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20 Christmas Shortcuts

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More Shortcuts Forget Figgy Pudding

  • Keep the pantry and fridge stocked with hearty and healthy convenience foods this month.
  • Have someone else cook your goose or turkey. Many markets do just that this time of year, allowing you to concentrate on the easier side dishes.
  • Instead of laboring over gravy at the last minute, scrape up the savory brown bits at the bottom of the roasting pan when the bird or beast is done and add them to gravy from a jar.
  • Serve up snowballs for dessert. Roll large scoops of vanilla ice cream in shredded coconut. Place them into metallic cupcake liners, poke white or red cake candles in the center of each, and freeze for at least an hour. Place each one on a doily-lined dessert plate and serve with a demitasse spoon.

Keep Company

  • Rather than knocking yourself out scrubbing and dusting for company, straighten the clutter, dim the lights, and create a little mystery with tree lights, candles, and firelight.
  • Stock a basket for the pantry with a bottle of sparkling juice or wine, a tin of fancy nuts, and pretty cocktail napkins so there's always something festive to serve when visitors call.
  • Host a pie potluck. Ask each guest to bring his or her favorite homemade or bakery-bought flavor while you provide the ice cream, the coffee, and the setting.

8 Fun and Festive Ways to Display Christmas Cards

They're colorful, they're pretty, and they're plentiful. Make the most of these treasured tidings by displaying them imaginatively.

  1. Punch holes in their upper corners, string a narrow strand of red, green, or metallic ribbon through each, and hang them as ornaments from the branches of the tree.
  2. Make Christmas place mats by mounting cards on cut pieces of 12-x-15-inch poster or mat board. Sandwich them between sheets of clear, self-sticking plastic or have them laminated at a print shop.
  3. Create place cards for Christmas dinner by writing each guest's name on the prettiest cards received. Set them above each dinner plate.
  4. Fresh out of gift tags? Cut the backs off cards, and write the recipient's and giver's names on the front. Then tape, tuck, or tie to the package.
  5. Create a "greetings wreath" by clipping cards with tiny wooden clothespins to the biggest wooden embroidery hoop you can find in the crafts store. Leave space to slip ribbon or yarn through the top and suspend it from an inside door or above the fireplace mantel.
  6. Encircle a window, door, or archway with cards by attaching loops of blue painter's tape to their backs. Painter's tape not only sticks well, it leaves no gummy residue on windows or walls.
  7. Swag a garland of greens over a mantel or through the top of a banister and clip cards to it with red and green clamp-style paper clips.
  8. Make a holiday screen by taping together three pieces of foam-core board and covering them with a collage of cards. Display the screen in a prominent corner of the living room and prop it in front of a mess when company arrives.

Staying in the Holiday Mood
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