Snowman Soup: Recipe For Warming Winter Gift

Snowman Soup

Warm the hearts of good little boys and girls with a packet of Snowman Soup!

Take a single-serving package of hot chocolate mix, chocolate candy kiss, marshmallows and candy cane, package in a mug or holiday-themed goody bag, then add a free printable gift tag or bag topper for a cheery winter gift.

Easy enough for children to make, Snowman Soup is perfect for stocking stuffers, office gifts, Secret Santa presents or 12 Days of Christmas gifts.

A Perfect Christmas?

No Perfect Christmas

"Oh, to have a perfect Christmas!"

This potent illusion grabs us by the throat sometime in September. It lifts only on the afternoon of December 25, in concert with the 3 p.m. Christmas post-gift letdown. It's a fancy subscribed to by many well-meaning holiday planners. It sells one heck of a lot of Christmas magazines.

To my dismay, it may even have motivated you to join the Christmas Countdown!

Gifting Guidelines: The Unwritten Rules of Gift-Giving

Unwritten Rules of Gifting

Christmas is coming! Do you understand the unwritten rules of gift-giving?

Each of us carries within ourselves a set of rules about gift-giving. Seldom acknowledged and rarely discussed, these rules determine what we give, how much we give, and to whom we give. Despite living only in our minds and expectations, the unwritten rules of gift-giving govern everything from the office Secret Santa exchange to the family's morning under the Christmas tree.

Save Time With Holiday Baking: Make It A Specialty!

baking specialty

Food and the holidays go hand-in-hand! Holiday cooking magazines are among the first signs of an approaching holiday season.

Sumptuous desserts, winsome cookies, glowing turkeys warm our images of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.

But oh! My aching feet! Even those of us who lead a Little Debbie life from January to November succumb to holiday baking madness. Cookies. Breads. Pies. Candy. It wouldn't be the holidays without them--but isn't there any way around the baking chores?

Holiday Survival Kit: Six Last-Minutes Additions For Your Shopping List

Last Minute Shopping List for Thanksgiving

The holidays are here, with wall-to-wall shoppers at the supermarket. Who wants to have to join them?

Instead, assemble a holiday survival kit. Before you shop for the holiday meal, check supplies of these often-forgotten items for your holiday gathering.

Pencil these items into your regular shopping list--and save a last-minute trip. They'll keep the fun in the festivities!

  • Automatic Dishwasher Detergent. Hosting a holiday gathering means lots (and lots and LOTS) of dirty dishes. If you use an automatic dishwasher, be sure it's stocked and ready to roll!
  • Club Soda. It's the non-caloric drink of choice with a squeeze of lime ... but an extra bottle can be a cleaning lifesaver when applied to the inevitable spilled food. Use it to blot fresh wine, gravy or pie stains for tablecloth or carpet first aid.
  • Paper Towels. Unfamiliar cooking routines, helpers washing their hands and little-kid clean-ups can burn through a roll of paper towels in record time. Keep a backup waiting!
  • Toilet Paper. If it's "just us chickens", a missing roll is no big problem. Not so when you've got a house full. Avoid red faces with a fresh supply!
  • Camera Batteries. Don't make the family wait to dive into the feast (while the cameraman raids the childrens' toys for fresh batteries). Stock up or charge rechargeables now.
  • Sandwich Bread. What's the number-one reason for a Black Friday trip to the supermarket? "We're out of bread!" Grab a loaf today, and be ready for turkey sandwiches (and no cooking!) on Friday.

Christmas Calm: Ten Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Tips For A Calm Christmas

Sure, you love the holiday season--but just not so much of it! This year, you're hoping to cut the crazy out of Christmas: to trim the celebration back to one that is sustainable and calm.

Question is, just how do you do less--and enjoy it more--during the Christmas holiday season?

If you're aiming to simplify Christmas, take time to ponder ways to cut stress, save money and tame over-the-top traditions. Setting simplicity strategies in place early will keep you from being swept up in holiday madness.

Get armed! Try these ten simple strategies to calm holiday chaos and rein in the seasonal overkill this year.

Save on Thanksgiving Dinner: Beat The Holiday Grocery Game

grocery shopping tips

During the holiday season, department stores, catalog retailers and online sellers aren't the only businesses anxiously queuing up for a slice of the fourth-quarter pie, i.e. your holiday wallet. Been grocery shopping lately?

What a difference a few days makes! By November, Halloween's candy displays have given way to a maze of buy-me buy-me holiday foodstuffs.

Print, Cut, Celebrate: Cupcake Pan Advent Calendar

Cupcake Pan Advent Calendar

Count down the days to Christmas with this easy printable craft: a cupcake pan Advent calendar!

Using a 24-count mini-cupcake pan as a base, colorful magnets printed on inkjet magnet sheets hide a treat for each December day before Christmas.

Best, free printable magnet designs make it easy to create this holiday craft project. Choose your favorite design to create a quick family tradition!

Our photo tutorial will have you crafting your cupcake pan advent calendar in record time. Print, cut and celebrate!

Magic Elf Tradition: Will Santa's Magic Elf Visit Your Home?

elf on the shelf

What would happen if one of Santa's elves came to your house to visit?

He'd arrive sometime before the holidays began. Sent by Santa to check on good little girls and boys, he'd roam the house at night, popping up in the most unlikely places come morning.

Sometimes, elf mischief would take place--and he'd be caught red-handed! Finally, on Christmas Eve, he'd report to Santa and hitch a ride back to the North Pole ... until next year.

If you can imagine it, you can do it: meet Santa's Magic Elf!

Blessings Mix Tutorial: Make Seasonal Gift Mix Treats

Blessings Mix Tutorial

Have you shared your blessings with a Blessings Mix?

Small bags of snack mix with a seasonal theme, each ingredient in Blessings Mix reminds us of our blessings.

Inexpensive and easy to make, holiday Blessings Mix gifts have graced dinner tables, classrooms and offices the world around.

Use them as table favors, workplace gifts or party treats at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or to celebrate American holidays such as Independence Day or Veterans Day--and bring home the values that underlie each occasion.

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