Category Archives: christmas

Christmas Morning Survival Kit

Christmas Morning Survival Kit - events to CELEBRATE!

As parents you remember the exhilaration of opening presents on Christmas morning and put so much into making sure your children have that same experience. There have been more than a couple of Christmases that there haven’t been enough batteries in the house to go around, or no one can find the dang wire cutters to get the toy out of the wrapping. It’s little things like this that remind me how important it is to take 10 minutes to gather everything up and have it ready so that surviving the happy chaos of Christmas morning is slightly easier.

Christmas Morning Survival Kit

Here’s what we include in ours:

– Large garbage bags
– Batteries in various sizes (many parents put the batteries in with the toy before they wrap it)
Craft Wire Cutter
– A Christmas music CD – (this is my all time favorite: Ring Christmas Bells)
– An extra camera memory card
– Scissors (not wimpy ones, good ones like this: Kitchen Shears)
– Screw drivers
– Tylenol (for the parents that stayed up WAY too late the night before)
– Caffeine – Diet Coke, Hot Chocolate – whatever is your fancy

This also makes a really great gift – just make sure they open it before Christmas morning so they have it ready for the big day!

And, although this isn’t really gathered with the items above, it is part of surviving Christmas morning. Christmas Eve I will assemble a breakfast casserole that can be placed in the oven first thing on Christmas morning or cook in a crockpot while we sleep.

I love these recipes:

Overnight Crockpot Breakfast Strata from Marci Coombs

Breakfast Casserole by A Turtles Life For Me

Cinnamon Baked French Toast by Pioneer Woman

Overnight Baked French Toast by Deep South Dish

Homemade Christmas Potpourri Recipe & Free Printable Gift Tag

Homemade Christmas Potpourri Recipe and Free Printable Gift Tag - events to CELEBRATE!

There is nothing like the scent of Christmas. It can be September, but if you smell “Christmas” you are transported right to it. I love the yummy candles at the store, but nothing tops the real scent of a fresh Christmas tree, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, apples and cranberries. I created this Homemade Christmas Potpourri recipe a couple of years ago for my family and friends and loved it so much that I made about 10 packets of it for myself as well. I decided to do it again this year, and may make it my traditional gift for neighbors each year because I love it so much.

It’s simple to put together, has a long shelf life and is inexpensive! Win, win, win!

This is the Food Dehydrator I use. It’s inexpensive, holds a large quantity of food and works like a champ! It takes about 12 – 16 hours to dry each type of fruit when each tray is fully loaded, so plan ahead to give yourself enough time for the number of gifts you’ll be making.

Homemade Christmas Potpourri Recipe and Free Printable Gift Tag - events to CELEBRATE!

Homemade Christmas Potpourri Recipe:

3 slices of dried Orange
3 slices of dried Apple
1 slice of dried lemon
1 Cinnamon stick
5-10 whole Cloves (or 1/2 tsp of ground Clove)
1/4 c. Dried Cranberries (or Craisins)

Tips:
– Buy your Cinnamon sticks in bulk – like these Cinnamon Sticks from Amazon. They are MUCH cheaper than purchasing them at your local grocery store in a small jar.

– Look for whole or ground cloves in the Mexican food aisle at your grocery store – mine were about 1/2 the price of those in the spice aisle.

– Print out my FREE GIFT TAGS to attach to your gifts. I package mine in small cellophane bags and tie with ribbon. 

Homemade Christmas Potpourri Recipe and Free Printable Gift Tag - events to CELEBRATE!

PRINT OUT THESE FREE GIFT TAGS TO USE FOR YOUR OWN! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Christmas Potpourri Gift Tag

Homemade Christmas Potpourri Recipe and Free Printable Gift Tag - events to CELEBRATE!

I’m participating in A Crafty Christmas hosted by Emily at Nap-Time Creations. For loads of fun and crafty ideas for gifts, decor, recipes and more – go here! 

Rules for use:
– My free printables are for personal use only.
– They may not be modified, sold or used for profit in any way.
– If you feature them or repost them, please give Events to Celebrate proper credit with a link back to this post.

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Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Ideas

Ugly Christmas Sweater  Party Ideas | events to CELEBRATE!

Around the holidays there are SO many family gatherings and parties, sometimes they can seem to all run together. Make yours stand out by hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party! I hosted one a couple of years ago with my best friend, and it was a blast! The creativity people had with their sweaters was incredible and we had such a great time! Adding the one little twist really made the entire party stand out!

How to plan an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party:

The Invitations:

They’ve got to let your guests know what type of party it is. For the party I hosted with my friend, we found a picture on the internet of a couple wearing some really ugly sweaters and cropped our heads over the top of the photo and put the wording on the back of the photo.

You can use PicMonkey – a free photo editing program, to create a cute invite. Snap a picture of a swatch of your sweater and use that photo as the background and add a text box over the top to add the party information. Then just save it to your computer and either print and mail them or email the photo to your friends. Ta-da, you’re on your way!

If you’re tight on time, you can order these Ugly Sweater Party Invitations.

The Sweaters!

You’ve got to head to the thrift store STAT! In my area, this type of party is popular so they get picked over fast. Get there and find the tackiest sweater you can for cheap! Can’t find the perfect one? Don’t fret, Amazon sells some pretty awesome Ugly Christmas Sweaters. PS- Sweater vests are totally a go for this event!

The Decorations: 

– While you’re at the thrift store, pick up a few extra sweaters and get crafty by turning them into drink coasters, hot pads, couch/armchair arm covers, a pennant banner to hang and placemats.

– Then head to your local Dollar Store (every store sells them, but you want to stay on budget!) and gather as many tacky, over done and gaudy decorations you can find – channel your inner Clark Griswold.

– If you don’t have a real fireplace, cozy up the place with a nice Faux Brick Fireplace (remember how we’re going for tacky?)

Aunt Bethany: “Clark, is your house on fire?”
Clark: “No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights” – Christmas Vacation

The Food:

I suggest hosting it as an appetizer party. Make sure you provide at 2 sweet and 2 savory and then invite your guests to bring their favorite holiday appetizer or bite size dessert.

A Hot Cocoa Bar seems to be a holiday party MUST! You can provide tea kettles of hot water and a variety of Hot Cocoa packets (I like the Land O’Lakes Cocoa Classics because it comes with 42 packets in 7 different flavors) or offer just Milk Chocolate and have flavored coffee creamers to mix up things up (like these International Delight Variety 4 Pack Coffee Creamer). A cute bar of fun mix ins will give the perfect finishing touches. Include whipped cream, sprinkles, toffee chips, chocolate chips or chocolate shavings, caramel topping and marshmallows (Feeling domestic? Make my homemade marshmallows – they’re heavenly!)

The Activities:

Sweater Decoration Station: You know you’ll have a guest or two that “can’t find an ugly sweater”, so be prepared. Stock up on Christmas Pom PomsTinsel Battery Operated Christmas Lights,Christmas Felt Shapes and Puff Paint to set up a decorating station. Have your hot glue gun at the ready and let your guests spruce up their sweaters.

Photo Station: Set up some retro props and let guests relive the glory days of getting a picture taken at a high school dance. Wrap large boxes in shiny foil wrapping paper and top with giant bows, string lights and if you’ve got the space an inflatable Santa should round it out really well. Add in some props like reindeer ears, a red clown nose and a few Santa hats and you’ll be all set. This set of Christmas Photo Props are super cute!

Voting Station: While you’re at the thrift store pick up a few of the random trophy’s they always seem to have and hand them out to those voted ugliest sweater!

Play Christmas Music: Find the upbeat tunes and plug them in. I love the Glee Christmas Album because it has a great mix of songs!

Name That Christmas Movie: Play video clips or quote famous lines from your favorite Christmas classics. Have guests write down their guesses and the one who gets the most correct WINS!

Here are some of my favorite lines from my favorite Christmas time movies:

Christmas Vacation: “Hey, Griswold, where are you going to put a tree that size?” “Why don’t you bend over and I’ll show you!”

Christmas Story: “Fuuuuuuudddddgggee” or “You’ll shoot your eye out” or “Aunt Clara had, for years, labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but that I was a girl.” or “I want a Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle.”

Elf: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” or “Christmas-gram, what’s a Christmas-gram?! I want one!” or “First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.”

It’s A Wonderful Life: “What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word an I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down!”

Home Alone: “Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi!” or “I’m going to give you to the count of ten to get your ugly, yella, no-good keister off my property, before I pump your guts full of lead!” or “Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.”

I’m so happy to be participating in the 30 Days of Christmas Series hosted by Crafty Night Owls. Check back each day as new projects are added below!

Image Map



Letter To Santa – Free Printable

Letter to Santa FREE printable by Events To Celebrate!

Letter To Santa Free Printable!

I remember getting so excited when the toy catalogs would start coming in the mail so I could pour over them and circle the things I wanted. As a child, writing a letter to Santa was one of my favorite holiday traditions. When I was little, we would usually have a family night dedicated to it and we would all scribble our wishes on a piece of notebook paper.

In honor of that fun tradition, I created a letter to Santa free printable that you can use for your family! If you want a more complete Letter to Santa Kit – you can get these that have envelopes, letterhead and stickers!

To have your child receive a letter back from Santa from the real North Pole – follow these directions for mailing the letter and let USPS take care of it!

Here is the pdf – just open it and print it on your home computer or have them printed at a local print shop.

Letter to Santa:  Letter to Santa – Free Printable – Events To Celebrate

Merry Christmas!

24 Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes

24 Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes

Let’s just face it, the holidays are laden with sweet treats, decadent dishes, indulgent meals and lots of cheer. I choose to embrace it all. One popular tradition I happen to love is the Christmas Cookie Exchange. Each guest brings 24 homemade cookies and enough copies of the recipe for each person. 12 of the cookies are set out to enjoy during the party and then each guest takes a plate home with one dozen different cookies to try along with recipes for ALL the cookies at the party. I love this type of party because it combines the fun, social aspect of getting together with friends with delicious treats AND lots of new great recipes that you know are good because you’ve tasted the results!

The one downside to a Cookie Exchange Party is that often you’ll get 7 plates of traditional chocolate chip cookies. If you’ve been invited to a Christmas cookie exchange, are hosting your own, or are just on the hunt for some rockin’ cookie recipes – you’re in the right spot! I’ve rounded up 24 Christmas cookie exchange recipes that will knock the socks off of other guests and there is a WIDE variety (notice, not one traditional chocolate chip cookie? If you need a good recipe for that, see this post.)

24 Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes

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If you are in the market for some dessert or cake stands, here are my favorites:

3-Tier Dinner Plate Rack – this is great because you can use your own dinner plates and match them to whatever your colors are.
3-Tiered Dessert Pedestal – classic white matches everything, but this has a little bit of detail to make it unique and cute.
Metal 3-Tier Tray – Antique White – I love the vintage and cottage look to this one, its so chic.

Special THANKS to these contributors: Rae Gun Ramblings, Artsy Fartsy Mama, Cupcake Diaries, Love to be in the Kitchen, Create and Babble, Alimentageuse, Wonky Wonderful, Say Not Sweet Anne, I Heart Eating, Kludgy Mom, Moms Test Kitchen, Sweet Twist of Blogging, The Kitchen is my Playground, A Sweet Baker, Beyond Frosting, Organized Island, Happiness is Homemade, Meal Planning Magic, Kathe with an E, Snap Creativity, Like Mother Like Daughter, Project Domestication, Fearlessly Creative Mammas, Frieda Loves Bread

Happy Holidays!!

Bathroom Basket – Holiday Entertaining

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Cottonelle, but all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I receive a small commission. 

Bathroom Basket for Holiday Entertaining - Events To Celebrate - #CottonelleHoliday #pmedia #ad

 Bathroom Baskets are commonly seen at weddings, but I think they are so convenient for holiday entertaining! The concept is simple: you build a basket of toiletries and other sundries that guests may need during your party. I think these are ESSENTIAL if you’ve got guests staying with you at your home, but they are also really great to have for holiday parties! They save your guests the embarrassment of having to ask for items, and they save you from having to go look for those items during a party when you want to focus on hosting, not finding the Tums or a new toilet paper roll.

To make ours, I gathered up items we already had and then just had a few things to purchase.  headed to Target and stocked up on a few items I didn’t already have.

Bathroom Basket

Here are items to include:

dental floss, toothpicks, feminine hygiene items, cotton swabs, q-tips, breath mints, safety pins, bobby pins, lint roller, Kleenex tissues, sewing kit, magazines, air freshener (try the Poo-Pourri – it really works!), Tylenol, comb, brush, Tide to-go pen, deodorant, chap stick, band aids, hand lotion, hair spray, gum, nail file, nail clippers, eye drops, contact solution, hair elastic, tums, gas-x, hand sanitizer, cough drops, wisp toothbrushes, a yummy candle, diapers, wipes, changing mat, diaper rash ointment, fresh towels, a new foaming hand soap and plenty of toilet paper.

Bathroom Basket

I like the small travel size items because I want my guests to feel like I am trying to take good care of them, not inviting them to move in. 🙂

I put smaller items inside small jars to make them easier to access inside the basket. I create my basket at the beginning of the holiday season and just leave it in there until after the New Year. Aside from our planned holiday entertaining, we always have pop-over guests and last minute get-togethers and this basket gets used – A LOT! I’ll refresh it once or twice, but for the most part I’m able to just set it out and forget about it.

Bathroom Basket

My best tricks and tips:

A Baby Changing Station: You’ve got to include it. Parents will thank you for it! I include diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, diaper rash ointment and a small changing pad.

The Toilet Paper Roll Tower: When we built our home I knew I didn’t want a dinky one-roll holder attached to the wall. I love this tower I picked up for $10 at TJMaxx. It holds 4 rolls and it is extremely easy to change the roll. Fully loaded, this will last us a LONG time!

A Bathroom Basket Poem: This is just a fun little add-on that lets your guests know to take what they need and leave the rest for others. Here is what mine says:

So happy you’re here sharing this festive holiday
But just in case something should go astray:

Here’s a bobby pin or hairspray to fix your hair
Go ahead, floss your teeth,
Now don’t you look debonair!

Use Tums if you’ve stuffed your tummy too full!
Rest assured, there’s enough
We got the Cottonelle triple roll

Use what you need, and just leave the rest
For it may be useful to some other guest!

Bathroom Basket

Now, just set it all out and you’re all set to entertain through the holidays!

Bathroom Basket

21 Christmas Advent Calendars

21 Christmas Advent Calendars - Events To Celebrate

Since I have a love for any type of Christmas Advent Calendar or countdown calendar, I asked a bunch of my blogging friends to send me those they have done in the past so I could share them with you. There are some really incredible and fun ideas! I originally thought I may stick with one and use it over and over, but there are so many great ideas that I may make my tradition to do a different Christmas advent calendar each year!

If you’re looking for one that has a focus on service and Jesus Christ, be sure to check out the 24 days of service I created for my own family. As you complete an act of service, you’ll flip the card over to reveal a part of the nativity image. When you’re all done you’ll see the full nativity picture and hopefully along the way you felt the true spirit of Christmas!

Christmas Service Advent Calendar

These Christmas Advent Calendars are all DIY in some way. Some are super simple and others allow you to get a little crafty, but I’d say within this collection, you’re sure to find something that will fit perfectly for your style and family needs! Just click on a photo below to be taken to the blog where you’ll learn more about any particular calendar or countdown.

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Thanks to the great blogs who contributed: The Real Housewives of Riverton, Housewife Eclectic, Over The Big Moon, Utah Coupon Deals, Artsy Fartsy Mama, The Happy Scraps, What’s Up Fagans, Sweet Bellaroos, Mommy is Coocoo, Just Us Four, Happiness Is Homemade, Pretty Providence, Chipping With Charm, Designers Sweet Spot, Dukes and Duchesses, Sunlit Pages, If Only They Would Nap, Spell Out Loud, Snap Creativity 

 

Christmas Advent Calendar – Acts of Service

Christmas Service Advent Calendar

I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about doing random acts of kindness on your birthday (like this, this, and this). Since my birthday happens to be in December I thought that would be a great way to celebrate, but wanted to expand it a bit more to help us get into the holiday spirit as a family. So for our Christmas Advent Calendar this year we are going to do random acts of kindness and service.

Christmas Advent Calendar - Service Calendar

Step 1: 

I purchased a large nativity print by Simon Dewey called “And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful” from Deseret Book. I couldn’t find in their online store the exact print, but any nativity print would work. 

I trimmed it to fit the frame that I was going to put it inside of (on top of the glass). You could also just mount this on a poster board or bulletin board of some sort.

Christmas Advent Calendar - Random Acts of Kindness

Christmas Service Advent Calendar - Service

Step 2:

I cut the picture into 24 equal pieces and then designed my acts of service in Microsoft Publisher to be about that same size and printed them out. My squares ended up being about 2″ x 2 1/4″ but the size of yours will depend on what frame you use.

Christmas Service Advent Calendar - DIY Calendar

Step 3:

After cutting the acts of service and gluing them onto the back of the nativity picture pieces, I added a few glittered rub-ons to add a little bit of something fun and sparkly.

Christmas Service Advent Calendar - Service each day

Step 4:

Since tape may tear the paper, I used this Removable Mounting Poster Putty to mount the squares onto the glass of my picture frame. Now, as we complete an act of service we will turn the piece over and eventually will see the whole picture of the nativity.

Christmas Service Advent Calendar - Random Acts of Kindness each day Christmas Service Advent Calendar - Small acts of service

I hope that by doing these small acts of service each day we will focus on what we can do to reach out and help others and a little less on what we are hoping to see under the tree on Christmas morning.

Here are the PDF files to my random acts of service if you’d like to print them for yourself:

Christmas Service Advent Calendar pg1

Christmas Service Advent Calendar pg2

And here is a GIANT list of ideas to create your own list:

64 Service Ideas for Advent Calendar

There are so many different things you can do for an advent calendar, and in fact I’ll be sharing more than a dozen ideas in just a couple of days, so check back for more inspiration!

 Here are 20 more advent/countdown calendar ideas! Merry Christmas!!

***If I were doing this again I would not slice up my nativity print. I wouldleave it in the frame and use the tacky tape to place the acts of service on the glass of the frame and peel them off as they are completed to reveal the fully intact print of the nativity. 

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