Tag Archive | 12days

1 Thing You Probably Didn’t Know

One of the best things you can do for the environment this gift-giving season is to give gifts that don’t require batteries. Admittedly, this is usually easier if your list has a bunch of adults on it, rather than a list full of children. And, of course, it’s practically impossible to give batteries up entirely. (We still need our smoke alarms, after all!)

However, it’s worth the extra time and effort to find those battery-free gifts. All those batteries (and there are loads of them) end up in a landfill eventually. Even the rechargable ones don’t last forever. And all those discarded batteries are quite the environmental hazzard.

Nearly half of all battery sales occur during this time of year … so let’s see if we can’t trim the number of batteries that wind up in landfills this year.


And thus ends our 12 Days of Christmas. Geez! Now I’m not sure what to do next. Hmm. Maybe I’ll take a day off!

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See you then.


2 Happy Dogs

I suppose the title of this blog could be read to mean two different things: either I’m going to give you two ways to pamper your pooch this Christmas  OR  I have two dogs and they are both quite content. I like to think that both are accurate. (See photo at left for my happy – and quirky – dogs!)

If you’ve got quirky and lovable dogs at home, then check out these ideas for your pets:

1. Doggie Bed made from t-shirt scraps

Yes, this craft is actually for a chair, in the style of those great old bean-bag chairs. (Can you actually call those things “chairs”?) But it occurs to me that this project would be a great way to use old t-shirts, while saving money by avoiding those fancy dog beds with hefty price tags.

2. Homemade Doggie Treats

Yes, it really sounds like spoiling your pup, doesn’t it? But when you think of all the ingredients in those commercial treats AND the cost of those darn things … it almost seems like a no-brainer! Click the link above for an enormous list of doggie treat recipes.

Tomorrow: 1 Thing You Probably Didn’t Know.

See you then.


4 Treats for Cooks

Click the links for more info, instructions and photos.

4: Recipe Book. Collect some of your favorite recipes and give a gift they’ll love.

3: Homemade vanilla extract: 6 vanilla beans (cut open lengthwise) and 16 oz of vodka go into a glass jar or bottle with an airtight lid for 8 weeks and voila! You’ve got vanilla extract. If you start it now, it won’t be done for Christmas, but you could break the batch into smaller amounts and go ahead and give them away … with a note telling the recipient when it will be ready to use.

2: Infused olive oils or vinegars. I don’t recommend making these yourself unless you’re prepared to learn an awful lot about all-natural preservatives, since the herb and olive oil mix is prone to some serious bacterial invaders while it sits quietly and infuses. I recommend buying these from folks who know what they’re doing. Some suggestions: olive oil infused with basil or lemon or garlic or red pepper or black truffle; or vinegar infused with fig or dark cherry or chili.

1: Rosemary and Garlic Herb Rub. Great for pork, poultry or even fish!

(Photo credits go to the sites I’ve linked to, friends.)

Tomorrow: 3 Gifts for Babies

See you then.


5 Crafts to Make

Once again, we’re going to the experts. And, once again, the photo credits belong to the sites linked.

5: Felt Ornaments. Too cute.

4: Putting Christmas balls to use. Have more decorations than will fit on your tree? Find other uses for them.

3: Scrabble Tile Crafts. What words hold meaning for you this season?

2: Nativity Finger Puppets. Use this pattern, or just get inspired to create your own version!

1: Homemade Giftcard Holders. A fun craft and a handy wrapping idea. Adapt some of these ideas for your homemade Christmas cards, if you’re so inclined.

Tomorrow: 4 Treats for Cooks

See you then.


6 Edible Gifts

I’ve tried to choose things with a range of difficulty, so that there are suggestions for beginners and experts. Click on the links to find the recipes. Also, photo credits (from above) belong to the sites where I found the recipes. Here goes:

6: (simple)   Cranberry Cake. Not the easiest thing to wrap … but I couldn’t help including it cause it’s so, well, amazing!

5: (simple)    Maple Herb Roasted Almonds. Enough said.

4: (not too difficult)   Peanut Butter and Honey Granola. Tasty and hearty on those cold (or not so cold) mornings (or pretty much any time of day).

3: (difficult)   Chocolate Toffee Matzo Candy. Mmmm. Yummy.

2: (difficult)  Apple Chutney. Serve it with chicken (as shown) or for a wonderful addition to pork chops or pork roast. And what a great gift!

1: (simple)   Jars of Yummy Goodness. If you don’t have the time to actually bake or cook or can something this year. Consider creating a mix in a jar for your gift recipients. There is an ENORMOUS list of mixes available (click on the link above), so you can choose what suits your needs best.

Tomorrow: 5 Crafts to Make

See you then.


7 Wraps for Gifties

7: Use real ribbon. I’ve found that using real ribbon is the natural first step in moving toward an entirely reusable wrapping system. Start with real ribbon as you use up the wrapping paper that you already have in the cupboard. Don’t buy new wrapping paper. If you run out …

6:  … use something else around the house that is handy: the comics section of the newspaper, brown paper grocery bags, newsprint paper, etc. You can even use pages from catalogs, junk mail, or flyers and posters to wrap things.

5: If you’re starting with a blank canvas, such as a brown grocery bag, let the kids help decorate with stamps, markers, or whatever else you’ve got lying around the house. My sister-in-law even sacrificed old nail-polish once to let my nephew create some wrapping paper. (It was so cute, I still have it hanging on the wall in my house.)

4: Reuse! Save everything you can (the wrapping paper, the bows, etc.) and gently save them for next year. Americans produce something like 4 million tons of waste during the holiday season alone. So let’s try to reduce that number! If you can’t reuse … RECYCLE! Take a few extra moments and separate out the recyclables from your holiday trash. When wrapping, use as little tape as possible so that you’re more likely to be able to reuse more of the paper.

3: If you do have to buy wrapping paper, buy stuff that will be easy to recycle. Don’t buy the paper with foil decorations on it. Skip the stuff that’s got a glossy finish. Go for something that your recycling center will take. AND read the labels to find a paper that is high in recycled content.

2: Start shopping for fabric at the after-Christmas sales. Next year, you’ll be reusing old wrapping paper … and beginning to wrap gifts in fabric (the ULTIMATE reusable gift wrap). Keep your eye out all year for things that will make nice wraps: scarves, sheets, tablecloths or other items found at estate sales, flea markets or clearance sales. Before you know it, you’ll have an inexpensive collection of fabric that can be used again and again!

1: Make the wrapping part of the gift. Is part of the gift a new pair of gloves or mittens? Use them to decorate the package. Giving edible goodies? Choose a nice Christmas tin to put them in. Is wine the gift you’re giving? Choose a lovely (real) ribbon that brings out a color from the label and put a festive bow around the neck of the bottle.

Tomorrow: 6 Edible Gifts

See you then.


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