Christmas Countdown C -15

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Family Service Project

Every child will tell you how much better it is to receive at Christmas! Not that I think kids are greedy. It’s just so exciting to find all the things Santa has brought when Christmas morning dawns. However, not everyone is joyful at Christmas. Many people are lonely without family to celebrate the Holiday season with them. Many families don’t have the resources to give their children gifts at Christmas. Many children spend Christmas in the hospital, some miles away from home.

There are so many things families can do to brighten the Holidays for the lonely or the children that might not otherwise receive a gift. Things that can encourage children & families battling illness this Christmas.

This week-end, do a search in your community for projects that need help. I really think it is important not to simply buy some gifts & drop them off at a distribution center. Kids need to be involved in the work that goes into providing a Merry Christmas to those in need, those who are alone, those away from home. Let the family decide which group they want to help, then find out how you can volunteer. It might be packing food boxes to be delivered before Christmas. It might be going to nursing homes to sing Christmas carols & deliver cards. There are so many ways we can bring the joy of Christmas to those alone in the dark. This year, let’s shine the light of Christ’s love in our communities with those that are searching in the darkness. It’s a gift for the whole family to enjoy.

Christmas Countdown C -1

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Guests

Are you having guests stay over during the Holidays? This can be stressful for both hosts AND guests. I know there are all kinds of articles telling you how to prepare a wonderful guest room so you company is comfy during their stay. However, I would like to share a bit of advice.

As wonderful as it is to have the grandparents or the grandkids visit for Christmas, it can also be exhausting. Schedules & routines are upset. People are around all the time. They may be family but you still feel you must treat them like company. And it is tough for your guests to relax since it isn’t their home.

My suggestion is to make the guest room into a sanctuary for your guests. Let them know you don’t mind if they retreat to their room for some quiet time. If they have a television, snacks, even a coffee maker with the fixings right there for their convenience, it can make for a more relaxing visit.

And if you are the guests, give your hosts some time to relax alone. This isn’t being rude. It’s being very polite by preventing frayed nerves at the end of the day. Have books with you. Bring some snacks. Spend time relaxing away from one another & you will enjoy each others’ company so much more.

90+ Best Christmas Decoration Ideas for the Merriest Home on the Block

There are almost as many different ways to decorate your home for Christmas as there are ornaments for your tree. You are no longer forced to stick with the tried & true. Instead, you can go with a decorating scheme that suits your tastes, style & home.

You don’t even have to stick to just one style! You can go contemporary in  the living room, elegant in the dining room, country in the kitchen, eclectic in the family room & rustic in the bedroom! Why stick with just one style when so many of them are available & so much fun!

You also don’t have to spend a fortune to spread the Christmas cheer throughout your home. You can make many of your decorations. You can buy $ store decorations & transform them into something more fabulous. You can even shop thrift stores & repurpose your finds into beautiful displays!

Country Living has created a display of 76, YES, 76 decorating ideas! If this doesn’t get your Christmas creative juices flowing, you need to have a little egg nog & watch Charlie Brown again!

Christmas Decorating Ideas

37 Ideas to Trim Your Christmas Tree

37 Ideas to Trim Your Christmas Tree

I know all of you haven’t decorated for Christmas yet. Some families wait until it’s closer to Christmas before putting up their tree. For all of you who still need to trim your tree or perhaps you want to make a few changes to the tree that is already decorated, Country Living offers a wonderful selection of decorating ideas. I LOVE the simple, primitive look given to the tree & room in the photo.

It’s always a Simple Joy to add new touches to your Holiday Home. Enjoy!

Christmas Tree

66 Festive Christmas Cookie Recipes for the Best Cookie Swap Ever

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I LOVE making Christmas cookies. Sometimes, however, I get a bit tired of the same old cookies. How wonderful that Country Living has come up with such an extensive list of recipes for Christmas cookies. This should keep me busy for awhile! And inspire you to begin your baking! Enjoy!

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Countdown C -23

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What REALLY Must Be Done?

When I was in the Navy, we were very busy in the weeks before Christmas. I was concerned I might not get everything done before the big day. This was not only causing me stress, it was also making me very sad. Katy, our daughter, was about 6 years old & I wanted her & Mr. D to have a great Christmas. How was I going to get everything done? Then I got an idea!

I sat down with a pice of paper & created 2 columns. One was labeled “Have to Do” the other was labeled “Want to Do.” Then I thought about all the things that needed to be done before Christmas morning. As I thought of a task, I asked myself, “Did it HAVE to be done or was it simply something I wanted to do?” I had to decide if Christmas would be ruined it the task didn’t get done. And I forced myself to be honest about it.

When I finished, there was only ONE thing on my Have to Do list. We need to shop for Katy so she would have presents on Christmas morning. We needed to make certain Santa had gifts to deliver to Katy. As much as I wanted to get all the other tasks done, none of them was a deal breaker. We might be disappointed if we didn’t put up a tree but Christmas wouldn’t be ruined. So, everything else went on my Want to Do list.

Then a strange thing happened. As soon as I took the pressure off myself, as soon as I told myself I didn’t HAVE to get all those things done, I was able to relax, slowing working my way through the tasks I simply wanted to get done. And do you know, by Christmas Eve, every single item on both lists was done!

Pressure & stress often cause us to freeze up. Determine what you absolutely HAVE to do by Christmas. Not the things others are forcing on you but tasks YOU determine are necessary. Then put everything else on your Want to list. Finish the Have-to’s first. Then slowly work your way through the Want-to’s. You may be surprised how much you get done when the pressure is off!

Speedy Christmas Decorating

Speedy Christmas Decorating

Not everyone has the time to deck ALL the halls during Christmas. Not everyone has the space to deck all those hall either. Time, space & money can all be factors when trying to decide how much is too much. You want everything to look festive but there are limits. Or perhaps you are having a Holiday party & want to add a few more simple touches to your event that can be easily removed, or simply moved, when the party is over. What to do?

BHG to the rescue with these quick & easy ways to decorate for Christmas. I LOVE the vintage ornaments on the candlesticks. You can find all the candlesticks you want at the $ Store along with tubes of ornaments that can be used. I used these ornaments all over the house. They come in different sizes & colors. They are also easy to paint & glitter should you need them in colors that are different than the ones offered.

Avoid Christmas stress with simple ideas like these & put the JOY back into Christmas!

Speedy Decorating

6 Santa Cookie Creations

6 Santa Cookie Creations

Kids LOVE making Christmas cookies. Making cookies with my mom is one of my favorite Christmas memories. I always made cookies with The Child when she was growing up to continue the tradition. Both Katy & I share our creations with friends during the Holidays, passing the joy of baking along!

Betty Crocker shares her baking traditions with these darling Santa cookies. Your kids are going to enjoy making each of these sweet treats. Start your own tradition this year or continue an ongoing one when add these cookies to your Holiday baking schedule!

Santa Baby

Christmas Countdown C -24

 

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You Deserve to Celebrate Too!

Your focus at Christmas is your family. You spend most of your time making certain everyone around you has a wonderful Christmas. Well, you deserve to celebrate too! At Simple Joy, we believe women must take care of themselves first or they won’t be able to care for others. If you focus entirely on everyone else this season, you may forget to enjoy yourself. Take time throughout December to do things YOU enjoy! Remember, we are the hearts of our families. The way we feel impacts the way the entire family feels. If you are stressed, focusing only on others, you may develop a not so nice attitude that eventually affects everyone around you. Taking care of yourself first is NOT selfish. It is the best & most effective way you can care for everyone else!