Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

One-Day Tuesday Featured Item

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $2.97

Click to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Was $14.95, Today (11/23/10) Only $2.97.

Price goes back up tomorrow (11/24/10). Shop Now! One per customer.

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $4.97

Click to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Was $21.95, Today (11/02/10) Only $4.97.

Price goes back up tomorrow (11/03/10). Shop Now! One per customer.

Last Days to Order For Christmas Delivery

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Last day to order from Chinaberry to receive packages by Christmas via Standard UPS is Dec. 16 to the East Coast, Dec. 17 to the Mid-West, and Dec. 21 to the West Coast.

See our FAQ’s Shipping and Handling section for detailed information.

Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Once again, I am rushing around trying to spruce things up before guests come over. Don’t get me wrong, things are picked up and relatively organized, but why does it always seem that stuff just appears right before visitors are due to arrive? I know for a fact those dust bunnies I can see under the chair as I walk up the stairs were NOT there last night. Neither were the fingerprints on all the light switches, nor the smear across the front of the refrigerator. Where does it all come from? Maybe from the two teenage boys, the dog, the cat, and the perpetual remodeling projects in progress both inside and outside the house?

So, I take a deep breath, rip a drooping, yellow leaf off a plant as I pass by to answer the door, and have a sudden flashback of a weekend my family spent camping out in a friend’s backyard. There was nothing fancy about it; in fact, the yard was filled with 19 old cars, all in various states of disrepair, a few stacks of tires, some rusted yard implements, and several little buildings (shacks?) in need of a fresh coat of paint, among other things. There were three different enclosures filled with chickens, doves, parakeets, cockatiels, and finches. Not to mention three or four domestic turkeys, as well as two wild turkeys that hopped the fence one day, hoping to make new friends, and decided to stay. That yard was a little boy’s dream, bursting with endless possibilities of exploration and discovery. Resort-like, it was not.

The thing that sticks in my mind the most, though, is how much fun we had. Those turkeys were a riot. Every time someone laughed, those silly birds would gobble. Laugh, gobble, snicker, gobble, giggle, gobble, gobble. We spent time with precious old friends, cemented friendships with couples we don’t get to see too often, and started new relationships with folks we had never met before. That ramshackle yard, with the mismatched stools set around some old doors for tables, the tub from an old washing machine commandeered as a fire-pit, and the goofy gobbles of the turkeys, became a haven. It wasn’t the place (although it did provide a lot of atmosphere!), but the people that made the weekend so special—the laughter, love, and open hearts of good people just spending time together. I can’t wait to go back.

As you rush around this holiday season, trying to fit in all the activities and functions that are a natural part of this time of year, I hope you find yourself not worrying about the dust and fingerprints, the stray sock on the floor, or the wad of dog hair in the corner. I hope you laugh with the turkeys and delight in the people you are with. I plan to. And my friend waiting at the door? I just kick the cat toys out of the way and greet her with open arms and a smile that comes straight from my heart.

A Whole Month of Celebration

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

For the past three weeks anytime anyone mentions the phrase “Christmas-time”, my son goes through the same line of questioning.

“Is it Christmas-time?”


“Tonight? It’s Christmas tonight?”

And then I launch into the same explanation, how Christmas-time is the “season” and the days and weeks leading up to and following the actual Christmas DAY are “Christmas-time”. I understand his confusion, he doesn’t go to school yet so the lapse of time on a calendar isn’t conveyed to him. He clocks his Christmas-time by watching the lights appear on neighboring houses, by the number of seasonal cartoon shows on television and by the sudden appearance of wrapping paper that has just been pulled out of its year-long hibernation (”What’s that for, Mom? Whatcha wrapping, Mom? Can I just take one teensy little peek, Mom?”). He doesn’t yet understand that all the festivities account for the time, culminating in one lovely day. But that it’s not just the singular day that creates the Christmas feeling. He is slowly starting to appreciate the joy and warmth of the season, of the “Christmas-time”, and not just the build up to that one singular day of gift giving and receiving. I try to keep things low-key and focused on the whole enjoyment of the season and all of the treats that come along with that, including seeing the lights and decorations on houses, singing along to Rudolph on TV, baking cookies, making ornaments and of course, wrapping up all the special gifts he’s made and chosen for everyone.

Two Scrumptious Holiday Salads

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

From Rev. Holly Whitcomb; Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Serves 6-8

This is a simple, festive and colorful salad for the holidays or just for any day.

6-8 red apples, washed, cored and chopped in small pieces
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
6 oz. package of Craisins (dried cranberries)
1 8-oz carton vanilla yogurt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix together apples, pecans and Craisins. Make a dressing of vanilla yogurt and nutmeg. Pour over fruit and nut mixture and toss together.

From Pamela L. Smith; Flushing, New York

8 cups assorted greens
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 oz mandarin oranges — drained
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup candied pecans or toasted pecans

4 T raspberry wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 T sugar

Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Combine all other ingredients in large bowl. Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

Yours, Mine, and Ours: New Traditions for Stepfamilies

Friday, December 19th, 2008

This article comes from the book The Joy of Family Traditions by Jennifer Trainer Thompson.

Christmas can be especially hard for stepchildren. Not only do kids stand to lose the traditions they shared with their biological families, they may be shuffling between two households, neither of which necessarily feels like a safe, secure place they can call home. Throw in a potential income disparity between families, new stepsiblings, and possibly receiving modest gifts themselves while stepbrothers and stepsisters are showered with expensive gadgets from an absent parent-and you’ve got the makings for an emotional minefield. Blended families need new traditions to smooth the way:

  • Make Christmas a season, not a day. If you focus traditions on that single twenty-four-hour period, and your children only see you every other year on Christmas Day, they’ll feel they’re missing something on the years they’re with your ex. Create new traditions that aren’t date specific such as picking out the tree, making wreaths, and shopping together.
  • If you are with stepchildren on Christmas Day, don’t push all your traditions on them at once; maybe this year you shouldn’t visit your mother on Christmas morning-save that for a vacation day later in the week. Start traditions that will make new family members feel special-which may mean foregoing some favorite activities in favor of making time for new ones.
  • Try not to force two celebrations on Christmas Day-”We’ll be home in the morning, at noon you’ll go to your father’s house, then we’ll pick you up at 4 P.M., with a quick stop for eggnog at Grandma Jane’s on the way to Uncle Bill and Aunt Barbara’s for their annual Christmas Day open house, then we’ll end up at your Grandpa Jack’s for supper because I know you wouldn’t want to miss that.”-unless of course you want the children’s enduring holiday memory to be that of sitting in a car, racing against the clock.
  • Be flexible. Be creative. Be generous. Ask them what they want to do to celebrate. Maybe they’d like to go ice skating on Christmas Eve or watch a holiday movie in the afternoon. Choose holiday activities that everyone can do together: skating, sledding, baking cookies. But don’t be afraid to experiment with some separate activities that, while open to all the kids, don’t require everyone to participate.

A Huge Holiday Hit: Cranberry Salsa

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

From Janet Kelly at Chinaberry from our cookbook Eat, Drink & Be Chinaberry (sorry, now out-of-print):

1 package fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
3 large oranges
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup finely chopped chives

Put ½ package cranberries in saucepan over low heat. Add sugar, cook slightly, crushing the cranberries. Let cool.

Slightly chop the remaining half package of cranberries. Add to the cooled mixture above.

Add small chunks of fresh orange (remove the pith, otherwise known as the “white stuff”). Then add cilantro and chives.

Chill, then serve with chips

The Gift of Self

Monday, December 15th, 2008

When it is time for gift-giving on any occasion, consider making and giving coupons to your children. The sky is the limit. “This coupon good for one breakfast out with Dad.” “This coupon good for staying up late on one weekend night.” “This coupon good for one bike-riding afternoon with Mom.” What is so wonderful about coupons is that they can so easily translate into time spent together with loved ones, rather than just another thing to accumulate. We started this tradition early in our family and it wasn’t too long before we parents started getting lovingly scrawled coupons from the children. It is a sweet way to teach that gifts of self are often so much more meaningful and fun than gifts that originate in the wallet.

Gingerbread People

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Here is a recipe for Gingerbread People from the Chinaberry book Christmas Cookies by Sharon O’Connor. This set would make a great gift (even for yourself!); it contains recipe cards and a CD with music from The Nutcracker Ballet–a perfect combination of “ingredients.”

From the author: A spicy dough that bakes into delicious, semisoft gingerbread figures. This is the cookie I most look forward to baking every December.

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Powdered Sugar Icing (recipes follows)
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses until blended.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice and stir until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended. On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling out.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into gingerbread people or other fun shapes. Transfer the figures to a baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. If you wish, drizzle or spread the cookies with powdered sugar icing. Or, use a pastry bag to pipe designs onto the cookies and make faces and buttons with raisins and cinnamon red hots. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
    Makes about 40 cookies.

Cook’s Tips: While the cookies are still hot and slightly soft, you can press raisins, cinnamon red hots, and other candy into the dough.

Powdered Sugar Icing: A shiny, easy-to-make icing.
1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, pinch of salt, drops of food coloring (optional)
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until smooth and thick enough to spread.