26 December 2009

Don't forget

After-Christmas sales are a great time to stock up on festive things such as holiday decorations, ornaments, paper goods, wrapping paper, etc for next year! You will pay a lot less now than waiting for next Christmas season.

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope you had a festive Christmas season!

Keep those ideas coming...stay tuned for New Years and other holiday ideas.

23 December 2009

Last minute Christmas Ideas

Welcome Or So She Says fans! Become a follower! As soon as there are 100 followers, there will be a the first ever So Festive! Giveaway

New Years traditions wanted! Send an email to melking1@gmail.com
or let me know if you want to be a guest blogger :)

Only 2 days left until Christmas. If you are like my family growing up, we were still doing shopping until the stores kicked us out on Christmas Eve. Now that I have my own family, I tried really hard to get all my shopping done early so that I could the festivities that this season has to offer.

If you are still scrambling for gift ideas and don't have a lot of time, consider gift cards. They are quick to pick up and then you won't have to worry about finding the 'perfect' gift. You can get a gift card to their favorite restaurant, sporting good store, kitchen store, or craft store. Since they are buying gifts after Christmas, they may even be able to cash in on all the great after-Christmas sales.

If a gift card is too generic or 'not thoughtful' enough, you could make them a coupon good for: a special outing to a movie or restaurant. Or, make them a handmade coupon book with all sorts of fun redeemable gifts. Time is priceless. And to your spouse, child, sibling or parents/in-laws, they will love knowing they get an outing with you in the future.

Good luck!

22 December 2009

Christmas Adam

It may be a little cheesy, but in my family we call December 23rd "Christmas Adam" because it is the day before "Christmas Eve". We love to gather tons of sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets and have a giant sleepover in the family room. Of course, we stay up as late as we can watching all the Christmas movies we still haven't seen. It is our last chance to sleep by the Christmas tree because obviously we can't sleep out when Santa comes :)

18 December 2009


New Year's Traditions/Activities Wanted! Send an email to melking1@gmail.com

Bundle up and go caroling! It's a simple activity that will surely put you in the Christmas mood. For even more fun, dress up like old-fashioned carolers.

16 December 2009

Gingerbread Houses

New Year's Traditions/Activities Wanted! Send an email to melking1@gmail.com

Making gingerbread houses was a tradition I always wanted to do, but I think the fact that my parents had 7 kids to shop for and the fact that we did so many other Christmas activities was why we never quite got around to making them.

But while I was a nanny in Germany, I spent Christmas with some relatives in Switzerland. And if I was ever deprived of making gingerbread houses, well, making them there made up for it. For you see, they don't just make graham cracker houses. They go all out--collecting different crackers, cookies, candies, and extra things to make the houses immaculate. We spent over 3 days working on them. I realize that I will probably never have the time again to spend 3 days on a gingerbread house, but this is what spending 3 days can do:

Isn't this one amazing? This was my aunt's. She is an artist. Can you tell? I put the Jones sign in the yard because I felt like I had to keep up with hers. Here is what mine turned out like:

Considering it was my first, I was pretty excited. I loved the bay window with a Christmas tree in it :)

However, back in reality making any gingerbread house is better than nothing. It is so fun to see what everyone comes up with. I love that my husband's family has a tradition to make gingerbread houses every year. We made them this last weekend and it was so fun! All we used was graham crackers and old candy. My mother-in-law made the perfect frosting to keep it all together and she was kind enough to share it:

Gingerbread House Frosting
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. water
3 cups of powdered sugar

Whip egg whites, cream of tartar and water together for a couple of minutes, until a little frothy. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined and fluffy.

Have fun! Let's see what you come up with!

12 December 2009

Holiday Sugar Cookies [recipe]

Let's be honest. Sugar cookies=festive. I just love making sugar cookies for holidays and especially love using holiday-shaped cookie cutters. The other day I made some Christmas Sugar Cookies and they turned out delightful. Here's the Recipe: (The full batch makes 100 cookies, so I just halved the recipe.)

Sugar Cookies
1 lb. margarine (don't use butter!)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla 
6 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream eggs, butter, and sugar first. Add remaining ingredients one at a time. Refrigerate dough for a few hours or overnight. Roll the dough on a floured surface and cut into holiday shapes. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes or longer if you want them crispier.

And if you are like me and do not like store-bought frosting, try this recipe out. It's a winner: 

Sugar Cookie Frosting
1/4 c. margarine 
1/4 c. milk 
3/4 lb. powdered sugar 
1 tsp. vanilla (for chocolate frosting, add 1/4 c. cocoa) 

Beat all ingredients until creamy. Add food coloring for different colors.

09 December 2009

"Gifts to Jesus" box

Another one from Courtney...One tradition that is kind of neat is our "GIFT to JESUS" box. We always had this shiny present wrapped under the tree and on Christmas Day after all the presents were opened, we would have to write down a gift that we were going to give to Jesus that year (kind of like a new years resolution). An example could be reading scriptures daily or doing a small act of service for someone daily. It was fun to look back and see what the previous year's gift was and to reflect on how well we did.

08 December 2009

Christmas Eve Fort Sleepover

One thing my family and I did growing up was to make forts. All the kids (there were 5 of us) slept in it on Christmas Eve up until we started getting married! In the morning, my mom would come and get us and take us one by one to the entry way of the living room, where the Christmas tree and all our presents were set out. We had to keep our eyes closed. She lined all of us up and we were just giddy in anticipation. On the count of 3, we could open our eyes and dash for our stockings (which was spaced out in different areas on the couches) and Santa present (which would be laid out, unwrapped, in front of our stocking). Thanks Courtney for this idea!

06 December 2009

Christmas Beds [tradition]


Thanks Leslie for this idea! On December 1st, she puts Christmas quilts and pillowcases on her kids' beds and gives them a new holiday movie. One movie that she recommends is Wonder Pets Save the Nutcracker!

05 December 2009

Countdown Chains

Last year we made chocolate countdown chains. They were so simple to make. You take a long piece of plastic wrap and equally place 24 pieces of chocolate (or other treats) on the plastic. Wrap up the ends of the saran wrap to cover the treats. Take pieces of ribbon to tie off each piece. Then each day you have a treat to count your way to Christmas with.

This year we decided to try something different. We made paper chains, but added a twist to it. We each took equal number of paper strips and wrote different Christmas oriented activities like drive to see lights, read a Christmas story, doorbell ditch a treat on someone's doorstep, shop for an ornament, etc. But neither of us could see what the other person wrote. Then we mixed them all up and put the chain together without looking to see what was on the inside of each strip.
Now, when we cut off the chain piece in the morning, we have a fun Christmas activity that we have to do sometime that day. We cut them off in the morning so we can arrange our schedules to fit it in.

03 December 2009

Christmas Morning Beignets [tradition]

My parents visited a french cafe called Cafe du Monde in New Orleans while on a business trip before I even remember. They fell in love with the beignets (french doughnuts) served there and brought back the mix so we could make our own. This has become our Christmas morning breakfast along with bacon, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. They are so good! You can order the mix directly online at Cafe du Monde's website here. The mix is only about $2.50 per box. Shipping is pricey, but if you order by quantity, its quite a bit cheaper and the total box price comes to just over $3.  World Market also sales the mix for about $4 a box.

I Believe In Santa Claus

I love, love, love this book! I love it because it shows how the time honored Santa Claus is meant to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. Check it out from the library or you can buy it on Amazon for $10.85 here

Simple Christmas Activity

Grab your spouse, children, roommates, or significant other for a fun, but lo-key Christmas activity: driving to see the lights. Check out what the nearby neighborhoods have to offer.

If that isn't enough, check out local parks and centers for Christmas light displays.

This activity is perfect because it can take 10 minutes or 2 hours and you can enjoy festivities from your warm car.

English Toffee

A Christmas Favorite!

What you'll need: 1 lb. butter, 1 cup water, 2 1/2 cups sugar, 4 Tablespoons light corn syrup, semi-sweet chocolate chips, candy thermometer

Melt the butter. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips. Cook until the mixture reaches 285 on a candy thermometer. Then place in a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top and spread with a bowl scraper. (They will melt). You can also sprinkle nuts on top if you like nuts.

Ornament Exchange

This cute lady in my neighborhood last year organized an ornament exchange. Each person was to bring 8 handmade ornaments. We had about a month to do it and then we got together on a Saturday afternoon and exchanged ornaments with each other. It was fun to get new ideas and to come home with 7 new ornaments. This could also be a fun idea to do with handmade Christmas cards.

Tin Ornaments [tradition]

I know lots of people that get a new ornament each year for Christmas. I have heard the parents getting their children an ornament that signifies something they have done or like for that year. My family also did this, however, the ornaments we received were always tin ornaments.

They are hard to find, but it's possible. We have a living room tree with all the tin ornaments and then a family room tree with all the random ornaments we have made in school, etc. Now that I have my own little family, it is fun to have a collection of tin ornaments to decorate my own tree with.

02 December 2009

If you don't have a fireplace...

We don't have a cute mantle to hang our stockings from (and probabaly won't for a while), but I still wanted it to be cute and festive. So I have hung our stockings from a mirror with hooks, put a little garland around it and made a sign that says, "The Stockings Were Hung".

I have had the mirror for a few years, but it is only about $20 at Wal-Mart and the sign was a sign I found at the thrift store. I repainted it red, painted some letters creme that came in a package at Dollar Tree and put it together. That simple and it doesn't make me so disappointed that we don't have a fireplace.

Advent Sundays [tradition]

When I was a nanny in Germany, I was introduced to the Christmas tradition of the Advent Wreath. On each of the 4 Sundays before Christmas, you light a candle on the advent wreath (or 2 for the 2nd Sunday, etc) and do something Spiritual to celebrate the season. The wreath signifies eternal life and love and the candles signify the light of Christ. One of my favorite memories of Christmas in Germany was gathering in the living room and singing Christmas songs while the Advent candle was burning. I love that the purpose of celebrating it is to remember the true meaning of Christmas. I found an advent wreath at a thrift store, but you can buy them online or you can use candles for the same magical affect.

To start your own Advent Sunday tradition, find a wreath or collect 4 candles. On the first Sunday, light one candle. Burn it while you sing carols, read stories, etc. On the 2nd Sunday, light the first candle and a second one while you are doing the activity. Continue with the 3rd and 4th on the appropriate Sundays. Really, you can do anything.

we had hot chocolate and muffins while reading Christmas stories for the first advent

Christmas Eve Pajamas

As a child, I looked forward to Christmas Eve because we got to open one of our presents...and even though 99% of the time it was new pajamas, I still got really excited. Don't forget to take a picture...this is just one of the classic shots we get every year.

Candlelight Christmas Eve Dinner [tradition + recipe]

It's tradition in my family to have a fancy, candle-lit Christmas Eve dinner. And it's tradition to eat Cream Cheese Chicken with rice, cherry 7-up, rolls, salad, and red and green jello. We eat with china and goblets while listening to beautiful Christmas music. It is our way setting the tone for the rest of the evening. Although it's a bit of work to clean up, the dinner is simple to prepare since you can cook the Cream Cheese chicken in the crockpot during the day while you are finishing any last minute wrapping or shopping.)

Christmas Eve Cream Cheese Chicken
Ingredients 2 1/2 -3 lbs chicken breasts
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz cream cheese, softened
cooked rice or egg noodles

Put the chicken breasts in the crockpot and sprinkle the dressing mix over the top. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6. Just before the chicken has finished cooking, mix the cream cheese and soup together. Do not drain the chicken liquid. Add the soup mixture to the chicken and heat thoroughly. Serve over rice. Makes enough for about 6.

Hot Chocolate with Grasshopper Cookies

Cold winter nights call for Hot Chocolate, or as my mom would call it, hot totty. Here is a way to jazz up your cocoa:

What you'll need: Grasshopper cookies, hot chocolate

1. Make a cup of hot chocolate as normal.

2. Bite off 2 corners from your Grasshopper cookie (the corners must be diagonal from each other).

3. Stick the Grasshopper cookie into your cocoa with one bitten corner in your mouth and the other in the hot chocolate.

4. Slurp your hot chocolate for 3-4 seconds through the cookie.

5. Quickly pull the cookie out and put it in your mouth. It will dissolve instantly and you will get a warm savory taste!

6. Repeat. And I promise, you will want to repeat. :)

Favorite Christmas Movies

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite Christmas movies. Which ones am I missing?

-How the Grinch Stole Christmas
-White Christmas
-It's a Wonderful Life
-Miracle on 34th Street
-Charlie Brown's Christmas
-Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
-Frosty and Frosty Returns
-I'll Be Home for Christmas
-The Santa Claus
-One Magic Christmas
-Jingle All the Way
-A Christmas Carol
-The Polar Express
-Home Alone
-A Christmas Story

Christmas Story Countdown

My friend Andrea gets the credit for telling me about this fun tradition. Her mom would wrap up 12-24 Christmas stories and put them under the Christmas tree. Each day, a sibling would get to choose a wrapped book from under the tree and open it. Then her whole family would read the story together.

I love this idea because I don't know about you, but we had TONS of Christmas books that we would never even touch during the holidays. This tradition helps you to get through all of them and what a fun thing to do together as a family.

01 December 2009

Christmas Kick-off

Kick-off the Christmas season by doing something special on December 1st. You could:

-Have a candlelight dinner
-Make countdown chains (later post on this to come)
-Watch a Christmas movie
-Decorate your tree
-Read a Christmas story

Pick anything that will help you get in the Christmas mood. Our Christmas Kick-off consisted of:

eating yummy Jello popcorn (click here for the recipe) and watching some of the Christmas Classics like "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"


welcome to SO FESTIVE! I owe my festiveness to my mom who made every holiday fun and festive despite the fact that there were 7 children in my family and we didn't always have a ton of money to do elaborate things. Although most of them were simple, they have become traditions and memories that live on.

In honor of her (she passed away in 2001), this blog will be a place to collect holiday ideas and traditions. Please share your favorite holiday activities, ideas, recipes, traditions, etc so that we can all be a little bit more festive. Enjoy!


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