Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our Naughty or Nice Christmas Gift Exchange

They say Christmas is for kids right?

Well in our family the kids
have all grown up.

with the exception of the above photo, all (other) photos are from online sources
because I was just having too much fun to take photos

My husband and I have
 3 twenty-something children.

I have three siblings with spouses
and between those three families
there are 7 more nieces/nephews
also in their teens and twenties.
Two of which are married adding
two more twenty-somethings.
Occasionally a boyfriend or girlfriend
may be thrown into the mix.

For Christmas last year at my Mom's house
there were, as I remember, 17 adults.
My sister and her husband and their
two married daughters had other plans
and did not attend.

Gifts for small children is always fun
but for adults it's just a bit more challenging 
so we had ruled "no gifts".
We would have a nice gathering
for Christmas dinner.

No Gifts??
It just isn't Christmas without gifts!
I don't care what it is,
it's just nice to have something to open...
something small,
NOT a gift card thank you.
Something to hold
to wonder "what could it be?"
you admire the wrapping,
the shiny bow,
something unexpected that
warms the heart
and brings a smile.



 I had heard one of the girls at work
talking about their family Christmas...
They have small children so of course they
enjoy watching them open their gifts of toys, etc.
Then the adults also have a grab-bag type
of gift exchange but were going to
try a new gift exchange game....

My ears perked up....

Something she had found online... the
"Christmas with the Right Family" story.
I decided to print off a copy for myself too.
It sounded like fun.

In this game/gift exchange
everyone sits in a, near as possible,
circular arrangement around the room 
holding the gift they are giving,
and someone reads the story aloud.

During the reading of the story
every time the word "left" or "right" is read
everyone passes their gift in that direction.
Kind of like musical chairs but with passing of gifts.

I made my own version of the story to 
add to the story line, incorporating more
left and right passes,
and added an "across" pass.
When the word "across" is read
you exchange gifts with the person
seated across from you.

 I've provided links at the end of this post
so you can print a copy
to use at your own party.

Since this was pretty much a last minute decision
I decided I would provide all of the gifts
for the exchange myself
instead of asking everyone to
bring a gift to share.

Since there is no way of knowing who is going
to end up with which gift
 all of the gifts have to be generic....
that is to say 
appropriate for all ages
non-gender specific.

And since I hadn't really budgeted for
buying 20 gifts
I put the emphasis on
the game not the gift.

To get everyone in
the same room away from the television
off the smart phones, etc.
for the fun of fellowship in playing the game.
No costly gifts.

Then I had idea...

"Then he got an idea.  An awful idea.
The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea"!

I would put my own spin on it.
I'd make some of the gifts
Naughty !

and some of the gifts 
Nice !

hahahah, (wringing my hands)
this would be soooo fun!!

I set a budget of $3 - $5 per gift.

I labelled the gift either Naughty or Nice
in a place that would be visible
after taking off the outer gift wrap
by applying a label to the tissue paper
resting on top of the actual gift item
just inside the box under the lid
or that would be visible when you peeled back
the box flaps.
The recipient should announce to
onlookers if they've received a
naughty or nice gift.

I warned everyone at the beginning
of the game that some of the gifts 
were Naughty and some were Nice.
Everyone's curiosity was 
instantly piqued,
and the fun 
insanity began.

I piled all of the gifts in the center 
of the living room
and told everyone to chose a gift.

Right away, my sister insisted...
"What are all those gifts?
Bet, did you bring gifts?
We weren't supposed to get gifts!

After shushing her, I told them 
they were just fun dollar store gag gifts
for a game.
So anyhow, choose a gift,
it doesn't matter which gift 
you don't get to keep it.

My husband read the story
and it was a bit of a workout
keeping up with
passing the gifts along
and catching the one thrown
into your lap from the person
next to you. 
Imagine 17 adults springing out of their
seat and heading into the center of the room
to exchange their gift box with the
person who had been seated across from them.
It's crazy!  
"Take mine","no he sits across
from me, no me,  I'm exchanging with her"
"I don't have anyone to exchange with"
"okay, change with him then
exchange with me".
The room was loud with laughter and chatter.
You just got sat back down, gifts spinning
around the room, left then right, then right again
then left
then everyone up out of their seat to
exchange across the room aaagain!

Pure fun 
and at moments,
 pure chaos.

So after the story was read and
all of the gifts were settled
we opened them one at a time while everyone
else watched with anticipation.

who got a Naughty gift?

Will I get a Nice gift?

If I get a Naughty gift, what could it be?

As I remember my sister was the first 
to get a Naughty gift...

Snowman Poop!!   (giggle)
a ziploc bag with mini marshmallows.

The Naughty gifts were just a bit naughty
but mostly silly 
and I was sure to
tuck in something nicer or useful too.

So there was also a little snowman hanging
tree ornament in the gift box
tucked in with the snowman poop.

My sister laughed and made comment
that there was a theme going here
when she and eventually
 both her daughter and son
received more Naughty gifts... niece and nephew each received a different style of 
reindeer antlers and reindeer poop!!!

My daughter, on the other hand ,
LOL, there's NO WAY anyone could have planned it,
was on the receiving end of a gift
labelled  Nice...

Nutcracker "Sweets"

a nutcracker of course 

along with candy  in nutcracker packagings...

and a nutcracker lottery ticket

Another naughty gift was

"Coal 'd Hard Cash"

Christmas "coal"

along with Holiday Cash Lottery Tickets

My Mom was the recipient of this one
(probably the only time she's ever played)
and unfortunately she didn't win anything 
on the scratch offs.


Oh,  Fudge

N  "Ice"   ?

Walgreens sells a brand of products
called NICE!.  So that makes it easy to add
more nice gifts...

So with a little imagination
and some inexpensive items 
we had loads of fun.

All of the twenty-somethings begged,
Oh,  Aunt Betty, that was so much fun
can we do it again next year!?

There are a number of
stories around the internet.
You can find one of those
"Christmas with the Right Family"  

I 've never offered any printables
before and I'm not really sure how to do that
so I've written my version of the story
on another"page" of my blog.
You should be able to 
highlight the story, right click and print.

Click here 
to get
 My Adaptation of 
"A Naughty or Nice Christmas
with the WRIGHT Family".

A Blessed and Merry Christmas to All 
and to all a Happy Gift Exchange,

Christmas Hugs,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Ornament Swap

Hi, thanks for stopping by on such a
busy week.  Can you believe Christmas
is next week?

This year I participated in my first bloggers swap.

The Swap was organized by Erica over at 
The rules of the Swap were that we
were to make two ornaments and a tag
in a kitchen Christmas theme.
Include a favorite Christmas cookie recipe,
and anything else we wished, 
perhaps something sweet!

I was partnered with 
Trisha at American Honey Home .

Today I'm excited to share with you
what I received from Trisha.

Take a look...

First, Trisha had written a Christmas
message inside this cute little
card with a baking theme.
Look at that adorable little apron
complete with utensils in the pocket.
and cookies on a baking sheet beside.

Trisha chose to decorate two mini kitchen utensils
a grater and a wire whisk...

I like how she wrapped the whisk handle.
The Santa at the top has a cord for hanging.

And look at that sweet little gingerbread man
on the grater.

Next she included a decorated bingo card.
I love the turquoise and red color combination.

Stamped with an Eiffel Tower, Joyeux Noel

a little wreath around the "O"

and beautiful red felt roses in the corner.

The recipe she sent is for  Sugar Butter Cookies.
Don't they sound delicious!  
Can't wait to try them.

Then she tucked in some
fun extra goodies...
like Christmas straws
and bakers popular right now.

Some yummy peppermint chocolate
and red reindeer Christmas socks!

She must know I'm a cupcake baker
or had seen one of my cupcake posts
because she sent these 
gorgeous Mary Engelbreit cupcake liners.

Thank you Trisha for
all the great gifts!!
It was fun being your Swap Partner.

And Thank you Erica for the Party.

A Very Merry Christmas
to both of you and your families!!!

Christmas Hugs,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thrifty Resale Shop Finds

I made a trip to a
local thrift resale shop this weekend,
and spent a whopping total of 75 cents on
two bags of miniature goodies
that I'm hoping will have lots
of crafting possibilities.

I can't wait to see what's inside.

Let's take a look...

...a little sled, perfect for the season
lots of possibilities...

...several bears...

the tiniest little rocking horses I've ever seen
must be a whole one-half inch tall...

a gnome,
I'm not really into gnomes, but maybe
I can do something with him in the
Spring...a garden themed something or other...


also good for the Spring & Easter season.

One unfortunate little guy is missing a foot 
but I'm sure I can place him somewhere
so it goes unnoticed.

owls are popular right now
and this one is a cutie...

a sweet little Christmas mouse...
just look at that face,
and oh, those ears, ha!

vintage choir angels
with golden wings and glittered gowns...

a smaller than bite-size gingerbread man
cookie cutter...

teeny tiny little ice skaters...

and last but certainly not least,
my absolute faaavorite!
this adorable little vintage deer


certainly worth buying both bags
just to rescue her alone

Well now, 
I just have to figure out
where to use all of these tiny treasures.

I got to get crafting!

Until next time,

Warm Hugs,

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mason Jar Lid Christmas Tree Ornaments

Hello, I'm so glad you've come to visit today.
Please pour a cup of tea and come with me.

I'd like to show you some tree
ornaments I've made from 
Ball Mason Jar Lids.

I remember my mom showing me
how to make a simple ornament for
our Christmas tree when I was young.

We used canning jar rings and lids,

and a Christmas card mailed to
our family the previous year.

We laid the lid over an image 
on the front of the card,
traced around it 
and cut it out.

We tied a piece of 
gift wrap curling ribbon around the ring,
 inserted the lid 
and hung the finished ornament
on the tree.

Well I've grown up now 
and so have my decorating skills.

Taking inspiration from my childhood
and these glittery snowflakes
with Victorian images on
vintage sheet music backgrounds...

I've further embellished
my childhood basic ornaments 
by wrapping/decoupaging
sheet music paper around the jar lid ring.

 I've used art paper to line the inside
instead of the Christmas card image
and a circle of music paper to finish the back.

For these I've simply added some
greenery, berries and glitter
but you could create any kind
of little scene inside the lid.

I also added a little banner with a Christmas message
cut from a scrap of music paper,

alternately, you could use a Christmas card like this.

Here's another look at my two finished lid ornaments.

If I've inspired you to craft your own
ornaments from canning lids
please leave me a comment.
I'd love to see what you've done
and would like to "Feature" you
in an upcoming post 
with a link back to your original post.

Warm Hugs,