Baking Cookies for Santa!

After today, there are only eight more Fridays before Christmas .. which means it’s past time to get started baking cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas eve, don’t you agree?!  We’re going to share a favorite cookie recipe each Friday until Christmas – and if you have a favorite you’d like to share, get in touch – we’ll be happy to let the world in on your holiday baking success secrets, too!

Yes, I am in the lucky position of sorting through sweet recipes and picking my favorites.  Do you think this is easy?  No.  Each week, I will be #479057 Possible Dreams Santa - Jelly Filledconsidering, contemplating, curating, copying, and collating thoughts about cookies for a day.  Maybe more than a day.  This is a hard, hard thing.  No, really.  Walk in my shoes.  You know, I really need some new shoes.  I think I’d better put that on my list for Santa right now.  Shoes.  And a new mixer.  A red KitchenAid® stand mixer.  Good start.  Now, what was I talking about??

Cookies!  I’m starting with a non-traditional cookie, so you’ll have time to bombard me with your best recipes for next week.  And I like easy in my repertoire, so this one will just get you thinking about sweet treats for Santa, without too much work.  (I literally have no idea how to make donuts, so this [Possible Dreams Santa – Jelly Filled] is for illustration purposes only.  Imagine cookies with me.)

Shared with me by a friend in Indiana many years ago, thank you, Melissa, you know who you are!

First, a quick housekeeping note, I like efficiency and shorthand in my recipes.  I always put oven temperature, pan size, and baking time at the top; for measurements, I use this shorthand:  C = Cup, T = Tablespoon, t = teaspoon.

Magic Cookie Bars

350° oven, 13″ x 9″ pan, 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C margarine/butter
  • 1-1/2 C Graham Cracker crumbs (don’t you love being able to get them pre-smashed these days?  Me, too!)
  • 1 C chopped nuts
  • 1 C shredded coconut
  • 1 C milk chocolate chips
  • 1 C butterscotch chips
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

Put margarine in baking pan and place in oven.  Turn oven on to heat.  When margarine has melted, remove from oven and sprinkle with Graham Cracker crumbs.  Spread evenly across bottom of pan as a crust.  Sprinkle crust with chocolate and butterscotch chips, nuts, and coconut (in any order).  Top with sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, watching the sides for burning.  Cool completely and cut into squares.  (or eat straight from the pan, there’s no judgement here.)

You can also use a smaller pan for thicker cookies, and you can substitute crushed pretzels for a savory counterpoint to the sweet toppings.  You can use any topping you like, but keep the volume the same, about four cups of toppings.

Cookies for Santa plateThese cookie bars have never lasted long enough for me to be able to suggest an average shelf life of anything more than, oh, eight to ten hours, sorry.

When you put them out for Santa on Christmas eve, do you have a fun plate for Santa?  [Maybe one like this?]

Plesae don’t forget to leave a few apple slices and carrots for the reindeer, too!

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S. Send us a recipe to share – e-mail it to santa@christmasplace.com, and use the message title “cookie recipe for blog.”  We’re looking forward to your creativity – and maybe some of your cookies will show up at the elves’ annual post-Christmas gathering, fingers crossed for it!

A Walk in the Christmas Woods

2016 Christmas Trees

A Walk In The Woods

Silent woods in the midst of a frozen winter landscape, snow over hard ground, frost on snow.  A white deer braves the cold morning – and finds himself dressed in a heavy blanket of frosted evergreens and berries with a red bow tied around his neck.  Sorry, handsome, you came a little too close to a Christmas Place decorator!  “A Walk In The Woods” is just a glorious Christmas tree, loaded with all the icy goodness of the season in red and white.

2016 Christmas Tree Theme A Walk in the Woods

That sleigh – it slays me!  (I crack me up, I really do sometimes!)  We gussied up these fun [skis with poles] with some extra holiday greens and a [red burlap ribbon with grey snowflakes]  (- no picture available).  Here’s another choice I might consider, too, for a different take… [red and black plaid snowflake ribbon].  Don’t forget to grab a few [red birch trees] for your mantle.

Red sleigh with skis and Christmas greens

More fun focal additions for the tree: the [Ho-Ho-Ho Ski Gear set] – includes skis, poles, and the Ho-Ho-Ho message; and for a bright hit of color, the [Let It Snow Shovel] – again, we added a big bow for more wow.

2016 Christmas Tree - A Walk in the Woods

2016 Christmas Tree A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods 2016 Tree & Decorated Reindeer

2016 A Walk In The Woods Christmas Decorations

2016 A Walk In The Woods Christmas Decorations

2016 A Walk In The Woods Christmas Decorations

2016 A Walk In The Woods Christmas Decorations

And the final touch – [Snowbound Santa] – dressed in cozy knits and fur, clutching his skis, ready to make his way to the North Pole as preparations for Christmas come to a glorious conclusion. (Wow, even Santa gets photo-bombed – by that cheeky red ornament, of all things!  Oops, do-over time!)

2016 A Walk In The Woods Christmas Decorations

2016 A Walk In The Woods Christmas Decorations

Maybe I say this every time I photograph a new tree, but this one is probably my favorite this year!  (Until the next one, I can’t claim otherwise.)

Do you choose a theme and put everything together, or do you hodge-podge it?  Back in a few days with another tree!

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S. Something new with Santa this year – we’re inviting guests to bring pets for a special photo day with Santa!  Proceeds from pictures will be donated to the Sevier County Humane Society for their efforts to care for pets awaiting families in our county.  Don’t worry, your pets don’t have to be dressed to have their pictures taken with the Head Elf – but isn’t it just more fun for everyone if they are??

Flyer for Pet Photos with Santa Claus on November 13, 2016

 

Two for Tuesday – Christmas Decorations

I’m thinking it’s a beauty and a cutie, both on one tree in the Christmas Gallery.  Every tree needs both large and small decorations, as well as sizes in between, for balance and a pleasing aspect.

This distressed-finish [red lantern] is a foot tall (without the handle), and can be used indoors or out.  We’ve added a flameless [burgundy Luminara candle] (not included), and a [plaid ribbon] around the top for a splash of polish and elegance.  I’m also kind of mad for [this cardinal ribbon with greetings] and [this cardinal ribbon] in the picture, too!

Red Lantern

Just love this tiny little winter scene of a brown budgie perched outside his snow covered bird house.  A second bird is hidden behind the tree branch, and a heavy winter frost coats the entire ornament. There is a second style for this ornament; [see them both here.]

Bird & Bird House Ornament

Your Christmas tree will be more interesting and pleasing to view if you include ornaments and decorations in multiple sizes – start with the largest items first (three to five as focal points around the tree at different heights), and add more ornaments as you go down in size with each layer of decorations.  That’s how a 12″ lantern and a 3″ birdhouse work in concert to make beautiful music on your tree!  Okay, I don’t know why I went musical just then, but you get the analogy, right?!  It all works harmoniously together.

We hope you’ll share some of your favorite design ideas and elements with us, either by e-mailing santa@christmasplace.com, or come on over and visit [our Facebook page] and share some pictures with us there.

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S. Coming up this weekend, a signing with the creators of the collectible dog breed ornaments, [Joy to the World Collectibles].  If your best friend is an unique breed, come and take a look at these gorgeous glass ornaments – something outstanding for your Christmas tree!

Joy to the World Collectible Dog Breed Ornaments Signing

A Christmas Sleigh in Four Easy Steps

Here at Christmas Place, we are always ready to offer holiday tips to help you create memorable moments to cherish with family and friends.  It’s what we live for!  Here’s a super-simple project – a beautiful candle-and-poinsettia-in-red-sleigh centerpiece for your Christmas table, in just a few easy steps.  I’ll include all the elements, most (but not all*) of them available at the store.

Christmas Sleigh Centerpiece

1.  Assemble your base:

  • Red sleigh (so new, it hasn’t even come over from the warehouse yet, give us a few days)
  • Red candle(s)*
  • Green foam*
  • Green moss*

Mini red sleigh with candles and grass

2:  Next, add:

3.  Mix with:

  • One talented floral designer*
  • Hot glue gun*
  • Wire and chenille stems*

4.  Leave everything alone together for about two hours.  When you return, voilà!

Mini red sleigh with candles and Christmas floral

The perfect centerpiece for Christmas dinner – besides the turkey, the ham, and Mom’s sweet potato casserole (with pecans and marshmallows).

Mini Red Sleigh and Candles Christmas Floral Arrangement

I told you it was super simple!  You will find lots of ideas in our [on-line floral selection at ChristmasPlace.com] to help you create a Christmas masterpiece – or just come by the store, and let us do the work for you.  (We’ll let you take the credit, we don’t mind.)

Come back for more quick and easy holiday projects to help you prepare for the best Christmas 2016 ever!

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S.  While you’re planning your trip to pick up supplies for your super-simple centerpiece project, why not come on an event day, meet an artist or author, and take home a signed piece?  It’s a great tradition for those ornaments and collectibles you’d like to hand down for Christmases to come.

List of artist signings and events for oct-nov-dec 2016