Welcome to the second installment of The Waking’s “Guide to Christmas” blogs! This week we have music and book recommendations, two delicious recipes, Christmas decorating tips and some nifty gift ideas – all hand-selected for you to make your Holidays a little bit brighter!
“Glory in the Highest” by Chris Tomlin
After listening to Chris Tomlin’s newest album, “Glory in the Highest,” one can easily tell that it was a labor of love. Chris delicately arranges some traditional Christmas songs, and strips them down to their purest forms. While this record features classics such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “O Holy Night,” Chris’ original songs are the real highlight. “My Soul Magnifies the Lord” and “Born That We May Have Life” are sure to be sung in churches around the country well past the Holidays.
Download “Glory in the Highest” for only $7.99 here!
“Boo Humbug” by Rene Gutteridge
The tag line is “Christmas is scarier than you think”. Let me introduce
you to the wonderfully quirky characters of Skary, Indiana, the
fictional town from the mind of Christian author Rene Gutteridge. For
those of you who’ve never heard of the “Boo” series, they center around
a newly converted horror writer named Wolfe Boone or “Boo”, as he’s
referred to in the books. “Boo Humbug” is the fourth and final book in
this series. “A Christmas Carol with a horror twist” says the back
cover. This crazy Christmas installment of the “Boo” series finds
Skary resident, Lois Stepaphanopolis, gathering the towns people
together to put on a Christmas production “like no other”…that doesn’t
end up going quite as planned. This book, as well as the whole series,
is sure to keep you laughing out loud the whole way through. “Boo
Humbug” became my favorite book to pick up around the Holidays. You
can’t help but be entertained by the witty dialogue and crazy antics. A
quirky and fun book to get you right in the spirit of Christmas.
Purchase “Boo Humbug” here!
This is a recipe we’ve made for many, many years, though not many people
have heard of this delicious cheesy spaghetti recipe, our church has
made it for fundraisers ever since we were little kids and it always
goes so fast! Though you can make this spaghetti year round, it is
especially comforting on cold winter evenings. And it can serve a lot of
people, so it’s perfect for those holiday family get-togethers! Give it a
1/4 block Velveeta (lg. pkg.)
1 chicken, boiled & cooled (save chicken stock)
1/3 cup celery
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes
8 oz. uncooked spaghetti
Debone chicken, set aside. Boil spaghetti in chicken stock. Sauté onion
and bell pepper in a little butter. When they are tender add soups and
Rotel and cheese. Drain spaghetti. Add spaghetti and chicken to soup
mixture. Ready to serve.
This is Paula Deen’s Divinity recipe which happens to be exactly like
the recipe our mom makes every year. It can be a little tricky, we have
never attempted to do it ourselves, we always leave it to our mom. She
seems to always make it perfectly. Keep in mind, weather is definitely a
factor to the way this candy turns out. I (Krystal) love swirling it
with chocolate, it just makes it more decadent in my opinion. Try this
candy out I think you’ll really love it.
4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high-speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans. Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you’re done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
Tiny Tim’s Tiny Decorating Tips:
– Greenery and lights are your best friends. Take a string of white Christmas lights and intertwine them with some greenery and place them on your mantle. You can also place them across an entertainment center, an entry way, or wrapped around a tall stand up lamp.
– Use Christmas bows and ribbons as curtain tie backs.
– Buy some fake snow at your local craft store and sprinkle some on your Christmas tree to add a subtle wintery effect.
– Have extra Christmas tree bulbs lying around the house? Put some in a vase to create a pretty centerpiece.
– Wreaths are not just for doors, but also double as a centerpiece. Place a pretty Christmas wreath around a vase on a kitchen table or coffee table and viola! The perfect Christmas centerpiece.
– Don’t have a fireplace mantle to hang your stockings on? Improvise! Wrap a big, sturdy box with pretty wrapping paper, place it beside the tree and hang your stockings on the box.
– Baskets with scented pinecones add a warm touch to your living room.
– Simple touches that go a long way – Cinnamon scented candles fill your home with the smell of the holidays. Christmas throws and pillows add warmth to any home.
– Place special photos from Christmases past in pretty frames and set them around your house.
– Personalize your Christmas tree. Choose ornaments that really express you and your family’s personalities. For instance, our tree has a cow ornament compliments of Cecily (she has a weird love of cows), a cute cupcake ornament given to us by Pam, and a castle ornament that has a special meaning to me (Krystal). These ornaments make our tree even more special.
We’re all about art here at The Waking, and that’s why we love Etsy.com. Etsy is a site where people can sell handmade goods and art. It’s loaded with wonderfully quirky and unique items that would make a great gift for anyone. Check them out here!
Shopping for that person who seems to have everything? Get them one of these cool coin rings.
Show some love with this international love pillow, which features the word “love” in many different languages. This would make a cute gift for a couple or friend who needs their apartment spiffed up.
These awesome LP journals would make any music loving friend feel adored. These are made out of real vinyl records.
TOP TEN CHRISTMAS MOVIES:
(this was not my opinion it was researched and polled online)
1. A Christmas Story – How can you not like this movie!
2. It’s a Wonderful Life – Oh man my mother watches this every year with that sappy look on her face haha awww..
3. Miracle on 31st Street – One I honestly never watched, but everyone I know who has seen it loves it so im guessing to be in the top 3 it’s really good.
4. Scrooged – Bill Murray, enough said.
5. White Christmas – This is a 1954 flick with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, I might just have to rent it, I know Bing sings all the classic Christmas songs!
6. Elf – lol yes this movie is absolutely hilarious!
7. Christmas in Connecticut – Another oldie but a classic.
8. Home Alone – Man they show this all the time but I never get enough of it, still love it!
9. Babes in Toyland – I remember them showing us an updated version of this is school, however being the loudmouth I was, talked through the whole thing, but I heard it was good! haha
10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – A great comedy classic.
Some of the top 10 Christmas websites :
I don’t know if anyone DOESNT know about this site, but you can choose a face from your own photos and turn yourself into dancing elves. Send your own ElfYourself eCards
A great big red page of stories, Christmas computer wallpaper, games, and more.
Mp3’s of Christmas carols, recipes, films, stories and traditions
Visit Santa’s workshop, take part in a Christmas story, play games, visit the toyshop, this one is great for the kiddos!
Here you’ll find recipes for chocolate chip pumpkin bread, baked ham and other meats, gingerbread, biscuits, chocolate, and more. My stomach’s rumbling just looking at the page…
How to make a paper bag reindeer puppet, paper plate angel, stars, handprint wreath, snowman, tree, or even polyhedra ornaments! Plenty of craft activities for smaller hands.
“As a kid, everyone remembers that one house that really went all out for Christmas. If you want to be that house for today’s kids and make the memories that last a lifetime, PlanetChristmas is here to help. This is THE place to learn from others how to create great Christmas displays for you and your community
There are some super cool gadgets on here I loved, like the movie theater eyewear, and goggles that take pics in the water, totally cool useless stuff! haha
Yep cause there are geeks like me out there who actually kinda like this stuff haha
Where kids will have hours of fun playing dress up with Santa and his elves.
Crazy Christmas Lights Display!