’t forget them, can we?

September 15—101 days until Christmas– Thinking Gifts in September

Most people look forward to spring for their cleaning and organizing.  Not me!  In preparation for the holidays, I do a lot of early planning (as I’m sure you already know from my blog.)  Gracious me!  I realized I didn’t have nearly enough cookie sheets.  My husband isn’t known to have a small appetite!  And with all the elves to feed too,  I climbed into my trusty sleigh and headed to the store.  cropped-mrs400.jpg

The cookie sheets were easy to find, but I also saw these darling potholders.  DSCN0375My best friend has a yellow kitchen so I bought them and that’s one less person I have to think about for Christmas.

Every time you go shopping, keep your eye open for that perfect gift for the special people on your list.  The more shopping you do now, the less crazy your December will be.

Do you like contests?   Enter here to win a free copy of that book about me.

Christmas_cover - Copy

September 8th—108 days left to Christmas—Avoiding Family Fisticuffs

Family, like fire-works in July can often explode, especially at the dinner table.  Start planning now for activities to keep everyone happy.  Start saving toilet paper rolls!

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What, you ask, do toilet paper rolls have to do with Christmas?

They are the basis for making Crackers.  Not the crackers you eat—the old English Crackers.

All they are is a wrapped tube that makes a pop when you pull off the paper.

english crackers

Each one is filled with little gifts, sweets and jokes.  Whatever you want to put in is fine.  You can order them here– http://www.oldenglishcrackers.com/  but they’re more personal if you make them.  Instructions will come in a later post.  All you have to do now is start saving toilet-paper rolls, paper-towel rolls and wrapping paper rolls.  Also collect jokes from the funny paper that strike your fancy.  Riddles, too, and keep your eye out for small cute gifts everyone can use—erasers, fun shaped paper clips, marbles, etc.  I ordered my snaps from http://www.oldenglishcrackers.com/cracker-snaps-p-91.html

Stash the snaps, rolls and gifts away in a closet and then you’ll have everything you need to make them.  I’ll post the directions closer to the holiday.

Be sure to read my next post where I’ll give you a yummy cracker (the eating kind) recipe.

Do you have any other suggestions for easing family tensions on the big day?  I’d love to hear them so we can all enjoy a stress free-love filled holiday.