Holiday Party Advice from Professional Planners

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Create a Vignette

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  • by's Design Diva Katie Meyers



    Home decor and celebration ideas for Hanukkah

    Just because Hanukkah lasts for eight nights doesn't mean you'll need to stretch your bank account more than any other holiday.

    Here are some budget-friendly entertaining tips and inspirational décor items to ensure your holiday is filled with latkes, laughter and love.

    1. Accessorize your table with metallic objects. While there are many gorgeous Hanukkah-inspired décor pieces available, you don't need to purchase them all to set the scene. Design your table using items you already have that are ornamented with gold, bronze, silver accents or edging. Layer them using other festive pieces to set a stylish vibe.

    RELATED Celebrate Hanukkah--- For Less!

    Metallic Objects

    Metallic Objects

    2. Get creative with color. The most traditional hues for Hanukkah include white, blue, and yellow gold. Think outside the "color box" and get creative using shades in the same families such as turquoise, royal blue, ivory or silver. If
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  • Here's one way to avoid a stressful holiday time crunch: Start baking Christmas cookies now! That's what I do. Certain cookies lend themselves quite well to baking, freezing and thawing - the trick is just finding the right recipes. That's where we come in: Here are our 9 best Christmas cookie recipes for baking and freezing until the holiday, plus a few extra cookie-freezing tips I use in my own kitchen each year.

    1. These go-to Gingerbread Cutouts get their signature spiced flavor from molasses, nutmeg, clove, ginger and cinnamon.

    Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

    2. Spritz cookies are a Christmas classic! Don't have a cookie press? Transfer the dough to a resealable plastic bag, snip the corner and pipe shapes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, instead.

    Spritz Cookies

    3. These two-toned Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Stick cookies look and taste like candy canes!

    Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Stick Cookies

    Related: 30 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

    4. Give the standard thumbprint cookie a sweet-tart twist with our Chocolate-Raspb

    ...Read More »

  • A Christmas Story (1983) All nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun. Problem is, everyone thinks he'll shoot his eye out.

    PLUS: 19 Wacky ways to decorate your Christmas tree >>

    Elf (2003) Mayhem ensues when a lovable, but misguided, elf (Will Ferrell) tracks down his cranky father (James Caan) in New York.

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) Pushy relatives, manic squirrels, and a very oversized tree-it could only be Christmas at the Griswolds.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    (1993) Tim Burton's animated fantasy about what happens when Halloween usurps Christmas is a delightfully spooky treat.

    PLUS: The funniest Christmas quotes ever >>

    Scrooged (1988) An egomaniacal TV programmer (Bill Murray) learns the errors of his ways in this funny spin on Dickens' novella.

    Home Alone (1990) Eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is thrilled to spend Christmas away from his family. That is, until two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Ste

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  • Written By Mandy Seay For QuickEasyFit

    Christmas savings. Piggy bank with Santa hat

    There must be something in the December air that drives everyone crazy. Stress levels skyrocket, mums panic over kitchen dilemmas and toy stores become battlefields between hundreds of desperate parents.

    While some families may be worried about a dodgy uncle or two joining their Christmas get-together, the majority of holiday stress is financial. In the hope that this article prevents a few more headless chickens running around the place, here are some basic budgeting tips that will reduce the Xmas anxiety.

    Read Also - 6 Simple Money Saving Tips for winter

    Set up an account - A great first step towards avoiding the festive blues is setting up a Christmas bank account. Just like you would when saving for any other holiday, put surplus income into a savings account so when it comes time to buy that Christmas turkey you have a nice tidy sum waiting for you. You can create this as early as you want but a couple of months out from the fe

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  • ​Truth be told, I used to shudder at the sight of the sweet potato casserole that appeared on our table each Thanksgiving. It was made with canned "candied yams," which were mushy and syrupy-sweet (sorry, Mom), and blanketed in an airtight layer of mini marshmallows. But I love sweet potatoes; I love marshmallows. Couldn't the two work well together somehow? I figured a little research might help me find a way. The sweet potato casserole I now make synthesizes elements from various stages in the dish's evolution. Taking a cue from Southern cooks who top their casserole with pecans, I top mine with a pecan crumble made with oats, flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt, which provides the right sweet-savory crunch. That would be delicious enough, but to me it's just not complete without marshmallows: They're such a nice, airy counterpoint to the rich and earthy potatoes. I use them sparingly, as they were in the original recipe from 1917, which allows a large surface area of each marshmall

    ...Read More »


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