For many people, the holidays include traveling or hosting so that they can spend time with family and friends. A side effect of this is that you will be spending A LOT of time with people and you will probably need an activity to fill up some of the time. I recently discovered a very fun and portable card game that can be taught in 5 minutes and played in about 20 minutes.
The box says that this game is appropriate for ages 8+, but I think that it can probably work for kids as young as 6 as long as they can match pictures and know their numbers. There are only a couple cards that require reading, but if you're playing with young kids, the game is unlikely to be super cutthroat so you could clarify the meaning of cards during game play.
The box easily fits into a backpack or large purse so you might find yourself bringing it around to all your holiday events as a just-in-case activity.
Getting the most of the winter sales Guide to Elegance: bargains Tips for shopping the sale section
There will be a point during any visit that everyone needs a little bit of alone time. If you are the host, you can make this easier on your guests by adding a couple items to their nightstand.
First, your guests will appreciate it if you write down the information for your WiFi network. Now if they have to slip away for a few minutes to answer work emails or check the tracking number for a last-minute present, they don't have to interrupt the festivities.
I also like to put a collection of books and magazines in the guest room since not everyone feels comfortable pulling books off the shelf in someone else's home. Essay collections or short books work nicely because they can be finished during the visit, but you could also add a couple paperback books that you don't mind lending out to the stack.
Last year's post about dressing for Thanksgiving dinner has fabric and style suggestions that are just as applicable in December. For twelve outfit ideas that will cover just about any holiday party dress code, browse through the 12 Days of Holiday Parties series from 2013.
A couple festive cocktails are always the perfect addition to a holiday party. I createdthree recipes with the flavors of Thanksgiving dinner. Since Christmas dinner includes a lot of the same flavors, it's a great time to make them again!
For the sweet potato-bourbon bundt cake, I use Bakerella's recipe which she adapted into cupcakes. I pour it into a bundt pan (or loaf pans) and then bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Egg, Pepper, & Hashbrown Casserole
butter or cooking spray, for the pan
8 ounces frozen hash browns
3 bell peppers, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Cheddar, Pepper Jack, or other grated cheese
In a buttered oven-safe dish, evenly spread the frozen hash browns and then layer the chopped bell peppers on top.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you want to add. Pour the eggs over the potatoes and peppers. Sprinkle with the cheese evenly over the top. At this point, the casserole can be covered and put in the fridge overnight.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.