Because everything is better when it comes from (or is in) a jar.
Because sometimes you want a tree, but can't have a tree.
Because Christmas deserves some homemade yummy, chocolately, minty treats.
Because you don't have to spend a ton to spread Christmas cheer.
Because your tree needs a whole lot of homemade love.
Because I want to make all of the wreaths.
Because your outdoor space needs more than a blow up Santa this holiday season.
And on the ninth day, I'm giving you ideas for some awesome DIY presents.
And on the eighth day of Christmas I'm giving you ideas on how to make your own traditions. This is technically my third Christmas with Mr. T. But our first of marriage and only the second where we really celebrate together (we hadn't been dating that long with the first). And, since we leave town to be with our families on Christmas/ right around Christmas that means we usually have to do some different planning to make sure that Christmas is as special for just the two of us as it is with our families. So we've made some of our own traditions. Whoever said you have to do things buy the book anyway? So here are some ideas to make your own traditions. I call it a DIY since it's all your own.
Stocking gifts before Christmas
Last year instead of exchanging actual gifts, Mr. T and I decided to do stockings. We kicked things off December 1 and it went until we left to see our families. Basically we just gave each other a small little gift each day in our stockings. It was really fun and gave us both something to be excited about each day. The only problem was staying within budget each day.
We actually started this our first year together. It started because we hadn't been together that long and we both felt it was silly to spend hundreds of dollars on each other. So Mr. T suggested we go to the Union Square Market in NYC. We walked around for a while together and then split up to buy each other little gifts there. We set a budget for each other so no one went crazy and then we exchanged at a bar nearby. We did this last year and this year as well and it's always a blast.
Celebrate before hand
Instead of stockings this year, we decided to have a Christmas celebration beforehand. We bought presents and wrapped them and put them under the tree. We also decided to get some fancy cheeses rather than having a traditional meal. It gave us an excuse to spend excessive amounts on cheese (which is something I will always be on board with). It was fun because it made it special since it's not something we would normally do, but it felt very much like Jess and Mr. T. It also meant we were able to open presents early. We are terrible at waiting to give each other things.
And on the seventh day of Christmas I'm bringing you ideas to make your home smell like a whole lot of Christmas love. One thing that I love about the Christmas season is all the great smells it brings. Cinnamon and freshly cut fir. Peppermint and holiday goodies. I have candles, tarts, and air fresheners galore. But you just can't beat homemade smells. So here are some ideas for DIY fragrances to fill your home.
I know, I know. Potpourri is a little 1994, but hear me out on this one. Mr. T makes this spiced wine and it fills the room with all of these delicious flavors. Many that are in this potpourri recipe that I found. Seriously, you want your home to smell like this.
I also found this recipe that uses a few different scents in case you want to mix it up. I seriously can't wait to try this stuff.
Cinnamon Vanilla Candles
I'm not crazy about vanilla, but give me cinnamon any day. This candle made with a vanilla candle and cinnamon sticks sounds amazing. I think it would fill your house with so many awesome smells and it just looks all pretty and festive. I would assume you could also make your own vanilla candle. I am definitely trying this next year.
Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones
No, I promise I am not obsessed with cinnamon (well, maybe I am). But these cinnamon scented pin cones sound easy and so festive. Like the candles, the would be so pretty sitting around the house and that also means you can spread the smell to any room you like.
DIY Scented Candle
We all know that I am obsessed with mason jars so anytime there is a project involving them, I am on board. These candles look pretty easy to make and I like that you could do different scents for different rooms in the house. I love having every room smell nice, but not the same.
I guess these double as DIY ornaments as well (in fact, you could use the cinnamon ornaments that I suggested to add some smelly goods to your home). These ornaments are easy, fun, and will make your whole home smell like peppermint!
And on the sixth day of Christmas, I'm bringing you ideas for some tasty holiday booze. Clearly we all knew that a holiday booze post was coming, right? I mean, have you seen all the booze we have in our apartment? Technically it's not all of our fault, but Mr. T and I do like having a good stocked bar. And we also enjoy mixing up some fun and tasty cocktails for ourselves and our friends. Here are some good ideas to make your own tasty cocktails this holiday season.
Side note: this article took me the longest to write because there are so many ideas all over the interwebs. I searched Pinterest and fell in a black hole of all of the cocktails I want to make. This is only a tiny little handful of all of the options there are. So now I am going to get my booze on and you should probably too.
Boozy Apple Cider
Make my boozy apple cider. Yes, this is totally a fall recipe, but that doesn't mean it can't work for other chilly holidays and seasons. Throw this in the crockpot and serve with dessert and anyone will be pleased.
Boozy mint cocoa
This one is totally easy. All you have to do is make cocoa like normal and throw some mint Baileys in it. You can also do it with coffee as well. Add a candy cane and some marshmallows and you are all set. If you want some other, more elaborate ideas check out this article.
Rudolph's Tipsy Spritzer
I found this idea over on Southern Living. All you need is orange juice, lemon-lime soft drink, cherry juice, and vodka. I'd say garnish it with a cherry so you can really make it look like Rudolph.
Christmas Cranberry Mojito
Because nothing says holidays like mint and cranberries all mashed and muddled together in a tasty drink. Check out this recipe over here to make it.
One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is the Grinch. I seriously don't know why I didn't put it on my holiday must dos. But regardless if there is a drink in honor of it, I am there. This recipe sounds both delicious and easy (my two fave things when it comes to booze)
Confession time! I honestly don't know if I've ever had eggnog. Every time I watch Christmas Vacation I think to myself that maybe I should try it. But then every year I don't actually do it. Maybe it's fear because I've only heard bad things about it. If you're a fan though, boozy eggnog is definitely a holiday pleasure. This recipe over here sounds amazing. I'm thinking I should actually try it this year (or maybe next year).
And on the third day of Christmas, I'm giving you ideas for DIY Christmas cards. This year was the first year in a long time that I sent out cards and it was the first year that I was able to send cards with Mr. T. I wanted to last year, but it just didn't seem to happen. One reason was that I didn't really like any of the cards that I saw in the store andthey are also insanely expensive. But I thought that making cards would be too much and I really didn't want to get into the photo cards just yet. So this year I decided to make my own and it was actually fairly easy (I only freaked out like one time about it). Here are some ideas to make your own Christmas Cards.
A lady at Paper Source introduced me to the wonderful world of embossing when we were there looking for things for the wedding. I seriously have never looked back. It's the most amazing thing ever and it gives your cards a little something extra.
Here's how to do it:
- Embossing stamp pad
- Embossing powder
- Heating tool (you can usually find this with all the above stuff in a section together near the stamps)
- Card stock (you can usually find a set that has cards and envelopes for a good price at your local craft store)
- Use the stamp like you would if you were stamping a color (accept it will be clear since you stamped it with an embossing pad) and stamp your paper.
- Pour embossing powder onto the shape you stamped on the paper, shake off excess, and use the heating tool.You will notice the powder start to change. Don't use it for too long because it will burn off. It doesn't take very long. It cools/dries in seconds and you have a really cool professional looking card.
- I usually work with extra sheets of card stock to shake off the excess because it's much easier than shaking it into the container of powder.
- You can use different colors, just make sure you do them one at a time or you'll end up mixing your powder or ruining a bunch and have to waste it.
- Also don't be shocked by the price or the size of the embossing powder. A little goes a very long way.
Stamped cards are definitely fun, easy, and not very time consuming. All you need are stamps, ink, and card stock. All found at the craft store. It's so easy to crank out a bunch at one time and have some fun, festive cards to spread holiday cheer to your friends and family.
Fabric, buttons, tissue paper, and/or construction paper
I don't mean to get all old school, but there are a ton of really great, cheap, and easy to find supplies to make a great DIY Christmas card. You could cut out holiday shapes or glue buttons like ornaments of polka dots. The possibilities are endless.
Print your own
There are many, many sites where you can make your own cards and then have them shipped to you. We used one of those for our save the dates. The only issue is that some of them are really costly. I mean, if you only have a few to buy then $2 or more a card isn't a big deal, but most people have a lot more. So, instead, print your own. There are many sites where you can find free fonts for personal use. Font Spring is a great one and they have a lot of really inexpensive fonts if this is something you'll do often.
Image sites like PicMonkey offer an array of options for pictures and all kinds of things you can add to it for some holiday fun.
And, you don't just have to stop at these ideas. Look to Pinterest for inspiration and check out this BuzzFeed article with some really amazing ideas. I can't wait to see what other people think of!
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