Wreaths Across America

There is still time to help Wreaths Across America place Christmas wreaths on the graves of fallen service men and women all around the country and across the globe for the holidays.  This year’s wreath-laying will take place on December 12th.

An extension of the Arlington Wreath Project begun in 1992 by Morrill Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Company, the project has expanded across the U.S. since 2005.  In 2008, wreaths were laid in every state, Puerto Rico, and 24 overseas cemeteries – over 100,000 wreaths were laid by over 60,000 volunteers last year.

You can sponsor an individual wreath in your name or someone else’s name for only $15, or participate as a family, small or large business, or make  a donation to the project.  It is a comfort to the families of our fallen service men and women to know that their sacrifice is remembered at Christmas.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Weekly Deals at Christmas Place

As promised, the specials keep coming.

Today is the final day to take advantage of our Thanksgiving special, an additional 15% off all clearance items plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

Also on special this week at ChristmasPlace.com:

Yankee Candles BOGO sale is continuing all month long, and don’t forget about the free gifts we are including with all qualifying orders.

Get in the Cyber Monday spirit and place your order today!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Yes, I’m sure you’re stuffed to the gills ~ or, let me say, I hope that everyone reading this has been blessed with an abundance of good food and family fun this week!  But you will, one day, be ready to eat again … I looked for a cook book that included recipes just for Thanksgiving leftovers, but had no luck.  Here’s my favorite:  turkey sandwich, but add a slice of cranberry sauce.  The sweetness, next to the turkey, lettuce, and a bit of mustard and mayo – yum!  Sends me over the moon.  If you have leftover rolls, use them for your bread … even yummier.

So, have a great weekend!

Why are you still reading?  Do you need more ideas?  Hmmmm … okay, how about Comfort Foods, by Gooseberry Patch.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, even foods for one or two – who knew you could make a tasty bread pudding with just one slice of bread??

I have selected a dish that seems appropriately named for this weekend.  I need to try this, because I just don’t quite get the concept of potatoes cooked in pasta, yet people really love a well-made dish of pierogi.

Lazy Pierogi

15 lasagna noodles, cooked & divided
2 C mashed potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
8 ozs. shredded Cheddar cheese
garlic salt, pepper, & onion powder to taste
1/2 C butter
1 onion, chopped
Garnish:  sour cream

Arrange 5 lasagna noodles in a lightly greased 13″ x 9″ baking pan; set aside.  Combine potatoes, eggs, cheese, and seasonings; spread half of mixture over lasagna.  Cover with another 5 lasagna noodles; spread with remaining potato mixture.  Top with remaining lasagna; set aside.  Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; sauté onion until tender.  Pour onion mixture over lasagna.  Cover with aluminum foil; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into squares.  Serve with sour cream on the side.

(On the facing page to this recipe is Grandma Shady’s Ham Loaf.  We must hope that the editors were quite careful in the placement of that ‘s on Shady instead of Grandma, mustn’t we??)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe that would be great for the party and homemade gift-giving season that is already upon us.

Grandma’s Chocolate Popcorn

14 C popped popcorn (okay, in today’s world of bags of microwave popcorn, does anyone know how many bags that might be??)
3 C crispy rice cereal
1-1/2 lbs. melting chocolate, chopped
3 T creamy peanut butter
Optional:  2 C dry-roasted peanuts

In a large bowl, mix popcorn, cereal and peanuts, if using; set aside.  Combine chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes until melted, stirring after every minute.  Pour over popcorn mixture, tossing to coat well.  Spread onto a large, greased, non-stick baking sheet; cool completely.  Break apart; store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon; t = Teaspoon

Wishing you a delicious weekend – and reminding you that there are fewer than 30 days to Christmas … !

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Letters to Santa

We receive many, many Letters to Santa at the store and the hotel every year.  Most are very cute, all are hopeful, and once in a while there is a letter or two that touches our hearts and reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas ~ family, and the promise of hope for the future.

Dear Santa,
    Please pray to God that my dad gets better, that’s all I want for Christmas.  I want us to spend more time together.
     Love, Sierra
P.S. He has chronic fatigue syndrome

Dear Santa,
     My cousin is 44 yrs old and is dying with cancer.  She recently lost her husband in a car accident, and remarried, when she was diagnosed with cancer.  She has 2 children who are 18 & 13.  They lost their father in an accident and now may lose their mother.  Please pray that God will heal her and that she can watch her children grow up!  Thank you so much!  This would be the greatest present I could ever receive!!  Time is running out but I know miracles still happen!!!

In this season of giving, often the greatest gift of all is time with the ones we love.

Have a blessed holiday.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

Everyone ~ guests and staff alike ~ in the store today is in such a festive mood now that Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is just weeks away!  It’s always a treat to see wonder and joy light up the littlest children’s faces as they look around at all our trees and decorations.  Sure hope you’ve had or will have the chance to stop by sometime this season to see for yourself.

This first Santa was found on my desk, of all places … He’s a woodland Santa, with a beautifully embroidered coat and a blanket of frosty snowflakes all over.  He has a hanger and is meant to be a tree decoration.  He has a snowman and an ice skating angel for his companions.

And here’s another special fellow ~ the Elegant Traditional Santa, appearing as an elf!  At 22″ tall, he’s very grand with his velvet leggings and sparkling wings – and pointed ears.  He is fully wired, so you can easily pose him to fly from the ceiling or perch in your Christmas tree or on a shelf or mantle.

Doesn’t he have the most magnificent footwear?!

It’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Christmas Place Weekly Deals

They keep coming, new product specials every week!  Check these out:

In addition, we have several other offers going this month:

We hope you’ll find just the items you’re looking for among all these offers!

Congratulations to our Week 3 Gingerbread Giveaway winner, Carol D. from Wayne, New Jersey.  Remember, you can enter once a day for the duration of the giveaway to improve your odds of winning.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Gingerbread House!

Patty, our lead in Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen, has entered a wonderful gingerbread house – well, a row of gingerbread houses – in a local competition.  Here are some pictures of her entry, on its way to Gatlinburg for the contest.  Looks good enough to eat … and then lie down and take a long, long winter’s nap.

The house is about 24″ long, 12″ wide, and 18″ tall.  I wonder how long it took her to place all those wafers on the roof?

Good luck, Patty!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Do you like to bake and share homemade goodies for Christmas?  I remember once managing to acquire M&Ms® in the colors of a friend’s tartan (she plays in a bagpipe band), and putting together a cookie-mix-in-a-jar gift layered with those special candies ~ it was a real hit!

If you like to personalize your gifts with a handmade touch, check out Homemade Christmas, a collection of recipes, gift, and decorating ideas to help plan everything from tinsel at breakfast to your holiday open house and the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.  There are even gift ideas for the beasts of both the field and the hearth.

This book includes a very wide range of recipes for all tastes and occasions, including some rather unique dishes.  Have you heard of Callaloo (crabmeat & coconut milk), Luku (starts with 8 hard-boiled eggs), or Lefse (Norwegian flatbread)?  There are also some very fun sweets recipes that kids would love to help with in the kitchen, such as this one.

Lincoln Logs

1 C chunky peanut butter
2 T butter, softened
1-1/4 C sifted powdered sugar
3 C crispy rice cereal
Chopped peanuts

Combine peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar.  {They say that like it is so easy to incorporate things into peanut butter, don’t they??}  Add cereal; mix well, and crush slightly.  Shape into three 7×1-1/4″ logs.  Roll logs in crushed peanuts.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.  Slice in 1/2-inch thick discs.  This sounds awfully yummy to me!

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon

As I was flipping through the book, I noticed a letter from a contributor  about her family’s holiday traditions; gift opening did not commence til after a breakfast of homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy.  Chocolate gravy?  Here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Gravy

2 C sugar
4 T cocoa
1 stick butter or margarine
3 C milk, divided

Mix sugar, cocoa, and butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1/2 C milk; let mixture come to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the milk, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, and let cook for 30 minutes.  Serve over hot homemade biscuits.

I’m just thinking that maybe someone left a pan of hot chocolate on the stove a little too long, and then figured out how to salvage it – and chocolate gravy was born!  I’m just not sure I can handle that much chocolate at dawn, but maybe I’ll get a chance to try it one day.

Have a sweet weekend!  R.J. McDonald, Santa and wildlife painter, will be here Saturday and Sunday for a signing of his prints – he’s bringing a cookbook with him, too – I hope I’ll get to see what it’s about.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

We have a cupola!

It’s a gloriously sunny, almost warmish afternoon here in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains … a perfect day to place the cupola on the roof of our Partridge & Pear restaurant, opening early next summer right next door to us here in Pigeon Forge!

Yay!  It’s going to have a copper roof when completed.  The restaurant is really starting to take shape, and we’re looking forward to inviting you for a taste of Good Food & Holiday Cheer!

Janet @ The Christmas Place