Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Traditions from Around the World

I love learning about different cultures & their holiday traditions. Parents magazine featured an article how families from around the world celebrate the new year with their good luck traditions.

Mothers make a special bread for their family, kneading luck and good wishes into the dough before it is baked.

People spend months creating elaborate costumes for the Junkanoo parade. The strangest and most beautiful costumes win prizes.

Families hang little homemade straw or wooden dolls outside their homes for good luck.

The Danes throw old dishes at the doors of friends' homes for good luck. Finding a big pile of broken dishes on the morning of January 1 means you have lots of friends!

Families celebrate "Año Viejo" by stuffing old clothing with newspaper and firecrackers, much like a scarecrow. At midnight, each family sets its dummy ablaze, representing the departure of the old year.

Parents fill their children's shoes with presents at night. They tell the little ones the gifts are from St. Basil, who was known for his kindness and generosity to children and the poor.

The Japanese decorate their front doors with pine branches and bamboo to bring health and long life. They may also add fans, seaweed, or ferns for happiness and good luck. Children are given small gifts of money called otoshidamas. At midnight, bells and gongs are rung 108 times to chase away 108 troubles, and people laugh to drive away the bad spirits.

In the north, children go caroling, singing old songs called Janeiros from home to home, where they are given sweets and coins.

Puerto Rico
Children throw pails of water out the window at midnight to rid their homes of evil spirits.

Children wish people a happy new year by touching them lightly with a bouquet called a sorcova, which consists of twigs from an apple, pear, cherry, or plum tree to represent fertility, health, and purity. Traditionally the twigs would have been placed in water on November 30 so they'd blossom by New Year's Eve. Today people decorate the twigs with flowers made of colored paper.

The Southern United States
Many Southerners eat black-eyed peas for good luck. Round foods are traditional for the new year in many cultures because circles represent continuity. Black-eyed peas are considered especially lucky because they contain two concentric circles

When the clock strikes midnight, people eat 12 grapes, one for every stroke of the clock and for good luck in each month of the new year.

The Swiss let a drop of cream land on the floor on New Year's Day to bring good luck.

What New Years traditions do you like to share with your family?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years Eve for Kids

Family Fun has some great ideas for families celebrating New Years Eve. My favorite is the Countdown to Midnight Box. Every hour, the kids open surprise bags filled with favors to help them ring in the new year!

(I am SO making these bags for tomorrow night's slumber party!)

& these FUN 2010 glasses

create a wish jar for 2010

fill out a wish list for the coming year

don't forget 2010 pancakes for New Years Day breakfast!

Check out Family Fun for more New Years Eve party ideas!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Final Countdown

For your celebration on the 31st, why not celebrate with a few numbered items to help you count down the hours to the new year?

Like these fabulous dinner plates from Christopher Jagmin Design

& these numbered napkins or you can make your own here

cheers with these numbered shot glasses

toast the new year with numbered flutes you can create with simple stickers

make clock cookies for dessert


Monday, December 28, 2009

Start a New Years Eve Tradition

I love excitement of the start of the new year! Why not try adding some new ideas to your celebration?

Enjoy the Spanish tradition of grapes at midnight: fill a champagne flute with 12 grapes, eating one for each stroke of midnight for good luck.

Make & tie wish boxes to the backs of your dining chairs where guests can place their wishes for the coming year

Stamp your own resolution napkins & place fabric pens out for guests to write in their 2010 goals

(photos via Southern Living & Martha Stewart)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas means a little bit more....

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Little More Christmas

Fell in love with this Christmas card/tree art display from O Magazine-may have to try & recreate something similar next year!

(photos via

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Secret Santa

This year I was lucky enough to participate in the Secret Santa Soiree & look what I received in the mail today from my Secret Santa!

It came at the perfect time! Wanting to show proper thanks, I tore into the Peppermint Bark squares (they are DELICIOUS) & Coco loves her dog treats! THANK YOU Secret Santa-I love all my goodies! I also want to thank Amy & Georgie for all their hard work in organizing this event-you girls are the best!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kids Christmas Crafts

With the kids home from school, you will invariably hear "Mom, I am BORED!" sometime over the next few days. To keep the Christmas cheer flowing, I found a few crafts that would be fun to do with the kids.

Decorate Christmas paper houses from Twelve 22 (you can download here)

Make miniature gingerbread houses

With cute little Christmas Snow Cones

Create Lego gift boxes for decorating your kids table

String a Christmas garland

Create gumdrop snowflakes

Make mini gingerbread houses for your hot cocoa

Design snowflake streamers

Create a snowflake window display

Cut out cardboard house place cards for your holiday table

Get crafting Mamas!

(photos via Twelve 22, Martha Stewart,, Family Fun, Not Martha, Martha Stewart, & Kates Paperie)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rudolph's Gift Card

I love this gift card wrap idea from Kate's Paperie.

Tools & Materials
• scissors
• cardstock
• envelopes
• GlueDots

Cut out all of the pieces along the dotted lines and glue the antlers and eyes onto the back flap of the envelope.

Just under the flap, below the open part, glue on the mouth and you’ve made a jolly gift enclosure for your recipient!

Who wouldn't love opening this Rudolph card?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Peppermint Christmas

I have a confession to make, I am seriously addicted to peppermint bark (okay, let's be honest, pretty much anything with peppermint & chocolate). I am relatively certain that I have eaten my weight this season in peppermint goodness (I am considering investing in a pair of elastic waistband jeans to get me through the season if that tells you anything). Officially, we have declared peppermint bark a condiment in our house and sprinkle it on ice cream, cookies, brownies, milkshakes, & cupcakes. So today, for my love of peppermint deliciousness (is that even a word?), I am sharing some yummy ideas with you for the holidays.

Photos via My Baking Addiction, Sunset, Bon Appetit, Eddie Ross,, Crate & Barrel, Martha Stewart, Clever Parties, Arizona Republic, Martha Stewart, &