Hometown Moments & Memories 2013

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Hometown

Hometown Moments & Memories

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HOLIDAY SHOPPING & CRAFT GUIDE

Wake Up to a Special

Christmas CHRISTMAS MORNING

Around the World

KIDS’

CHRISTMAS CORNER

A Family Guide to

JOYOUSHOLIDAYS

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Contents HER FOR {6} THANK EVERYTHING SHE DOES

Show mom how much you appreciate her with these unique gift ideas

BEYOND THE TIE THIS {7} GO YEAR

Let dad know how great he is with these clever gift ideas

THE SEASON TO {8} ‘TIS GIVE BACK

Learn how you can help the families of those who proudly serve

SWEET CHRISTMAS {10} ONE These goodies will have everyone asking for more

AND {11} HOMEMADE DELICIOUS

Simple, fun gifts that not only look great but taste amazing

THEIR {13} WATCH EYES LIGHT UP ON

CHRISTMAS MORNING Check out some of the newest toys that are sure to be a hit

KIDS THE JOY {15} TEACH OF GIVING (WITHOUT

SPENDING) Little hands will be busy with these fun and easy gift ideas

AROUND {16} CHRISTMAS THE WORLD

Explore Christmas traditions from around the world

TREASURES {17} TINY Great stocking stuffer ideas for kids of all ages

FROM THE {18} STRAIGHT HEART

Great gift ideas with a personal touch

REALITIES {19} RUDOLPH How much do you know about the favorite reindeer of all?

THE CHRISTMAS {21} BRING SPIRIT INTO YOUR HOME

Create a festive holiday mood throughout your home with simple décor

‘ROUND FOR A {23} GATHER MAGICAL TALE

Snuggle up with a cup of hot cocoa and one of these classic Christmas stories

CHRISTMAS CORNER {24} KIDS’ Holiday crafts, recipes, and games to spark their imaginations

EVERYWHERE THIS {27} THEY’RE TIME OF YEAR Nothing is quite as trendy as the popular Christmas sweater

{28} COUNTDOWN TO

CHRISTMAS Family-fun ideas to celebrate the season

{30} WAKE UP TO A SPECIAL

CHRISTMAS MORNING Create a memorable Christmas brunch that will be talked about for years


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CREDITS

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EVERY DAY, MOM IS ALWAYS THERE FOR US. SHOW MOM HOW MUCH SHE MEANS TO YOU WITH THESE WONDERFUL GIFTS THAT ARE SURE TO MELT HER HEART.

er H k n Tha for

EVERYTHING SHE DOES

Mom deserves the very best!

Learning is Priceless

Classes are offered at colleges, community education programs, and private businesses. Give mom the gift of trying Yoga,Tai Kwan Do or Strength Training. Classes are offered that teach arts & crafts, couponing, as well as health and beauty.

Car Care

Let’s face it; mom may not be car savvy. Get her car an oil change and tune-up. Detail her car, buy her new mats, car organizers, and even new wiper blades. She’ll feel like she got a brand new car!

Wine-opoly

Mom can now be president – well, of the wine club that is! In this clever game she’ll learn fun facts about wine. So whether her token is a wine bottle, cork, wine glass, cheese, grapes, or a carafe – she’ll have fun buying her favorite wines, collecting a bunch of grapes, and trading them in for decanters. $29.99 at www.kohls.com

The gift of “ahhhh”

Create a spa basket filled with candles, bath salts, and fragrant lotions. Add a CD with classical music or nature sounds. A luxury towel is also a must. Don’t forget to get her a new robe, slippers, and comfy new pj’s!

Every Inch Still an iPad

There’s a lot mom will love about the iPad Mini; the beautiful 7.9-inch display, fast and fluid performance, FaceTime and iSight cameras, access to more than 300,000 apps, and 10-hour battery life. All this – plus breakthrough Retina display with one million more pixels than an HDTV – makes an iPad Mini practically impossible to put down. www.apple.com/ipad-mini

My Mom – Her Story. Her Words.

Celebrate mom by writing her life in this beautiful journal. Inside this interview book are questions about her life, such as “what was your old neighborhood like”? You’ll learn so much about mom, while laughing and sharing stories. She’ll read the book again and again to remember special events from her life, and to remember the time she shared with you while writing the book. $9.95 at www. barnesandnoble.com


GO BEYOND THE TIE THIS YEAR

Hometown Moments & Memories

Dad always knows best…so give him the absolute best!

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HE’S ALWAYS THERE TO HELP YOU OUT. NOW YOU CAN HELP HIM OUT BY GIVING HIM SOME OF THESE GREAT GIFTS TO SHOW HIM THAT HE’S #1 Over One Million Books at His Fingertips!

With millions of books, magazines, newspapers, blog and free classics all at his fingertips, it’s no wonder why dad wants to get his hands on a Kindle. He can carry up to 1,400 books right in his pocket.With over one million books for less than $10, dad will definitely have a million reasons to say “thank you.” Visit kindle.amazon.com.

BBQ at its BEST

If dad’s the type who wears a “King of the Grill” apron, then maybe it’s time he kicks his grilling up a notch. Every month dad will receive a different BBQ sauce– perfect for when he grills ribs, chicken, and that special recipe only the king of the grill can conquer. Visit www.bbqsauceofthemonth.com to get dad signed up today!

Dad-Style Decorating

It’s a special place where dad can just be… well, a man. Give him some new “man cave accessories” like a new sign upon entering his domain, vintage posters, a wall mount bottle opener, or sports memorabilia.You don’t need to go to a specialty store to find these great gifts. Kohls.com has a wide variety of gifts perfect for his man cave.

Rope ‘Em In!

Dad will learn how the West was won with 110 hours of cowboy action with the boxed

set of 100 Western Movie Classics. He’ll love all the classics like “The Lone Ranger,” “Billy the Kid,” and “Arizona Stagecoach.” He’ll enjoy watching as John Wayne, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Randolph Scott saddle up in these classic Western tales.

#1 Sports Fan

Score points with dad when you present him with a unique sports gift basket. Create one with the theme of his favorite sport and make sure to include snacks! Whether dad is out on the fishing pier, hunting for his trophy, or throwing the ball around with the guys, this well-thought basket is sure to come in handy!

DIY Dad

Dad can take measurements with the push of a button.With the Ryobi Laser Tape Measure, he can measure an entire room in seconds.The Gentlemen’s Hardware multi-tool set features 15 different tools including saw, file, knife and pliers for the master of all trades. Get dad both and he’ll really have his work cut out for him!


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‘Tis The Season to Give Back

T

Helping the Families of Those Who Serve

he holidays are a time of celebration with family and friends. For thousands of American families, the holidays need some extra cheer as a family member is deployed while serving for our freedom.With more than 173,000 active-duty personnel serving outside the US in more than 150 countries around the world, the families of these men and women need our help to make their holidays happy and memorable. There are several organizations throughout the country that have specialized programs for the families of those deployed. Operation Homefront has its “Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program” where anyone can sponsor a military family for the holidays.You can also consider teaming up with another family or organizing your church, workplace or community group to adopt.Visit www.operationhomefront.net to learn how you can help. Closer to home, there are organizations that often host special events, fundraisers, and toy drives for military families. Be sure

to check with your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion to learn about programs they host in your area. During the year, there are several ways to work with the local VFW or Legion to raise money for families with deployed service members such as holding a pancake breakfast and inviting the military families. Proceeds can go to a special fund you set up for the families. You could also host a chili cook-off and charge a small donation for admission. A food tasting also gets the community involved because local restaurants can participate and attendees pay a small fee. Helping is also personal. Sometimes what a husband or wife needs when their spouse is gone is someone to talk with. Invite them over for dinner or ask them to meet you at the local coffee shop. Get to know them – sometimes the best gift of all is to be willing to listen! Helping military families during the holidays is your chance to bring joy to the face of a child while telling the family “thank you” for serving our country.


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Strawberry Christmas Tree Brownie Bites

EVERYONE WILL LOVE THE SWEET SURPRISE FOUND IN THIS EASY HOLIDAY RECIPE!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: ¬ 1 box brownie mix ¬ Cream cheese frosting ¬ Green food coloring ¬ 24 small strawberries ¬ Yellow fondant or star-shaped sprinkles ¬ Small ball-shaped candy decorations DIRECTIONS: 1. Bake brownies in greased mini-muffin tins filled up ¾ of the way.The baking time will be shorter than usual, so use a toothpick and insert in the center until it comes out clean. 2. Add the food coloring to the frosting. Cool the brownies and secure the strawberries to the brownies with a dab of frosting. Put frosting in a piping bag fit with a small star tip, and cover the whole strawberry by starting at the bottom of the strawberry, applying a bit of pressure, and pulling away to a nice point. 3. Decorate with candy decorations. Dust the brownie bites with powdered sugar to imitate a layer of snow!

Eggnog Cookies EGG NOG AND THE HOLIDAYS ARE A DUO THAT CAN’T BE IGNORED.THIS COOKIE TAKES THE HEAVENLY AROMA OF NUTMEG WITH THE SWEET TASTE OF EGG NOG TO CREATE A SWEET TREAT EVERYONE WILL LOVE – EGG NOG FANS OR FOES. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Dough: ¬ 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature ¬ 2 cups granulated sugar ¬ 1 cup commercial eggnog ¬ 5½ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface ¬ 1 teaspoon baking soda ¬ ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg Topping: ¬ 1 large egg white, lightly beaten ¬ Sugar sprinkles DIRECTIONS: Dough: 1. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggnog; stir until blended. Add flour, baking soda, and nutmeg; stir to mix. 2. Form dough into a 6” flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. 3. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 2 large baking sheets; lightly grease with shortening, or line with parchment paper. 4. On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, roll the dough to a 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough into desired shapes using a cookie cutter that has been dipped in flour. 5. Place cutout dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Topping: 6. Brush cookies with egg white and sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

photo credit: www.ericasweettooth.com

Bake: 7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove cookies with a metal spatula and place on a wire cooling rack.


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Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream GATHER YOUR FRIENDS AND HOST A FUN NIGHT OF GIFT MAKING. WITH THIS EASY TO MAKE GIFT, EVERYONE CAN BRING A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT TO CREATE A BIG BATCH OF IRISH CREAM. IT’S THE PERFECT REASON TO GET EVERYONE TOGETHER WHILE MAKING A GREAT GIFT FOR ANY ADULT ON YOUR LIST. AND YES,TASTE-TESTING IS ENCOURAGED! WHAT YOU’LL NEED: ¬ 1 ¾ cup Irish whiskey ¬ 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk ¬ 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half ¬ 2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup ¬ 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules ¬ 1 tsp. vanilla extract ¬ ½ tsp. almond extract Mix all ingredients until well-blended. Pour your Irish Cream into mason jars or other containers. Use decorative fabric and ribbon to make them look festive. Refrigerate immediately, and chill before serving.

Chocolate Dipped Spoons STIR A LITTLE CHOCOLATE SWEETNESS INTO A MUG OF COFFEE, ESPRESSO OR HOT CHOCOLATE. DON’T FORGET TO ASK THE KIDS FOR HELP – IT’S EASY AND MESS-FREE! WHAT YOU’LL NEED: ¬ Plastic spoons ¬ 6 ounces white dipping chocolate ¬ 6 ounces dark dipping chocolate DIRECTIONS: 1. Line 2 cookie sheets with waxed paper. Put the white and dark chocolate in separate bowls and melt each in the microwave at ½ power for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly. Continue to microwave and stir at 15 second intervals until smooth and completely melted. 2. Dip a spoon into the bowl, covering both sides completely. Place the spoon on the cookie sheet and rest the spoons handle on the cookie sheet edge. 3. Refrigerate until chocolate is completely hardened.Wrap each spoon in cellophane. It’s easy to dress up a cellophane bag! Line the bag with tissue paper.Then use a hole punch, craft knife, or scissors to poke holes or make slits in the bag. Lace ribbon, string, buttons and decorative objects – sprigs of juniper, boxwood, greenery, and jingle bells – through the bags.


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WATCH THEIR EYES LIGHT UP on Christmas Morning

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Look what made our favorite toy list this year!

WE COMPILED A LIST OF SOME OF THE POST POPULAR TOYS FOR 2013! THE KIDS ARE SURE TO THINK YOU’RE THE BEST (WITH SANTA GETTING SOME CREDIT,TOO)!

Speller,” “Follow Along,” and “Cogsley’s Quiz” – but he helps develop small motor skills. He talks, moves, and has an LCD screen that adds a visual element to the mix. Visit www.vtechkids.com

Fisher Price® Triple Hit Baseball

Batter up! For the sports star in your life, the Triple Hit Baseball is designed for all three levels of play – tee ball, rookie, and pro.This batterypowered trainer is sure to be a hit! Visit www.fisherprice.com to see it in action.

Squigz

Loopdedoo Spinning Loom

It’s the perfect gifts for tweens and teens. They’ll spend hours using their fashion-minded style to make friendship bracelets, necklaces, anklets and even belts. It’s fast, easy and fun. Each creation is as unique as the fashionista making all the awesome accessories! Check out www.facebook.com/Loopdedoo.

Vtech® Coglsey

Who wouldn’t love a friendly and educational robot as a BFF? Cogsley not only has six different modes of play including “Super

Squigz are flexible pieces which come together and stick to any surface. Kids can use them to create just about anything! The colorful pieces connect easily and make a “POP” when they come apart.Visit www.fatbraintoys.com for all the creative wonder that can be achieved with Squigz!

Melissa and Doug Suspend Game

This fun game incorporates balance, patience, and some good-humored competition. Players attempt to balance and hang colored rods without knocking any others down. Sounds easy? Not when you can only use one hand! Take it to the cabin, grandma’s, or make a night of it playing it at home. www.melissaanddoug.com


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TEACH KIDS

THE JOY OF GIVING (without spending)

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Everyone cherishes

homemade gifts that come

straight from little hands – and BIG hearts!

Puzzle Coasters – Those puzzles lying around with missing pieces will now come in handy! Glue some of the pieces together and paint to create an eye-catching coaster that dad will enjoy! KIDS DON’T NEED TO EMPTY THEIR PIGGY BANKS TO MAKE FABULOUS GIFTS.THEY ALSO LEARN THE JOY OF GIVING AND NOT EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN. BUT WHAT THEY’LL DEFINITELY GET IN RETURN WHEN GIVING THESE GIFTS….ARE LOTS OF HUGS!

Bookmarks – Make from scrap fabric or from construction paper. Add a ribbon for the top! Journal – Decorate a plan notebook with glue and patches of scrapbooking paper. It’s the ideal gift for mom! Recipe Dish Towel – Use a plain white

dish towel and have your child draw a picture of the food and then have them write their version of the recipe on iron-on paper.Transfer to the dish towel and voila!

Craft Stick Picture Frame – A little glue and some decorated craft sticks are all it takes to hold the memories! Memo Pad Holder – Use an old square box and decorate with a picture or use a photo to create a great desk accessory.

Cookie Cutter Ornaments – Have the kids trace on paper with cookie cutters and decorate.You can make several of these to give to neighbors, friends, or mail to distant relatives.

Oven Mitts – Use fabric paint to brush their hands and then place on two oven mitts.Write “Helping Hands” with the child’s name and date. Perfect for anyone who loves to cook! No-Sew Fleece Blanket – Older kids can easily

make this warm and cozy gift by lying two pieces of fabric on the floor and then cutting “strips” on the end.Tie the two pieces of fabric together and you have the perfect gift for grandma or grandpa!

Recipe Book – Recipes can be found in magazines, online, and even in family recipe books. Copy the recipes and put in a 3-ring binder with sheet protectors (cooking is messy!). Decorate the cover with pictures of food or of the kids!


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At Christmas time, lychees can be bought from shops, street sellers, and found on trees. It’s a common scene to see the streets in Madagascar covered with the skins of lychees on Christmas. ECUADOR The Indians who live and work in the mountains dress in their finest and ride their llamas to the ranches of their employer.They bring gifts of fruit which they lay before the image of the Christ Child in the manger. Children also make speeches to the infant.The owner of the ranch then distributes gifts to everyone and a meal consisting of lamb, baked potatoes, and brown sugar bread is served.

Christmas

Around the World TAKE A MAGICAL TOUR WITH US AROUND THE WORLD AS WE LEARN HOW OTHER PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CELEBRATE THIS MIRACULOUS DAY! HONG KONG It’s a tradition here to send exquisitely decorated Christmas cards to family and friends. These cards are often adorned with scenes of the Holy Family. In Hong Kong, Santa Claus has emerged as a traditional figure and is known as Lan Khoong or Dun Che Lao Ren. MADAGASCAR A special Christmas food in Madagascar are fresh lychees. Lychees are popular fruits that resemble the texture of a strawberry.

PHILIPPINES In this tropical island Asian nation, godparents are especially respected and it is imperative that they be visited on Christmas Day.The children wish them “Maligayang Pasko” and kiss each one’s hand to show respect and then they take their hand and touch it to their own forehead.The children often perform for their godparents by singing, dancing, or presenting a play. FRANCE The highlight of Christmas dinner in France is the bûche de Noël, a cake shaped like a log. It is a latter-day, edible version of the ancient Yule log. Pâtisseries (pastry shops) offer all kinds of bûches, covered in dark or light chocolate, or even white chocolate tinted in many colors. CROATIA A traditional Croatian Christmas dinner consists of noodles, turkey, cabbage rolls, pork and potatoes. Desserts of strudel and biscuits are then eaten, followed by the worldwide tradition of a post-meal nap. LIBERIA On the west coast of Africa in Liberia, most homes have an palm oil tree for a Christmas tree, which are decorated with bells. People exchange gifts such as cotton cloths, soaps, sweets, pencils, and books. Fireworks light up the night sky on Christmas evening after they share a dinner of rice, beef, and biscuits.


TINY TREASURES

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THE STOCKINGS ARE HUNG! SOON SANTA WILL FILL THEM WITH GOODIES. HELP AN ‘OL FELLOW OUT WITH THESE GREAT STOCKING STUFFER IDEAS FOR KIDS OF ANY AGE!

Baby

(Newborn to 18 months) ❤ Socks, Booties ❤ Night Light ❤ Outlet Plugs ❤ Bath Toys ❤ Lullaby CD

Toddlers

Young Child (3 to 6 years old)

❤ Slinky ❤ Jump Rope ❤ Magazine (Highlights is a favorite!) ❤ Doll Clothes ❤ Wikisticks

(1 to 3 years old) ❤ Bubbles ❤ Hair Accessories ❤ Art Smock ❤ Toothbrush,Toothpaste ❤ Mini Flashlight

Older Child (7 to 12 years old)

❤ Funny or Personalized Buttons ❤ Temporary Tattoos ❤ Chapstick, Lip Gloss ❤ Friendship Bracelet Supplies ❤ Bananagrams ❤ HexBugs

Teen and Young Adult ❤ Diary ❤ Vintage Candy (Bottle Caps, Flipsticks, and Wax Mustaches) ❤ Body Glitter ❤ Movie Tickets ❤ Novelty USB Flashdrive

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STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART GIFTS DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE TANGIBLE. THE RECEIVER DOESN’T HAVE TO OPEN A BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED BOX OR EVEN HAVE TO DIG DEEP INTO THEIR STOCKING TO FIND A PRICELESS AND THOUGHTFUL GIFT THAT CAME STRAIGHT FROM YOUR HEART. Travel (Near Or Far) Is there someone on your gift list who needs some time away? Maybe it’s to see a distant friend or relative who lives in a different state. Maybe a night at the museum or to go see a movie is just what they need. Children may like to discover a children’s museum or a new library. Check out sites like www.groupon.com or www.livingsocial.com for discounted admissions to local attractions. The Arts Give the gift of creating or discovering! Plate spinning, pottery, and basket making are great ways for someone to reach into their creative souls. Check the local community education program or classes at nearby colleges for activities that are offered in your area. Kids can enjoy the arts too! Get Moving Gym memberships are great gift ideas! So are dance, karate, and skating lessons.These gifts can be given to individuals or to families. A year-pass to the local State Park or National Park is also

another great opportunity to get outside, move, and have some fun! Some Pampering Pampering doesn’t always mean the spa. For some, an evening of relaxation means not having to cook, clean, or do laundry. Give someone the “night off” and do the chores around the house for them. Others could use a night away from being “mom” or “dad”. Babysitting is not just for teenagers! Show someone you care by giving them a night to themselves! Fun With Friends Remember when you and your friends could spend hours doing basically nothing? You just wanted to spend time together! A day with a friend doesn’t always mean fishing, shopping, or seeing a matinee. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give a friend is your undivided attention. Listen as she tells you about work or he tells you about his family. Spend time just listening.You’ll learn a lot about your friend and how lucky you are for the friendship!


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Rudolph Realities

YOU KNOW DANCER AND PRANCER, BUT HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT THE MOST-LOVED REINDEER OF ALL?

Rudolph was the creation of a man named Robert L. May. He was a copywriter for Montgomery Ward and was asked to make up a fun tale as a tactic to generate sales during the holiday shopping season. Rudolph was not May’s first choice for a name. He toyed with the idea of naming him “Rollo” or “Reginald” before deciding on Rudolph. Gene Autry recorded the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in 1949.The song sold two million copies that year. Gene Autry would forever be known for his most popular hit of all time. Burl Ives narrated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1967. He was the voice of Sam the Snowman.The animators also created Sam to look just like Ives! Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was actually filmed in Japan.

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BRING THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT INTO YOUR HOME So Simple…

You’ll Wish the

Holidays Lasted All Year!

Colors Galore: Try incorporating different colors, like royal blue and silver, to jazz up your home décor. If you’re stuck on red and green, use different shades and hues of the classic colors to mix tradition with a look all your own. Mantel Memories: Get your creative hat on and make a family-fun display of past Christmas Day photos. Maybe it’s a collage on the mantel or a string of photos hanging from a hook on the ceiling. Check out 52mantels.com for some inspiration! Deck the Walls: Save your Christmas cards! Old cards are perfect to frame and display on a wall. Did you know that fluffy woolen mittens also make unique wall décor? In Your Own Backyard: Shrubs and greens from your yard are ideal for creating gorgeous centerpieces. Evergreen boughs, dogwood branches, and pine cones also look great this time of year – why not make them into a beautiful arrangement! Step outside to find natural pieces to create that down-home feeling. Welcome Guests & Winter: Prop an old-fashioned sled by your front door. Pick up an old, weathered pair of ice skates at a thrift store to display with it. Leave it as is, or decorate with garland and bows. * Search pinterest.com or craft blogs for inspirational holiday ideas!

YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE MARTHA STEWART SKILLS TO PULL OFF A BEAUTIFUL DECORATED HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. SAVE TIME AND MONEY BY USING WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE. SHOW OFF YOUR INDIVIDUAL TASTE – FUN, FRUGAL, AND FESTIVE! YOU’LL HAVE A GREAT TIME FROM MAKING JINGLE BELLS THAT ROCK TO ART THAT WILL DECK THE WALLS.

Table Talk: Scatter holiday children’s books or Christmas cookbooks on coffee tables. Not only is it a nostalgic look, but also a great conversation starter. Add charisma to your dining table with a scarf as a table runner (scarves are easy to find for under $1 at thrift stores). Classic Cranberries: Make your own garlands by stringing popcorn or pasta with cranberries.They stand out and look refined. Fresh cranberries look great in glass vases and bowls at Christmas time – either by themselves or with flowers and candles. Bells Will Be Ringing: Bells are not only festive, but add the sound of the season. Tie or glue small bells on burlap to make a ribbon. Decorate the tree, wreath, or use as napkin rings.


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GATHER ‘ROUND FOR A MAGICAL TALE THESE CLASSIC TALES ARE SURE TO BRING JOY AND THANKSGIVING TO YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON. EACH TIMELESS TALE TEACHES US THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.

The Littlest Christmas Tree By R.A. Herman

The Littlest Christmas Tree wants to find a home for Christmas. As it sees the other trees at the tree farm find homes, the Littlest Christmas Tree begins to worry that it will never find a family who will take it home and decorate it. But on Christmas Eve, the man who runs the tree farm brings the Littlest Christmas Tree home.The family gathers and sings to the Littlest Christmas Tree its favorite song, “Oh Christmas Tree.”

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas By Clement C. Moore

The description of Santa Claus has stemmed from this story that’s over 100 years old. Children learn about his belly that shakes like a “bowlful of jelly” and his twinkling eyes to his droll little mouth. It’s become a favorite for families to gather around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and read together in anticipation of Jolly Old St. Nicholas coming to their house.

The Polar Express

Christmas Day in the Morning

For over twenty-five years,The Polar Express has been a treasured holiday classic. One Christmas Eve, a little boy boards the Polar Express and travels to the North Pole. Santa gives him a silver bell from his sleigh, but the boy realizes once he returns home that the bell is gone. In the morning, his sister finds a box with the boy’s name on it and inside is the bell! Only he and his sister can hear the bell.The boy continues to believe in the spirit of Christmas and is able to hear the sweet ringing of the bell even as an adult.

It’s Christmas Eve and Rob wants to get his father something special for Christmas. He doesn’t have much money to buy him anything, but he wants to show his dad how much he really loves him. Rob then thinks of the best gift of all. He rose extra early to do his father’s biggest chore around the farm they live on; the milking. This story reflects on the true meaning of Christmas and can be adored by the entire family. .

By Chris Van Allsburg

By Pearl S. Buck


Fun Book Exchange

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KIDS’

CHRISTMAS CORNER

This is

a special page just

for kids!

THEY CAN LEARN HOW TO MAKE A SPECIAL DECORATION FOR THE HOUSE, BAKE A GOODIE, AND PLAY A GAME WITH THE OTHER KIDS – ALL THIS IN CHRISTMAS FASHION!

What You’ll Need: ¬ Inexpensive book gift wrapped for each child ¬ Book- The Gingerbread Man How To Play: Children sit in a circle, each one holding a wrapped book. Someone reads The Gingerbread Man story. Every time the word “ran” is said, the children pass the book to the child on their right. Continue doing until the story is over. Each child will have a special book in their hand to open and read!

Melted “Frosty” Cookies

photo credit: www.mommysavers.com

Marshmallow Peeps Wreath

What You’ll Need: ¬ 12” floral foam wreath ¬ 4 yards ribbon to cover wreath ¬ 1 yard ribbon to hang wreath ¬ 3 packs Reindeer Marshmallow Peeps ¬ Hot glue gun Directions: Wrap the floral wreath with 4 yards of satin ribbon to cover it. Pin into place. Next, attach the Marshmallow Peeps onto the ribbon-covered wreath using your hot glue gun. To hang, use 1 yard ribbon.

What You’ll Need: ¬ Cookie Mix ¬ White Frosting ¬ Food Coloring ¬ Marshmallows ¬ Pretzel sticks, candy corn, and chocolate chips Directions: 1. Start by making the cookies according to package instructions. There will be two recipe options: the drop cookie or the cutout cookie recipe. Choose the drop cookie recipe. 2. When placing the cookie dough on the cookie sheets, don’t worry about making them round. 3. Bake the cookies according to package instructions. 4. When your cookies have cooled, drizzle white frosting on the top. 5. Next, microwave your marshmallows on a greased plate for about 30 seconds. 6. With greased/buttered fingers, remove the marshmallows from the plate and place on the cookies to serve as the snowman’s head. 7. Next comes the fun part – decorating! Use pretzel sticks for arms, candy corn for the nose, and chocolate chips for the eyes. Use food coloring to give Frosty some clothes!


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Hometown Moments Memories THEY’RE EVERYWHERE THIS TIME OF& YEAR

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It’s No Doubt the Christmas Sweater Has Everyone Talking This Time of Year!

What’s so alluring about the Christmas Sweater? this century) the Christmas sweater still prevails, Well, for starters it’s hard not to do a double take as seen on television, where most fads begin. In and say “Wow, that’s one sweater you got Ugly Betty, America Ferrera sported a snowman on!” Adorned with beads, bells, and let’s sweater with a three-dimensional string of not forget the images of Santa that light up holiday lights. Even the Dunphy’s of Modern – well they’re sort of trendy. So how did Family are all shown wearing one as they these sweaters become the focus point for Skype with distant relatives. holiday parties, contests, and just good Amazon reported an increase in ‘ol holiday fun? Christmas sweater sales of 600% We have the British to thank! in 2011.This is in large part due In the 1980s, Andy Williams to the increase in “Christmas appeared in what is known Sweater” parties. It’s a great as the “Christmas jumper” way for everyone to get during his TV Christmas together and either admire specials. He started the or laugh at the sweaters.The trend and soon others like Val entertainment is virtually free! Doonican followed this latest So, whether you find fashion statement. Still set in the Christmas sweaters to be UK, who could forget the Rudolph fashionable or just plain old ugly the Red-Nosed Reindeer turtleneck – there’s no doubt they definitely sweater worn by Colin Firth in make a statement, especially when they Bridget Jones’ Diary? light up, make music, and have motorized But back home (and back in characters on the front!

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Christmas

COUNTDOWN TO

Sunday

1

2

Take photos for Christmas cards

Buy a new Christmas album and listen to it

3

4

5

6

7

Make the house smell like Christmas

Make Christmas Cards

Wrap Christmas Gifts

Make a new Christmas Decoration

Color a Christmas picture

Sunday

8

9

10

11

12

Build a snowman or hang up paper snowflakes

Make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes

Make a treat and take it to a friend

Watch a Christmas movie and eat popcorn

Go out for a Christmas treat

Sunday

HERE ARE SOME FUN IDEAS TO GET EVERYONE INTO THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT. HOW MANY OF THESE CAN YOU DO BEFORE CHRISTMAS?

13

14

15

16

17

Do something nice for someone

Drive around and look for Christmas lights

Go visit Santa Claus

Do service for someone in need

Have a campout in front of the Christmas tree Sunday

18

19

20

21

22

Call grandma and grandpa and sing a Christmas song

Take gifts to teachers and friends

Invite someone special over

Watch videos or look at picture from past Christmases

Sing carols at the local nursing home

23 Make cookies and write letters to Santa Claus

24 Read “The Night Before Christmas”


Community

Hometown Moments & Memories

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p U e k a W to a Special CHRISTMAS MORNING

CHRISTMAS MORNING IS SPECIAL. AS THE KIDS DIVE UNDER THE TREE TO SEE WHAT SANTA BROUGHT THEM, THIS BUSY AND MEMORABLE MORNING DESERVES A SIMPLE AND FUSS-FREE WAY TO CONTINUE THE DAY.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

The aroma of pumpkin wakes up and rejuvenates everyone’s holiday spirit….no matter how early Christmas morning comes!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Here is a simple solution to create a delicious brunch idea the night before. What You’ll Need: ¬ 1 pound ground sausage ¬ ½ green pepper, diced ¬ ½ red pepper, diced ¬ 3 spring onions, diced ¬ 8 eggs ¬ 1½ cups milk ¬ Salt and pepper to taste ¬ 1 teaspoon dried Italian blend herbs or 1 teaspoon each: fresh chopped basil, oregano and rosemary (optional) ¬ 1 day old French baguette, chopped in cubes ¬ 1 – 8 oz package shredded mild cheddar cheese Directions: 1. Preheat large skillet and add sausage. Brown sausage, add peppers and onions. Cook until peppers and onions are soft. Let mixture cool. 2. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl.Whisk well. Add cooked sausage and peppers, green onions, herbs, half of the cheese and all of the bread in a large bowl. Mix well and pour into casserole dish. 3. Top with the other half of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove foil and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

What You’ll Need ¬ 3 cups hot whole milk ¬ 4 tsp. white sugar ¬ ½ tsp. vanilla extract ¬ ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice ¬ 6 ounces double-strength brewed coffee Directions Combine the hot milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice in a blender; blend until frothy. Pour the mixture into 3 coffee mugs to about 2/3 full. Pour 2 ounces coffee into each mug. Garnish each mug with whipped topping and pumpkin pie spice.

Beautiful Centerpiece

Create a simple, yet elegant centerpiece for your table! Branches can be easily found at the local park or even in your backyard. Place them in a vase and decorate the branches with gumdrops, candy canes, ribbons, or miniature ornaments. For a centerpiece that will have everyone talking, hang candle holders or lanterns from the branches. It will definitely add some festive fun to your Christmas brunch!


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