ideas for an (2)

Ways to Create Fun Christmas Food Traditions

Everyone needs some fun Christmas food traditions. I don’t mean fun as in, oh yes, it’s fun to have the same traditions year after year. I mean, let’s jazz this up and get a tradition that can change a little bit to keep it interesting! If you haven’t heard, millennials are foodies. My husband and I are technically millennials,  and we are most definitely food people. I’m not going to mess with Thanksgiving. Those foods are sacred. But Christmas is a little more flexible, and I think it’s a great idea to come up with traditions that evolve. Here’s a few ways to do that:

4 Fun Christmas Food Traditions

1. Get Crazy with Breakfast

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a late Christmas breakfast. Well, later. I guess it’s still pretty early since I have a toddler with serious FOMO. I don’t have any fun breakfast traditions yet, but if my family decides they want to have the same dinner year after year, I can definitely see myself turning breakfast into a surprise meal. There are so many ways to do this. I suggest making really Christmassy breakfasts. One year you can try Christmas tree waffles, the next a candy cane pastry. Seriously, so many options!

2. Choose a Base Dessert and Dress it Up

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

Desserts are the most important part of fun Christmas food traditions, right? So make yours especially fun by choosing a basic dessert and changing it each year. What do I mean exactly? Think of cheesecake. You’ve got a basic cheesecake, and they’re delicious, but there’s approximately 8 million cheesecake recipes out there (that might be a slight exaggeration). One year you do basic, the next year you try a pecan pie or a caramel apple crisp cheesecake.  Now every year your family knows they’re getting cheesecake, but you get to experiment with new ways to make it!

3. Go International

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

What if your tradition was celebrating a new culture every year? Then every year you’re doing the same thing, but eating something totally different. I personally love this idea, because there’s nothing I like more than cooking up something new and delicious. Here’s just one place to start on your search for other country’s Christmas food. If you can’t stand the idea of having something different every year and not getting that big fat turkey, you could always implement this on Christmas Eve, or make Christmas Eve your regular dinner. Christmas is so nice it gives you two chances for fun Christmas food traditions.

4. Add a Fancy Drink

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions

I’ve been known to throw a cocktail competition or two, so this makes perfect sense to me. Except, instead of alcohol, I think it would be really fun to try a different hot chocolate every year. Then the kids can play too. Of course, I’m not anti-alcohol, so that also works. Either way, this gives you the chance to make the same food every year but add something a little extra to keep yourself interested. Or to keep yourself from getting too irritated by all those new noisy toys, if you choose the alcohol way. 🙂 Now go out, enjoy your new fun Christmas food traditions, and be merry!

 

Fun Christmas food traditions can stay the same each year but offer different foods. #Christmas #christmasfood #christmasmeals #foodtraditions #christmastraditions #holidays #familytraditions
easy wine bottle

Easy DIY Wine Bottle Christmas Decor

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I must confess, I had a hard time forcing myself to make this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. Why? Because I’m busy, friends! I have too much to do. I just took a four day weekend for Thanksgiving, and I didn’t even catch up with half of my projects. But, according to my calendar, Christmas is coming, so I need to add about five hundred more things to my to-do list, like Christmas baking. Great. At least I can drink wine for this one. Oh, who am I kidding, I can drink wine for all of them. I work from home!

One whole year ago, when I started the Frenzied Hostess (happy anniversary to me!), I knew I wanted to create DIY projects, but only ones that I could do really quickly. To celebrate that and get back to my goal, let me tell you why this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor actually is easy compared to other wine bottle crafts. First, you don’t have to cut a glass bottle. Seriously, take “easy” and “quick” out of the equation if you have to cut glass. Second, there’s no paint. Go away, paint. I don’t have time for you. Third, you don’t even have to put it away when you’re done. Toss it out. Bam! Sounds too easy, right? Let’s get started.

Easy DIY Wine Bottle Christmas Decor Instructions

If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
If you want to pull off the labels, go ahead.
If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
Food coloring goes in first so you don’t have to stir.
If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
Add water and it turns the color of your choice.
If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
Candle goes in the bottle. They fit, but you can push it down further to get it stuck if you want.
If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
If you don’t have dripping candles, take another one the same color and drip it instead.
If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
Beautiful messes.

 

1. Drink Lots of Wine

I had to get through three bottles on a Wednesday just to do this craft for you!** It doesn’t matter what wine you drink in this particular instance, because most likely your bottles are going to be clear or green, right? Sometimes you get a blue one or something, but you can see what you’re getting when you buy the wine so that shouldn’t be an issue. Clear and green both work in this case.  If you want to take your labels off, you can, but if you’re going to put them against a wall you don’t have to. One of mine still has a label on. Try to peel it off first; that top picture was from one pull, so it can work. Then put it in hot water to loosen it and scrape it off. It only takes a few minutes.

**I didn’t actually drink three bottles of wine on Wednesday. I did make a tasty sangria to sip and share.

2. Buy some long skinny candles.

Okay, so here’s where you can actually use some help other than looking at the pictures. Did you know taper candles are made specifically not to drip? It’s true. Do they actually drip? Only when you don’t want them to. So, you can use taper candles, or you can find drip candles like these. Yes, this is easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor either way, but with drip candles you will seriously not be doing anything. Color-wise, I suggest Christmassy unless you have some other color scheme set up for the holidays.

3. Fill up your wine bottle with colored water. Or don’t.

I filled up the clear bottles with water and added food coloring. Well, actually, that’s backwards. I added food coloring, then filled it up with water. Who wants to stir things or shake up a full, open wine bottle? Not me. The green bottles I did nothing to. They’re already green. Good enough for me.

4. Stick a candle in the bottle.

Here is where you can be creative with your choice in color. Get wild. This is not a difficult process. Most taper candles will easily fit, but if yours doesn’t just work it around a little until it does.

5. Burn, burn, burn.

You should probably put your candle on something first, like newspaper or foil or plastic. You know, something you can throw away. Because that wax will get everywhere if you let it! If you bought the dripping candles, you’re done. Move directly to step six. If you didn’t, you can try a few things. First, you don’t want your candle straight. It should lean a little for more drip. If you only have one candle, take it out and drip it on the bottle every once in awhile. Or,  if you want to set it and forget it, use a second candle of the same color and melt the wax on the bottle candle for a few minutes. Both of them will then drip onto the bottle.

6. Do Something Else.

Sit back and relax, because your work is done. To finish up this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor, you can go do whatever else you want until the wax has run down enough to suit your pleasure and your candles are the height you want. Then blow out the candle. That’s it! I love a decoration that makes itself while I work. If you want to jazz it up a little, put a wine glass upside down with a Christmas ornament or candle underneath. Snazzy! I think I might put a whole row of them on a bookshelf, so I gotta go drink more wine…

If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor

If you feel like making a DIY Christmas decoration but don’t want to put in a lot of effort, try this easy DIY wine bottle Christmas decor. #christmascraft #winebottle #winebottledecor #christmasdecoration #DIY #DIYchristmasdecor
www.tastiesttreats.com

Achieving Christmas Baking Success

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Friends, if you don’t own any Post-Its, you better run out and get some if you plan on doing some Christmas baking. I don’t know about you, but I like having all the cookies and breads and fudge and whatnot when it’s Christmas season. I spread them to my neighbors and friends, so whether I actually host anyone or not it feels worth it. But, I have learned an important lesson since I had a kid – it has to be planned out. I can’t take fifty trips to the grocery store. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get to the oven when the timer goes off if my husband isn’t home. The mess is going to be, in a word, ginormous. So, if you are as obviously insane as I am, here’s my tips to getting your baking done:

Be organized.

Wondering what Post-Its have to do with baking? Well, after I pick what I want to make, I put a Post-It with a recipe name on a Tupperware container. When I get a chance, I start taking out my dry ingredients and measuring them for the appropriate Tupperware. If I’m lucky, I can get the amount of flour I need for each recipe in just one sitting, but if not, it doesn’t matter because I’m not cooking yet. Last year I did my ingredient sorting three days before I started baking, but you could take longer. The best part is you’ll know if you’re short on anything ahead of time and only need one trip to the store for forgotten items. It doesn’t work quite as well for wet ingredients, but it’s easier to eyeball vanilla and eggs than a bag of flour.

Don’t be difficult.

I mean, don’t pick things above your cooking ability! If you’re still at “easy,” then please, do not pick this particular extravaganza to up your game. It will only stress you out more.  Baking 5,000 cookies is stressful enough, isn’t it? Actually, even if you are a professional baker, would you really want to make a whole bunch of “difficult” recipes? I doubt it. Maybe one or two, but who has time for more? I like making multiple recipes because I’m insane (2 cookies, 2 fudge or brownie, and 1 bread), but there’s also the possibility of simply making a ton of one or two specific recipes. That’s actually my plan this year – I’m in a tiny kitchen at the moment, and I don’t know a lot of people here anyway, so I think it’s a good choice.

I also don’t recommend anything with frosting, unless you’re a pro. It’s just too time-consuming, so I definitely won’t add that to my list. I know there are so many options for frosting; here’s alternatives, here’s tips, here’s blah blah blah. There are so many recipes for cookies and sweets without frosting out in the world, I don’t know why a time-crunched person like myself would bother. If you’re looking for a new cookie, you can try my Lazy Cookies ‘N Cream Cookies. Yeah, the name is about as long as the recipe.

Don’t worry!

Christmas baking

So what if it takes you more than a day to get through your baking if you big? It might even take you another day or two to distribute the goods. Some of you perfectionists will worry about staleness, but how many recipients will eat everything at once? They will probably blame any staleness on themselves. How great is that? They’ll also be grateful that you thought of them, unless they know you are a terrible baker, in which case you obviously hate them. Kidding! I know it seems odd to let your recipients take the blame, but once you’ve finished, you have enough to deal with other than worrying. Look at your kitchen. It’s a disaster. You can clean that instead of thinking about the perfection -or lack thereof- of your baking. Of course, this is one caveat to this. Don’t serve stale baking at a party.

Don’t eat all your Christmas Baking!

Seriously, isn’t this the hardest one to follow? Now get out there and start baking!

 

If you want to achieve Christmas baking success, you need to stay organized. #Christmasbaking #Christmas #baking #organization
Ugly Sweaters V. Tacky Sweaters

To Make a Tacky Sweater or buy an Ugly Sweater?

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I can hear you already. No Beth! Not another tacky sweater party! I can’t handle it! Can’t we just wear something cute and be done with it? Well, sure. I’m not going to your party. I don’t care what your dress code is. I’m not even having an ugly sweater party myself, at least not this year. But there’s been a shift in recent years that’s driving me crazy, so I wanted to chat about it. Ugly sweaters have become tacky sweaters, and friends, I don’t have time for tacky. Literally, I don’t have time to make these crazy contraptions parading themselves as sweaters. So, humor me while I explain this evolution and which is easier for a time-crunched hostess.

The Ugly Sweater

When I first heard about an ugly sweater party, circa 2007ish, I was all in. The fad was a few years in, but it became trendy in Canada first, so cut me some slack. My friends and I had to throw an ugly sweater holiday party immediately.  We went on a sweater hunt to our favorite thrift store and in about thirty minutes we all came out with hideous, but amazing holiday sweaters. Now, thirty minutes may seem like a lot of time for a sweater hunt, but let’s be honest, there were five of us and we were in our twenties. We were easily distracted by other things the thrift store had to offer. I’d say thirty minutes is really a success. This is why I advocate for the ugly sweater over the tacky sweater, if you’re going to buy into this nonsense trend. It’s so much faster!

That’s the sweater I bought back in 2007. I still have it. Ugly right? Your great aunt Mildred probably turned it in to the thrift shop, but who can say for sure? Anyway, that’s another bonus to the ugly sweater. If you’re a costume hoarder like myself, you probably already have one. Do you think I’m ever going to find an uglier sweater than that? No! It’s an awful fabric with an awful color combination. It’s like the designer knew what it’s eventual purpose was going to be.  But, if I did want to go look for a new one, I’m pretty sure I could go down to Goodwill and find one in a matter of minutes, as could you. You might even need to head there anyway. It is Christmas after all. Donations run high this time of year. Now you’re done with your party prep. Easy, right?

The Tacky Sweater

Oh, the tacky sweater. How did it come to this? I admit, there has always been a crossover between ugly and tacky, but in recent years the tacky has soared to new heights. I don’t have one. I’m not going to make one. But I did borrow this image from my friend Allie, who was happy to share how ridiculous they’ve become:

tacky sweater

Do you see this? How do you even wear it? The worst part is this one isn’t even that crazy – and it still probably took awhile. And then if you’re hosting the party you still have to cook and clean and decorate? No thanks. Also, they seem a little wasteful, don’t they? I saw one a couple years ago on Live with Kelly and whoever else was hosting with a stuffed reindeer cut in half and glued on the front and back of the sweater. This is crazy to me. This could be a lot of fun if you aren’t time-crunched. I suppose you could even buy a whole bunch of supplies and decorate as a group, at the party. That might be an interesting take. But if you’re hosting it, just remember you get the cleanup.

The In-Between

There are, of course, ugly sweaters for sale just about everywhere. Here’s one on Amazon that crosses over between tacky and ugly. Tugly? I’ll work on it. The problem with buying ones like this instead of thrift store shopping is, obviously, the price tag. If your income is mostly disposable, this might be the way to go. It would be, in all honesty, the most time-saving. Ten minutes on your phone and bam! Your sweater is on the way, and you can get the fun of tacky with the real sweater feel.

To sum it all up, you have  few options in the ugly sweater department. The quickest way to go is to order it online. You don’t have to leave your house or get out the arts and crafts bucket for that. But, if you don’t want to spend the money on a sweater you can only guarantee you’ll wear once, the thrift store is going to be a lot less work than taking the time to DIY something so horrifying. Plus, what if all those lights and candy canes fall off your sweater and you have to do it all again next year? The horror! No matter what you choose, if you choose to celebrate the strange centennial creation that is the ugly sweater party, have fun, and look awful.

There's a difference between ugly and tacky sweaters. Know which kind of party you're going to. #uglysweater #tackysweater #ChristmasSweater #ChristmasParty #UglySweaterParty
diy interchangeable

DIY Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates

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I’ve been working on an idea for interchangeable holiday charger plates. My mom used to do a lot of tole painting when I was younger. That’s painting on wood, if you aren’t familiar. She doesn’t anymore, but a good portion of her holiday decorations are homemade. She has one that stays out all year. It’s a bear that hangs on the wall, and he changes his clothes for the holidays and different seasons. That’s my inspiration. A plate that changes clothes. This is not necessarily related, but my neighbor does this with pallets. Where does she put them?! I honestly don’t know, but luckily charger plates are much easier to store.

How to Make Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates

What You Need

Interchangeable holiday charger plates

Charger Plates (As many as you want for your table, or just one for decor)
Fabric Quarters
Stapler
Scissors
A pen or marker
Clear Velcro dots
Fabric glue

For my charger plates, I went gold, but obviously you can pick whatever you want.  As for the fabric, you can order giant bundles on Amazon, but I just went to JoAnn when they had a sale and found ones that seemed in season.

What to Do

I would love to tell you this is quick and you’ll be done in ten minutes, but you probably won’t unless you’re only doing one interchangeable holiday charger plate. It’s not difficult, but I had to do this while my son ran around with my fabric on his head. Plus I had to take pictures for you lovely folks.  Then I had a call with a client.You see? I really am always in a frenzy. Anyway…

Step 1

Choose some shapes for each holiday. I did four: a pumpkin for Halloween, a leaf for Thanksgiving, a tree for Christmas, and a heart for Valentine’s Day. You can find some images on your computer or pick up die-cuts or something. I free-handed them though, because, you know, time. To make sure they’re all similar sizes, draw them on the cardboard in the center of the fat quarters.

Step 2

Cut out your cardboard shapes. Your fabric is going to come in little squares, and if you unfold it you should be able to see if your drawings will fit on the squares or not (All my pictures are below so you can see what I mean). If they do, you can cut off a strip and fold it up into fours. If they don’t, you’ll want to cut the fabric into four different squares and staple them together. Then you’re going to staple your shape onto the fabric and cut around it. It will give you four shapes at once. It’s really easy, I swear, but if you’re uncomfortable with that, just use the cardboard as a stencil and trace the image onto the fabric. Then you can cut them individually. Do this for each shape. You do need them all done before you go to the Velcro.

Step 3

Now you have a whole bunch of little shapes, right? From here it’s time to figure out where to put the Velcro. Go ahead and put either the hook or loop (the sharp or the soft if you’re not familiar with the term – I had to look it up) of a Velcro dot in the center of one plate. Then put the opposite side onto the center of one of your shapes. Then do one for each holiday. So, for my four choices, that meant starting with one hook dot on the plate, followed by one loop dot on the tree, then one on the pumpkin, one on the heart, and one on the leaf. Yes, you will be using a lot more of one side of Velcro than another.

Step 4

Right now you technically have interchangeable holiday charger plates, but they’re kind of floppy, right? So you’ll need to add a second Velcro dot, which is why it was important for you to do one of each shape instead of all of one shape. To add the second dot to the plate, pick your skinniest shape (the tree in my case) and find the furthest spot from the center where you could put the dot without making it visible. Then put the dot on there. Don’t let the placement stress you out; they’re pretty moveable in the beginning. Now you’ll want to go through and attach each shape to the center part and see where the dot lines up. Some of the shapes will be upside down from others for best placement, FYI.

Step 5

Put Velcro and each and every fabric shape. Then do the other plates by simply putting the opposite Velcro on one shape and then sticking it to the plate. This is the most time consuming part, but after the first two it’s pretty mindless.  Also, unless you are a really careful Velcro remover, you’ll probably want to use a bit of fabric glue to make sure the Velcro stays on the fabric for a long time. It should stay on the plate without anything else, but if you’re worried use some super glue. Then you’re done! Nice, not really that fancy, interchangeable holiday charger plates.

Basically the Same Instructions, only Visual

 

Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Check that the cardboard in your fabric quarters fits on the plate.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Draw yourself some pictures. If you’re me, mess up multiple times.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Cut out your shapes. Let your son color the heart blue if he feels like it.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
If you’re lucky, you can just cut off a sliver and be done. Or you will have to resize them, like in the case of that giant heart and poorly folded red fabric.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Staple everywhere! Staple the corners of your four pieces together. Then staple the cutout.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Cut around the cutout and you get four shapes.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Do the rest of your shapes and get ready to Velcro!
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Loop Velcro in the middle of the plate, hook Velcro in the middle of the shapes. Or vice versa. Your Velcro, your call.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Pick a spot for a second Velcro dot on your skinniest shape.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Now take turn attaching the other shapes to the first dot and see where the second dot will fit best.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Be aware that some of the shapes will seem upside down from the others, but that’s fine. The plate is round. No one will ever know.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Time for the rest of the plates! Grab a shape. Attach the other side of the Velcro to the Velcro already on the fabric, sticky side up.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Turn the fabric over, stick the Velcro to the plate. Repeat with all plates. Now all your shapes should fit on all plates. Use fabric glue on the Velcros if they aren’t attaching well.
Interchangeable holiday charger plates
Wah lah! Interchangeable holiday charger plates.

 

All done! Now Display your Interchangeable Holiday Charger Plates.

You can put them out on the table. Regular plates fit on them just fine. The Velcro isn’t thick enough to make it weird. You can also use just one plate and display it in a plate stand. That’s what I’ve been doing; normally I have a wedding plate displayed, but I’ve been mixing it up for the holidays. If you’ve read my work, you know I prefer simple decorations, and even though this could potentially take a little longer than most of my ideas, I like it because you can use it every year multiple times. Let me know in the comments if these instructions aren’t clear – I wrote Velcro too many times and now everything sounds crazy. Anyway, enjoy your holidays!

Interchangeable holiday charger plates

Interchangeable holiday charger plates

DIY interchangeable charger plates are pretty fast and easy, and you don't have to store eight different sets of plates! #holidays #holidaydecorations #chargerplates #christmasdecorations #thanksgivingdecorations #tablesettings #halloweendecorations #valentinesdaydecorations DIY interchangeable charger plates are pretty fast and easy, and you don't have to store eight different sets of plates! #holidays #holidaydecorations #chargerplates #christmasdecorations #thanksgivingdecorations #tablesettings #halloweendecorations #valentinesdaydecorations

 

Other holiday decor ideas