House & Holidays Plan Week 14: Storage Week

December's here and with it, the fullness of the holiday season. This week in the House & Holidays Plan, decorations shine bright as we prepare a welcome home for the holiday season! 

As we remove decorations from storage, we'll focus on the storage space they call home the other eleven months of the year.

In holiday prep, the season moves toward full swing with the coming of Advent. It's time to begin Advent observances, complete gift shopping, mail send-away gifts and work on holiday decorating.    Read More >>

Easy Holiday Gift: Chocolate Coffee Spoons

Chocolate Spoons Recipe

A simple gift for the coffee lover in your life, Chocolate Coffee Spoons will give a sweet taste of mocha to the morning brew.

Wrap these chocolate-dipped spoons in holiday cellophane, add a pretty ribbon and stand several on-end in a new coffee mug for a quick, homemade gift ... that's sure to please.

Bundle them with a packet of Snowman Soup for an easy stocking stuffer!

Try these recipe variations:

We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas: Easy Print-and-Give Stocking Stuffer

Whisk You a Merry Kissmas Gift Tag

Ready to share Yuletide greetings ... with a clever twist? This "We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas" stocking stuffer is a sweet surprise for the chocolate lover in your life!

A homemade Christmas gift, a "Kissmas Whisk" is easy enough for children to make and give--and with ingredients from the dollar store, it's inexpensive to make.

Makes a great teacher gift, stocking stuffer or office Secret Santa present.    Read More >>

Cranberry Hootycreeks Cookies In A Jar

Cranberry Hootycreeks

Pretty, festive and easy to make, Cranberry Hootycreeks make a welcome holiday cookie-in-a-jar gift.

Dried cranberries and white chocolate chips give a seasonal spin to these chunky oatmeal cookies.

To make, you'll layer flour mix with oats, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and chopped nuts for a pretty jar gift; we make it easy with a free printable gift tag!

Low-Cost, No-Cost Ways To Celebrate Christmas with Kids

Cutting costs at Christmas doesn't mean celebrating like Scrooge. It's not about what you buy--it's about what you do!

Putting "celebration" at the center of the season--and taking the focus off of gifts and giving--can be the key to happy holidays that don't break the bank.

Better, when it comes to kids and Christmas, cheap is good! Simple, inexpensive family activities can be as meaningful as pricey Nutcracker tickets--and no need for scratchy dresses or dress-up suits.

Try these no-cost, low-cost ways to celebrate the holiday season with kids:    Read More >>

Layered Mix Success: Tips for Making Gifts in a Jar

tips for layered cookie mix gifts in a jar

Interested in making layered baking mixes in a jar?

While pretty, these gift mix recipes can leave people asking lots of questions.

How do you get all the ingredients into the jar? How do you make sure the finished product tastes as good as it looks? How far ahead can you make these gifts?

You've got questions? We've got answers! Try these tips for successful Mason jar gifts.    Read More >>

"Gimme, Gimme" v. Doing Good: Teaching Children to Give

Teach children to give

Recently, I eavesdropped on an online discussion about teaching children to give.

The original writer was a concerned, conscientious parent of a preschooler. This father shared his plan to teach his daughter about holiday giving. They would, he wrote, sort through the child's toys and set aside several toys "to give to needy children."

An admirable effort, I thought--until he set forth the rest. He hoped to locate a charitable agency that would permit his daughter to hand her toys directly to the child who would receive them. This way, he felt, his child would learn what giving meant in a direct and unambiguous manner.

I stared at the screen and asked "What is wrong with this picture?"    Read More >>

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