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Merry Christmas

I’m the first to admit that I’m a huge softie when it comes to this Christmas stuff. I know it’s a crazy time (have you tried to get into or out of the mall parking lot this week?!?) with shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, but every once in a while – in the midst of the mayhem – I experience the tingly joy that I remember from childhood. I do really, really love a home decorated with tiny white lights and fresh greenery. Throw in a cozy fire and some Christmas pj’s and I’m a goner.

Here are a few other things that I can’t do without at this time of year:
“Smells of Christmas” Recipe… whip up a batch of this (it’ll last for several days) and keep your home smelling sweet and festive. You really can’t help but catch the Christmas spirit when your home smells this good!

32 oz. of water
1 orange (little over ripe) (makes it juicier)
Pineapple juice (I use juice from a 20 oz can of pineapple chunks)
2 bay Leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
dash nutmeg
(can add 1 apple – quartered)
Put the 32 oz. of water in pot. Cut the orange in half, squeeze the juice
into the pot, then cut rest of orange into pieces -and toss in. Then add
quartered apple (if using), then pineapple juice, bay leaves, whole cloves,
cinnamon sticks and nutmeg…..bring to boil – over medium heat. Boil for
approx. 15 minutes – can reduce heat and continue to boil or remove from
heat and allow to come to room temperature.

Great tunes: I really love the “Christmas Radio” channel on Pandora. “Glee Christmas” is fun for the younger set. On Spotify, try the “Christmas Classics Old and New” station. Where else can you hear Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and One Direction on the same playlist?

Fruitcake cookies: Don’t be freaked out about the “fruitcake” in this title. This recipe, by the Barefoot Contessa, is to die for… Bake a batch of these and your family will demand them every year!

Christmas Movies: Start with “White Christmas” and “Miracle on 34th Street (the original!) and work your way through “Polar Express,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Story” to put yourself in a thoroughly festive mood before the big day. Need more inspiration? Click here for American Movie Channel’s list of the twenty best Christmas movies of all time.

Family and friends: Whether you celebrate with a huge crowd or a tiny group of your nearest and dearest, this is the time to spend with those you love the most. And if you make your home smell and sound divine, serve delicious confections and offer tear-jerker movies, your home will quickly become the destination of choice!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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