3 Tips to Keep Christmas Joyful

12/22/2015 - 10:27:59 AM

Christmas is upon us, and the season - no matter how busy - is still a wonderful time of the year. Who can resist the joy of Christmas songs, lights, and presents? It's so many good things wrapped up in one with the star of God's light on the top of it all. Anyway, that is the most important reason of our lives; Christmas and the joy of all year long. For this reason to go all out to celebrate this once a year seems to be a good plan. 
 Of course commercialization spoils this a little and when we're standing in yet another store messy with Christmas shoppers digging around, with lines as long as the store, sometimes we wonder if it really is worth it all. Surely this isn't promoting peace and happiness with all the stress of shopping? Well, anything that stresses us is worth a sit back to reevaluate what it's really worth in real currency. We sell ourselves these ideas of the only way to make this Christmas satisfactory but often only think in terms of dollars and cents and push ourselves to fulfill some false ideal of Christmas. How to avoid this could be a big subject, but we're not here to take up your time that you could be spending getting ready, so here is our three short tips for figuring out what makes Christmas, Christmas and not another stressful season. 

Do and Buy only what gives you or someone else, Joy. 

Let's be honest.

We fill houses with tinsel and plastic junk, when sometimes all it takes is pine, lights, holly and mistletoe to create a true feeling of Christmas in our homes. This is cheap, and means you have some money leftover to buy special holiday food and candies and perhaps those pretty Christmas tree ornaments that you've been eyeing at your local coffee shop crafted by a coop of ladies in South America that seemed too expensive. Buying only a few things, and making them meaningful and helpful at the same time is making two things count for one; your decorations and their livelihood. It's a win-win. 

 Almost everyone loves them. Why not? It's given to us by someone we value or love and it means they thought of us and wanted to extend that thought in something tangible. Does it mean we need to break the bank to show people what they mean to us? Absolutely not, but do put some thought into something they will truly appreciate, because people can tell when someone took the time to think through what they might like to get. If someone's favorite thing to do is sit at a coffee shop downtown, or shop in a local store, get them a gift card for this place or a basket of goodies. Never underestimate the power of a well-thought out gift basket

 Perhaps you're buying for kids? They're not so hard to please if they are little. Rather than buy them more toys they don't need and may forget about tomorrow, decorate big cardboard boxes into houses for them and they will love you for it. It will take time, it will take creativity, but when it's done they can build some brain cells creatively through imagination and playtime with a fun homemade gift. 


 Also something to remember is many of us over-stress Christmas food, only to over-eat on it. It is a better plan to have a good, solid meal with a few extra-specials that your family and friends love and won't give you grey hairs in the making. Plan a day earlier in the season to bake cookies, make candy and even some of the dessert for Christmas day. Many of those can be frozen and brought out later, no fuss, for some delicious eating. Also, this means you won't spend half the day in the kitchen and the rest of the day in a food coma. 

On the subject of food, we have tested and photographed a holiday appetizer we think you're going to love. 

Party cheese balls

  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 T sour cream
  • 4 T onion or green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 8 oz cheddar or colby cheese, shredded
  • 4 slices bacon, fried crisp and finely chopped
With electric mixer beat room temperature cream cheese until smooth. Mix in sour cream then add seasonings and mix well. Add cheese and bacon and just mix until combined. 
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, use 1" cookie scoop to make individual cheese balls. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, smooth or reshape as need and the roll half of cheeseballs in pecans and half in cranberries, if desired. 
  • 1 c pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 c dried cranberries, finely chopped.

Makes approximately 2 dozen mini cheese balls.

Merry Christmas to all!


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