Because of my surgery this year I was in a hurry to get things done beforehand and did a lot of gift cards, but NEXT year I’m going back to some simple rustic and fun ideas.
✨Top 2 Winter Beauty Essentials
✨Top 2 Winter Fashion Essentials
✨ Favorite Winter Accessory
✨ Favorite Winter Nail Polish
✨ Hot Cocoa or Apple Cider?
✨ Favorite Winter Candle?
✨ Does it snow where you live?
✨Have you ever made a snowman?
✨What is Your Favorite Holiday Movie?
✨What is Your Favorite Christmas Color?
✨Stay in Your PJs Or Dress Up For Christmas?
✨If You Could Only Buy One Person a Present This Year Who Would It Be?
✨Do You Open Your Present Christmas Eve Or Christmas Morning?
✨What Do You Like To Do On Your Christmas Break?
✨Any Christmas Wishes?
✨Favorite Christmas Smell?
✨Favorite Christmas Meal Or Treat?
✨What are you doing for the holidays this year?
✨What’s your favorite holiday drink?
✨Candy cane or Gingerbread men?
✨What’s your favorite holiday/Christmas song?
✨What is most important to you about the holidays?
Normally I would be making my own Christmas cards. Even the year we moved here I made them LOL BEFORE we moved so they’d be ready. This year though with the health issues caused by the HOUSE FROM HELL still going on and my studio a storage area… They are pretty cute, but next year we’re back to homemade!
Over the years I have made everything, and I do mean everything at one time or another to create a handmade Christmas. I’ve made rolls and rolls of butcher paper into wrapping paper, cut grocery bags into handmade tags, made enough fudge, candies and cookies to feed a small country, as well as jams, jellies, soup mixes and Snowman soup!
My award winning jams were requested one year at the Church Christmas Boutique and I ended up selling them every year for another 10 years before we moved. Now I make just enough for gifts for neighbors and family. I started making Snowman Soup about 20 years ago for the girl scouts and it was a HUGE seller at our gift wrap days and later for the Church Boutique.
I can’t actually get to the disks with pictures from some of our more favorite Christmases so will share these 2013 ones with you. This was a great year as we actually had lots of snow in Oregon. We loved living so close to the Christmas tree farm also. Beautiful trees for reasonable costs unlike here.
The house across the street usually looks REALLY horrible, but NOT when it’s under a blanket of snow.
My grandfather worked for General Electric as an X-ray technician of sorts (he oversaw the installation and calibration of X-ray equipment) and one year he brought home a GE Snow tree and ornaments (I still don’t know the correlation between between being an X-ray technician and Christmas trees). Anyway this tree had a HUGE decorated cardboard base and once the tree was up and decorated you filled this base with thousands of tiny Styrofoam balls and when you turned the switch on the tree would make it’s own snow. As a kid I thought it was pretty cool, but as an adult I look back and realize what a MESS it made!! Especially when the wind was blowing and static electricity was high – those damn balls stuck to EVERYTHING!
The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc… and on December 18th they were ahead of schedule and just about finished.
On December 19th a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover up the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc… to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet.. ‘Pastor,’ she asked, ‘where did you get that tablecloth?’ The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth, but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a house cleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.
The man asked him where he got the Tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike.
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years in between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.
He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
This true Story was submitted by Pastor Rob Reid.
This year we are forgoing BIG gifts again and doing stockings only since this house has eaten up all our disposable cash so fast! We are planning trips after the first of the year to decide 100% where we are going though and calling it our Christmas present to each other.
What I CANNOT live without in winter is many many things, but these are my top items! The one thing I am absolutely sure of is that if I have a sore throat, dry skin, cold feet or hands, cold food or catch a cold I am NOT happy.
I drink a cup of green tea every night and try to make very balanced comfort food meals to warm up my family from the inside out. Here are a few of our favorite soups and stews links for you.
Tomato Spinach Soup
Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
Today’s category is an easy one for me. I start taping Christmas movies on Lifetime, Hallmark and INSP as soon as they air so I can watch all year long. I’m a sucker for a happy ending and let’s face it, Christmas movies have happy endings.
So this list could be reallllllllllly long, but I will just keep it to the top 5 MUST watch each and every year movies.