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Archive for the ‘Holiday Material’ Category

I have been asking friends for their Christmas traditions, ’cause we want to start some basic traditions….or at least do some basic things each Christmas that the family will enjoy without getting too complicated or too expensive.  Here are some of the ideas that I found while searching on-line and talking to friends.  Enjoy!!  

Also, feel free to add YOUR ideas!!

Christmas Tree Dip

4 Large Avacodo’s
1 Cup of Ranch Dressing (Buttermilk)
1 Cup of Medium Salsa
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Crushed Garlic
1 Small Roma Tomato
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Parsley
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

In a blender, put Avacodo (shelled and seeded of course), Ranch Dressing, Salsa and Garlic. Blend to a smooth consistency. Salt and Pepper to taste then pour in to Christmas Tree Shaped Dish and Garnish with a few chopped tomato’s and chopped Parsley.

Serve with Tortilla Chips and mostly ENJOY this wonderful treat.

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Christmas Wreaths

Using the traditional “Rice Krispie Treats” recipe, substitute corn flakes for Rice Krispies, add 2 tablespoons of green food coloring and mix thoroughly.

Place tablespoon sized portions of your “wreaths” on waxed paper. Sprinkle with red sprinkles OR cinnamon candies. Chill for 1 hour and they’re ready to serve!

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Matching Pajama Family

Everyone in the family gets matching pajamas for Christmas Eve. It doesn’t matter if you are 6 months old or 60 years old, the tradition continues every year. You may feel silly or sheepish, but when the time comes, everyone has to participate. We tend to hide these pictures in strict confidence, but I will include a picture (just don’t tell the family!) It is a great fun family tradition that brings the family closer and makes the holidays even more enjoyable!

MyahandMe.com

http://www.FootstepsClothing.com

http://www.nikkiknits.com

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Easy Fruit Dip

8 oz cream cheese
16 oz marshmallow puff

Soften cream cheese, add marshmallow puff, and mix well. Serve with fruit !!!!

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Peanut Ritz Crackers

1 sleve of Ritz crackers
1 jar of Creamy Peanut Butter
A few blocks of Almond Bark chocolate (white or dark or even both)

First spread the peanut butter on the crackers and make a sandwich. Continue that with the whole sleve. Next, melt your chocolate over a pan of boiling water, or you can just microwave it. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE CHOCOLATE!
After melting the chocolate, dip your premade sandwiches in the chocolate. If you want to, you may sprinkle some sprinkles on the drying sandwiches, or you may take the other flavor of chocolate and drizzle that on top.

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Grandmoms Best Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups white all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter or margarine together, add both sugars, eggs, vanilla and peanut butter.
Mix well and blend in all dry ingredients.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheets one inch apart.
Flatten in criss-cross shape with fork dipped in flour.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, they cook quickly.
Remove cookies with spatula after 5 minutes to cooking rack to cool completly.
Makes 6 dozen fabulous cookies.

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Christmas Auction Santa Bucks

Instead of getting gifts for each other, all of the adults in my family participate in our Christmas Auction.
Each person brings a few
small gifts or handmade items. We lay all of the items out and number them.
Everyone gets the same amount of
“Santa Bucks” – usually 20 or 30 depending on how many items there are to bid on.
We take about 30 minutes to check out all of the items and write down what we want to bid on each one. When everyone has their bids ready, my mom
“auctions” off each item.
It is so much fun to see what item will be “hot” every year. We usually have a
mystery gift (wrapped) to bid on. Some years it is a gift certificate  and some years it is a gag gift.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the
auction!

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Chocolate Cherry Cake

So easy, no mixer, and the frosting makes this cake extra special..so no cheating with the can stuff!

1 Package Pillsbury Devils Food Cake Mix
21 oz. Can Cherry Pie Filling
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
2 eggs, beaten

FROSTING
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons Butter or Margarine, softened
1/3 cup milk
6-oz. Package (1 Cup) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan bottom and sides well and shake off excess flour. Can dust with cocoa or a little cake mix instead of flour.

In a large bowl, combine all cake ingredients. Mix by hand; stir until well mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Take cake out of oven and let cool on rack for 5 minutes and begin to make frosting.

Frosting:
In small saucepan, combine Sugar, Butter and Milk. Over medium heat, bring to a Boil, stirring
Constantly, about 1 minute or little longer. Remove from heat. Stir in Chocolate Chips until smooth.
Pour over partially cooled cake. Smooth frosting evenly if needed. Let cool completely. When cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap.

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Bunco

We play a version of a dice game called Bunco. We all wrap up any strange christmas gifts we’ve received or found at the dollar store along with a few nice prizes and place them at the center of a huge table because the game can be played by all ages (which is why it’s so special). Starting with the head of the family everyone takes turns rolling the dice. Anyone who rolls doubles gets to take a package from the pile.

Once all the prizes are gone a timer is set for 10-15 minutes depending on the number of prizes/peole playing. During this period, if someone rolls doubles, they get to steal a present from anyone who won one in the previous now. Since no one knows what is in the packages, the choice is based on size or wrapping paper. Sometimes the person who donated the prize gives obscure hints or even says “you reeallllyy don’t want that one! Trust me!”

Once time expires everyone gets to open what they’re left with. The kids really love this game and the whole family looks forward to bunco. Sometimes it seems like the kids like the bunco prizes better than all the Christmas presents.

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Oreo Balls

1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate almond bark

Using a blender or hand held mixer, mix Oreos and cream cheese together.
Roll into walnut size balls.
Chill for an hour.
Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark.
Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark.
Allow to harden on wax paper. Takes about 15 minutes.
While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark.
When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark. Yummy !!

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Pumpkin Fudge

2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. pumpkin
1/4 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. carnation milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cook together sugar, pumpkin, cornstarch, spice and Carnation milk in a broiler. Stir constantly until mxture forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water. Add vanilla and let cool. Beat until creamy. Pour into a lightly greased 8×8 pan and refrigerate for two hours. Cut into small squares and enjoy!

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Gift Exchange “Roast”

Usually we are all together at thanksgiving, so we do a one person Christmas gift exchange draw. All adults who want to participate agree to one rule. On Christmas day, when it is your time to name your secret family member you should try to be loving, amusing, and yet “roast” your person a little. One can also deliver a tall tale about the gift, like you went all the way to China to get it, because Walmart was out of it. WE have a month to prepare these little speeches and they are usually very funny. Plus the one person gift exchange is so popular that our children say they cannot wait until they are old enough to partcipate.

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PJ’s and Slippers

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Easy Fruit Dip

8 oz cream cheese
16 oz marshmallow puff

Soften cream cheese, add marshmallow puff, and mix well. Serve with fruit !!!!

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 Puzzle

For years, I had a tradition with my family–we got a new jigsaw puzzle and put it together over the Christmas break. It usually ended up being my mother and me that did most of it. Now my parents live in FL. Since I live in Phoenix, I think attending the Electric Light Parade is a good tradition! Where else can you see people wearing Santa hats and shorts? : )

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Welcome the Sun

I like the Yule tradition of staying up to welcome the sun. Not for Cernunnos or any other reason, simply for longer hours… of sunlight finally coming.

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I was preparing our lessons for tomorrow.  We are studying animals that hybernate – – and since Groundhog Day was yesterday, I thought it all fit together nicely.  Here is the history I found, pertaining to this weather-predicting holiday.  Enjoy!

Since 1887, members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club in western Pennsylvania have tried to note the first appearance of the rodent they call Punxsutawney Phil. If Phil comes out of his burrow into sunlight on February 2nd and spies his own shadow, he’s said to jump back down underground — dooming us all to six more weeks of winter. On the other hand, a cloudy Groundhog Day forecasts an early spring. Today Punxsutawney Phil lives in a climate-controlled habitat adjoining the Punxsutawney Library. A local celebrity, he gained national fame in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day (which was shot in scenic Woodstock, Illinois). The weather-watching rodent’s predictions are recorded in the Congressional Records of our National Archive. So far, Phil has seen his shadow about 85% of the time.
The groundhog’s reputation as a weather prophet came to the U.S. in the mid-18th century with German immigrants, known as Pennsylvania Dutch. They had regarded the badger as the winter-spring barometer, and reassigned the job to the groundhog after importing their Candlemas traditions to the U.S. Other Europeans used the bear or hedgehog — but in any case it belonged to a creature that hibernated. Its emergence symbolized the imminent arrival of spring.

But this is really a very old holiday — one that has its roots in astronomy. February 2nd is one of four cross-quarter days. It lies about halfway between a solstice and an equinox.

In Ireland, February 1st is the feast day of Saint Brigit, the spiritual protector of sheep and cattle. According to tradition, she was born at sunrise as her mother, a Druid’s slave, carried milk across the threshold of her master’s house. In the same way, her feast falls on a seasonal crossroads — between winter and spring. When winter is fading and the power of the spring sun is increasing. Prior to the conversion of the Irish Celts, Saint Brigit’s Day was known as Imbolc, one of four seasonal junctions in the pagan calendar of Ireland. It was the start of spring, and its name refers to “ewes’ milk” and to the birth of farm animals. Imbolc was dedicated to the Celtic goddess Brigit, who was associated with learning, poetry, crafts and healing. Many of her pagan characteristics were retained when she was made a saint.

Groundhog Day is also the secular incarnation of Candlemas celebrated in England, where it marked the beginning of spring. Candlemas is a traditional Christian festival that commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. It also marks the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple. Christians were observing this holiday in Jerusalem at least as early as the 4th century A.D. By the middle of the 5th century, candles were lit on this day to symbolize the association of light with Christ. Despite its place on the Christian calendar, Candlemas also has pagan roots. The ancient Romans observed the beginning of spring on February 5th — they tidied farm and field and closed the year with a purification festival. The Armenian Church held an ancient fire-god festival each February 2nd. Future weather was forecasted by the behavior of smoke blown from fires lit in church courtyards.

Try this old English rhyme — “If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another flight. But if it be dark with clouds and rain, winter is gone and will not come again.”

Or here’s another old saying — “Half your wood and half your hay, You should have on Candlemas Day.”

In Germany it used to be said that “a shepherd would rather see a wolf enter his stable on Candlemas Day than see the sun shine.” A German badger was said to watch for his shadow. The National Geographic Society once studied the groundhog — and found him to be correct only one out of every three times. One final note. It’s supposed to be bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up after today.

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A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer,
a FREE inspirational novel – – it will lift your spirits this holiday season!

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A Cowboy's Christmas Prayer is a new inspirational novel. This exciting ebook is set on the Kansas frontier, in 1886. Struggling single mother Gretchen Norgard and down-on-his-luck cowboy Pete Beckworth discover one of the most important lessons we can learn about what truly matters at Christmas.

A Cowboy’s Christmas Prayer  is an 83 page inspirational novel filled with suspense, romance, and an inspiring message that will lift your spirits and warm your heart.

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