27 December 2012

new year's slideshow [tradition]

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

We are still savoring the Christmas spirit around here, but I just wanted to share one new New Year's tradition with you. I heard this idea from a friend in my neighborhood. Each year, she puts together a slideshow of pictures from the year. Her family watches it on New Year's Eve as a way to relive the memories from the previous year before the new one starts. What a fun way to bring in the new year!

I love this idea because if you are like me, we hardly ever sit down and look at our digital pictures from the year.  There is still plenty of time to put together a quick and simple slideshow of  your pictures from 2012.

Here is a preview of ours:

 If you are looking for some other ways to celebrate the New Year, check out these posts

24 December 2012

merry christmas!

Wishing you the Merriest Christmas!

simple celebrations: december 24-31

This week's simple celebrations:
24-Christmas Eve
26-Boxing Day
27-Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
28-Card Playing Day
29-Get rid of something Day
30-Baking Soda Day
31-New Year's Eve

I hope you have had as much fun as we have simply celebrating in 2012! I would love to know what some of your favorite simple celebrations were...

19 December 2012

neighbor gifts 2012 [gift idea]

Our gifts have been delivered, so I can finally share what we gave our neighbors and friends this year. I knew with an active 10-month old crawling around, whipping up homemade goodies for everyone on our list wasn't going to be an option this year. Plus, we had so many compliments on our Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancake Mix gift last year, that I wanted to do another mix of some kind. That way, people aren't overloaded with sugar and because the holidays are so busy anyway, they can have a quick breakfast or save it for another time. 

This year, we gave muffin mix with a tag that said
"You're getting muffin for Christmas" with some cupcake papers attached.

If you would like a printable of the tags, leave a comment. I'd be happy to share!

Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner?
Thank you for sharing this Christmas season with me here! 

18 December 2012

brown paper packages...

Sometimes I like just clean and simple Christmas gift wrap.
Here is a little twist on brown paper packages tied up with string.
I feel a song coming on...

Oh how I love wrapping gifts. 

When do you do your wrapping? 

17 December 2012

simple celebrations: december 17-23

This week's simple celebrations, however if you are like me, I'm going to do Christmasy things instead :)
17-National Maple Syrup Day
18-Christmas Caroling Day
19-Oatmeal Muffin Day
20-Games Day
21-National Flashlight Day
22-National Date Nut Bread Day
23-Christmas Adam (because Adam came before Eve :) --Sleep out by the Christmas tree!

15 December 2012

ogden's christmas village [activity]

If you find yourself in the Ogden, Utah area this Christmas season,
be sure to check out the Christmas Village in the Municipal Park downtown.
It is a charming display of lights and cottages modeled after Santa's village at the North Pole.
Unique displays in each window take you back to the magic of Christmas as a child. 
Click here for more information. 

13 December 2012

clothesline christmas card holder [DIY]

One of my most favorite things about this time of year is receiving Christmas cards in the mail.
I love opening up the envelope to see what picture people chose and also love reading the updates. 
And then I love displaying them all month long and being reminded of family and friends who we love so much. 

This year, I wanted a different way to display them. Not that taping them on the fridge isn't good enough, but I wanted something more visible. I had some leftover clothesline from the Clothesline Advent Calendar I made, so it seemed fitting to use it and some of the remaining clothespins to hang our Christmas cards. Please tell me you love using up things you already have, too?

I picked up the clothesline from Dollar Tree. Aren't dollar stores awesome? I especially loved that it was green and white. And clothespins there are steal! The same package at Wal-Mart is 3x the price!

As soon as we get cards in the mail, we hang them on the clothesline that is hung between our kitchen and living room. Oh, it just makes me so happy every time I walk under them.  

How do you display your Christmas cards?

{P.S. As soon as I know our cards have been mailed, I'll be sure to share our Christmas card we sent out this year.} 

12 December 2012

12-12-12! And 12 days of CHRISTMAS ideas

Happy 12-12-12! 
Do something simple to make it memorable.
Speaking of 12's, tomorrow starts the 12 days of Christmas.
Unintentionally, I have done some sort of 12 days of Christmas for the past few years. 
I thought I'd compile some of the things I have done, in addition to some other 12 days ideas that I love.

#1- Sweet & Simple 12 Days of Christmas
I already posted this one here, but if you need a quick go-to idea, this  is it!
#2- 12 Dates of Christmas
Before we had a baby, I planned 12 Christmas dates for my husband and I for the month of December.
Some were simple and free, and a few cost money and were more elaborate. It was so much fun!
These were the dates we did:
1. Visit the Old World Christmas Market at the Gateway
2. First Day of December Candlelight Dinner
3. Open "It's a Wonderful Life" and watch it by the fire
4. Go to the Festival of Trees
5.  Went on a World Nativity tour
6. Saw Tangled at the expensive theater- we never do that!
7. Went doll shopping for a Secret Santa project
8. Went to the David Archuleta Christmas Concert
9. Go to the Wasatch Lawn Christmas Luminary Display
10. Went to the Christmas Utah light display
11. Visited Temple Square
12. Read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and exchanged a simple gift.

#3-12 Acts of Service 
I like the idea of doing 12 random acts of service.

#4- 12 Days of Christmas Stories 
Originally, I got this idea from my friend Andrea (who contributes to this blog). She wraps up 25 stories and reads them each day with her children as a countdown. Unfortunately, my Christmas story collection isn't that big, so we will be doing 12 days of stories. This would be a fun gift for someone as well!

#5-12 Days of Nativity Scriptures 
I received a 12-piece nativity set from a friend a few years ago. I've always just set it out as part of my decorations, but this year, we'll be adding one piece to the nativity each night after we read a scripture telling us about that certain piece.

#6- 12 Days of Christm"US"
One year, I gave my husband 12 gifts that were pertinent to just "US" since it was our last Christmas before our first child was born. A lot of them were inexpensive, but had a funny memory or inside joke related to each one. 

Have fun! 

11 December 2012

soap-carving nativities [activity]

A few years ago, my husband planned a really fun Christmas date for us. 
He picked up a few bars of Ivory soap and we carved a nativity together.
We are definitely not sculptors by trade, but we had a blast!

For a fun family activity, assign every one a few nativity characters and create a masterpiece together! 

10 December 2012

simple celebrations: december 10-16

This week's simple celebrations:
10-Human Rights Day
11-International Children's Day
12-Poinsetta day and 12-12-12! 
13-Violin Day
14-Wrap a gift day
15-Bill of Rights Day
16-Chocolate Covered Anything Day

08 December 2012

cheap, merry & bright christmas mantle [decor]

Linking up today with My Sister's Suitcase Mantle Party.
52 Mantels

Here's mine: 

Part of my Christmas decoration spruce-up included my mantle. 
I splurged a little on the stockings, but everything else you see was found at thrift stores or year-end clearances. I made the red burlap wreath, redid the advent calendar, and up-cycled the stocking holders.
For our apartment that doesn't have the greatest light, it sure brightens things up for the holidays.

This is what it used to look like:

This year instead of having our nativity on our mantle, we'll be using it for a 12 days of Christmas, where we add a new piece each day.

07 December 2012

sweet & simple 12 days of Christmas [gift idea + activity]

My mom loved doing the 12 days of Christmas for someone who needed some extra holiday cheer.
She always involved us in the process by having us help with the shopping, wrapping, or delivering. 
One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories is getting all bundled up, piling in our station wagon, and doorbell ditching the gifts each night. She always used the same 12 days of Christmas gifts. I'm not sure where she got this idea, but she loved it because it called for simple and inexpensive gifts that could be picked up during your normal shopping. This is my go-to 12 days of Christmas as well. I love the poems for each day and it doesn't cost a lot to do. Most items can be found at a dollar store.
*Simply cut out the tags, attach them to gifts, and deliver!
Enjoy one of the most fun activities of the holiday season. 

Here is a preview of the poems & gifts for each day, but if you'd like a printable version, click here.
*Also, if you are interested in an editable document (in case you want to switch up some of the days or gifts, leave a comment with your email address or send an email to sofestive@gmail.com  and I'd be happy to email it you!)

06 December 2012

chocolate christmas houses [tradition]

I hope you found a present in your shoe for St. Nicholas day today!
But if you didn't, here's a fun activity you can do to celebrate. 

It's tradition in my husband's family to decorate gingerbread houses. We didn't get around to doing it at Thanksgiving, so we did it on our own. We usually make them out of graham crackers and my mother-in-law's perfect frosting, but this year, we changed it up just a tiny bit. My inspiration came from my aunt's chocolate house she made with real chocolate a few years ago. I wasn't about to mold chocolate like she did, so instead, I picked up a box of chocolate graham crackers. So much easier, but with a similar result.

I pre-cut a few pieces just to make the process quicker so we could get to the fun part of decorating much sooner. And I used this frosting recipe. It works great! Although if you were doing this with little kids, you could always pre-assemble the houses with hot glue and then let them use the frosting for decorating.

Gingerbread House Frosting
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. water
3 cups powdered sugar (possibly 4)

Beat the egg whites, water, and cream of tartar until frothy (about 2 minutes). Add in the powdered sugar and continue to beat until thick and pasty. Add in more powdered sugar until it is thick, if needed. Scoop into  cake decorating bags or sandwich bags and snip off the corner for easy application.

05 December 2012

pom pom tree garland [DIY decor]

I've been sprucing up my Christmas decorations this year and this Pom-Pom Garland
was near the top of my list. It's tradition to get tin ornaments every year. Even though the tin ornaments are silver and gold, this garland does not take away from the classy look that I love, but gives it just the right amount of  modern pop with its bright colors.  

What you'll need: 
1" or larger pom-poms (Hobby Lobby had the cheapest) 
stitchery thread

Simply thread the needle and sew through each  pom-pom.
I did mine about 2-3" apart so I wouldn't run out, but it could also look good with them closer together. 
Hang on your tree or use on a mantle or to decorate for a holiday party.

Also, don't forget to put your shoe out by the tree tonight for St. Nicholas. 
If you are new to the tradition of St. Nicholas day, read about it here

04 December 2012

the best christmas movies ever

Winners of the giveaway posted below. 

I'm a sucker for Christmas movies. There are so many to watch, that I have to start early to get through them all. Here are some of my all-time favorites, starting with the cartoon ones. Yes, I still watch these and LOVE them because they bring back so many childhood memories. I can't wait until my little boy is old enough to enjoy them!


A BIG thanks to all who entered the giveaway and helped spread the word.
And a BIG welcome to all you newbies. I'm hoping you'll stay around for a while and share your festive ideas with us. There are lots of great things coming up on So Festive.

Now, for what you are all anxious for. The winners are:
(selected using Random.org via Rafflecopter)

#1- Marilyn's Fudge = SCOTT CALDER
No. 76-"Post a photo to Facebook or Instagram"

#2- Paparazzi Accessory= EMILY POLL
No. 104- "Share the giveaway image on Facebook"

#3- $15 Amazon Gift Card= JANA WEAVER
No. 97-"Post a photo to Facebook or Instagram"

Please contact me at sofestive@gmail.com within 24 hours to claim your prize
or if will be given to someone else. 

Happy December everyone. And thanks again for 3 festive years.
Here is to many more....

01 December 2012


It's been 3 years today since this little So Festive blog started.
A big thanks to all of you who have been here from the beginning or have joined us along the way.
I've had a lot of fun and I hope you have, too.

In honor of 3 years, I will be giving away 3 prizes. 
Let me explain. I started this blog as a way to feel close to my mom, Marilyn, because she loved being festive. So I think it is only appropriate that the prizes are some of her favorite things. 
Here is what you could win:

#1- 1 lb. of Marilyn's Famous Fudge 
*Marilyn loved fugde. And she was even more famous for making it. She loved fudge. Everyone loved her homemade fudge. Even people who didn't like fudge loved it. Yes, it is that good. 

#2- Any one accessory item of your choice from Paparazzi
My mom LOVED jewelry, especially big earrings.
But you get to choose any accessory item from this site

#3- $15 Amazon Gift Card!!
Marilyn loved to shop. And she loved bargains.
Use this gift card to help with some of your holiday shopping or splurge on something for yourself.
Don't worry, I won't tell if you do.

There are many options for you to enter:
1. Share the above giveaway image on your Facebook page
2. Post a photo of you being festive on Facebook or Instagram and mention @sofestive or #iamsofestive
3. Pin one of your favorite ideas to Pinterest and mention So Festive
4. If you came here because of someone else and follow us, you'll get an extra entry!
and more...
Enter in the box below. Each thing you do is worth up to 4 entries!
So, the more you do, the greater your chances of winning are!
(If you are viewing this in Reader, be sure to click on the giveaway link below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries will be accepted until midnight EST on Monday, December 3rd. 
Winners will be announced on Tuesday and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.

(PS. This is the first time I've tried using Rafflecopter for a giveaway, so I hope it works well! If you have any feedback or preferences on using this or leaving comments to enter instead, leave me a comment and I'll be sure to consider them for the next giveaway.)

30 November 2012

easy candy christmas countdown [DIY]

Tomorrow is the big day--the countdown to Christmas begins!
(Plus there will be a GIVEAWAY! You won't want to miss it!)

If you don't have time or energy to make the Clothesline Advent Calendar I posted about a few days ago, here's a simple alternative for you. It's the

These were the countdown chains we always had growing up. They were quick to make and also inexpensive. Plus, they were simple enough for children to make, with just a little help.
So, it doubled as an advent calendar and activity! Double score. 

What you'll need: 
plastic wrap
25 pieces of candy
ribbon, bakers twine, raffia, or string

Just follow these 5 easy steps: 

1. Choose your favorite candy. We prefer Lindt chocolate balls around here! (Don't worry, we make a family chain so all the goodness isn't going to any one person.) Cut a very long piece of plastic wrap-about 75 inches long or longer. (Enough for about 3 inches per candy)

2. Lay your candy equally apart on the plastic wrap. 

3.  Fold the bottom edge of the plastic over top your row of candies. 

4. Now do the same thing with the top edge, so it covers the candy completely.

5. Finally, tie off each section with ribbon or string.

Each day, it's one piece of candy closer to Christmas!


If you don't have time or resources for this either, consider sticking to a simple paper chain.
Write an activity on each slip of paper. Attach together to form a chain.
Each day, cut off a slip of paper and do the activities! 

29 November 2012

50 christmas activity ideas for advent calendars

Now that my advent calendar is updated, I'm ready to fill it with holiday activities. If you are like me and  struggle coming up with a new idea for each day, here's a list to help you out. I know, we only need 24-25 ideas, but there are 50 here so you can choose your favorites. And hey, save the rest for next year.

1. Decorate sugar cookies and take them to a neighbor
2. Decorate the Christmas tree
3. Put up Christmas lights
4. Drive to see the Christmas lights in pjs
5. Make gingerbread houses
6. Visit Temple Square
7. Make a countdown to Christmas candy chain
8. Go Christmas shopping
9. Get a picture taken with Santa
10. Go caroling at the hospital
11. Read Christmas stories
12. Sleep out by the Christmas tree
13. Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
14. Watch a Christmas movie
15. Go to a nativity display
16. Make Christmas candy
17. Dip pretzels
18. Do a Sub-4-Santa
19. Drink hot cocoa on the front porch
20. Celebrate Advent
21. Host a Christmas open house
22. Read the nativity story
23. Try a new Christmas recipe
24. Start a Christmas Jar
25. Wrap presents
26. Watch Elf
27. Watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
28. Build a snowman
29. Drink hot chocolate on the porch with Grasshopper cookies
30. Carol around the neighborhood
31. Write letters to Santa
32. Start a new Christmas tradition
33. Host a Holiday Open House for neighbors and friends
34. Watch Home Alone
35. Go to an outdoor ice skating rink
36. Dance to Christmas music
37. Make a homemade gift
38. Watch Miracle on 34th Street
39. Write and mail Christmas cards
40. Cut down your own Christmas tree
41. Have a Christmas-around-the world night
42. Make a Christmas craft
43. Go to a light parade
44. Go to a free Christmas concert
45. Attend the city's tree lighting ceremony
46. Read the Christmas Carol
47. Read the Scripture Advent each night
48. Do a Christmas card,  ornament, or cookie exchange
49. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
50. String popcorn for the tree

28 November 2012

advent calendar ideas

Are you getting your advent calendars together?
I have two this year. Who says you can only have one?
My first one is a wooden one that I redid. I picked up on clearance for $7. 
I repainted it and put on new numbers. I like the clean, modern look.
This one will be used for our Keeping Christ in Christmas advent. Each box contains a scripture to read and a little treat. 

The second one we have is for our Christmas activities. 

You can make one, too!
All you need: a dollar-store clothesline, clothespins, paper, advent numbers, and contact paper if you want to make it re-usable. The total cost should be around $4 or less if you already have materials at home. 

On the back of each card has a Christmas activity that we will do that day. The contact paper makes it so you can write with a dry-erase marker. Then you can reuse from year-to-year, or if you need to change activities at the last minute, no problem! Holidays require flexibility, you know.

And should you decide to make one, I've made it simple. Click here to download a printable version of the numbers. All you have to do is cut and paste, literally. 

If you make one,  I would love to see it!
Come back tomorrow for more activity ideas than you'll ever need for your new advent calendar!


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