Missed our feature this week? Have a listen:
And the countdown begins.. Here we are, with Christmas right around the corner. Hopefully some of you are enjoying a relaxing staycation with family, but the reality is that some of you are enduring a not-so-relaxing holiday with the in-laws, friends, toddlers screaming for santa, neighbours playing anything-but Christmas music or any of the other possible holiday horrors. My hope is to give you some tips to make this Christmas fun and stress-free.
Warm up your space: Flowers or fresh greenery add a nice touch and create a warm, inviting space during the holidays. Not only do they smell amazing, they are also a great conversation starter with the great-uncle you haven’t spoken to in years. I have some great DIY tips from our friends at West Coast Gardens. Not only are their staff incredibly friendly, they are also SO knowledgeable. I can’t say enough wonderful things about their service, AMAZING greenery and willingness to answer my 100 questions about plants. Speaking of sharing, they shared their favourite (and easiest) home-decorating tips.
Click here to learn how to spruce up your wreath, and make it your own.
Eyeball your Garland length and get someone to help you hang it up so you can see if you’d like to go for the straight across look, a single scallop, or a double scallop look. Once you’ve established what you’d like to do, attach your command strips in the places along where you’d like to hang your garland. Once it’s hanging, you can start accessorizing with the variety of greens you would like to use. We used dollar eucalyptus and bound little bunches with floral tape, and wove them in. Then we chose key areas to wire pairs of pine cones together – one larger and one slightly smaller. We attached them together using florist wire and nestled them in to key areas of the garland.
1. Pick a theme (not) any theme: we went with cream, whites, gold and a pop of red. We added a few red baubles on the tree, a big red poinsettia, some red berry accents in our wreaths and centrepieces and a nice arrangement in the living room with a red flower in the middle for a pop of colour. There are so many holiday items in green, blue, red, silver, gold, white (you name it) picking a few colours and sticking within that palette will make your shopping much easier, and your space much nicer.
2. Easy decor can double as entertainment: succulents and air plants are great decor items AND make for a great DIY night with friends and family. Grab a terrarium, an air plant and fill it with your favourite things. Mine has sand, a beautiful crystal and some gold accents.
3. Don’t bring out your grandma’s china: Every Christmas I consider bringing out the collectors China, but when I do – I am constantly stressed. I just bought 8 place settings and a dish and gravy bowl to match from PC Holiday Collection and I can’t wait to use them. They are festive, fun and very elegant but also super affordable. They also have a package of stemless wine glasses that are complete with 6 red and 6 white that I also bought for when we have guests over. And you don’t have to worry if one breaks while celebrating, they are only $20! They have a dutch oven that I love for slow cooking meals that are perfect for days when you need to run errands and have a house full of people coming over. When you get home your meat or stew or whatever you have been slow cooking is warm, juicy and ready to serve, perfect to have while hosting during the holiday season.
4. Have a themed cocktail – and name it: I was at the newly renovated Witch in Maple Ridge, who have live music on Sundays, karaoke on Wednesdays and bingo night on Thursdays) and I took some inspiration from their Cranberry Winter Mimosa, with Montelvini Prosecco, local cranberries, ginger ale and a splash of cranberry juice… this is one cocktail that will definitely be on the menu at my next get together. One of my boyfriend’s favourites is a gin and tonic with a splash of peppermint syrup and a mini candy-cane for decoration. He calls this the G+T (Gary and tonic).
5. Establish your “go-to” recipes: Having a few recipes in your arsenal that you know you’re good at, and have the ingredients for can take the load off during an evening of unexpected guests or a night of cooking after a busy day. This is how parents coin phrases like “grandma’s famous mac and cheese.” I’ve included some of my go-to recipes, you can keep them in your back pocket for emergencies (or just because they’re delicious).
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Blue Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Slice dates in half, and open them up. Pinch off pieces of blue cheese, and place them into the center of the dates. Close the halves of the dates, and wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside. Secure each one with a toothpick. Arrange in a baking dish or on a baking sheet with sides to catch any grease.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bacon is crisp. Turn dates over after the first 20 minutes for even cooking.
Pinecone Cheese Ball
- Stir cream cheese, goat cheese, parsley, tarragon, thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until smooth and well-mixed.
- Turn cheese mixture out onto a serving platter and form into a tapered oval shape to resemble a pine cone.
- Starting at the tapered end, press almonds into the cheese cone so that the tip of the almond is facing out and down, and cheese cone is completely covered with almonds and resembles a pine cone. Place rosemary sprigs at the top to resemble pine needles.
Natalie’s Turkey Dinner-To Go Giveaway
Now while I think these tips are going to make your holiday easier, nothing is as cumbersome as cooking the dreaded Christmas dinner. For years it was a task that my mom endured and now it’s been passed down to me. Cooking a turkey is HARD WORK! Thankfully we know some Turkey-dinner experts, who can out-cook me in their sleep.
Our friends at Truffles Fine Foods are gifting you a full to-go Turkey dinner.
Winner will pick-up from the Davie st. location on December 24th.
Contest is now closed congratulations to Julie Menzies from Vancouver!
Good luck and Happy Holidays!
**Contest Rules & Regulations**
The winner agrees to abide by the rules and regulations outlined here http://www.jrfm.com/contestrules/ for pick up at #300-1401 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V6H 1C9. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm.
All prizes must be claimed within 60 days at the offices of CJJR-FM and are non-transferable. After 60 days, prize becomes the property of CJJR-FM, to do with as it may determine, including awarding it to another contestant, and CJJR-FM shall be released and discharged from any liability or responsibility in this regard.
Only ONE member of the household will be eligible to qualify or win in any single Contest.
By entering the Contest, all persons are deemed to have read and to have accepted these rules and regulations.