Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DVDs and Decorations for the Holidays!

is for DVDs and Decorations!

I know we've already covered Bluray videos, but I also know that not everyone is married to an Engineer technophile, so how about...
A custom holiday DVD created just for your child?  This site will let you make your own personalized Santa DVD.

Here's a trailer to show you just how easy it is.

Recommended for kids ages 2-8.

Or, if you just want to curl up on the sofa with some hot chocolate, popcorn and a good flick, NBC's Universal Studios store has holiday DVDs on sale, for two days only, 3/$30!  You'll find everything from Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas all the way back in time to the holiday classic, Holiday Inn.

Or you can head over to Barnes and Noble online, where you can find this year's hottest movies for kids: Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, all on sale. Accept their offer of a free trial membership and you'll also receive Free Express Shipping on every order! I'm a B&N Member myself, since we have a local store, and save up to 40% off new bestsellers, get coupon offers for their in-store cafe, and lots of other benefits, so I personally recommend that option.

Now, on to Decorations!

Michael's has you covered for the holidays, with their Christmas project ideas. I usually opt for the simplest in decorating inside, like some hanging garlands and wreaths and of course the Christmas tree. Outside is the Engineer's piece de resistance, the oak tree, which he COVERS in white Christmas lights, extending up the trunk of the tree and up and out the longest, thickest branches to extend almost to the roof of the house. Every Christmas, it seems like there are more strands lighting up that tree. We even had the power go out one year! He's pretty cagey about it, too, but I can see those new empty light boxes in the trash can. ; P

Anyway, if you are craftier than I am, Michael's has a coupon for 50% off Martha Stewart Craft items through December 24th.

You can also dress up other rooms in the house in simple ways, like this holiday hand towel project from the woman behind the Bowdabra. Have you seen this contraption? They have it at Walmart, and of course online, and it helps klutzy folks like me tie bows that look all pretty.

Full project instructions for the Holiday Hand Towel can be found in this free, downloadable ebook.

Real Simple has decorating ideas that run the gamut from simply tying ribbons around champagne flute stems (because of COURSE we all have champagne flute stems sitting around anyway) to setting up five-foot bamboo plant stakes(!) on either side of your fireplace and, "light up your room with twinkling topiaries." I don't know, that doesn't sound "Real Simple" to me. Trimming the mantle with white votives and flowers is a nice one. Of course, I don't have a fireplace, hence no mantle, so that *could* be a problem, too.

But! There's 30 ideas in all. So what I am getting at here is that there's bound to be at least one that appeals to you. For instance, tying ornaments to napkins with curling ribbon? Yes, that's a good one. Or putting vintage ornaments (read: old silver, red and green balls you don't like any more) on a cake stand with some silk leaves. Easy-peasy.

One decorating craft I like for kids (both to make and to help eat when it is done) is a Candy Christmas Wreath.  There's a great video on YouTube, from Jill Cooper of Living on a Dime, that shows making one from a coat hanger.

I have also seen them made with HALF a hanger for kids (how much candy do you really need, after all?) or a wire craft hoop (as recommended by Martha), or even a wooden embroidery hoop covered with paint or green floral tape to look nicer once the candy is gone.

Now, when Martha Stewart makes one, naturally she color-codes the candy in alternating rings and all of that, but the main thing is to buy candies in wrappers with tied ends, like Sweeties, tootsie rolls, Jolly Ranchers, peppermints or butterscotches, so that you can easily attach them to the wreath.

I also like including scissors, hanging from the wreath by a ribbon (use kids' scissors if you want to be all Safety First about it or, you know, if you actually have kids). Then you can hang the wreath on the front door. If you wait a second after you hear a knock knock knock (Penny? Penny? Penny?*), you can catch your guests with incriminating wrappers in their hands and mouths full of candy when you open the door. ; )

For the dining room, pine cones or pine boughs with candles make for a pretty winter centerpiece.

What I do is buy some green florist's foam and a big round candle, like the kind with 3 wicks. You cut out a small hole from the foam, just slightly smaller than the candle, and then kind of screw the candle into the indentation you've made, so it fits firmly. Then you take evergreens (if you have a real Christmas tree, save the pine branches you trim off when you shape the tree), and stick them around the candle.  You can also lay all the pieces out on a decorative platter or tray (or hey, use that cake stand idea from Real Simple, or you could use a hurricane glass in the center). For a finishing touch, spray the whole centerpiece with artificial snow! The DIY Show Off has some lovely examples of centerpieces, like the one to the left.

*Big Bang fans will get this joke. Why yes, I am a geek.

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