Posts Tagged ‘FAMILY’

Amanda from Kansas asked for some ideas for outdoor decorating with something that the birds won’t eat up right away (unlike cranberry-popcorn garland). Below are some links to various projects the whole family can help with, creating garlands to make the exterior of your abode as festive as the the inside.

  • Outdoor Christmas Decorating with Garland: Some great ideas for creating a homemade, natural garland that can be used to frame windows, line railings, and more.
  • Christmas Ribbon Garland or Chain:  The idea here is to create a “paper chain,” but make it out of ribbon (red and green, for example) instead.
  • Homemade Recycled Holiday Luminaries for Thanksgiving or Christmas: This version is made from ordinary used food cans. See video below, which illustrates the effect they create.
  • This short instructional video outlines how to make luminaries to line  your driveway. These are strictly for outdoors in dry/non-windy weather, as they are made from paper bags and incorporate a votive candle in each bag. I had never seen them before (I live in the northwest U.S., where it is virtually guaranteed to be inclement in the month of December, which explains why luminaries are popular mostly in the south), but apparently they are made quite often, and give a very cheerful effect, as the photo below illustrates.


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For more local and regional holiday events, see Zvents

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While Christmas movies are a dime a dozen, there are precious few movies that focus on that other venerable holiday here in the U.S.: Thanksgiving. There is one, however, which is very funny – and maybe a bit too “close to home”  if your family tends towards “dysfunctional.”
“Home For the Holidays” (1995)

  • Starring: Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg
  • Director: Jodie Foster
  • Summary: Fights and reconciliations mark a single mom’s (Holly Hunter) Thanksgiving with her dysfunctional Baltimore clan.  [ full synopsis]
  • Airs Locally (Whatcom/Skagit):
    • KVOS 12 Thu, Nov 26, 8:00 pm
    • LIFE 51 Sun, Nov 29 5:00pm


Unemployed art conservator, single mom and city girl (Holly Hunter), picked up by her parents (Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft) at the airport, heads home for Thanksgiving with the whole family. Dad probably shouldn't be driving anymore.

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The Christmas Calendar covers events in both the Whatcom County area and throughout Western Washington, with occasional listings from lower mainland British Columbia. Calendar listings will increase with time as information on events becomes available, so check back often.

I will be happy to list your holiday event, or events which you have heard about, on the calendar if you send all the pertinent details in an e-mail to simplyxmas09@gmail.com.

The calendar may be accessed in the right sidebar.

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Now that it’s Christmastime
Won’t you please forgive the tearful eye?
Please forgive the shabby man on the street.
Now that we’re almost there,
On the verge of another year,
Please forgive the tattered shoes on his feet…

Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for another day.
Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day we gather ’round the table,
Say the requisite Grace, with a happy face,
And wish goodwill upon the Human Race.

Now that it’s New Year’s Eve,
Won’t you please forgive the poor, who grieve?
Take a bite, and wipe your mouth on your sleeve.
Now that it’s almost here,
Raise your cup, be of good cheer,
Close your eyes and try to forget the fear…

Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for another day.
Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for New Year’s Day.

On New Year’s Eve we gather in the evening,
Drink the sparkling wine, sing Auld Lang Syne,
Make resolutions till we’re feeling fine.

Through every Christmas Day, and
Festive New Year’s Eve
My friend, I’m sad to say
There’s been a shadow, doggin’ me
And it’s

– Rod Brock, 1997

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The Wassail Bowl


– 1 cup brown sugar
– 12 whole cloves
– 2 Tbsp (or more) ground cinnamon
– 2 lemons, sliced thin
– 2 oranges, sliced thin
– 1 apple, sliced thin
– 1 gallon sweet cider
– 1 pint 7-Up or ginger ale

Make syrup of brown sugar and 1 cup water; add cloves and cinnamon.
Simmer for 10 minutes; add fruit. Simmer for 10 minutes longer with
cider; do not boil. Add 7-Up just before serving. Serve in mugs with
cinnamon stick. Yield: 20 servings.

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A point I’ve made over and over again in this blog is that in order to simplify your Christmas, you have to do something. You have to make a concerted, positive effort to change those things that are making you miserable with each passing Christmas. In line with this is the “Christmas Pledge, set forth in Unplug the Christmas Machine , by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli. For your edification, I now reproduce the pledge in its original form, save for adding a sixth element of my own devising to the pledge.


Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit myself to the following:

  1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts.
  2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents.
  3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family.
  4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas.
  5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends.
  6. To endeavor, after each Christmas season, to carry something of the values of Christmas with me throughout the rest of the year.

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