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Join me as I fulfill my New Year's Resolution to prepare for Christmas 2009 "all through the year!"

Keep me honest, Christmas lovers!
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All Through The Year Letter, February 12th

Posted 02-12-2010 at 03:46 PM by Sapsorrow (Maman Noel)

Hello again, everyone!
Well, I bit off far more than I can chew on compiling a list of quick, simple giftable crafts. There are simply too many out there to categorize! So, after three weeks of trying, I'm going to admit defeat and instead share with you my favorite craft project sources (besides looking up craft books on Google Books, of course). Please do email in your favorite sources, just remember to click "Reply All!"

So, what am I up to this week? Enjoying being snowed in along with the rest of the country, it seems! Oh, I have been busy about the upcoming holidays and working on next Christmas. It's "winter end" sale at Land's End time again, and would you believe that swimsuits and spring clothes are included? So I've stocked up on winter essentials while they're cheap. Snowsuits, snow boots, holiday pajamas, etc. We even nabbed adorable spring rainboots for the little ones' Easter baskets!

Ah, yes, Easter baskets! ...
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February 5th ATTY Letter

Posted 02-05-2010 at 09:07 PM by Sapsorrow (Maman Noel)

[I]This is a copy of an email I send out to a small list of friends and family who are doing the holiday planning "all through the year" or "ATTY" with me. I liked this one, so I'm keeping it here, too. And, yes, I'm going to post my "homework" here as well.[/I]

Hello again!

I have two apologies to make: 1) sorry for the delay, it's been that sort of week, and 2) the craft list proved a VERY ambitious project that will hopefully be done next week. This is a blessing in disguise, however, because there are some things that may preempt gift and craft making decisions. So without further ado...
[B]
Simplifying Christmas[/B]
I could just as soon talk about holiday stress, but I won't because simplifying is positive and stress isn't. I've already learned that at a certain point, longer planning increases the complexity of your plans rather than decreases them. After all, if your Christmas is a gift per, a stocking,...
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Christmas Without Sugar?

Posted 02-03-2010 at 09:18 PM by Sapsorrow (Maman Noel)

It's official: no refined sugar, and not much of the unprocessed stuff either. One portion or less of dessert type foods per day, and that's a real portion, not a restaurant portion. Sadly, that includes all sources of sweet, so I can't get away with a soda AND a cookie at the bookstore cafe, either. Well, unless I have a thimble of the one and a quarter of the other. Naturally, all of the above applies to alcohol as well, though I've only had two drinks in the last year and a half so that's hardly an impact. Nor are artificial sweeteners going to save me since they all make me sick, sick, sick!

That nips the great cookie bake tradition in the bud, as well as plans to take up candy making in 2011. It also undoes my plans for trimming the tree and our plans for breakfast (traditionally cinnamon buns with icing). I'm startled by how much my holidays are bound up in sweets! We rarely have snacks and most days the sweetest thing we have is fruit, often with cheese. I...
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Drive By Blogging

Posted 01-29-2010 at 08:14 AM by Sapsorrow (Maman Noel)

No, I haven't forgotten about Christmas and my New Year's resolution, but we broke "quarantine" once for a thirty second errand so now the whole family (but the baby) is sick. No fun at all. I'm left with very little time to write. On the other hand, this cold is being pretty gentle with me and my eldest is almost recovered, so here's to Spring and good health!

When I've had the chance, I've looked at recipes and read up on Old World Christmas traditions, as well as the traditions of my recent ancestors. (On the off chance that someone from the Taste of Home forums where I'm doing my holiday recipe research also reads here: hello! Yes, it's the same Sapsorrow!) The sheer number of "traditional" Christmas cookie recipes to wade through is pretty intimidating, but I now have a short list which includes gingerbread, shortbread, peppernuts, sugar cookies, biscotti, springerle, and speculatus (sp?). I'd also like to make our old standby acorn cookies,...
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What does it mean to prepare all through the year?

Posted 01-23-2010 at 12:07 PM by Sapsorrow (Maman Noel)

You know what? Even if your Yuletide season lasts from December 6th to January 6th, there's still not that much to plan! This end of the year I'm stumped for what to do besides getting some gifts, perennial Christmas supplies, and collecting recipes. Lord knows, I'm not going to plan schedules and menus without knowing when the parades, festival of the trees and so on are even happening!

I have cards, address labels, and gift tags, a strand of string lights, cloth bags for wrapping, our temporary stockings, totes for wrapping, a book of carols, a bundle of stocking stuffers for the girls, and two of their gifts (both books). That's more prepared than we've ever been, but I don't feel very prepared at all! In my mind I'm thinking: tree stand, strings of lights, garlands, ornaments, more gifts, etc. I'm a little bit fretful about having no creche or advent calendar.

This really isn't how I wanted to approach Christmas in 2010. Actually, this is just about...
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