Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas: Decking The Halls

This Christmas season I have been very busy juggling all of my roles and responsibilities; planning Christmas for 2 households, preparing for a trip to Canada and business too. There is not too much time left over to deck the halls in my usual, "over the top" manner. I wanted to share a few quick recipe's and tips for decking your halls in an efficient but unique manner.

The Music:

I love an eclectic mix between the past and present. Holiday music in the background is essential to keep me motivated (since I now live where there is no snow). I have my go-to iTunes playlist of my favourite Christmas songs including; Mistle Toe & Holly (Frank Sinatra), Santa Baby (Ertha Kitt), The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole), Silent Night (Lisa Marie Presley) I'll be Home for Christmas (The Carpenters), Happy Christmas (war is over) (John Lennon), Rockin Around The Christmas Tree (Brenda Lee), Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives), Silver Bells (Bing Crosby & Carole Richards), Christmas Eve in Sarajevo (Trans Siberian Orchestra) and several songs performed by a full orchestra!

The Food:

I had an early Christmas celebration with my family here in the USA (before I depart for my Canadian Christmas). I had to pull it together in a flash.


Red Velvet Cupcakes & mini-cake: Good ole Betty Crocker supplied the quick and easy mixture for the red velvet cupcakes. I used the cream cheese frosting in the can by Pillsbury. It gives you the capability to create designs on the cupcakes/cakes. I bakes a dozen and wrote the word CHRISTMAS, and used the others to "sample" ;)I used the excess batter to make a mini-cake, which I monogrammed using the frosting and arranged on a try with a Christmas napkin and a tray I had on-hand.
Melting Snow Man Cookies: I have seen these quick and easy cookies on-line and thought it would be a really fun activity to share with the kids. On-line all the recipe's call for sugar cookies, which made no sense to me. I thought; If a snow man was really melting in the heat he would be on sand right? So I made Peanut Butter Cookies instead. Use white frosting to create the "melting" effect on the cookie. Soften the large marshmallows for a few seconds in the microwave then stick on the cookie. Use a decorative gel to create the face, arms, and accessories of your snow men/women.
Snacks: I picked up a bag of Mission festive Tortilla Chips in Green & Red, placed in a Silver metallic salad bowl on the table. Cadbury FINALLY has created a Christmas edition of my FAV chocolate treat "the mini egg" - they now come in red, white and green candy coated balls. I fill Martini glasses with these mini pieces of heaven for my Christmas Table.

Quick Dinner Plan: I quickly pulled together a FAB dinner with Buitoni Cheese Tortellini (boil and serve), Garlic Marinara sauce (I add veggies to the canned sauces if I don't have time to make a sauce from scratch), top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Garlic bread with cheese (I grabbed one from my local grocer, scraped off all that nasty excess butter, add my own garlic and cheese - freshly grated Parmesan cheese) and don't forget your veggies. I served a giant garden salad; mixed greens, tomato, onion, cucumber, green/red peppers and garnish w avocado slice. My daughter skips the salad and opts for cucumber slices instead (Served in a festive Rudolph plate of course).
Always add a little bit of bubbly .. champagne, sparkling water, cider or pop(soda) will do too. No matter what your choice bubbly beverage, always serve in a flute!


I use a mix of Christmas decor in my home during the holidays. I use scented pine cones and Christmas balls to fill large glass vases. I use silver chargers (commonly used for plates) as bases for displays of pillar candles. I also made my own tree topper!

DIY Tree Topper:

I re-used the pewter H monogram that I had atop my wedding cake in 2008 as the focal point of my tree topper. Use a monogram for your family or take some sentimental piece from your collection of keep-sakes to use. Try a framed photo of your family or an item that represents them, a memory you all share or a memento from a family vacation!

Each year I add something to the piece. I purchased a small wreath that was made from branches with faux-snow, plastic pine and faux-snow dusted cranberries. You could also go for a fresh topper and collect fallen branches and twist them into a wreath (fasten with thin wire) and dry real cranberries. Using silver ribbon from the dollar store my mom (a few years ago) added a giant bow. I have since found the same ribbon and added the long pieces that are attached to he topper that cascade down my tree (in lieu of traditional garland). This year, also from the dollar store I added red sparkle sprays of festive foliage. No matter how you deck your halls Christmas is all about FAMILY, FRIENDS and spending time. I hope you are able to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the last moments of 2011 with them.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS from my family to yours

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