And so this newsletter is also filled with lots of cooking and entertaining tips and holiday recipes just for you.
With all of this celebrating, we tend to wear ourselves out pretty quickly.
Already this past weekend, I saw people fighting over a parking space.
How ridiculous did that look? And the season has barely begun.
So make every attempt to keep it in perspective.
Nothing has to be perfect - really.
If you don't have the chance to totally transform each gift into a beautiful package, or make a 5 course meal, it is ok.
Especially this time of year, plan ahead, make those lists, organize your meals and shopping trips and trips to stores that are clustered together.
Ask yourself- "how can I make this easier on myself?" each time you are faced with a holiday project.
Make a list of what are the most important things for you to do, top to bottom, and then decide what gets done and what will not be done this year.
Like those Christmas cards - for me, the list does get smaller because for whatever reason, that is not something I really enjoy doing.
So I gave myself permission to cut back, and hope that my friends will understand.
It is a little relief which gives me more time to spend on more pleasurable activities.
So go ahead - make your own list and give yourself and your family a little more time to enjoy what this season is all about.
_____________________________________________________________________________________ Elegant and Simple Table Decorations There are two themes that I enjoy most at the holidays- one is sparkle and the other is natural.
That almost seems like they are opposed to each other, but enjoy both, depending upon the mood you are in.
To start choose a theme and choose your color scheme.
For example, I love all sliver, or sliver and blue, or red, red, red.
You might also enjoy different shades of green with gold.
Experiment- choose what make you happy.
For sparkle, I love lots of glass balls of different sizes and textures.
(Target is a great place to find lots of these at great prices.
) You can also buy silk flowers dusted with glitter, or even pine cones that are sprayed gold or silver.
For natural, if you have a yard with trees, go clip evergreen branches, holly branches, and whatever else looks like winter.
Or buy a variety of greens.
Yesterday I bought some plain fresh wreaths and went into the yard and cut some juniper branches to tuck in the wreaths.
Add bright ribbons and balls that are glittery and you have a lovely and inexpensive wreath.
It only took about 15 minutes to finish these.
Fill a vase with assorted nuts in their shells and add some branches and ribbons.
For your centerpiece, fill smaller vases with fresh cranberries and water and add red and white roses, carnations, and lilies, and some evergreen stems for a really beautiful arrangement.
GET CREATIVE WITH THEMES: Choose a candy-cane theme.
Use red and white flowers, with candy canes hanging from the rim of the vase.
Use candy canes as place cards.
Have a white tablecloth with a red runner.
Tie red and white ribbon on napkins.
Ribbons are a wonderful way to decorate.
Choose a color and go from there.
Add ribbons to a chandelier and hang gold or silver snowflakes for a festive look.
You can choose a jingle bell theme- use silver as the main color, add bells and little sleighs on the table to your centerpiece, or add bells to your place cards.
Silver stars are also a really nice selection with the bells.
Blue and white or blue and silver are delightful for the season.
Dress the table with a white tablecloth, use a beautiful blue runner, perhaps in an organza that you can get from the fabric store.
Use silver candles or silver menorah, orsilver snowflakes.
Tie shiny silver ribbons around napkins.
White flowers such as lilies or white roses mixed with silver spray are a very elegant look.
SOUNDS AND AROMAS: The holidays are about not just the presentation, but also about feeding the other senses.
Be sure to have some favorite music playing, especially while wrapping gifts.
Light some scented candles, put a pot of water filled with cinnamon sticks, orange peels and cloves.
Simmer on low - just be careful the water does not boil out.
These will add to your enjoyment and, if you let it, will help to restore some calmness everyone.
So these are just some ideas.
Pick something that makes you happy and go from there.
BE creative - get the kids involved and have fun.