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Wrap It Up, Santa!

Wrap It Up, Santa!

Crinkle, crinkle!

Do you hear that sound? That’s the noise of Santa Claus and his industrious army of elves, wrapping presents as fast as they can.

Christmas is less than a week away. Are you ready?

Maybe you’ve finished the baking and the housecleaning. Perhaps you’ve even made your shopping list and checked it twice. If you’re really on top of things, you’ve completed most of your holiday gift shopping.

Now it’s time to wrap up all those gifting goodies!

What do you do with odd-shaped gifts? How about big and bulky ones? Is it possible to wrap up gifts in eco-friendly ways or to make the actual wrappings be part of the gifts themselves?


With a bit of imagination and whimsy and a few intriguing supplies (which you may already have around your house), you can whip up amazingly appealing presents for holiday giving.

Try these super suggestions for wrapping Christmas gifts in creative ways!

Gift wrapping can be fun and festive and even frugal, if you get a little crafty.

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Riddle Me Christmas

Riddle Me Christmas

How many Christmas jokes do you know?

Old-fashioned riddles and puns may cause us to groan, or these crazy quips can make us merrier, especially at Christmas time. 

Try these 15 Christmas riddles, and see what happens.

Q: What do Santa and his elves do every Saturday night?
A: They have a ho-ho-ho down.

Q: What happened to Santa's elf, after he ate the Christmas tree decorations?
A: He came down with tinsel-itis.

Q: Why does Santa fly down the chimney on Christmas Eve?
A: Because it soots him.

Q: Why did Santa send his North Pole Workshop supervisor to psychotherapy?
A: Because the poor guy suffered from low elf esteem.

Q: What do you get when you cross Frosty the Snowman with Vampire Edward Cullen?
A: Frostbite.

Q: If Santa hired his own son as an elf, what would he call the kid?
A: Subordinate Claus

Q: What can you get, if you smoke under the Christmas tree?
A: A tannen-bomb.

Q: Why did the fast-food cook toss Santa into the deep fryer?
A: He wanted to see Krisp Kringle.

Q: What happened after Santa’s cat ate a ball of Christmas yarn?
A: She had mittens.

Q: What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
A: Claustrophobic.

Q: What does Mrs. Claus call reindeer that can’t keep up with the team?
A: Supper.

Q: How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizza?
 A: Deep pan, crisp and even.

Q: What did Dasher say to Dancer on December 25th?
A: Merry Christmas, deer.

Q: How do Mr. and Mrs. Frosty go for a night on the town?
A: On an icicle built for two.

Q: What goes “Oh, oh, oh, oooooooh!”
A: Santa falling backwards off the roof.

Are you groaning yet, or simply puzzled? What other Christmas jokes or riddles do you know? (Leave a comment with your Christmas quips.)
Santa Chuckling
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Got Christmas in the mail yet?

Got Christmas in the mail yet?

"Mail your packages early, so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas," quipped late late-night talk show host and comedian Johnny Carson (1925-2005).

Have you stamped and sent your holiday cards and gift packages yet?

When should Christmas cards and gift packages be sent, if they are expected to arrive in time for Christmas?

Based on tradition and general guidelines, First Class letters need to go out by Tuesday, December 20th, if they are to arrive at Continental U.S. recipient addresses by Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve). Those who miss this deadline may opt for Priority Mail (sending by Wednesday, December 21st) or Express Mail (posting by Thursday, December 22nd).

Packages shipping by USPS Parcel Post have to go by Thursday, December 15th, if they are to make it to their domestic U.S. destinations by Christmas Eve.

Of course, senders may choose from various messenger and delivery services, such as FedEx, DHL and UPS.

Catalog and online shoppers can enjoy free shipping offers and free overnight shipping upgrades from many merchants, particular with early orders. Just remember: December 17th is Free Shipping Day for 1,000+ Online Merchants. 

Here’s a quick report for foreign shippers!

It’s already too late for regular mailings to most international locations. That doesn’t mean items won’t arrive by Christmas, but it’s surely not guaranteed or even likely.

Holiday shoppers who still need to send gifts overseas may do well to select emailed gift cards or store certificates at this time.

It’s not too late to send holiday cheer to U.S. Armed Forces overseas.

But Santa has to hurry!

You can still send mail to U.S. military addresses overseas, as long as you fire off those First Class missives by Saturday, December 10th. Express Mail Military Service cards and letters can go out through Saturday, December 17th, and still likely arrive by Christmas Eve. 

Overseas Christmas parcels needed to go by Saturday, December 3rd, for overseas military locations.

Happy holiday shopping and shipping – all around!

By the way, across the United States, December 26th will be a postal holiday.

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Christmas Cookie Roundup

Christmas Cookie Roundup

The holiday season is underway. Can you smell the fresh cookies baking?

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? Are you given to gingerbread, partial to pralines, mad for macaroons or a chump for chocolate chips? Do you prefer bars, drop cookies or cut-out creations?

Are you most likely to purchase your holiday cookies, or do you bake them yourself? If you do make your own, do you start from scratch or buy pre-mixed cookie dough?

My favorite recipes for holiday munching include:
Do you have a beloved baking recipe from Christmases past or present?

In recent years, with gravity going after my physique, I’ve sampled lighter recipes for Christmas cookie baking. I’m always looking for new Low-Fat Holiday Cookie Recipes to share.

Creative cookie cutters add to Christmas baking fun.

I love collecting holiday cookie cutters too. Like many cooks, I have a big box of different shapes and sizes. Bells, candy canes, Christmas trees, flowers, hearts, stars, wreaths and other choices tumble to my kitchen counter each December. I even have bunny, dog bone, feet, frog, hand and whale cookie cutters.

My most popular cookies are usually shaped like horses, made from sugar cookie or molasses gingerbread dough and painted with frosted manes and tails. (Those who know me best know why this is so.)
Each Christmas, I love experimenting with new cookie recipes.

This year, I’m thinking of trying the new super-popular saltine toffee and perhaps some new truffles. Recently, I sampled these tasty treats at a holiday gathering, and I was intrigued. Now, if I could just talk the party hostess into spilling the secrets of these dessert delights…

And why not? Calories don’t count at Christmas, if you’re filled with holiday spirit. Or do they?

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12 Ways to Celebrate Small Business Saturday

12 Ways to Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Today is Small Business Saturday, a shopping celebration that encourages everyone to patronize locally and privately owned operations and to support enterprise in our own communities.

This annual event aims at injecting new energy and traffic into local outfits, rejuvenating America’s downtown shops and reminding folks to revisit ma-and-pop operations.

How can you celebrate Small Business Saturday?

Take a look. Here are 12 practical ways to knock names off your own holiday gift shopping list, while fostering family- and privately-owned businesses.

1. Purchase dining gift certificates for intriguing local restaurants. Use these prepaid passes yourself to take special people out to eat, or give them for holiday surprises.
2. Buy someone a gym or fitness center membership for Christmas, choosing a locally owned facility, rather than a mega-chain.
3. Stop in a nearby thrift shop, and poke around for creative holiday presents. Why not fill up a bag for donation before you go?
4. Purchase individual or group passes to local parks, preserves or museums as Christmas gifts this year.
5. Prepay an oil change, or pick up a car wash punch card for a relative or friend, and tuck it under the tree for December 25th.
6. Enroll a loved one in a craft or special-interest class for Christmas.
7. Send a holiday wreath to a dear person, but call a local florist direct to place your order.
8. Visit a local bakery, and order a Christmas cake for someone you love.
9. Select spa services at a beauty boutique in your community, and give a friend or family member a treat for Christmas.
10. Choose an array of locally-produced jams, confections or other gourmet items, and build a bountiful gift basket for holiday giving.
11. Browse through your own town’s toy store, and pick up a Christmas plaything for a child you love.
12. Sign up a family member for music instruction as a holiday gift.

Maybe you can come up with additional creative ideas for Christmas shopping on Small Business Saturday.

Christmas Shopping
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Happy Small Business Saturday!

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