Day 21: Wintery Wonderful Birthdays

The month of December, while packed full of Christmas activities, is also full of birthdays of loved ones for me. Having a birthday so close to Christmas often means getting birthday/Christmas combo gifts from friends and relatives, but that just seems unfair to me.

Make just a little extra effort for those you love with birthdays around this time. Just a cupcake and small extra gift on their birthday, or making time a nice dinner/night on the town can go a long way. Just recognize their birthday as a completely separate holiday.

Photo sources: friends partying, Sprinkles cupcake, present

How do you celebrate your loved ones’ birthdays around this time of the year?

samantha rae creative

Day 20: Snuggle Up

This time of year is always pretty chilly, even here in Arizona, and whether it’s just you or a house full of guests, you need ways to stay warm. Here are my favorite ways to keep toasty without cranking up the heat in the house.

Lots of cozy blankets and warm layers, like wool socks and blanket scarfs are a must. And if you’re able to, curl up (with or without significant others and/or pets) by the fire with some hot chocolate. If it’s cold enough, everyone will want to cuddle.

Photo sources: blanket scarf, fire place, chunky blanket, hot chocolate, **pugs source can be found on my pet activities post

Tell me how you stay warm in the winter!

samantha rae creative

Day 19: Family Dinners

The holidays are filled with family dinners. All sides of the family need to get their time in to see you, and of course it involves lots and lots of food. Stay comfortable, because you will be eating and moving a lot, especially if kids are running around under foot.

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I like the idea of simple decor and place settings, and letting the food be the star of the show.

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To keep everyone happy, keep the food and drinks flowing (although if one relative gets sloppy or angry when drunk, be wary!). Have some Christmas tunes going, and if you want to avoid drama, avoid arguing about religion and politics. There are even some articles on how to answer those awkward questions everyone seems to ask (“so are you seeing anyone?”). Also, keep some cards or board games around; they are an instant distraction.

 

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What are your tips for when the entire family gets togethers?

samantha rae creative

Day 18: Working Party Time

Yesterday I talked about the parties you have with friends during the holidays. Today it is about those parties that are thrown by your workplace. In my experience, these are more often cocktail-hour parties, so dress appropriately, and drink in moderation! After all, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself. Personally, I love when Santa comes to visit at these parties.

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If the party is at the office, bring some goodies for everyone to share, and let your coworkers know you appreciate them! Little gifts go a long way (ornaments, coffee mugs, etc). Although, if it’s a White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchange, ignore that- just give gifts to your work BFF’s another time.

Also, expect there to be only snack food, so plan on dinner before or after.

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What are your office holiday parties like?

samantha rae creative

Day 17: Friends-travaganza

The holidays seem to be a whirlwind of one party after another. From work parties, family dinners, and shindigs with friends. This post is all about those chilly winter nights that you are having fun with your friends.

If you are hosting, your place should already be decorated from earlier this month, and delicious treats and cocktails should be at the ready! The only thing you should decide if it will be a more chic affair, or if you’re going to go the classic ugly sweater route. Or maybe a cookie exchange? Or a hot chocolate bar?

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If you’re a guest, don’t forget the host(ess) gift, it is just good manners, and try to think outside the box from a bottle of wine.

Tell me about what you think should be at the friend holiday parties!

samantha rae creative

Day 16: Pet Playtime

I love animals-often times more than I like people. So, for those of you like me, here are some ideas on how to get your pets involved in the holiday festivities. They especially need some extra attention if they need to be left alone while you’re celebrating and friends and family’s houses.

Take them to go see Santa; often pet stores will do this during the holidays, and it makes for a pretty cute photo. Or wrap them in lights when decorating. Again, it’s a great photo op.

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These are our puppes!

Play in the snow with them! Most dogs I know love jumping around and burying their faces in the powdery snow.  And it will wear them out enough that you can get things done around the house without them getting in the way-they’ll be busy snoozing by the fire!

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Get them special for Christmas, like special fresh treats from the pet bakery and some new chew toys, and put it all in their own stocking.

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And finally, do some good by donating to your local humane society (they often offer holiday cards and calendars for the next year). Or adopt a pet if you’re thinking of adding to your furry family!

Is there anything special you do for your pets during the holidays?

samantha rae creative

Day 15: I Sure Do Love Those Christmas Cookies

Yes, the above line is from the George Strait song, “Christmas Cookies”. I already told you it was on my playlist for the holidays. I am not sure if I mentioned in one of my previous posts, but I am Christmas Queen in my house, followed somewhat closely by my sister. So I make the cookies every year. It is lots of measuring, rolling and cutting, and I am always blasting that George Strait song while I’m at work. In my family, we make Mexican Wedding cookies, and crispy sugar cookies; both recipes have been in my family for decades. I get plenty of gingerbread elsewhere.

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Sugar cookies in the making

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Using this icing recipe

What are your favorite sweet treats during the holidays?

samantha rae creative