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Magic of the Season

December 3, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
I recently posted about the commencement of the Christmas mania. In case you need some fun ideas to incorporate into your holiday merriment, or just want to drive yourself crazy along with me, here you are!

One of my favorite traditions has to do with Ben. Ben is a giant stuffed dog whom Eve loves. Ben is our Christmas elf dog. Every night starting from December 1st, Ben puts up at least a few Christmas decorations. This allows for an easy pace of decorating and keeps little ones out of boxes that might have fragile or breakable items. It also creates delightful wonderment when Eve races out of bed every morning to see what Ben has done.

On the first of December Ben always leaves Advent calendars. Somehow we have three, but my favorite is the one from her Granny. When Granny was little, she lived far away from her own Granny in England. Granny's Granny would get two matching Advent calendars. One went to little Granny and one she kept. Then they would call eachother and open the pictures together by phone each day. Now Eve's Granny lives about 3 hours away and guess what we do? It's a wonderful way for Eve to share a family tradition and I too look forward to it every year.

In addition to that, Ben leaves us one Christmas book each day until Christmas. Note well, the Christmas books get put away each year with the decorations - we don't amass 25 new Christmas books each year! The book appears each night and we read it in the morning or possibly before bed. Somehow The Night Before Christmas always comes on the 24th... Good job Ben!

We also do one Christmas thing each day. Sometimes there are activities like seeing the Hollidaysburg Alumni Chorus yesterday. Their Christmas concert was a delight and a perfect way to celebrate the spirit! Sometimes we bring the air mattress down and watch a Christmas movie and camp out/sleep in front of the Christmas tree. One of my favorites though, is that Eve knows we're not ready for Christmas until we're ready to give. That means we have lots of elf work to do ourselves. We make cookies and gifts for teachers, family, and friends, and we love it.

Here's an easy one to do with kids. It's basically a salt dough recipe that you can use to make ornaments. But you bake it in the microwave! That means your kids can be painting and decorating cooled, cooked ornaments in minutes!

Here's the recipe and I hope you'll share your ways to make it festive!


? 4 cups of flour

? 1 cup of salt

? 1-1/2 cups of hot water

? holiday cookie cutters

? decorations - glitter, paint, beads, etc.


1. Half of this dough recipe is enough to make about ornaments. You will also need paint and any decorations you desire.

2. Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut a variety of shapes - or try handprints or pet paw prints! Use a toothpick to make a hole for hanging, being sure to make the hole a bit larger than you will want as they tend to close when baking.

3. Place ornaments on a microwave-safe plate (not paper or cardboard) and set another plate on top of them. This will keep your ornaments from fetting bulges while cooking. microwave a plate of ornaments for 1 minute, then continue watching and microwaving in 30 second increments, keeping a close eye on the microwave as the ornaments bake. Microwave power levels differ, so use high power in a less-powerful oven, but lower if your oven heats things very quickly. You don't want to risk a fire! Let ornaments cool completely before decorating.



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