Spock’s First Christmas

No, it’s not Spock the vulcan, it’s Spock the big-eared cat named after the vulcan. Spock is the little kitten I rescued over the summer. He’s gotten much bigger since then, but he still has very much the energy of a kitten. As such, he tends to get into mischief.

This year was his first Christmas, and to his delight, he thought that we had provided the Christmas Tree just for his personal amusement. He spent most of the holiday season running up and down the tree continuously, trying to pulling off all the paper cranes that were decorating it. He actually succeeded in completely pulling the tree over three times this season.

This was just some video I shot of him in the decor, to the tune of Silent Night. Most pet owners can probably relate. Hope you enjoy.

Quick and Easy Gift Tags

Just a little bit of stamping and some glue and you’re good to go. These little gift tags are cute name holders when you’re in a pinch for time.

Decorating with Christmas Cards

There are so many gorgeous Christmas cards that go through the mail these days, each one is in itself a work of art. They’re far too beautiful to just set in a pile somewhere. Instead use them as part of your actual holiday decor to display your beautiful cards and make the house just a bit more Christmasy.

One of the easiest ways to decorate with Christmas cards to run them around a doorway or windowsill. Just affix a little bit of masking tape the back of each one and tape it to the frame of the window or the door. Cards also look good lining a fireplace mantle. Basically you create a “garland” of Christmas cards. Continue reading

Open Door Santa Sleigh Card from Used Christmas Cards

This card is a good way to recycle used Christmas cards from a previous year. You’ll be needing one with a Santa and sleigh, and one with a door. The slight pop up part of this card is on the front, which leaves the interior blank for writing.

The History of the Christmas Tree

Every Christmas millions of people go out to the tree lot, spend hours searching for that perfect tree, cut it down and bring it home to light the house during the dark season of winter (or in the case of the ever present artificial tree today: pull out the box, put the tree together, and plug in the lights.). It’s a tradition that’s long been associated with the Christmas holiday, but the origins of the Christmas tree actually go back even further than the holiday itself.

In ancient times, long before Christianity, people believed that trees which stayed green all year had special meaning, therefore evergreens held a particular place of honor (this belief was also associated with holly and mistletoe, hence their later association with the Christmas holiday as well.) Evergreen, mistletoe and holly were revered as symbols of eternal life, due to the fact that they did not go dormant in the winter like so many others. The people often brought boughs of evergreen into their homes for luck and to ensure that the sun would return after the winter to make everything green again. In particular, the evergreen boughs were used during the winter solstice celebrations (in a way, the forebearer of Christmas). Continue reading

How to Make a Christmas Tree Garland out of Scrapbooking Paper

I have a tendency to use scrapbooking paper for pretty much anything but scrapbooking. In particular, I love making Christmas decorations out of it. The Christmas Tree I have in my bedroom is an old artificial one that someone was getting rid of, so I took it. It’s kind of scrappy (It makes Charlie’s Brown’s tree look good!) so it needs plenty of color to jazz it up. This scrapbooking paper garland fits the bill. It’s made using the same technique as a gum wrapper chain, so if you’ve ever made one of those, this garland should be a cinch. But if not it’s pretty easy to get the hang of.


How to Make a Christmas Riddle Card

For years I’ve been making up clue games for my siblings and relatives (that usually result in headaches for them as they try for hours to solve the riddles and get to the next clue), so I thought it’d be fun to extend a bit of that cipher-making into some Christmas cards. It’s just kind of a fun way to make your family and friends think for a moment when they open their Christmas cards. However, the riddle on this card is pretty straight forward and easy enough that there shouldn’t be any headaches involved for the recipients. Though if you do want to make it a bit more difficult for them, you can leave out the underscore completely so it takes just a bit longer to figure out what letter is missing.

Christmas Comes AFTER Thanksgiving

I’m a person who loves all the seasons, and especially loves them in order, but lately it seems as though Christmas is getting earlier and earlier every year. This very year, two weeks before Halloween even, Target was already running a Christmas shopping commercial. (For some strange reason, listening to Christmas carols while I’m carving pumpkins just doesn’t do it for me.) Seriously, Christmas commercials before Halloween? That’s just too early.

As far as I know, Christmas still comes AFTER Thanksgiving, which in itself comes after Halloween. It’s gotten to the point where our society’s economy is so reliant on people shopping for the holidays that a store’s entire year now seems to revolve around that mad rush of shopping and gift giving. The ironic part is that a large portion of the shopping being done involves purchasing items that were probably cheaply made in another country. Continue reading

Christmas Card Lampshade

Here’s a good way to upcycle old Christmas cards and broken lampshades while ending up with a free decoration for next year.

You will need:
An old lamp shade
Old Christmas cards
Silver or gold paper
Red or green bias tape.
Glue

We don’t throw much out at my house, and Christmas cards are no exception. We usually end up with stacks of all the prettiest ones from previous years. The question is, what to do with all the left-over beauties? The answer came this year in the form of a cracked lampshade. I realized there was no better way to give new life to both the lampshade and the cards than by putting the two together.

First find an old lampshade. It doesn’t matter how stained or cracked it is because the cards will cover the surface. If there is fabric on the outside of the lampshade, cut it off. Cut the backs off the Christmas cards; you’ll be using only the fronts for this project.

Glue several cards to the outside of the lampshade, laying them so that the top edges just overlap. There will be 1-2 inch spaces between the card bottoms. To fill those, cut triangular strips of gold or silver paper and glue them to the lampshade covering any open spaces between the cards. Next glue a piece of red or green bias tape to the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.

Next year use the shade to give your lights a holiday feel. You can either change the lampshades for the holiday season, or if your Christmas card lampshade is large enough, just set it right over the other lampshade.

A Christmas Cookie Party

Most everyone who celebrates Christmas also takes part in the simple joy of making Christmas cookies. There is something very satisfactory about rolling out a lump of cookie dough and pressing in cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes. The aroma of the baking cookies fills the kitchen as more cookies are cut and once they’re all baked to that perfect golden hue, the real fun of frosting them arrives. What can make this holiday tradition even more fun, however, is turning the event into a whole cookie-baking party.

Assuming you get along well with your extended family, invite everyone to take part in a fun night of cookie baking and decorating. Make several batches of cookie dough a few days ahead of the party and keep them in the freezer. On the day of the cookie party, pull them out a few hours before the cookie makers arrive. If you don’t have a large table, spread the cookie cutters, rolling pins and frosting containers out on several tables to ensure there is plenty for all. And if someone runs out of something, the cookie supplies can easily be passed back and forth between tables. Waxed paper taped to the tables and sprinkled with a little bit of flour will protect the tables and make a good dough-rolling surface.

Have one person in charge of the oven who can collect the cookie trays filled with cutouts and bake them. It will keep everything flowing smoothly. Also don’t limit your party to just sugar cookies. With so many people, everyone might have different tastes. Ginger snaps make excellent cutouts, especially when smeared with vanilla frosting, and there are many chocolate cookie recipes that lend themselves well to becoming Christmas cookies.

And most important of all, don’t forget to have fun! There are no rules when it comes to cookie making, they can be as traditional or as crazy as you like, and in my family we’ve found that when the cousins get together, the cookies usually end up pretty crazy. This year we created a batman cookie out of an angel whose head ended up with pointed ears in the oven. And out of the last bits of dough, we fashioned the dark mark from Harry Potter, which ended up being frosted with an appropriately eerie shade of green. (Don’t ask us what that had to do with Christmas, because we don’t know, we just know it was fun!)