Some of My Favorite Christmas Sweets and Treats for Every Occasion!

For the Big Guy in the Red Suit:

If you have been watching the Food Network over the past couple of weeks, you have seen a million different recipes to make a party special/get into the holiday spirit/surprise Santa (does anyone really think Santa has time to sit down and enjoy a raspberry galette while delivering presents to all the children around the whole world in one night??). If you want something a bit different than cookies, but will still travel well and satisfy Old St. Nick, try Christmas Crack!

Photo Cred: Gal on a Mission

My Aunt Nancy introduced us to this delicious treat a couple of years ago and I was hooked at first bite! It is a great treat to keep around the house to munch on or spread the holiday spirit to your neighbors. (Shock! Horror! I may actually get to know a neighbor.)

 

For Your Child’s Class:

We all want to be that parent that brings the tasty, yet somewhat healthy treat that brings just the right amount of Christmas cheer to the classroom.  *Insert* Fruit Kabobs and Santa Hat Brownies!

Photo Cred: Daisy’s World

Both of these treats were easy to put together (tip for the santa hat brownies: buy the mini brownie bites, add a strawberry, put some icing in a sandwich bag, snip the corner and use it as a piping bag, make a circle of icing around the strawberry and a dot on top). It seemed like most of the kids popped off the strawberry, ate it and threw away the rest. Ha.

 

For the Dips and Desserts Party:

Some of my best holiday memories are making the next dessert – Pecan Tassies!

Photo Cred: Hi Cookery

These mini pecan pies are SOOOO tasty and taste better and better throughout the week. I can’t remember a Christmas without them.

As I started looking through family recipes (and had some major #fails as I tried recreating them), I think what makes them so special are the memories of flour all over the kitchen, feeling exhausted after adding the first ingredients and watching my mom finish the rest (he he), back and forth arguments with my brother about what dessert/how to make it/who would eat the most, my dad eating the lion’s portion of the sweet treats, and everyone passing out on the couch with a plate of tasty cookies/brownies/cake and watching Christmas movies or playing games.

This makes me think about my family of four and the traditions we will create. My son is super into baking right now (which I LOVE) and I am soaking up every minute of it. We have made enough cakes/cookies/muffins to last the whole year!

What are your favorite family traditions and tasty recipes?? Do you have something special that you wouldn’t miss this holiday season?

Here’s to the next few weeks of sweets and treats!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Sneak Peak Inside Our Winter Wonderland; Tips For Creating A Spectactular Christmas Tree

Ok, Y’all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, we’re not taking a trip to Disney World…..but we are decorating our home for the Holidays.  There is nothing, literally nothing, that I love more than creating a cozy, warm, festive environment for my family during the Christmas season.  Some people, ok…my husband, would say that I go a little over the top.  And you know what, he’s probably right, I am a little on the extreme OCD side.  But I figure there are a lot worse things that I could obsess over.  Honestly, I get it from my momma…and her momma too.  It’s basically a family tradition to over decorate in anticipation of the arrival of Jolly Ole Saint Nick.  As annoying as it may be, my overall goal is to make my house feel like the North Pole.  Not only do I love it, but my kids love it too.  Watching their little faces light up makes every second of decorating and preparation worth it.

I realize decorating isn’t everybody’s thing.  I know some of you mommas are lucky to get one tree up and practically dread every minute of it.  And that’s ok too!  But i’m here today to share a few tips and tricks with you to hopefully make your decorating a little more enjoyable.  Here’s a sneak peak of my trees!

 

The North Pole Tree

This tree is my absolute FAVORITE!  It has all of our special family ornaments on it, which includes my kids homemade ornaments!  (Every year I sob when I get them out and all.the.memories come rushing back.  Whhhhy do my babies have to grow up?!)  We also refer to this tree as the “everything but the kitchen sink tree” because it has all the things on it.  It has more items ‘coming out of the tree’ than hanging on the tree.  It even has peacock feathers.  (Here’s a hint:  ANYTHING can go on a tree – and I mean anything!)

 

The Winter Wonderland Tree

This tree has evolved over the years.  It started out very simple and each year I add a few new things; it’s just taken on a life of it’s own.  It is “matchy-matchy” but it’s fun and it goes in our formal living room (well, as formal as it gets around here.  Let’s be honest; there’s still unfolded laundry on that couch 67% of the time.)

 

The Candy Land Tree

The Candy Land tree is a close second-favorite for me.  I created this tree for my girls because it screams all things feminine, fun and fantasy land.  This is a white tree with colored lights and looks like it walked right off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Because this tree is less traditional, we usually keep it up much longer than a regular tree.  We always keep it up until Valentines Day and, one year, my kids convinced me to keep it up until Easter.  I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.

 

The Angel Tree

This tree is a new addition this year that I created for my momma.  As many of you know, my dad passed away in October.  The holidays are going to be very difficult without him this year.  In his memory, I created an Angel tree so he can be with us for Christmas.  (Keep us in your thoughts and prayers – it’s going to be hard; he was hero.)

 

Decorating Tips

  1. Organization really is key.  Make sure to store decorations, lights, etc away in a neat, organized fashion.  Also, be certain to label your totes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for next year.
  2. There is nothing more frustrating than tangled Christmas lights – but, here’s a life hack.  Wrap the Christmas lights around a piece of cardboard.  When the lights have been wrapped firmly, plug the ends of the lights together to keep them snug on the cardboard.  This makes unwrapping the lights next year a breeze!
  3. When you take your tree down, make sure to place the items in the tote in the same order you take them off the tree.  By doing this, next year, the items that you need first will be on the top of the tote.
  4. Always keep crafting/floral wire handy.  I’m constantly wiring things in my tree if I can’t get them to stay with Christmas hooks.  You can buy green floral wire that’s the same exact color of the tree.  Total game changer.
  5. Before you start hanging ornaments, make sure your tree is level and sturdy.  If your tree is leaning to one side, you can place a small children’s book under one leg of the tree until you make it appear level.
  6. Another hack is wiring your tree to the wall.  I have two very small nails in my baseboards.  I wrap floral wire around the base of the tree and attach it to the nail in the wall.  This will hopefully keep the tree from being turned over by animals or small children.
  7. After building/fluffing the tree and applying the lights, my next step is to always put on the tree topper.  I use unorthodox tree toppers – never your normal tree toppers.  But I feel like it’s much easier to decorate the tree when the tree topper is already situated.  If you do the tree topper last you’ve always left too much room or not enough room.  This takes the guessing game out of things!
  8. To give the tree a three dimensional look, I love to have items sticking out of my tree.  I usually use glittery sticks, candy canes, snow balls, etc.  Basically anything that’s cute and I have on hand.  My favorite thing about building trees is to be creative and put unconventional items on the tree.  Don’t be scared to step outside the normal Christmas tree box.
  9. If you’re wanting to create a new tree theme, I suggest that you turn to Pinterest and find some tree inspiration.  Sketch out your ideas before you head to Hobby Lobby.  Once you get there, all of the options will be so overwhelming you’ll definitely want to have a plan up front.
  10. When starting a new tree theme, it can be really expensive (especially fancy ornaments.)  A cheap, yet pretty, way to take up some of that extra tree space is to use ribbon.  I like to use it in a fluffed, looped pattern all over the tree.  Make the pattern random for a more trendy look.

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season, my friends!  I hope your Christmas is filled with love and laughter.

 

XOXO,

Jill

 

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