Save on Decor: Frugal Holiday Decorating Tips

Frugal Holiday Decorating

Nothing says "Christmas!" like a beautifully decorated home. Fragrant greens, twinkling lights, holiday centerpieces all set the stage for a merry holiday season.

But at what cost?

If you believe catalog vendors, department stores and florists, be prepared to lay down a bundle to create that holiday home. Each year sees a set of new colors, new images, new trends, all designed to part you from your holiday dollars.

Christmas Blessings Mix Recipe

Christmas Blessings Mix

Count your blessings with Christmas Blessings Mix! Small bags of snack mix, each ingredient reminds us of a holiday blessing.

Bagged in favor-sized gift bags and decorated with a holiday poem, Christmas Blessings Mix brings a festive touch to your Christmas celebrations.

Share them with church friends, co-workers or family for a meaningful gift.

Christmas Organizing Secret: Try A Tear File!

tear files

Christmas magazines and catalogs are fabulous resources for seasonal decorating, gift ideas, and Christmas recipes—but en masse, they can become too much of a good thing.

When the piles avalanche from every side table, finding an article or a recipe that caught your eye a few weeks ago can be an impossible job.

How do you keep all that good information without being crushed by stacks or drowning in paper? Answer: a set of tear files.

Snowman Poop: Silly Stocking Stuffer to Print!

Snowman Poop Gift Tag

If good little boys and girls get Snowman Soup, what do the naughty ones deserve? Snowman Poop!

This inexpensive holiday gag gift is easy to make for office gifts, Secret Santa exchanges or stocking stuffers.

Naughty but sweet, it's sure to get a holiday giggle from family and friends.

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!

You've Been Elf-ed! Start A Neighborhood Holiday Tradition

We've Been Elfed

Have you been Elf-ed? Join the fun with this Christmas version of the Halloween BOO game.

Sometimes called "You've Been Jingled", "You've Been Elf-ed!" is easy to play.

Sometime before Christmas, one neighbor starts the game, secretly leaving a basket of treats together with an Elf sign and Elf poem explaining how to play the game.

Ring the doorbell and run! It's the best part of You've Been Elf-ed!

Cynthia Ewer's Tangy Tri-Cities Biscotti

Twenty years ago, my husband and I were newcomers to Washington State. With so many friends in other parts of the USA, I wanted to share some of the tastes of our new home. Result: this original recipe, now my holiday specialty.

These biscotti feature dried Washington cherries (you can substitute dried cranberries, too!) and local walnuts. Dipped in white chocolate, they're a tasty and elegant accompaniment to that other Washington State tradition, gourmet coffee.

Best, biscotti are easy to make and easy to pack. Stand a few on end in a latte mug, add a small bag of gourmet coffee beans, and you've scored a quick Christmas cheat!

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?

Give Thanks: Last Minute Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

Last Minute Crafts for Thanksgiving

American families will gather this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Spark your holiday with these last-minute gift and craft ideas!

With free printable gift tags and bag toppers, these Thanksgiving snack mix gifts are easy to make.

Share them with guests, bring them to the workplace, or use as table favors:

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon sugar cookie recipe

A tasty basic sugar cookie dough, this recipe has been kid-tested by three generations of the Ewer family.

Sturdy enough for decorating, these lemon-flavored cookies have a crisp, light taste.

Try Lemon Sugar Cookies rolled and cut into frosted Christmas shapes, or just flattened with a glass and sprinkled with sugar.

To freeze, stack baked--but undecorated--cookies in single layers, separating each layer with sheets of waxed paper. Freeze for up to four weeks. Thaw and decorate as desired.

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