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holiday

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The Santa Milk & Cookies Tradition at My House and Free Holiday Printables

santa milk and cookies table

Santa Claus is a holiday tradition that I cherish. It brings back sweet childhood memories that I wish to transmit to my son. My husband and I can’t wait that our son embrace Santa Claus. Like most babies, our son was scared last year when he sat on Santa’s lap. We have high hopes that our son will come to love the jolly old man in the red suit this year.

Beside reading Santa Claus stories to my son, I want to start a Santa milk and cookies tradition just for him. I can’t wait to hear him laugh as we’ll create new family memories. With all the big celebrations happening during the holiday season, it is important for me to allow some quality time with my husband and my son.

For now, I gave you a head up about the design of my Santa Milk & Cookies table on Christmas eve. The “Santa Treats” printables designed by Hostess with the Mostess were a good starting point. They inspired me to design a playful set up where lovely animals mix with old fashioned winter activities. Displaying a few toys makes that corner more inviting for Santa and for my son.

santa milk and cookies table with toys

On Christmas Eve, I will hang a small carrot bunch on one handle of his red rocking moose. Instead of reading him a book that night, we will tell him how Santa and his reindeers will enjoy our treats. He will be thrilled to help us bring the cookies, especially if he can eat one. I look forward to that night. We won’t forget to capture these precious family moments in photos.

Free Holiday Printables

The HWTM Santa Treats printable set includes party flags, party circles, 5×7″ signs, patterned papers, a “DELICIOUS” garland banner, and blank tent cards. CLICK HERE to download the entire printable set.

santa treats printables set overview

For my Santa treats table, I used one 5×7″ sign, two patterned papers, one party flag and three party circles. I printed the party circles and the party sign on cardboard and the rest is printed on a semi-glossy, high brillance 32 lbs paper. For a holiday party, I like the slight contrast in colors that you get when you mix paper types. I played the matte versus glossy angle with the baubles on the small Christmas tree.

santa milk and cookies table

Do you follow the milk and cookies for Santa tradition at your house? If yes, how do you make it special for your kids?

sponsored by HPAbout our Sponsor

This holiday season, let loved ones know how much you care. Use your favorite photos to create something personalized and unique for everyone on your list. Make it memorable. Make it meaningful. Make it matter. Go to hp.com/holiday for inspiration and ideas.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by HP via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of HP.

HOLIDAY decorations

A Round-Up of DIY Wall Christmas Trees

branch christmas tree

Whether it is because you don’t have the space to put a big Christmas tree or to use as a secondary tree, wall Christmas trees provide lots of possibilities to be creative with your holiday decorations. I created this round-up to highlight your options.

Lorena of Lalole likes to make craft projects out of her reclaimed wood. For her Christmas tree project, she upcycles woods that you typically found on the beach. The sticks are held together with sisal rope. Wash and let them first. The STRÅLA light chain at IKEA is similar to the snowflakes garland that she used to decorate her stick Christmas tree. Add white pompoms are your done.

mashi tape christmas tree
photo credits: Bodie and Fou

The easiest project is to draw a modern Christmas tree on your wall. Use metallic gold washi tape or glitter tape available in gold, silver evergreen, spinach and peacock. The tone on tone refines the design.

geometric paint chip chistmas tree

Designer, crafter, and maker Lisa Tilse created a geometric paint chip Christmas tree. You could reproduce her concept with gift wrapping paper, scrapbooking paper or other coloured paper. Visit her blog, The Red Thread, for the tutorial.

String Art Christmas Tree and Card Display
photo credits: My Poppet

The next project can be your holiday card display. It can also be a message center for all your holiday plans. Head to My Poppet to learn how to make Cintia’s string art Christmas tree.

christmas tree decal
photo credits: Subhuti Etsy seller

On Etsy, Subhuti was selling a Christmas tree self-adhesive vinyl decal with 8 Christmas balls. You could use it as inspiration to make your own with your kids.

Any of these are simple projects that you can make this weekend. And they will leave you plenty of time to do other things.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

My Holiday Décor Started with an Evergreen Bouquet

christmas bouquet

christmas bouquet

I like to integrate small holiday elements into my home décor. Here is an evergreen bouquet that I put next to my yellow green vase collection. To complement my vase collection, I put my bouquet inside a tall and narrow glass container that I cover with holiday gift wrap paper.

What is important when you design an evergreen bouquet is to play with textures. To achieve that result, I  looked outside the local conifers. I am sorry that I didn’t write down the different leaves but I know that several species are from the United States, the red berries are from Netherlands and the pine leaves are from Quebec. I bought them at Atwater farmers market. When you make your selection, stay with the same tones. Some conifers have yellow tones, others have blues.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

10 Stunning Christmas Stockings

Scandi Stripe Stocking

After the tree and the wreath, Christmas stockings top  my holiday essentials. These 10 of my favorite stockings explore a variety of designs. From a Scandinavian design, to a rustic take up to richly embroidered holiday stockings, make your pick.

What I like about this first composition is the fact that you can mix and match stockings. But I might put them as close to an open fire.

fair isle christmas stockings
Velvet Cuff with Faux-fur stocking and Chunky Cable Knitted Stocking $39.50 USD each at Pottery Barn

There are more to nordic stockings than the knitted stockings. Here is a stylish interpretation of nordic design.

Scandi Stripe Stocking
Scandi Stripe Stockings
£ 22 at Notonthehighstreet.com

loomed and looped stocking
Red Loomed & Looped Stocking
$48 USD at Anthropologie

These simple white dove stockings with seasonal greens and shapes feel right at home in a family room.

caroline stockings
Caroline stocking
$19.95 USD at Crate & Barrel

Sometimes all that you need is a simple statement.

personalized burlap stockings
Personalized Burlap Holiday Stocking
$22 USD by DesignbyNancyT on Etsy

I prefer the mix and match option for these stripe holiday stockings.

red or green stripe holiday stockings
Red or Green Stripe Holiday Stockings
$72 for 4 by DesignbyNancyT on Etsy

The next stockings are way more than I would be willing to pay for a Christmas stocking, but I couldn’t resist the Swarovski crystals.

luxurious velvet Christmas stockings
Hand-Painted Velvet Christmas Stockings
 By Jay Strongwater $595 USD at Neiman Marcus

Since every family member needs a stocking, do not forget to pick stockings for your pets.

holiday stockings for cats and dogs
Fishbone Christmas Stocking
and Dog Bone Christmas Stocking $7.99 each at World Market

If money was no object, which one is your favorite Christmas stocking?

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Easy Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas

valentine's breakfast eggs hearts

Scrambling to come up with a Valentine’s dinner plan? Both Kim and I agree that staying in is the way to go, but if you really want to surprise your loved ones, create a special start to their day by putting a little love into the most important meal of the day.

Although Tuesday mornings don’t usually afford a lot of time for a leisurely meal, these quick Valentine’s day fixes will send them off with a smile without having to set your alarm for 5 a.m. wake-up-call.

Bacon and Eggs
A match made in heaven if ever we’ve tasted one, this classic breakfast combo gets a couple of creative tweaks to make it V-Day appropriate.

paper mama valentine's breakfast bacon heart

  • The Paper Mama cleverly twists strips of bacon into the shape du jour

valentine's breakfast eggs hearts

  • A heart-shaped cookie cutter turns easy-to-make egg-in-the-nest into something to remember (we love the cute ketchup hearts too!)
  • If hardboiled eggs are your family’s preference, try this heart-shaped version – you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make. (Tuck this idea away for Easter brunch.)

Hot Drinks for Valentine’s Day
For those who prefer a liquid breakfast, these creative ideas put a Valentine’s spin on their favourite warm-me-up drink – whether coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

valentine's tea wrapper printable creature comforts

adore magazine valentine's tea printable

  • Make their tea simply sublime with free printable teabag wrappers from Creature Comforts or Australia’s Adore Magazine. If a mid-afternoon cuppa is your love’s thing, stash one in their work bag or notebook for a surprise.
valentine's day drinks hot chocolate printable
  • What could be more fitting for Valentine’s Day than a steaming cup of hot chocolate with heart-shaped marshmallows? All if takes is a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter (or a warm knife and a steady hand) to make these.
  • If they’re taking their bevvie to go, wrap their travel mug (or ask for an extra cup when you stop at your favourite café today) in this adorable printable sleeve from Eat Drink Chic.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? How will you celebrate this year?

SOURCING:
+ Bacon Hearts How-To from The Paper Mama
+ Heart-Shaped Egg-in-the-Nest How-To from Cute Food For Kids
+ Heart-Shaped Hard Boiled Egg How-To from Anna The Red
+ Free Printable Valentine’s Tea Bag Wrapper from Adore Magazine
+ Free Printable Valentine’s Tea Bag Wrapper from Creature Comforts
+ Heart-Shaped Marshmallow How-To from MarthaStewart.com
+ Free Printable Je T’aime Coffee Cup Wrappers from Eat Drink Chic

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Deck the Walls with Umbra Snap Frames

deck the walls

deck the walls

Here is a fun party activity or decor that you can use over and over. You could use the Umbra Snap frames to display your favorite photos of the guest of honor or to enhance the party theme. If you have a photo booth at your party, use them to create a place where people could hang their photos. I like the fact that your guests can write on them to comment their photos or give you their wishes.

Umbra Snap frame for a party decor

The Snap frames come in white, black and red in a pack of 9. I prefer the white ones for their versatility.

SOURCING:
+ For Canadians: Umbra Snap Frames in White $19.99 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]
+ For Americans: Umbra Snap Frames, Set of 9 $17.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Chocolate Soup for Valentine’s Day

chocolate soup recipe

chocolate soup recipe

Soup for dessert may seem like a stretch, though with rich chocolate and cream as key ingredients, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything more inventive or more indulgent to finish a Valentine’s Day meal.

This recipe, created by Heather at Sprinkle Bakes, uses skim milk and half-and-half cream to slightly reduce the calorie count without sacrificing the soup’s velvety texture. You could also use flavoured chocolate and a splash of your favourite liqueur for an added indulgence. Skip the sandwich and serve it with pound cake croutons, biscotti or garnished with berries.

What better way to warm hearts!

SOURCING:
+ Chocolate Soup Recipe from Sprinkle Bakes

GIFT IDEAS Gift WRAP

Christmas Gift Wrapping

christmas gift wrapping supplies

christmas gift wrapping supplies

Christmas Eve is a big day in Quebec. Tonight, we will be celebrating with the family. Before I wrap my last presents, I want to wish you and your family a Wonderful and Merry Christmas time.

I will publish a little during the Holiday season but I will mostly rest and plan what is coming next year for At Home with Kim Vallee. This Christmas will mark the end of an era. Next year, we will be celebrating with our baby boy.

Enjoy this time of the year!

SOURCING:
+ Christmas Deer Wrapping Paper £12 at Cox and Cox
+ Personalised Christmas Ribbon £16 at Cox and Cox

COCKTAILS + wine FOOD + DRINK

Dairy and Sugar Free Eggnog Recipe and More

Eggnog recipe

Eggnog recipe

Whether you choose to add rum or not, eggnog is a classic beverage best accompanied with a fire, a blanket and a holiday movie. Heat it up to greet guests as they come in from the cold or serve it with brunch on Christmas day.

To ensure even those with dietary restrictions can enjoy this once-a-year rich and creamy treat, pass on the carton you’ll find at the corner store and try this dairy and sugar-free version, adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe by Domestifluff.

Eggnog recipe

Inspired by Domestifluff’s recipe, I collected a few other egg nog alternatives. Check them out in the sourcing section. The common substitute for heavy cream, milk and eggs seems to be coconut and almond milks. They add flavor, but reduce the calories – so you can still enjoy a Christmas cookie alongside your cup.
RECIPES:
+ Dairy and Sugar Free Eggnog recipe from Domestifluff
+ Eggnog recipe from Alton Brown
+ Vegan Eggnog recipe from Post Punk Kitchen
+ Almond Milk Eggnog recipe from All Day I Dream About Food

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories | Etsy Find

Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper and Cake on etsy

Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper and Cake on etsy

DIY photo booths are a popular, budget-savvy solution for weddings and parties. They provide both an ice-breaker and entertainment for guests, while capturing the special and hilarious moments from the event.

Many families use the holidays as an opportunity to update families photos, so why not consider staging a DIY photo booth as a smart alternative for the overdone, and often embarrassing, traditional portrait.

The printable holiday photobooth accessories from Paper & Cake include Santa’s hat and beard, Mrs. Claus’ glasses, reindeer antlers, Rudolph’s red nose and other backdrop decorations. They’re sure to guarantee smiles for the photo and for the photo’s recipient.

SOURCING:
+ Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper & Cake $9.95 USD on Etsy
+ via Hostess with the Mostess

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

gingerbread house decorating party

gingerbread house decorating party

Move over cookie swap. There’s a new holiday baking party idea that’s sweetening up the neighborhood! Decorating a gingerbread house is a holiday tradition that will resonate with nostalgic adults and excited children. Both groups will love this delightful idea for a holiday get together from Sara and Brittany of One Charming Party.

If gingerbread seems too labour-intensive, consider pre-assembling graham cracker houses so guests can skip straight to the fun part: decorating! The miniature size is perfect for little hands and is easily transported at the end of the party.

Be sure to use the adorable invite to create excitement with guests. And check out One Charming Party for more hosting and gingerbread house decorating tips.

SOURCING:
+ photos by Sara Westbrook