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You're the STAR Blog Hop & HOME Features

T his linky party is the perfect place to show off your creativity! Share your blog posts, for a chance to be featured next month!     WELCOME to the August 2022  " You're the Star " Blog Hop! Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share from my blog: Keep cool during these last few weeks of summer with my delicious 3-Ingredient No Churn Ice Cream ! ___________________________ WELCOME to  HOME feature week of the August 2022  " You're the STAR " blog hop! Meet your HOME week Hosts   This week is HOME feature week Swing by the Home Hosts' Blogs: Bev from Eclectic Red Barn Cindy from Mom, the Lunch Lady Niki from Life as a LEO Wife This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU! There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear - this is NOT a themed party - you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month.   The "theme" occurs in our weekly features:

Tips for a Wonderful COVID Christmas

 With threats of the pandemic still looming, Christmas may look a bit different this year. But that doesn't mean you can't make it fun, magical and memorable. Continue reading for some tips, craft ideas and recipes to make this Christmas season as wonderful as years past.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commission from these links. I offer them to you at no extra charge.

Who would have thought we would be in this situation. Life the last few months, looks like something out of a science fiction movie. An unknown virus mutates and starts spreading like wildfire. Many get sick, several perish and months later we are no closer to abolishing it, than we are in understanding how and why this virus exists. Restrictions have been put in place. Some are obliging, others are convinced it is a deep government conspiracy. Totally sounds like a Block Buster Movie right?!?

Unfortunately it is our reality this Christmas season. We've been asked to only celebrate with those in our "bubble", or to make a bigger sacrifice and only celebrate with our households. It really doesn't sound like a magical Christmas, but let me tell you, with a few super FUN activities, it can be a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Decorate! Decorate! Decorate!
Photo Credit- Getty Images

Is your Christmas tree up yet? Have you put the lights on the house? This year is such a strange year that many have decided to extend Christmas and decorate early. After all, who couldn't use more holiday cheer? Get that tree up, hang those lights, get that decor up all over the house. Make your surroundings Merry and Bright! Want to get the kids involved? Why not make and decorate Salt Dough Ornaments for the tree? Find my childhood recipe down below!

Baker's Salt Dough Ornament Clay

1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C table salt
1/3 C water
crafting paint or food colouring

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt; stirring well to combine. Add in the water; mixing until a dough is formed. At this point, you can decide to separate the dough into smaller portions and add food colouring, to make different colours, or you can keep the dough as is, to paint once they ornaments are cured.

Roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and using Christmas themed cookie cutters, cut shapes in the dough. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a straw, or knife, make a hole near the top of your ornament. This is important, so you can put an ornament hook or ribbon/string, to hang your ornaments. 

Bake for 1 hr, repeating the rolling, cutting and baking until all the dough has been used up.

Hunt for the BEST Christmas lights in town!

 When I was little, there was always one street in my town that went all out for Christmas. We would bundle up and go for a walk, with that street as our final destination. There is just something magical about walking at night, hearing the snow covered streets crunch beneath your feet. Any year I am able to make it home for Christmas, I try to convince everyone to go for a walk, to check out the lights. 

Living in a big city, when my kids were little, we would all pack into the car and drive around town, hunting for the BEST Christmas lights. Over the years, thanks to social media, we would make a list of addresses to check out, as they all boasted to have amazing displays. We found houses that had lights set to music, we found houses that just LOVED Christmas and went all out. To make it a little more fun, we would pack hot chocolate and cookies! Do a little research and you can find some amazing light displays in surrounding neighbourhoods!

Visit a Tree Farm!

This is the time of year for Christmas tree farms. We have a few that we love to visit, during the holiday season. Even if we aren't purchasing a tree, we love to go pick out a new ornament in the boutiques, going for sleigh rides, roasting hot dogs and drinking cocoa. This year may look a little different though, so I suggest checking local tree farm websites, or calling ahead. While they may still be open, it may be by appointment only. After all, they will need to adhere to social distancing and health/safety protocals.

Bake some COOKIES!

One of my favourite parts of the holiday season is baking yummy Christmas cookies. I remember watching my Mom bake every cookie and dessert imaginable. My siblings and I often snuck down to the basement, to sneak some out of the freezer, without mom knowing. Luckily her love of baking during the holidays has been passed down to me. Every year we make sure to include our Lemon Crinkle Cookies and Candy Cane Fudge, to our baking trays. The internet is bursting with recipes perfect for any holiday you are celebrating this December! Gather up the ingredients and the kids and bake your hearts out! 

Have a fun Movie Themed Day!

I haven't done this in quite a while, since my kids are teens now; but when they were little, we would plan themed movie nights. We would pick a movie, and make themed snacks for movie night. The kids would dig through their costumes, closets and toy boxes to find ways to dress up as their favourite characters from the movie. We've done Harry Potter- where I've made licorice wands, butter beer and we tried to dress "wizardly" and Star Wars- where I've made Wookie Cookies and the kids donned Star Wars Halloween Costumes. 

However my favourite was GRINCH DAY! Give yourself some crazy WHO hair, wear some Christmas PJ's and snuggle up with one of the 3 GRINCH movies (or even all 3!). Find my super fun and delicious Grinch Salad recipe below. It's a great snack for GRINCH DAY! (click HERE for another of my fun Grinch themed snacks!)

Grinch Salad

1 box (4 oz) Instant Pistachio Pudding
1 can (14.5 oz) crushed pineapple
1 1/2 C mini marshmallows
2 C whipped cream (fresh or cool whip)
2-5 drops of green food colouring
Maraschino Cherries, well drained

Pour the crushed pineapple into a large mixing bowl (do not drain!) and mix with the pistachio pudding, until well combined. Stir in the mini marshmallows and gently fold in the whipped cream/cool whip; combine well. Stir in a few drops of green food colouring, until you reach your desired shade.

Drain the maraschino cherries on paper towel, making sure no juices remain. Using a small pairing knife, make a small V shape in the top of each cherry, to for a "heart".

Serve the Grinch Pudding in small bowls, garnishing with a Grinch heart.

This can easily become a dairy free, vegan treat by using coconut whipped cream/topping.

Have a Virtual Visit with Santa!

As in person Santa events are being cancelled around the world, why not try a Virtual visit from Santa. It is a safe and fun alternative, without the stress or waiting in line! Use Skype, Zoom or Facetime to have a virtual visit from Santa. Google has many suggestions for companies offering virtual Santa visits, even some that do not require you to download any apps.

Create a Hot Chocolate Bar!

Image credit- Getty Images

Hot chocolate has always been a favourite cold weather drink of mine. I have never found a coffee I enjoyed, so hot chocolate is my prefered way of warming myself up, after being outside in the cold. Once the cold weather hit, I started seeing Hot Chocolate Bars all over the internet. I absolutely love the idea of enjoying some time outside, either sledding or building snow men, then coming in and building an amazing mug of hot chocolate. Toppings can include marshmallows, chocolate shavings, chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon, crushed candy canes, candy canes for stirring, whipped cream, caramel.... the possibilities are endless!

No matter what restrictions you are asked to follow this holiday season, take the time to see how special time with family could be. Whether it's watching your favourite Christmas movies, doing a simple Christmas craft, or baking cookies, take the time to appreciate how blessed you are to be able to enjoy the simpler things this holiday season!

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  1. This is such a great post full of amazing ideas. I totally forgot about those alt ornaments we used to make as kids. We are totally doing this! Thanks for pulling this all together and for helping all of us feel a little more normal in a very odd time :) .

    1. Thank you! It has been such a strange year and I wanted to remind myself and others that the holidays can still be special, even if we aren't celebrating with extended family.

  2. Christmas cards are still a great way to connect with people, especially those who aren't getting out. I sent Thanksgiving cards out this year and I was surprised at the reaction they got. People need something to connect to and small things matter.

    1. I agree! I am mailing my cards out today. I little later than anticipated, but with the move I had to remember where I had put them, LOL.

  3. Im all in for the cookies 😍 Thank you for this post. Im already thinking of sharing Christmas cookies with friends!

    1. That is awesome! I always bake a ton of cookies to bring to hostesses during the holidays.

  4. This post is so thoughtful and full of festive ideas! Thanks for sharing some tips for making the most out of Christmas this year.

    1. Thanks! Christmas is my favourite holiday. I just love the magic that surrounds it all. Even though Santa isn't real, he lives in all of us during the holiday season.

  5. I love your idea of the hot chocolate bar. My son will definitely enjoy it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Wow thank you so much. This is a really helpful post. So many festive ideas

  7. Brilliant ideas! We definitely need to hunt down the best Christmas lights in town this year #AnythingGoes

  8. I love this post! So many wonderful ideas. Christmas will look a lot different this year but you are absolutely right! We can still make it fun and I will most certainly put some of your ideas into action. Have a great day!

  9. Lots of good ideas! I always enjoy going out riding to see the many different light displays. Thanks so much for linking up with me at my party #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 19, open until December 26 at 12:05 am. Shared on social media.

  10. So many great ideas there. I'm definitely going to make a hot chocolate bar this year ... It looks so yummy.

  11. I love how you thought about evwry single detail. My staff keeps telling me we should have a day like this im gonna have to refer to this post tomorrow and show them.

  12. There is SO much we can do this year. This is really great, to focus on what is possible and not what is not!

  13. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn


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