33 fun Christmas tips

Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread (or any hazelnut cacao spread) · 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder · 2 tablespoons natural sweetener of choice/raw sugar Optional Toppings: · Marshmallows · Crushed hazelnuts · Chocolate chips · Extra Nutella Instructions 1. Heat milk in a medium sized saucepan on medium – high heat until beginning to warm and steam. Add the spread, cocoa powder and sugar, and whisk until dissolved and combined. Bring to a gentle simmer while stirring, and take off heat. 2. Serve with your desired toppings. *6. Red Velvet Hot Cocoa Ingredients · 1 cup of skim {or 1% milk · 1/2 cup of chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet < www.heathersfrenchpress.com/2014/01/red-velvet-hot-cocoa.html> chocolatehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png {chocolate chips work well} · 1 – 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring · 1 tsp vanilla · · for the whipped cream: · 1/4 cup of heavy cream · 1 Tbsp powdered sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla Instructions · heat the milk over medium · whisk in the chocolate, and stir until melted · stir in the food coloring and the vanilla · whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla · serve the hot chocolate topped with whip and chocolate shavings · * *6. S’mores Hot Chocolate Prep time 5 mins Cook time 5 mins Total time 10 mins Creamy ‘Smores Hot Chocolate with graham cracker rim and toasted marshmallows on top! Recipe type: Beverage Serves: 2 Ingredients · 2 cups milk, any kind · 1 cup water (or use 3 c milk) · ¼ cup cocoa powder · 2 Tbsp light chocolate syrup · 2 Tbsp sugar · 1/4 tsp non-bitter stevia (or add 1-2 Tbsp more sugar to taste) · pinch salt · graham crackers, crushed (for lining rim) · ½ cup marshmallows Instructions 1. Preheat oven to low broil and move oven rack to the second from the top (high enough up to broil your marshmallows). Place baking sheet on rack. 2. Heat milk and water in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through – about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overheat or scald. 3. Add cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, sugar, stevia and salt and whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined. 4. Meanwhile, take a few marshmallows and rub them around the top of your mugs so the graham crackers will stick. Then, dip mug in graham cracker crumbs until well lined. You could also add some graham cracker crumbs to the bottom of your mug for extra graham flavor. 5. Pour in hot chocolate and top with ¼ cup marshmallows each. Carefully set mugs on the baking sheet in the oven and broil marshmallows until browned, watching carefully as to not let them burn. 6. Carefully remove from the oven with a towel and serve with holders or a small towel to protect hand from heat (they should cool quickly for handling). Top with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and extra graham cracker crumbs for serving (optional). Notes Adjust flavors before serving, adding more chocolate or sugar if you prefer. Also, you could add a shot of Kahlua or Bailey’s to make it a boozy hot chocolate. Nutrition Information Serving size: 2 servings; per serving: Calories: 275 Fat: 4.5 g Saturated fat: 2.5 g Carbohydrates: 53 g Sugar: 39 g Fiber: 3.5 g Protein: 11 g *7. Sugar-Free Hot Cocoa Cook Time: 10 minutes Ingredients (serves 2) · 1 1/2 C full fat Coconut Milk (comes in a can – look for it by the evaporated milk) · 1 1/2 C Water · 1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder · 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (check your label for sugar content) · seeds from 1 Vanilla bean pod · Cinnamon – for sprinkling · Optional – Whipped Cream, unsweetened. Instructions Combine all ingredients into a pot an whisk over medium high heat. Pour and serve, sprinkling some cinnamon on top. I found mine to be very bitter, so I added a 1/4 C of unsweetened whipped cream and some extra cinnamon to it and it helped. To keep this treat Dairy-Free as well, you can whip coconut milk fat. I was out of it, so I used whipping cream instead. It just makes me happy 🙂 *9. Vegan Coconut Cocoa Serves 2-3 Ingredients: 1/3 heaping cup of vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is good) 3 cups coconut milk (Silk brand is preferred) Combine chocolate chips and 1/3 coconut milk into a medium pan over medium heat. Heat until chocolate chips melt. Whisk together. Add remaining milk and heat through. Do not boil. Whisk again, or beat with electric beaters or immersion blender. Serve warm. Enjoy! *9. Christmas Crackers are a great form of festive fun. Avoid pulling them from just one end, as it may cause you to fall backwards. Why not ask a friend to pull one with you? *10. Posting a card to a friend or relation at Christmas is a great way to send them your festive greetings.You can buy your ‘Christmas card’ in a shop, or, if you prefer, you can make one yourself. Remember to write your name at the bottom or they won’t know who sent it! *11. A great time to post a Christmas card is in the run-up to Christmas.If you post your Christmas card in the period from January to August, it will arrive too late. Or too early, depending on which way you look at it. *12. A brilliant way of ‘personalising’ a Christmas card is to write your friend’s name on it. So if your friend is called Jane, for instance, then write ‘To Jane’ on the top. This will make Jane think you wrote the card specially for her. *13. If you have two friends called Jane, then you should send them two different cards, each with ‘To Jane’ on it. Don’t ask the two Janes to share the same card, because though it might be cheaper for you and less bother, they might not know each other, and live miles apart. *14. Bath salts are always a great idea for a present, but take special care not to sprinkle them over your food or it won’t taste nice. If you throw them into the bath, make sure you remove them from the bottle first or you could get broken glass everywhere. *15. Children love being given presents by adults at Christmas, but don’t expect the same standard of present in return, as many children don’t earn as much money as you. We may all be thinking, ‘I’ve just given you a brand new toy car, so where’s my new pair of earrings from Bond Street?’ but we try not to mention it! *16. If you feel like eating a farmyard animal this Christmas, then why not try a turkey? *16. When planning your Christmas dinner, bear in mind the number of guests who will be sitting down to eat it. Your calculations also depend on what item of food you plan to serve. One turkey per guest is probably too much, but one Brussels sprout per guest may well be too little. *17. A chipolata can be eaten from either end. *18. To avoid that last-minute dash, why not buy your Christmas presents before on Christmas Eve? The more time you leave for buying presents, the longer you will have. *19. If you want to wrap your presents in paper, then why not try ‘Wrapping Paper’? *20. ‘Wrapping Paper’ is a great way of wrapping presents, but it’s quite unusual to give it as a present by itself. But if you do want to give a sheet or two of ‘wrapping paper’ as a present, then do be sure to wrap it up, for which you may need an extra sheet of ‘wrapping paper’. *21. If the present you have just bought for your friend or relation is liquid, such as perfume or wine, then it’s best to keep it in the bottle when you wrap it up. *22. Picking a Christmas tree takes time and care. I always go for a small fir tree rather than something which may take up more space, like an oak or a cedar. I try to avoid bushes, as they can be too long and ‘bushy’. *23. A tree in the corner of the living room can look a little stark. So this year, why not try decorating your Christmas tree? Baubles and tinsel are well-suited to this task: I don’t recommend wallpaper, which tends to work best on smoother surfaces. *24. If a group of strangers arrive at your door singing carols at Christmas, don’t worry – they’re probably only carol singers. *25. Decorating a fireplace with artificial snow is a lovely way to make it look festive. Avoid real snow, as it tends to melt. If you do use real snow, then preserve it by turning off the heating and keeping all the windows and doors open. *26. If you are looking for something really super to put on your head at Christmas lunch, then why not try a ‘paper hat’? A paper hat is basically a hat made out of paper. As headwear goes, it is not super-protective. So best not go outside in your paper hat in a terrible storm, as it is not really designed to keep you from getting wet, and may even blow away. You never see lifeboat men wearing paper hats when they set off to rescue people at sea, for instance. Not unless it’s Christmas Day, of course! *27. Take some time out to have a cuddle with the ones you love on Christmas morning. The fuss and work can wait while you spend some time drinking in the Christmas atmosphere – that’s more important than the dinner. *28. Whatever your faith, make the effort to attend a church or religious service with the family around Christmas-time. It can be magical and helps to bring home the real message of Christmas. Many churches welcome non-attenders and have services especially for children. It’s a chance to meet and chat to little-known neighbours and there’s something special about communal carol-singing. A nice alternative to the shop-till-you-drop craziness at this time of year *29. Don’t forget to give to the postie/binmen/delivery drivers or trash pick up men, at Christmas. A small token of chocs/biscuits or booze will make a big difference to the service you get for the following year! – *30. We always split our Christmas Day to keep down the stress levels and keep the children occupied and active. In the morning we open presents, make phone calls to the family, etc. Then we all pile into the car with a yummy picnic. We pick a different place each year, but the main idea is to find the perfect car park with a view and then set off to have a bracing walk in the country. By the time we return to the car we are all ready for a some sandwiches, pie and of course some Christmas cake. We arrive home in time to put the turkey in, and then the children get a chance to play with all their new toys. We find this so much better than the big lunch time meal that leaves everyone too full (and a little too ‘tiddled’)!! – posted by Rebecca G Collect small items throughout the year (non perishables). Cover an old shoe box in wrapping paper and fill with items collected. Make sure they are for a specific person i.e. baby boy/girl, teenage boy/girl, lady/man. Hand them into your nearest church or group which is collecting shoe boxes for Romania or a similar initiative. You can use items that are used but in good condition (clothes etc) but also use things that are maybe on offer in the shops (BOGOF etc) It will bring a smile to the recipient’s face at Christmas and also make you feel like you have helped just a little 24. Clearing up & organisation Get plenty of big black bags in ready for all the wrapping paper, boxes, bows etc. that get discarded on Christmas morning – posted by Karen P We’ve trained the dog to pick up the discarded wrapping paper and take it into the kitchen to the dustbin! – posted by Jeanie E I always have a stash of thank you cards to hand and a pen and paper. The “who sent what” list gets attached to the cards and dealt with as soon as the little ones have finished unwrapping and are busy playing. It doesn’t take long to do, you can have a glass of something yummy while you do it and then feel virtuous – posted by Rebecca D Christmas organisationUse the little draw string bags that you get with washing tablets to keep all the fiddly bits out of kids toys (ie the balls out of hungry hippos, the teeny pieces from Lego sets etc…) *31. Always keep all the wrapping paper that is collected in a bag in a garage/cupboard for a week or so after Christmas in case anything – toys/receipts etc. – has been scooped up in the clear up – *32. Save some presents for after lunch. It’s often the time of day when the kids are getting tired (especially if they’ve been up since dawn). We’ve found that this allows us to get the washing up/tidying done in peace whilst the kids play with whatever arrived in the “second round *33. Have a good sort out of old toys a month before Christmas to make room for the new toys. The old toys can be donated to others in need – posted by P.P Save egg cartons or egg trays to store Christmas baubles in – posted by Mary C To keep curious little children from finding where the presents are hidden keep them locked in a suitcase until they are ready to be wrapped! – posted by Sarah And if it all gets too much… Get out in the fresh air – that gives everyone time to let off some steam and makes for a peaceful household! If you can’t go out for a walk, maybe set up a little ‘Santa’s Treasure Hunt’ in the garden with clues and little prezzies along the way. Get adults and kids in teams and let them loose! Lots of glitter will add a magical trail along the way. And don’t forget ‘the reason for the season’ – that will keep everyone focused on what it’s all about and gives a healthier focus than just how many prezzies they get – posted by Gill As a general rule happy children = happy parents. So when the roast potatoes are burning but the turkey is still running around, take a deep breath and send the children on a treasure hunt. Wrap up small yet desirable things and hide them around the house; a new toothbrush, fancy bobbles and clips, a hot wheels car, and don’t forget the sweets! – posted by Lucy P I know it can be a real stress if things don’t seem to be going according to plan, but really, in the great scheme of things, nothing can be that bad. Enjoy the day and don’t worry about all the little things – it’s your Christmas, too! – posted by Jennifer T Don’t get caught up in all the hype that tells you you’re bound to be stressed – why should you be stressed? It’s a day off work, and a roast dinner. End of. Ditto present buying. You don’t have to spend hours/days shopping, or start in November “in case they run out”. Guess what? Christmas comes every year and shops do actually stock up – often reducing prices nearer to Xmas. Make a list, go out and get it at the quietest time your life allows, shop online if it helps. What’s the big deal? What’s the worst that can happen? ]]>

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