Holiday Season Slow Down

“Have yourself a COVID little Christmas, Let your heart be light, from now on our troubles will be out of sight!” Not to make light of the pandemic we are and continue to be in for the unforeseeable future, we can still make merry and cherish each other during this holiday season.
 
With the ebb and flow of doing what we can to stay safe and stay home, maybe this Christmas will allow time to slow down and consider doing things the old fashioned way. Whether that be making things by hand, playing games or doing puzzles. The idea is to slow down instead of the anticipated hustle and bustle to take note of the joy and merriment around you.
 
Here are some crafty and comforting ideas to consider doing at home this holiday season:
 
Salt Dough Ornaments
 
  • 4 C. of all purpose flour
  • 1 C. salt
  • 1 ½ C. warm water
Directions:
 
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix flour and salt well. Gradually add water, stirring with a large spoon. Finish mixing with hands. Knead until soft and pliable.
  3. Roll out on a floured surface about 1/8 inch thick. Cut shapes with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets. With a toothpick make a hole in the top of the ornament for threading string. Bake at 325 degrees until hard, about 1 hour. Decorate with paint and varnish to preserve.
Other simple decoration making to consider: construction paper chain garland, paper plate snowmen, paper snowflakes, popcorn and cranberry garland.
 
Mulled Spices Recipe
 
Mulled wine or apple cider are delicious and leave your house smelling wonderful. This spice mix can also make a nice gift idea for neighbors, just bag up and include a copy of the printed usage directions. 
 
Ingredients
 
  • 3 oz. cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole nutmeg
  • 1/3 C. dried orange peel (chopped)
  • 1/3 C. dried lemon peel (chopped)
  • 1/4 C. allspice berries
  • 1/4 C. whole cloves
  • 2 Tbs. crystallized ginger (finely chopped)
  • 14 pieces of double-layer cheesecloth (cut into 5” squares)
  • 14 (10”) lengths of string
Steps to Make It
 
  1. Place the cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a heavy-duty freezer bag, press the air out, and seal.
  2. Pound the spices with a kitchen mallet to break them into small pieces.
  3. Place the crushed spices in a bowl and stir in the orange peel, lemon peel, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger.
  4. Place about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center of each  square of double-layer cheesecloth. Tie the cloth securely with string and use it to prepare mulled cider or wine.
How to Use
 
Each bag will spice 3 1/4 cups of red wine, or 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of apple cider.
 
To make mulled red wine, combine the wine, 1/3 cup honey or sugar, and the spice pouch in a pot. Warm over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring once in a while to make sure the sweetener is dissolved and then discard the spice pouch.
 
To make mulled apple cider, all you need is the spice pouch and cider. Just place in a pot, bring the mix to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for about a half an hour, then discard the spice pouch.
 
Other Christmas treats include: gingerbread houses, sugar cookies, peppermint bark, and hot cocoa. 
 
 

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