The holidays overtake, I mean, OVERTAKE my kitchen. What with crafts from school, holiday cards all over the kitchen counter, dinners, class parties, and normal life with a husband and three kids, it’s amazing I can even see my countertops. I’ve tried to embrace it and just go with the flow – Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year … to eat!
Let start with the stuff I make every year. These recipes are a lot like my own, and the praline recipe below is my Great Aunt Winnie’s. Yum. I’m going to try and make these for neighbors this year. Lord be with me.
SAUSAGE BALLS. I love sausage balls. Make them even smaller, like half an inch around, and it’s a serious people pleaser. The smaller they are, the less calories, right? This recipe is from Plain Chicken, but there’s nothing plain about it!
These little (and easy) cranberry brie bites are super yummy and perfect to bring to a Christmas cocktail party. From Tablespoon.
What about crock pot party meatballs? What about them, you say? They are AWESOME, right? These have a little cranberry holiday hint to them, from Spicy Southern Kitchen.
Easy, delicious Reese’s peanut butter cup cookies. A go-to class party cookie recipe. This one is from Ask Me Food.
And last but not least, Aunt Winnie’s pralines! This is her writing – super cool.
There are many excuses people use to avoid writing graduation thank you notes or Christmas thank you cards – or just saying thanks for whatever the particular occasion may be. But eventually, the time comes when it’s painfully obvious you should write and send that thank you note. Still, for many of us, we don’t feel ‘grateful’ enough to just pen the message and send it on its way.
Do you have your own go-to excuse for never saying ‘thanks’?
Here are a few responses to some of the most common excuses for avoiding thank you notes. Read carefully and put some real gratitude back in your thank you notes!
“Cards are boring.”
Cards get a bad rap. They’re known for being corny, formal, and cliché. But thank you cards don’t have to be this way! Stroll over to custom photo card websites to see how you can make your card as kooky, crazy, or quirky as you are. Choose from different layouts, fonts, colors, shapes, and sizes to create something original.
With custom photo custom cards, you can even add a picture. This instantly removes any feeling of being cliché or inauthentic and turns your card into a memorable keepsake, a gift in its own right.
“I have nothing to say.”
Most of us can relate to this. Staring at a blank card, trying to think up the perfect wedding thank you card ideas or the most inspiring, seasonal Christmas thank you cards wording is intimidating.
Take a moment to step back from the blank page, and simply contemplate the task at hand: there is some significant event that has transpired. To celebrate, a friend paused their own life, their schedule, and their obligations, with you, personally, in mind, to celebrate and commemorate the occasion with a gift. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s the gesture, and the relationship behind it that is important – not some ideal of glittering prose or perfect wording. Think about what you really mean to say, and say it.
If you’re still stuck in your head and the words won’t flow, try “free-writing.” Fill a full page or so with all your stray and miscellaneous reflections on the gift and the occasion, allowing your thoughts and statements to ramble on without a filter. Then, pick out a few phrases and well-worded statements that express how you feel. Refine, edit and voila – your thank you card wording is ready!
“But I hated the gift!”
This is the best excuse to not write a thank you note. What if you’re a passionate vegan who was sent specially-aged moose jerky for Christmas? Or what if the gift is so ugly or boring that you really think it’s just a waste of money? Worse gaffes have happened. So how do you write a thank you note for something you’re not thankful for?
The obvious answer is to re-gift the material possessions, but honor the intent of your friend or loved one. It’s not their fault that they didn’t get the memo that you’re allergic to peanuts or that you detest the color green. Especially when our family members live far away, running into these types of problems can be all too common.
But when you think about it, this disconnect between you and your loved ones only highlights the need for you to re-connect with them! Focus, again, on the intent behind your loved one’s actions. Perhaps your loved one really loves moose meat, and even though you are vegetarian in our above scenario, they meant to communicate a great deal of love and appreciation with their gift. Focus on that. After you thank them for their kindness, it’s optional whether you inform them of how useless their gift was. If you do, just remember to tread lightly, be gracious, and affirm that it still was meaningful that they sent anything at all.
Thanksgiving is upon us, and it’s no secret that we here at Photo Card Cafe’ LOVE the fall season. The temps just turned colder this morning in Texas and Oklahoma, so we’re feelin’ it.
I’ve found a few awesome ideas for your Thanksgiving day festivities, and I’m sharing my much loved and certainly overused pumpkin bread recipe from my grandmother. So versatile, dense and easy. You can use it for almost any pumpkin quick bread recipe you need, and add your fave ingredients – chocolate chips, pecans, etc.
Who doesn’t love a yummy deviled egg? These pumpkin deviled eggs from Tadka Pasta are the cutest.
This cranberry centerpiece idea is so easy, cheap and beautiful. Thanks to Babble for these ideas for centerpieces.
From Project Denneler: these pie-looking cheese appetizers are cute and easy. If anything looks like pie, I eat it.
I thought this idea was a great message, and a great snack as well. Try this easy Thanksgiving blessing mix from This Little Project.
AND NOW FOR THE RECIPE. I’ve never shared this electronically, but I feel like I need to now for the betterment of civilization. SO good. This makes TWO loaves of bread in loaf pans, or about two dozen regular muffins. Make these mini muffins, and well, you’ll have to clear a space in the deep freeze.
Grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread
3 1/3 c. flour
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 15-oz. can of pumpkin
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a larger bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil, pumpkin and vanilla. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly while mixing. Pour into greased loaf pans or muffin tins. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 25 minutes. If you use this for muffins or mini muffins, it’ll take MUCH less time – more like 20-25 minutes. Just watch them.
Party season caught you by surprise? It’s the time of year when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s all line up to give every day a new excuse to celebrate. If you’re inspired to throw a party but running low on materials and planning, here are some tips for turning a last minute gathering into a fabulous event.
PS – If you have enough time before you throw the party, be sure to send out some photo announcements and party invitations – we have an intuitive user interface that can help you pick the perfect pictures, color scheme, and layout for your party invitations in a matter of minutes!
What to Eat?
There are so many options when it comes to party food! Do you have fresh fruits or veggies in your refrigerator? Cut them up for the always-classic French appetizer “crudités” (it just means “raw vegetables” – there’s some party talk for you, too!). Complement veggies with a dip, hummus, or salad dressing. Finger foods like this are a big hit at kids’ parties, too.
A stroll through your local grocery store will offer other great options, too. You can buy frozen appetizers; cheese blocks with crackers; or take the cheese theme up a notch with an unsliced hunk of brie toasted in the oven until buttery – then serve it with fruits and crackers. Get creative and do whatever seems fun: why not order a few pizzas?
You can always make your party a potluck, too. Ask guests to bring a favorite snack or drink to ease some of the hosting pressure.
Take a Drink!
Spruce up store-bought juices and lemonades with slices of fresh lemons, lime, kiwi, strawberry, or blackberries. You can’t go wrong offering choices of beer and wine, and if you supplement that with just one well-made house cocktail, you’ll be good to go on drinks!
Regardless of your theme or occasion, even the best decorations look drab in a cluttered space. The first priority for a last minute party is a clean bathroom, kitchen, and gathering area.
After that, anything goes! Set out some fresh flowers; light candles; dim the lights; and put on your favorite playlist. If you don’t want to play your own musical selection, use Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, or the good old FM radio, if you dare.
Want more décor? Some easy options include hanging Christmas lights, bringing out larger or fancier lamps, and crafting streamers. The Internet can also point out more specific suggestions for your particular theme.
Depending on the folks you’re having over, you may want to have board games in stock, video games set up, a karaoke system up and running, or whatever else your crowd likes to do. Chances are, you won’t go wrong: with a group of friends all together, good conversation will be all the entertainment you need.
Since this a last minute affair we’re talking about, you may not have had the chance to consider all the possibilities! For instance, make sure that you are fully stocked on toilet paper in the bathroom. Be sure to have non-alcoholic drinks easily available for people who prefer it. And always cook a little extra in case you run out of snacks and food.
Another pro-tip for your party is the time of day it’s scheduled for. If you want to avoid cooking lots of food, time your party as a late afternoon event, or a late evening affair. This way, people will not be expecting a dinner-type meal.
Obviously, the most important aspect of any party is that you enjoy time with loved ones and have a good time. For a cheap party invitation that can double as a holiday gift and party favor, look through our save the date magnets, custom photo announcements, and holiday cards to see if they can help you throw a righteous, last minute holiday party.
Welcome to part two of my themed Christmas cards blog posts. I’m putting together some of my favorite themed card designs. Some are pet themed some are funny and some are even perfect for your Halloween dressed up photos! Click here if you missed part one: Creative and fun themed holiday cards.
Why do we love Christmas carols so much? For some people, these classics can seem a little old and boring, but without fail, we bring out Christmas songs every year. We like Christmas carols for the same reason we love Christmas cards: they help tell the Christmas story and spread the joy of the season. Read on to see how Christmas carols reflect some of the best reasons why we send Christmas cards.
“What Child Is This”
This song might refer to the Christ child, but if you don’t keep in touch with friends and family, your next group gathering could leave loved ones asking of you “what child is this?” Most families love sending Christmas photo greetings and Christmas birth announcements because it’s the perfect opportunity to quickly update loved ones on how the family is faring.
Most people these days move often due to job changes or other obligations, and it’s easy to lose connection with the network of friends one develops over time. Instead of having friends and family wonder “what child is this” when it comes to your own children – or yourself! – you can keep them in the loop by sending Christmas greeting cards with new family photos.
“Deck the Halls”
“Deck the Halls” celebrates the exuberance of Christmastime. As the “Fa-la-la-la-la”s indicate, we can get a little goofy this time of year with decorations, special treats, and all kinds of extravagances. Part of the fun of crafting cards for a holiday gift or Christmas thank you cards is that you can be as festive as you want, with copious doses of green and red, or even a rainbow-themed Christmas card – it’s up to you. Try as many photos, fonts, color themes and layouts as you want. Since it’s all online, you can test the works before you actually make an order.
The “Silent Night” Christmas carol sweetly describes the scene most of us imagine when we think of the Christmas story. But the quiet of a humble manger in olden times is nothing like the loud modern world we live in, obsessed as it is with the glitz and glamour of a commercialized holiday season.
Christmastime, in large part, is now an excuse for companies to launch obtrusive, gaudy ad campaigns, pitch new mechanical gadgets, and make kids cry loudly for even louder toys. Instead of giving in to all the hype, Christmas cards can turn back to the quiet time in “Silent Night.” Choosing a quiet, simple, holiday card or Christmas thank you card may be the kindest way to say “Merry Christmas.”
Furthermore, consider this: Christmas is the time of year when family comes into town, with cousins twice-removed and in-laws, and more. You can count on having to go to multiple holiday parties, whether mandated by office, church, social groups, or PTAs. Instead of adding another loud and busy Christmastime exercise in practiced politeness, send a sweet holiday card or a couple Christmas thank you cards. A well-meant Christmas greeting card may be the classiest way to remind friends you care without inadvertently giving them a headache.
“Go Tell It on the Mountain”
Regardless of what type of card you send, or what exactly it ends up looking like, the best thing you can do at Christmastime is celebrate what really matters. Family will love to see new baby pictures in a Christmas birth announcement; friends will be excited to receive Christmas thank you cards; and if you send a simple holiday greeting card, that will give your whole mailing list a sweet moment to celebrate the season. As long as you are celebrating love and joy and the real reason for the season, you won’t just be wishing for a Merry Christmas, you’ll have one already.
It’s not Halloween if there’s no candy corn, and it’s not Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce or green bean casserole. Most of us can’t imagine a New Year’s Eve without some spirits, and Christmas time is best paired with eggnog. It’s easy to assume that holidays are best enjoyed with sweet treats.
But getting into the spirit of a holiday, gathering friends and family, and giving great holiday gifts takes more than a copious serving of sugar and carb-laden comfort food. And it’s getting more difficult to enjoy a family buffet as more and more of us adopt dietary restrictions and diets, whether we’re gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo, or on a Paula Deen diet.
Ultimately, it takes more than candy to sweeten a holiday. Here’s how to make that happen.
Studies show that loneliness peaks with the holiday seasons, so saying hello can help loved ones feel the joy of the season. Saying hello is sometimes the best way to brighten a friend’s day. Whether it’s been a year or a week since you’ve talked with your friend or loved one, a quick note to let them know you think about them can work wonders at holiday time.
Gift-giving is always a part of the holidays. One way to give loved ones a gift is through quality, well-made photo cards. This is an especially bright idea when it’s a high priority to include as many friends and family members as possible. Custom cards as holiday gifts also help if your loved ones live far away and it’s not feasible to spend as spend as much money as it takes to pack, ship, and insure an expensive holiday gift.
Also, this might be an unexpected way to enhance a simple invitation and turn it into something more. In the search for the perfect Halloween party invitation wording or the cutest Happy New Year Card, you could find styles, card stock quality, or your own pictures that amp up a simple invitation and turn it into a remarkable keepsake.
Expressing Gratitude Afterwards
A holiday’s end can be a bummer. After the confetti has fallen, someone has to sweep it up, and after we all consume eggnog or too much candy corn, it is not always fun to take a peek at the weight scale. For many, it’s a plain downer. Sending thank you notes for Christmas gifts and holiday thank you notes after any holiday season can boost the mood.
It’s like a bonus holiday gift when your friends thought they had opened their last present. Who doesn’t like bonus gifts? Adding a fantastic photo and ordering the holiday thank you note on magnetic paper or quality cardstock can turn a perfunctory exercise in politeness to a joyful moment of unexpected friendship.
Regardless of your reason or rationale, spreading holiday cheer at any time of the year is a wonderful way to remember your loved ones and celebrate what matters year-round. The next time a less popular holiday comes around, consider brightening someone’s day with a custom holiday photo card.