Monday, July 30, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Thirty-One

And that's a wrap for Christmas in July 2018!  I hope you have enjoyed 31 Days of All Things Christmas from decor and decorating, outdoor decorating, and how to display a variety of items suggestions, to a Pinterest Party.  As I mentioned on Day Twenty-Seven, a My Favorite Things Party with a holiday theme is a lot of fun.  These are the items I put together (all from my gift closet, all purchased deeply discounted in the after-Christmas sales) as my contribution to the party.

Ziploc storage bags and containers - you can never have too many during the holidays

A drying mat - great to have under your dish drainer or even under or next to your coffee station

Holiday paper towels

Holiday hand towels for the bathroom if you don't have room for a fancier tray of guest towels - these rest right on the towel bar so you pull a towel from below

Holiday Kleenex in the traditional cube box

And the fancier Kleenex designs that have come out in recent years

I gathered all of these items together on a small base - I think I covered a mailing box with wrapping paper - placed the whole thing in a cellophane bag and tied it with a big ribbon.  It was a huge hit.

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Thirty

Books and other reading material today.  I love Christmas magazines especially the British ones I find at Barnes and Noble.  We have a Christmas Eve family tradition - we go out to brunch and then to Barnes and Noble.  Everyone has a spending limit, say $25, and we each buy what we want - a book or magazines - and then after we pay for it all, we take it home in the Barnes and Noble bag and put it under the tree.  No-one gets to look at their choice until Christmas Day after we've had breakfast and opened presents.  Christmas Day is pretty much pajama day at our house so its nice to have some new DVDs and something to read, exactly what we each wanted to read, as we are relaxing.  These are some of my favorites.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Nine

My all-time favorite Christmas movie has to be White Christmas.  We went to see the stage production in Boston one Christmas and it was just as amazing as the movie.  The final scene where the doors open and the snow is falling - mesmerizing!

Pretty much tied for the first place slot with White Christmas is The Holiday.  Christmas and England, what's not to love?

And then Love Actually, I am lost in the opening scenes at the Arrivals Terminal at Heathrow Airport.  So much love, so much happiness.

Although not a movie, but right up there in viewing pleasure during the holiday season is the BBC Holiday Gift Set, a collection of Christmas episodes for anyone who loves British comedy and drama.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Eight

We're wrapping up the final days of Christmas in July and moving into the entertainment category.  Favorite music today.  I love this Josh Groban CD, Noel.

Johnny Mathis has been a favorite for years, I can remember having a record of his Christmas songs.  I picked this up at Hallmark one year.

Last year, I started a new Christmas tradition of picking up a new CD.  Michael Bublé's Christmas was our pick for 2017.  I can't wait to see the holiday CD display at Target this year.

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Seven

Christmas in July Dinner, Breakfast, or Party, do you hold one?  Are for planning for or dreaming about one?

I'm definitely in the dreaming about one camp.  I would love to have a Christmas in July party, probably some kind of brunch with my fellow Christmas-lovers.  I think some sort of exchange would be fun but it can't really be Christmas-themed since you'd have a hard time finding Christmas-y items in July.  I'd probably go with a My Favorite Things party.  Everyone brings three items - all the same - something they love and would love to share with others.  Everyone spends a few minutes telling us about why the item is a favorite and then we draw numbers and the first person picks an item, then the second, then the third, and so on until all the items are gone.  Everyone goes home with three new items that were recommended by friends.

I've held a My Favorite Things party twice - the first one yielded fun items like metal drinking straws, a favorite eye shadow, coasters, candles, a mini tequila shots party in a bag, and gourmet candy apples among other things.  The second one was held in December and it was My Favorite Things, the Holiday Edition.  Items this time ranged from favorite Christmas movies, CDs, magazines, gourmet chocolates and other snacks, and wine.  Both parties were a lot of fun.

Here is the blog post by Sunny Side Up that inspired me to hold my first My Favorite Things party.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Six

Pinterest Party!  Share three ideas you found on Pinterest - things you've made, things you'd like to make, things you just LOVE!

This card:

It looks relatively easy and could be modified in so many ways - that's patterned paper (with the red and green circles), an embossed piece of paper (the white ridged piece), two items which could be stamped as the cocoa cups are in the sample or you could use two die-cut stickers or other similar items that are available at craft stores, and a sentiment (Happy Holidays) stamp.

This snack:

Kids would have a blast making this.

This decor idea:

Who knew this cupcake holder could be used as a display stand?  Ingenious!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Five and July Rudolph Day

It's been a super-busy, full of all things Christmas kind of day.  With a steaming cup of hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream on the top (and the air conditioner running 😉), I sat down to enjoy this month's movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I love Peanuts!  It made me think of all the Peanuts items I have in my Christmas inventory and how I can't wait to put them all out again.

We will be in full getting-ready-to-move mode when the Holiday Grand Plan, House & Holidays Plan, and the Christmas Countdown kick off so I will have to tweak things this year.  I love looking through my Christmas notebook and seeing what I budgeted and bought over the last eight years, recipes I tried, and menus I planned.  I updated my inventory, adding this year's ornaments, and took a look at my movies list to see which ones I'd like to add to our collection.  Last year I bought a new Christmas CD and look forward to checking out Target's display and adding another one this year.  My planner is all updated as well as the gift closet so I'm good to go there for now.

It was Christmas in July because UPS delivered a package - the Harry Potter cookie cutters I ordered from Williams-Sonoma during their 20% off and free shipping deal.  I can't wait to make them with Sophia.  I also watched quite a few December Daily You Tube videos from a few new scrapbookers and found some new resources for supplies.  There are some very talented artists out there.

And finally, today was the big reveal for the Magical Holiday Home members who participated in the Christmas in July Ornament Swap.  There were seven of us this year so I have my ornament and six others to add to my collection.

I made this Let It Snow ornament out of Scrabble tiles and covered the tops with Snow-Tex.  That stuff is so cool.
Gramma Deb's cross stitch kitty hanging from a wreath is adorable
Piratemamaof3boys came up with this ingenious wrapped design - so intricate
Lana's painted snowman on canvas is so cute with the hanging scarf
MissJodee came up with a novel use for a cork - love the sheet music for wings
MinnieCo's cross-stitched wreath is so exquisite - such tiny stitches
I love MrsSoup's natural wood slice ornament - I need to ask her if it's a local wood
Today's topic over at Christmas in July was how to display the ornaments that we received in our swap.  This is my second year to participate so I have almost twenty now as well as some other ornaments that I have received in other swaps.  I was thinking that a small tree would be a great way to display them, perhaps with some state or international flags or some other ornaments to show that they are from a variety of places.  I'll have to work on that.

I hope your Rudolph Day was productive and will make your holiday a little more stress-free.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July Rudolph Day is tomorrow!

I usually put up a three-day warning for Rudolph Day but I've been a bit distracted with daily Christmas in July posts so here's a one-day warning - it's tomorrow!

What's Rudolph Day? Here is the definition according to Organized Christmas:
A few years ago, members of our Christmas community began to observe "Rudolph Day" on the 25th of each month.
On that day, we take a few moments to plan some simple tasks for the month ahead, in order to get ready for Christmas Day with plenty of time to spare. By starting early--and working a bit at a time on each month's Rudolph Day--it's easy to prepare for Christmas, save money on gifts, and cut holiday stress.
Here's the annual line-up with the sub-theme in parentheses:

January - Tie Up Loose Ends (gather ideas and organize your Christmas notebook)
February - Begin a Holiday Letter
March - Birthday Gift-Buying Strategy (party planning for the holiday season)
April - Plan Holiday Crafts 
May - Catalog Shopping Tips
June - Recipe Round Up
July - Choose a Holiday Plan (Christmas in July celebration)
August - Craft Control (thinking ahead to Elf on the Shelf)
September - Prepare for Holiday Gifts and Giving
October - Plan Holiday Meals
November - Write Holiday Letter

The bottom line is...prepare for Christmas by doing something every month and make the 25th of each month a Rudolph Day by doing something Christmasy!  This month, it's time to think ahead to Holiday Plans that will get your house spic and span and take the stress out of your celebration.  It's also the big reveal for the Magical Holiday Home Christmas in July ornament swap participants.  Be prepared to be dazzled by the amazing craftsmanship of some of our members.

For those of you who may not be familiar with Holiday Plans, the Christmas-lovers over at the Magical Holiday Home have three suggestions:

Holiday Grand Plan (starts August 26)

House & Holidays Plan (starts September 2)

Christmas Countdown (starts October 21)

This month's movie is A Charlie Brown Christmas so grab your copy, make some hot chocolate, and think all things Christmas for the day.  Check back on the evening of July 25th to see how I celebrated Rudolph Day.

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Four

How to display pillows and throws - not sure what we were thinking about when we added this to the how to display section.  How does one display pillows and throws other than on a couch or a chair?  It will be interested to see what my fellow Christmas-lovers come up with for this one.

I usually put pillows on each side of the couch and have a throw draped over the back so that you can use it to cuddle under while we're watching a Christmas movie.  I found this photo from about ten years ago where I put a throw on our loveseat - those pillows are two that Mum stitched - she used to love to go to Wal Mart after Christmas and pick up all the Christmas fabric items on sale and spend the year making pillow covers, wall hangings, stockings, and cloth books.  The retirement home where Mum and Dad lived in England had a Christmas bazaar and her stall was amazing with all of the items she sewed.

If you've been following the Christmas in July list of topics, you'll see that I wasn't paying attention and switched days twenty-three and twenty-four!

Tomorrow is Christmas in July's biggest day, Rudolph Day.  I hope you'll join us!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Three

How to display Wood Crates - can't say I've ever done it or even thought about it but my friends over at the Magical Holiday Home Forums have some amazing ideas!  This is my favorite, using wood crates for your Nativity scene.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-Two

Today's topic is how to display Mason Jars - it was covered as a perimeter idea in Day Sixteen and there are all sorts of ideas for using Mason Jars as holders for greenery, round ball ornaments, and assortment of decorations.  Mason Jars also come in very handy on the buffet table as you can see from this mini-dessert idea below.  These are Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars.  The list of goodies in a jar is endless and with a bit of ribbon and a decorative label, they make a great gift.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty-One

How to display natural items like pinecones, greenery, and flowers - in a word, or two, I don't.  I don't use real greenery for the same reason I don't have a real tree, it's just too messy.  When we lived in Rhode Island and Sophia was in 4-H, we went to a greens workshop every fall to make wreaths and centerpieces.  I can remember dreading every year - it seemed to me to take forever to get that sticky, sappy stuff off of my hands and anything else it touched!  I wouldn't win any prizes for the wreath I made either, but it was an event for her club and so off we went every year.  I know Sophia and her pals had a lot of fun, but then kids don't really bother about stickiness, do they?

Sophia did a pretty good job on her centerpiece.  The first 4-H club she joined also held a local greens workshop but it was to make greenery baskets - stick the floral foam in a basket and then fill with the greens.  The girls had a lot of fun and the baskets were delivered to a local nursing home so it was for a good cause.

We have a couple of special pinecones on our tree, one is from a ship's Christmas party kids' activity and it's a nice memento of that duty station and the other is was a preschool project.

It has one lone piece of macaroni left on the preschool pinecone!

Although I'm not really a fan of real green, I have always wanted to have an herb wreath.  They come out every year in the catalogs, Williams-Sonoma I think has quite a collection.  They are pricey but I would think that would last for a while and they must smell wonderful.

Christmas in July 2018 - Day Twenty

How to display wreaths - this is a great article that shows two of the ways I've used to hang a wreath on a door - the upside-down Command Hook and the invisible fishing line although the article suggests using the same upside-down hook for both ribbon and fishing line.  I've always hammered a small nail into the top of the door and hung the line from that.