Christmas Crafts and Cookies, Anyone?

by Abby on December 21, 2012

Christmas brings out my crafty side, it’s true. But this year, I took it to a whole new level. Thanks for that, Pinterest. Really. Before, if there was nothing on TV I might have caught up on my reading or trolled celebrity gossip sites for fun. Or even done something – gasp! – productive, like started wrapping presents before 9pm on Christmas eve.

But now, I can go on Pinterest and spend ages clicking through all the amazing Christmas crafts and decorations people way more imaginative than me have come up with. Unless you want to lose hours of your life like I did, do not – I repeat, DO NOT – search “Christmas mantels” on Pinterest.

Because you will go into a decorating frenzy and decide that you immediately need to go to Homegoods, Michael’s, and Lowe’s for spraypaint to paint over those horrible shiny brass fireplace doors you’ve always hated, and while you’re at it, maybe you should repaint all the crown molding, too?

So here’s my Pinterest-inspired holiday fireplace. I really should have done before-and-after pics but I lack foresight. And yes, those are my magazine trees up there.

Xmas Fireplace

But wait, it gets better. For some reason, I have a birch obsession this year. I don’t know, probably something I saw in a Pottery Barn catalog. I’m so easily influenced. Anyway, after some more searches on Pinterest, I came up with this little winter arrangement.

Birch bark arrangement

Cute, right? Now look closely: the “birch logs” are actually… wait for it… paper-towel tubes wrapped in a printed-out photo of birch bark. I KNOW. Here’s where I got the idea and photo if you want to download and print it yourself.

Christmas is for children, so I figured I should probably let mine get involved in the crafts, too. It’s only fair. When I was little we lived in Germany for a while and they had these colored wax sheets that you could cut out and stick on candles. I’ve never seen them here, but my mom found them in a catalog and sent us some with these tiny cookie-cutter-type things to cut out shapes. The boys loved it.

Making candles

Here’s the finished product. That’s my simple, symmetrical candle on the left, my 6yo’s in the middle (a gift for his babysitter), and my 3yo’s whimsical creation on the right.

Christmas Candles

And we haven’t even gotten to our culinary creations yet: chocolate lollipops for the preschool party (Yes, I’m a hypocrite. See: “Sugar overload.”) and 3 different kinds of Christmas cookies, including 2 of the winning recipes from Parade magazine’s 2012 Holiday Cookie Bake-Off. No pics of those because I pooped out before we got them decorated. I craft-crashed.

In all seriousness, though, it’s no coincidence that many of us turn toward home and family in troubling times. So when I read about Cookies and Crafts for Sandy Hook, bloggers uniting to pay tribute to the victims and families of Newtown, CT, I knew I had to be involved. The idea is to share a craft or recipe that might inspire others to spend time making some good memories with their loved ones this season. I hope you all have a happy, peaceful holiday. We are so blessed.

IDEA O’ THE DAY: Have you heard about Ann Curry’s #20Acts? The NBC correspondent wondered what would happen if we all committed to 20 acts of kindness for each child lost in Newtown. People all over the world took this idea and ran with it, some changing it to #26Acts to honor all the victims including the teachers.

My first act of kindness was to bake cookies for the annual holiday teachers’ party at my son’s school, something I may not have made time for in the past. No one had signed up to bring gluten-free cookies (shocker!), but these Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies are actually really good (double shocker!!).

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Pamela Wight December 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

Great ideas, and good execution. Happy Holidays, from a snow-filled blog post, to a holiday-wrapped one. Roughwighting.

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Angie Mizzell December 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I love this. I got into the whole “presentation” of Christmas this year, more so than usual. It’s really fun, when you approach with the right spirit. LOVE the magazine trees. LOVE.

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Lou Mello December 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Such really cool ideas and the pics are adorable. I am on Pinterest, but, must admit that I have done zero in it and have no time to even think about it. I know that a lot of friends enjoy it so I am happy to support them with a big YAHOO!!.

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Abby December 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Thanks, guys! Happy Holidays to you all!

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