Great gifts that give more

Tis the season for giving, and you can give double time when the proceeds from your purchase go to worthy causes.

There are many options to consider. Beautiful bracelets support working women in Kenya. You can help prevent cruelty to animals with the purchase of a cute pet-themed pillowcase. Target is sending blankets and meals to needy people with the purchase of a variety of items, and unique glass art is helping to fight pediatric cancer.

Even Finnegan’s beer sales are going to feed the hungry. I’ll drink to that.

Read the full article here: 10 Stylish Gifts That Give Back

Cute reindeer cookies your kids can make!

These might be some of the cutest holiday snacks I’ve ever seen, and your kids can make them all by themselves!

All you need are oreos or other sandwich-style cookies, pretzels, some melted white chocolate, and M&Ms. Just assemble them into a reindeer face and repeat! The pretzels squish in between the cookies for the antlers, and the M&Ms are the eyes and nose. Easy and festive!

If you can’t find star-shaped pretzels like the ones shown, just break regular ones in half.

Read the full article here: Simple Reindeer Snack: Just 4 Ingredients

I am the Christmas tree! Silly holiday family portraits

Holiday portraits are a big part of the Christmas season for many families. Some opt for matching sweaters or cute reindeer antlers, and others choose a fancy, elegant theme.

Then there are these – a showcase of ten hilarious, over the top photos of families full of awkward Christmas cheer sure to make you smile.

Read the full article here: 10 Hilarious Family Holiday Portraits

Easy, bite-sized holiday brownies

These bite-sized sweet treats will have everyone in happy spirits. They’re super easy to make and would surely be a hit at your next holiday party (or just make some for yourself!).

Just bake some brownies in a mini muffin tin, melt some chocolate tips on top, and add crushed candy canes for garnish.

If you want to go the extra mile you could make the brownie mix from scratch. Sure to delight all ages!

Read the full article here: Peppermint Brownie Bites

Sweet Potato Cake – The Perfect Holiday Dessert

The holidays are about tradition, but they’re also a great time to try new things. Why not take a traditional side dish and turn it into a mouthwatering dessert? The recipe is straightforward and if you bake you probably have most of the ingredients already.

This is surely a dessert that will have people talking, and the maple glaze is literally the icing on the cake.

Read the full article here: The Most Delicious Sweet Potato Cake with Maple Frosting

How to make your home smell like Christmas

There are many smells we associate with Christmas – peppermint, cinnamon, and evergreen are staples. How your home smells can be just as important as how it looks for the holiday season.

Rather than buy a couple scented candles, why not make your own? Alternatively, mix up your own potpourri. If you don’t have a real tree, you can heat up some pine needles so it smells like you do.

Read the full article here: 6 Ways to Make your Home Smell Like Christmas

Hosting Thanksgiving is hard!

Family visiting from miles away, massive amounts of food to prepare, and re-decorating the entire house with holiday cheer is a task list big enough to stress the best of us.

Maybe it’s time to pass the hat.

I recall my mom working long hours before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cooking, baking, cleaning – there was always something more to do. Presents weren’t wrapped until hours before they were opened. Finally she began delegating work to others, my sister took up hosting the meals, and was much happier for it.

Whether you’re ready to give up on hosting or just need a short breather, this list will make you smile… at least until you have to get back to the kitchen to baste the turkey.

Read the full article here: 6 Signs It’s Time to Stop Hosting Thanksgiving

Leftover Thanksgiving Ingredients Can Make Great Meals

After a big Thanksgiving meal there’s almost always some ingredients left over that didn’t make it into the main dishes. Don’t let veggies and herbs go to waste in the bottom of the fridge! From chicken pot pie to pumpkin and ricotta pasta casserole, you can create all sorts of easy, fast meals to keep you and your family fed through the holiday rush.

Read the full article here: 5 Ways to Turn Extra Thanksgiving Ingredients into Dinner

Set a beautiful Thanksgiving table with these tips

Deciding how to decorate the table for Thanksgiving can be both fun and overwhelming – there are so many possibilities!

I like to start by deciding on a theme. Are you going for elegance and luxury? Something playful and whimsical? Maybe something more simple and nature-based? Choose colors and items based on the overall feeling you’re going for.

Metallic items add a rich, glamorous touch. Pine cones bring nature indoors and can be decorated in all sorts of ways, or added to table arrangements. For something more playful, get the kids involved. They can make specialized placemats or other small decorations for the table.

Remember that less is often more – you’ll need room for the food and drink. If space is a concern, add decorations that have a small footprint but make a big statement.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a table fit for a feast.

Read the full article here: Last-Minute Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas from Designers

How To Avoid Turkey Failure

The turkey is arguably the most iconic food item of the holiday season, but they can be a challenge to cook.

Luckily Good Housekeeping has some tips that will help you avoid the most common mistakes, such as not planning for the long refrigerator thaw time (24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird).

It’s a good idea to use a rack, but if you don’t have one you can make one using sliced onions. Also make sure to use a foil tent for the first hour or two of cooking to hold the juices in, and it’s a good idea to invest in an instant read thermometer so you’re not guessing on the temperature.

Finally, making the gravy ahead of time can prevent a lot of hurried kitchen work before meal is served, and that means more family time.

Read the full article here: 8 Biggest Mistakes You Make Cooking a Turkey