133 days until Christmas–Santa Decoration

Since we just finished a poem about Mr. Saint Nick, let’s make a decoration in his honor. I discovered this charming one on Etsy.

Unfortunately when I went to the creator’s web-site, the language was not one I could read. So . . . I winged it.

You can too. Download directions here.

How long did it take?

Less than the length of a TV movie.

Think of how many you can make between now and December. Your tree could be filled with this sweet decoration or you could give them as hostess gifts or to your special friends.

Speaking of friends, stay tune for my next post for a darling, inexpensive and meaningful gift for all the special girls and women in your life.

136 days until Christmas–A Gift of Poetry, Part Three

Want to try another poem for a loved one?

Acrostic Poems like the repetition poem doesn’t have to rhyme or have rhythm although if you like to do that, go ahead.

Spell the name of your special person down the page like this

M
R

S
A
I
N
T

N
I
C
K

Then write your poem, each line beginning with a word that starts with its letter. Notice that I made each letter bold and left a space between the letter and the rest of the word for emphasis.

M erry, my merry man. I love your
R osy-cheeks and that Christmas is your favorite

S eason. I can’t believe how you work
A ll year long so
I ntensely preparing for that magic
N ight when you
T ravel the world—

N ever stopping—from Australia to
I celand and beyond, bringing gifts to
C hildren. No one I know is as
K ind and giving as you.

So now I have written two poems for my dear husband—won’t he be surprised and won’t your special people be surprised with the ones you’ve written for them?
Speaking of poems written for my husband, I hope you all know about that book, ‘TWAS THE LATE NIGHT OF CHRISTMAS written about ME. Christmas_cover - Copy Order your copies hereor from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore. It’s about time someone recognized that I play an important part in Christmas, too. These make perfect hostess gifts.

In my next post, I’ll show you how to make charming Santa decorations that also make great hostess gifts. Best of all, no special talent is needed to create them.

July 16—162 days until Christmas—A Gift of Poetry, Part One

When it’s frigid up here at the North Pole, and I’m stuck inside, I try my hand at poetry. This one I wrote about my dear, beloved husband.Santa Claus

SANTA CLAUS

Two pink-cheeked words
that twinkle merry,
laugh Ho, Ho, Ho,
smiling on each girl and boy.

Christmas Night
those two words fly
through the sky
carrying a pack filled
with laughter and joy.

Why don’t you write a poem about someone special in your life? It will be the most cherished gift under the tree and remembered long after neckties and nighties are forgotten. Better yet, it doesn’t cost a penny. All it takes is time and because there are so many days until Christmas, you have plenty.

You’ve never written a poem?
It’s not hard.
Make a list of all the good things a person does for you and all their loveable qualities.

Here’s mine of some of Mr. Saint Nick’s finest qualities to get you started:
The way you are always thinking of others,
The twinkle in your eye
Your ho, ho, ho laugh that comes from deep down,
You never get tired of your job.
Your rosy cheeks.
How kind you are to your elves, making sure they have plenty of breaks.
How on your busiest night of the year you always remember me with a gift.
You say I love you, every time you leave
And every time you return home.
You appreciate a good meal.

That wasn’t so hard was it?
Now it’s your turn.
Make similar lists of all the important people in your life.
Next week, I’ll share how to turn your list into a poem—a loving gift if there ever was one!

Focus on Kids

We’re getting close to the big day.  Let’s spend it with our kids, grandchildren, neighbors, nieces and nephews.  Make a kid-friendly dinner like this Lasagna, filled with the colors of Christmas—green spinach, red tomato sauce and the star-white of cheese.  It’s so good, kids won’t even know they’re eating a leafy vegetable.  Serve it with crusty garlic bread and a salad.  Then while sitting around the table, play this game.  WHAT MIGHT ANIMALS WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?  The inspiration for this game came from a poem and while spiders aren’t often seen up here in the frigid North Pole, it’s still fun to imagine.

  Wolf-Spider1

  WHAT DOES SPIDER WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?

A shoe for every foot?  That’s eight.

A shiny silver dinner plate

for eating bugs?  Bright red lights

to decorate its web at night?

Using this poem as a starting point, ask the youngest at your table, to pick an animal—a rabbit perhaps?  An elephant?  A whale?  Then she poses the question, “What will ________ want for Christmas?” 

Others will suggest possible Christmas gifts for that animal.  When no one can think of anymore, it’s time for the next older person to suggest an animal and ask the question all over again.

I guarantee laughter at your table.

For desert, bring out a selection of those cookies you have in the freezer.  What could be easier?  What could be better?

Then after everyone, each like a helpful elf, has pitched in to clean up, bundle warmly and walk, or drive, around town to enjoy the bright holiday lights.

  christmas-lights-house

With everyone home for the weekend, it’s a perfect time to start making a Christmas-themed puzzle like this one.  santa puzzleYou can order it here.  Also you can draft your young helpers into making these holiday pinwheels, a favorite kid-friendly, kid-delicious appetizer.

Can you suggest other fun family activities? 

          Next post on December 23rd we’re going to pause from last-minute preparations and count our blessings

Until then, let’s all strive for a stress-free, love-filled Christmas . . .

Happy Holiday Reading

        Elves love nothing more after a long day making and wrapping toys to relax with a good book.  The special children in your life will enjoy the same thing.  Here are some of my holiday favorites.

11_%20toomey%20coverThe Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by P.J. Lynch is a touching story of a young boy and his mother who touch and warm the sad heart of a woodcarver.  It’s been made into a movie, but I can’t imagine anything better than this book.

three french hensThree French Hens By Margie Palatini and illustrated by Richard Egielski is a fun romp and required read for those families whose holidays include both Christmas and Hanukkah.     

 Christmas-Magic_bThe Christmas Magic is a new book, just out this year, by Lauren Thompson, pictures by Jon J Muth.  With lyrical prose, you get to see Santa Claus as he prepares for his big night.

nbc_lo‘Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Mike Lester tells the story of a family whose preparations for the holiday all fail, but no matter for they discover the true meaning of Christmas.

       No Christmas is complete without a reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Skip any movie production and luxuriate in beautiful prose.  Although it’s longer than the others, read just one ghost visit a night and you’ll finish well before Christmas.

I can’t leave without giving a plug to the book about me. Christmas_cover - Copy‘Twas the Late Night of Christmas is a perfect gift for all your frazzled friends.  Order your copy here.

Keeping with this post’s theme, I’m participating in A Jolly Holly Blog Hop.  Enter to win books by different authors.  On the tenth day of Christmas or December 21st I’m giving away an autographed copy of my Christmas Book and

IMG_NEWTo enter sign up for my e-mail newsletter.  Already receive it?  No problem.  Just leave a comment here that you want to enter the drawing.

      You must have some books near and dear to you, you’d like to recommend to others. 

In between reading, I’m making prepare-ahead dishes for our Christmas feast.  You should be doing the same.  One day-one dish and you’ll be one super-relaxed hostess.  Here’s a fun Quesadilla appetizer the elves snarf up faster than you can say, “Happy holidays.”

On my next post, December 18th we’ll share some favorite Christmas Music.

Until then, let’s all strive for a stress-free, love-filled Christmas . . .

Cards and Letters

         You’ve recovered from Thanksgiving and you’re ready to dive head first into the joy of Christmas.  If you’re sending cards, now is the time to address them (or use pre-addressed labels.)  I like to get my cards done in one day, so I take a strike from cooking.  Santa is on his own. Fortunately he knows how to grill a mean steak.  He’s so talented, the elves made this darling ornament commemorating his accomplishments.     santa barbecue     

Here’s the recipe for santa’s marinated steak.

I spread my cards out on our dining room table along with my envelopes, pens and stamps and my short Christmas Letter with only the highlights of the year.  No one needs to know Santa suffers from gout, or the chief elf threw a tantrum this morning, or that I need a haircut.  Just the important events, please!      

The advantage of devoting a full day to cards is that once it’s done, you can clean up your work space and go back to the normal that is December.

Today is Black Friday so while everyone’s at the mall, you can quick go to the post office.  Remember we’re working towards a stress-free December and there’s nothing that will set your nerves jangling louder than Santa’s sleigh bells then standing in a long line.  If you’re sending e-cards, of course you won’t have this problem, but I’m old-fashioned enough to want to open an envelope and place the cards around the house as decorations.

Another way to avoid the stress of cards is to send them out after Christmas.  You’ll have no deadline to meet and post office lines will be insignificant.

Have you received any humorous or inappropriate holiday letters you’d like to share?

Can you believe December is nearly here?  If you’re followed my suggestions so far, you’ve finished your shopping, addressed and sent your cards, and are ready to relax and relish in the true meaning of Christmas—love of family and friends.  If you haven’t yet finished everything, still congratulate yourself.  You’ve started and I imagine that’s a big change from previous years.  On December 2nd we’ll begin decorating your house and I’ll have a recipe for a Not-so Fruity Fruit Cake

Until then, let’s all strive for a stress-free, love-filled Christmas . . .