Green Greetings

The holidays are around the corner and your shopping is almost done, but you still haven’t taken the time to sit down and write out the holiday greeting cards that mom insists should be sent.  Secretly, you are probably hoping that Santa’s elves will come and take care of it for you, as you still don’t know when you will fit in writing and addressing those thirty, sixty or one hundred cards.

My favorite solution to this dilemma at holiday time, or any other time of year that you require greeting cards or invitations, is Paperless Post.  This convenient, affordable, easy-to-use, green service allows you to create beautiful custom cards online in minutes.  However, these are not your typical online cards, as they are designed to look like beautiful, hand-made stationary and are free of advertisements and pop-ups.  Their unique designs and luxurious feel keeps these cards personal.

For $12 you can send 150 cards or invitations to the most important people on your list and confidently know that they will be delivered.  The online Post Box in your account allows you to track each card’s delivery to ensure it was delivered successfully, and even allows you to receive personal messages from the recipient.

So, make mom happy and send out those cards, but check out Paperless Post and use the time that you saved to attend another holiday party.

Paperless Post

Personalized Gift Boxes

Sharing homemade baked goods and treats is one of my favorite things to do around the holidays.  It is a thoughtful gift that allows you to share some of your favorite holiday recipes and family traditions.  Whether it is for a friend, colleague or party host, it is an excellent way to show someone that you care and appreciate them.

When sharing these special treats, have fun with packaging them.  You can get creative and make something on your own from scratch, or use these Williams & Sonoma Custom Gift Boxes that I recently discovered.  These easy to assemble, boxes are a quick and convenient way to finish of this special gift.  And, you can even monogram the boxes for a little touch of luxury and personalization.

P.S. – If you want these boxes by Christmas, be sure to order them by Thursday, December 16!

Williams & Sonoma Custom Gift Boxes

Holiday Storage: Start Prepping Now

While I know that most of us are just starting to pull out our holiday decor to decorate our home and tree(s), I want talk about packing it all away.  Yes, that is right.  I want you to think about the end of this wonderful holiday season and the dreaded task of de-decorating.

Now, I am not trying to rush to the end of the season due to a lack of love for it; after all, this is one of my favorite times of year.  However, I want you to think about the end of the season so you can start prepping for it now in order to save time and make things flow more smoothly in the future.

While you are unpacking your ornaments and holiday decor this year, take note of the condition of your storage containers – What is broken?  What needs to be replaced? What needs better moisture protection?  What valuables could be better protected?  Make a list and start shopping for these items and containers as you are doing your holiday shopping.  Since you will already be out shopping or flipping through catalogs, it is the perfect time to gather the new ornament boxes, light boxes, wreath boxes, etc. that you will need to store your items safely at the end of the season.  Starting to shop for the items now will save you time and prevent you from making special trips in the future, which will make the de-decorating process much easier and ensure there are no excuses not to have the proper materials to pack away your holiday decor in an organized manner.  Plus, if you start gathering the storage items now, it will give you ample time to watch for sales on the items that you need and allow enough time for delivery on the items that you order online or through a catalog.

To help you get started, here are a couple of products that I love for holiday storage.  I recommend trying to purchase any storage items in the appropriate holiday colors to make it even easier to quickly identify your holiday items within your storage area.

Snap N’ Stack Ornament Storage Box

The Snap N’ Stack Ornament Storage Box helps keep your ornaments safe and easily accessible.  The separate snap-on layers allow you to access each layer of ornaments independently so you don’t have to worry about taking all of the ornaments out from one layer before getting to the next (as many other storage containers do).  These boxes also serve as great storage solutions for ribbon, bows, gift tags, and other small holiday items.

Wing-Lid Light Storage Box

The Wing-Lid Light Storage Box allows you to not only keep your lights safe from breaking, but it more importantly keeps them tangle free!  The container comes with four, plastic Light Cord Wraps that allow you to easily store your lights at the end of the season and quickly pull them out to begin decorating next season.  These containers also serve as a great storage solution for holiday garland.

Traveling with that Yummy Casserole

While growing-up, I always used to watch my grandmothers and mother wrap-up casserole dishes filled with anything from baked ziti to turkey stuffing.  Their method was simple, inexpensive and effective for short trips.  All it took was some aluminum foil and a large (preferably square) dishtowel.

Step 1 - Cover your casserole dish with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Next, place the casserole dish in the center of the towel.
Step 2 - Tie two opposite ends of the towel together in a knot over the center of the lid of the casserole dish. Be sure to tie it firmly so the lid is secure.
Step 3 - Tie the remaining two ends of the towel together in a knot on top of the one you just tied. Again, be sure to tie the knot firmly to keep the lid secure.
Step 4 - You are all set. To add a little more insurance that your dish will say warm, place the securely wrapped dish in an insulated hot/cold bag available at your local grocery store.

 

**Note: Always be careful while transporting hot items as they could still spill if not handled cautiously.

Modern-Day Casserole Carrier

 

While I do love the tricks that I have learned from my mother and grandmothers, modern-day products like Rachael Ray’s Casseroval Carrier Set have helped to make life easier.  This bake-to-serve, Stoneware casserole dish will help you transport your yummy casserole right from your oven to the dinner table across town.  The built-in straps help to secure the lid and prevent spills during transit and the zip-up insulated bag will keep your food warm.

I love this product for its versatility.  The casserole dish is great for everyday use, and the collapsible, easy-to-store, insulated bag makes it perfect for those special potluck occasions with friends and family.

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