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How to Plan the Perfect Night Before Christmas

 

Well, Broads and Bruts, it’s finally here! Christmas Eve is upon us, which means tomorrow is the big day! Sure, we are all busy with our families right now, but I wanted to pop in to say hello and offer a little Christmas spirit. Do you want to plan the perfect night before Christmas?

While you likely have all of your Christmas Day festivities planned out, what about this wonderful day before? It’s screaming to be filled with fun and meaningful activities and traditions, to build anticipation for tomorrow.

Some families have little things they do every Christmas Eve. Why not add a new activity or three to your Christmas Eve this year?

Here are some fun ideas to try out, that just may become your new family tradition for years to come!

 

 

NOTE: This post may contain referral and/or affiliate links, so I make a commission from some of them. However, I promise I will NEVER recommend anything unless I have personally tried it or have done research and would purchase it myself. I will also remove anything from my blog that is unsatisfactory for any reason, so please contact me if you encounter a problem or issue with anything I recommend.

 

 

Read The Night Before Christmas

 

 

 

Are there any better words to begin a story? So classic, so exciting! It’s a short read, and you can have the kids take turns. Even as an adult, you can’t help but get caught up in the magic that is Santa Clause. Especially as you all shout out in unison the last words of the story: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!”

 

 

 

Get the ebook here for only $5.04, and read it on the free app Amazon offers.

 

 

Open a Gift

 

 

In our family, we like to get a nice cozy pair of pajamas for each member, and open the gift the night before Christmas. That way we all go to bed in fresh pajamas, and wake up in the morning feeling crisp, new, and ready to open gifts!

However, if you haven’t planned ahead for that, why not each open one gift from under the tree? It’s a nice preview of what’s to come, and really builds up the anticipation.

 

 

Take a Walk in the Snow

 

 

Do you live in a place where you have the privilege of enjoying a white Christmas? Why not bundle up on Christmas Eve and take a family walk together?

It’s the little things that make life worth it, right? Let those snowflakes land on your tongue, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, or build a snowman. Just enjoy each other! Isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about?

 

 

Make Treats

 

 

This one is kind of obvious, as you need to leave cookies out for Santa anyway. But this year, make it a big affair. Have everyone participate in mixing, baking, and decorating. Try making something besides cookies, like cupcakes or cake pops. Santa (or mom and dad) will appreciate it, too!

 

 

Have a Drink

 

 

Kid free? How about a drink? Have  mom, Aunt Sally, and Grandma Peaches all get cozy in their pajamas, and then crack open a bottle of wine, or make a nice hot buttered rum.

Here’s a yummy recipe!

 

 

Take a Drive to See the Christmas Lights

 

 

Again, bundle everyone up, squeeze in the car (or two), and take a drive to a local neighborhood or area known for having awesome Christmas lights. Every town has that neighborhood that just goes ALL OUT when it comes to putting up lights.

Just don’t forget your camera!

 

 

Keep Tabs on Santa

 

 

Did you know that Google has an amazing Santa Tracker? Get the kids excited by checking in on where Santa is throughout the evening. If you are awake when he flies over your area, run outside to try to catch a glimpse of Rudolph’s nose! Point out a plane flying over head and show them that Santa is coming!

Follow the Santa Tracker here.

 

 

Make Homemade Hot Cocoa

 

 

I truly believe there is nothing in this word better than a homemade cup of warm chocolaty, creamy cocoa on Christmas Eve. Of course, you need marshmallows too. And you may as well leave the bag within reach, because I’m going to need to reload on marshies at least twice!

Try this delish recipe by Martha Stewart!

 

 

Play a Game

 

 

You’ve made the hot cocoa, and the family is all gathered anyway. Why not play a game? Charades is a great one for the whole family. Or if the kids are already in bed, how about Cards Against Humanity?

Just watch out for Monopoly! It sucks you in and never ends!

 

 

Draw Santa a Picture

 

 

This is a great idea to keep the kids busy, and is actually quite fun for adults too. Just set out some washable markers or crayons and paper, and have everyone draw their favorite Christmas memory, or their best portrait of good ol’ Saint Nick.

Plus, you can tuck those pictures away and save them for when the kids get older. They’ll love taking a walk down memory lane, and so will you.

 

 

Give Back

 

 

You know the kiddos will be getting lots of new toys. How about giving them each a bag or box and having them fill it with some of their old toys to donate? Make sure they aren’t broken or ruined. Not only will you be making room for the new toys, but you are teaching the kids to give back.

Have them leave their box or bag of toys near the tree with a letter to Santa asking him to donate them to kids in need. Just don’t forget to drop the donations off at your local community house or domestic violence shelter later this week.

 

 

Sing!

 

 

Buddy Elf had it right. Singing is contagious, and while at first you may feel a bit awkward, pretty soon you’ll be shouting “Deck the Halls” at the top of your lungs.

This is a great way to wrap up your evening. You can all sit together around the fire (or the tree) and sing your favorite carols.

 

My family will be doing some of these today. It will be the perfect night before Christmas! What about you? What are your favorite Christmas Eve traditions? I’d love to hear! Have fun!

 

 

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

 

 

 

 

**I love to hear from my readers. If you have a thought or opinion about something in this article, please comment! Let’s get a convo started!**

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Last Minute Do-It-Yourself Dollar Store Gift Ideas

This post may contain referral and/or affiliate links, so The Bonafide Broad makes a small commission from some of them. However, there will NEVER be a product recommended on this blog unless a member of the team has personally tried it or has done research and would purchase it themselves. If anything recommended on this blog is unsatisfactory for any reason, please contact theog@thebonafidebroad.com so the recommendation can be removed.

 

Bonjour Broads! Today, I have seven amazing DIY dollar store gifts you can make in just a couple of hours!

Why do you need these ideas, you ask? Well, if you’re like most of us, when it comes to getting gifts, sometimes you put it off until the very last minute.

The worst feeling is when you finally decide on that one perfect item, and low and behold! It’s out of stock. You’re shitting me, right?

So I’m gonna help you out, because I’m nice like that. Now, most gift idea posts like this are round ups of D.I.Y. tutorials from different blogs. However, I really wanted to SHOW you how easy and quick these gifts are to make and how well they turn out. I want you to have the confidence to do these yourself.

What better way than to show you by doing them myself? If I can do it, you surely can! So, on my way home from work last night I stopped by the dollar store and grabbed a few items. Then I spent about 2 hours and 15 minutes working with these items, and I ended up with seven brilliant gifts.

Not only were they cheap, but they were quick and easy, and they are beautiful! I would love to receive any of these as a gift. The best part is, they don’t look like they came from the dollar store.

Here are seven do-it-yourself dollar store gifts you can make this evening!

 

 

**As you know, I’m a pretty savvy craft supply shopper, so I’ve included links next to most of the items I am using here to show you which particular supplies I myself would purchase to get the best deals. Please don’t feel pressured to purchase anything! The point is to show you what I get.**

 

 

Okay, so here are the items I purchased:

 

 

1 plain wine glass (here)

1 striped wine glass (similar item here)

36 pack clothespins (here)

2 bags glass beads/marbles (here)

Glass vase (here)

White mug (here)

White bowl (here)

Picture frame (similar item here)

 

I spent less than $10. Whoop whoop!

 

Here are the items I had at home that I used for these projects:

E6000 glue (here)

Mini glue gun (here)

Mini glue gun sticks (here)

150 pennies

Paint markers (shown below) or Sharpees (here)

Soy wax flakes, or any kind of candle wax, even the ends and pieces of old burnt candles (here)

Dye chips or crayons (here)

Fragrance oil, essential oils or perfume/cologne (here)

Candle wick (here)

Rubbing alcohol and cotton pads/balls

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the list above, you can substitute lots of different items and still achieve similar results.

I’m going to walk you through each project. Like I mentioned, it took me only 2 hours and 15 minutes total to make all seven gifts. So each gift is pretty quick, and also simple.

Before starting, you’ll want to grab a drink and a snack. I like a glass of wine usually, but tonight I’m going for this:

 

 

You pick whatever floats your boat, and let’s get started!

 

Wine glass candle:

My purpose for the striped wine glass is to make a pretty candle. There a couple of different ways to do this. I always have candle making supplies at my house. I get kits off ebay because those are the best deals, and they include your wax, wicks, dye chips, and fragrance oils (this is the exact kit I got, and I will be getting it always). However, if you don’t have those supplies, there are other ways to do this.

I always save my old store bought candle jars with the little bits of wax left in the bottom. I dig the wax out and dump it into and old ice cream container, to save for when I have enough to make a full candle. Then I scrub out the jars and save them for future candles.

Put a glass bowl over a saucepan of water, to use as a double boiler. Turn the heat to medium-low.

 

 

Throw your wax ends and pieces, or a few scoops of the wax you have on hand into the glass bowl. I like a bowl with a spout because it makes for easy pouring. I’m using extra wax because I’m making a few candles.

 

 

Let the wax slowly melt. Don’t hurry the process. While you are waiting, put your wick into your wine glass.

 

 

If you don’t have wicks, and don’t want to buy any, here is a great tutorial on making wicks from regular household supplies.

 

 

Once the wax is almost completely melted, you can add your dye chip. I used one green dye chip, but you can use a green crayon and it’ll work just as well.

Keep in mind, if you used the ends and pieces of old candles, that you’ll want to sift out the black bits and metal pieces that may floating around in the wax. Use a spoon or something mesh for this.

The last ingredient is the fragrance oil. If you don’t have fragrance oil, you can use essential oils, or perfume. I don’t really measure, I just smell. More is better! I’m mixing two flavors, cinnamon sticks and apple cinnamon.

 

 

Once you’ve added the fragrance oil, immediately turn off the heat and pour wax into prepared jars. I made four candles.

 

 

Doesn’t it look purdy??? Lay a dowel or a pencil across the top of the glass to keep the wick centered. Let it cool and solidify and that’s all there is to it!

 

Clothespin Trivet:

This trivet is so pretty and useful. You can spray paint it when finished or cover it with a clear varnish. Or you can leave it natural, like I did.

You’ll need to take apart the clothespins. Once done, get your glue ready. This trivet is all about the glue. I use E6000 because I think it works better than anything else.

 

 

First, you basically want to glue the pieces in twos, flat sides together (below).

 

 

Glue them all back to back. Make sure to wipe off any excess glue that squeezes out the sides. Once they are all glued, let them dry for a few minutes.

 

 

While waiting, work on one of the other projects.

After they’ve been drying for a few, glue two pieces together, as shown below.

 

 

Do the same with the rest of the clothespins, and then let them sit again to dry for a few.

 

 

Next, you are going to glue each of these pieces together. You are basically repeating the process over and over, glue pieces together and letting them dry, and each time the pieces are getting bigger, like so:

 

 

Finally, you will have glued them all into a nice trivet.

 

 

Set it on a completely flat surface and leave it to dry overnight. Don’t mess with it, because it can easily come apart and weaken if it’s not completely dry. That’s it!

 

Glass Bead Picture Frame:

This is so simple, but the results are fantastic. Dollar store frames always look so cheap to me, but with this little tweak, you turn it into an expensive looking frame. Add a sentimental photo, and it’s the perfect gift!

You’ll need your glue gun warmed up for this project and the next one, and make sure you have plenty of extra glue sticks nearby.

 

 

I’m using the flatter marbles for this project. All you need to do is put a healthy dot of glue onto each glass bead, and line them around the frame.

 

 

They don’t have to be perfectly straight, because your glass beads aren’t all exact. It’ll still look great when finished.

 

 

Once you have the beads around the entire frame, you’re done! Easy peasy!

 

Penny Vase:

I love pennies as decorations! The shiny copper adds a great texture to any project, and they give off sort of a high-end eclectic look. I used a medium sized vase, 150 pennies, and the glue gun for this project.

 

 

First, I let the pennies soak in hot water and dish soap. Then I rinsed them well and dumped them onto a towel to dry.

 

 

After the pennies are dry, it’s pretty simple, just like the picture frame. Just put a healthy blob of glue on each penny, and stick them to the vase. I put all my pennies heads up because I like how that looks. It’s also okay if your pennies are different colors. It adds to the look to have shiny, medium and dull pennies in the mix, like so:

 

 

Once the whole vase is covered, you are dunzo!

 

Hand-Decorated Dishes

The last three gifts are done essentially the same way, so I’m combining them into one section. You’ll need your paint markers or Sharpees,  rubbing alcohol, and cotton pads or balls.

 

 

First,  preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Then you’ll want to wash your bowl, mug, and wine glass in warm soapy water. Make sure you dry them very well.

Next, put a generous amount of rubbing alcohol onto your cotton, and clean off each dish to get any residual oils from your fingers off, so the paint/Sharpee will stick properly.

 

 

At this point, you need to decide what kind of pattern or drawing you want to do. You can do ANYTHING. I’m not the best at drawing with markers, so I’m going to stick to patterns. Once you have your idea, start drawing!

 

 

Don’t let yourself get too nervous. These don’t need to be perfect. In fact, they have more character if they aren’t perfect!

 

 

Once you have your artwork done, make sure it dries for a few, and then put the dishes on a baking sheet and pop them into the preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Right about now, you can put a fork in it, because you are DONE!

So, for less than $10 of money, and only a couple hours of my life, I went from this…

 

 

 

to THIS!!!

 

 

Aren’t they gorgeous??? (Ignore my crooked dots inside the bowl, I think the Guinness was starting to kick in). Anyone in your life would be lucky to receive one of these gifts. Not only are they super snazzy, but they were made from the heart. Is there anything better?

So instead of feeling overwhelmed and settling for a gift card, AGAIN, try making one (or all) of these do-it-yourself gifts!

Now grab ten bucks and get on over to your dollar store!

 

You got this!

 

 

 

 

**I love to hear from my readers. If you have a thought or opinion about something in this article, please comment! Let’s get a convo started!**

Like what you read? Subscribe to The Bonafide Broad to get this kind of exclusive content right in your inbox! Just click this link and enter your email addy!

Do your friends and family a solid and share this post so they can benefit from it, too! Just click the appropriate button below to share it to your preferred social media platform. Thank you for supporting The Bonafide Broad!

 

 



How to Make an Awesome Candy Cane Decoration On the Cheap!

Wrapping paper rolls- the swords of our childhood and the annoying long objects in our waste bins as adults.  (or maybe still swords… I don’t judge!).  As Christmas inches closer and closer, and money gets tighter and tighter, gigantic candy-canes are just what you didn’t know you needed!  Not only are they super easy and affordable to D.I.Y., they’re adorable additions to your Christmas-scapes, office decorations or even outdoor ornaments (if you live in a place where snow and rain don’t plague you during the winter).

 

One of my favorite things about these little-big guys is the fact that, during the holidays, I have literally every item I need in my house to make them.  I would be willing to bet that you do too!  The items you will need to create your own candy-canes are:

 

-Cardboard wrapping paper, paper towel and/or toilet paper rolls

-Red and white wire-lined ribbon

*if you don’t have ribbon or the time to hit up your local craft store, you can always use wrapping paper, acrylic paint, markers or anything you have on hand to decorate the canes to your liking

-Scissors

-Tape

*any kind of tape will do here; Duct, masking, Scotch, packing… Seriously, any kind.

 

 

 

 

To start, gather up your materials and get those rolls ready.  Because I had them on hand, I used wrapping paper rolls, but seriously, any kind of cardboard rolls will work just as long as you can cut them with your scissors. Plus… RECYCLING!

Now that you have your rolls all gathered, it’s time to cut some rings from those babies! This doesn’t have to be technical or measured or clean or neat.  I promised this would be an easy craft and to me, rulers or tape measures equal math, and math equals NOPE!  Nope is not easy in my book.

 

 

 

 

As you can see I wrote 1-1 & 1/2 inches on the roll… I was wrong and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I honestly don’t even know if those hash marks are an inch or an inch-and-a-half apart and really, you want rings of all different heights.  It makes forming the “hook” of your cane easier!

 

 

 

 

Snip snip, cut out those rings!  You’ll need between four and eight for each cane depending on their size.  I dedicated half of a wrapping paper roll to my rings, but if you find that you don’t have enough, (or too many) give it a few days… we all run out of TP at some point in the week!

Check out those awesome rings!  As you can see, they’re all different heights! And for those of you wondering… I made these at work… My desk wasn’t cleaned for this tutorial because this is what my desk looks like at any given moment and if someone tells you theirs isn’t, they’re lying.

 

 

 

 

Ok… back to those candy-canes!

We have our rings and now the hardest part of the whole project… making those suckers malleable enough to bend into your “hook”.  To do this, you’re going to take your trusty scissors and start cutting strips just about halfway up your rings.  Go all around those babies until you have something that looks like….

 

 

 

 

This will probably take you some time, so put on a good holiday movie or click on this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_StgHl92v5Q) … Here you can watch my personal hero, Nick Offerman, drink scotch in front of a fireplace for ten uninterrupted hours.  (It won’t take you this long to make your canes, but if you’re making a lot of them, Nick will keep you company for a good portion of your crafting time.  Plus, he’s gorgeous!)

 

 

 

 

You’re going to take your roll and your rings and lay them out to get an idea of how your cane is going to look.  Don’t worry about shoving your rings together, without tape, it’s nearly impossible to get them to stay.  This just helps you allocate your rings and form that trademark “hook”!

 

 

 

 

Now it’s really time to start constructing!

Because I was at work, and it was the only tape available, I used plain old clear tape.  (If you plan on using clear tape, you may want an extra roll or two of it handy, just to make sure you have enough). Slip that ring on your roll and get-to-taping

 

 

 

 

As you progress in your “hook” shaping and taping, you will want to make sure you align your rings so they gradually turn downward.  This is where I found myself utilizing my tape supply.  You really want to make sure those babies are taped down or you will find yourself “hook-less” when you go to wrap your canes.  The finished product should look something like the picture below…

 

 

 

 

You can see how those little cuts in the rings were really worth the time.  Notice all that tape too!  After connecting the rings, I went back over them and added more tape.  Once I had reinforced the “hook” I added EVEN MORE tape (Nick looks pretty impressed!).

 

 

 

 

After the time I spent cutting the rings, I wasn’t going to take any chances in those suckers falling apart.  Reinforcing the “hook” will make your candy-canes last more than just one holiday season as well!

It took me about 15 minutes to construct the three canes below (not including the monotonous ring-cutting).  I used two wrapping paper rolls, cut in half, and about half of the third roll that was used to make the rings.

 

 

 

 

Now, it’s time to wrap those babies up in your ribbon!  This jumbo ribbon came from Michael’s and was a whopping 70% off with an in-store coupon.  The single roll pictured below cost around $1.25. I used it to make six canes and still had some leftover!

 

 

 

 

To begin wrapping, I started just below the “hook”.  I taped the end of the ribbon and wrapped, and wrapped, and wrapped some more until I reached the bottom of the candy-cane!

 

 

 

 

Now that the majority of your cane is wrapped, it’s time to move on to the “hook”.  I found this was the most tricky part of the entire operation.  Wrapping something flat and relatively straight on to something the complete opposite is difficult. Don’t get frustrated if it takes a couple of times to get it how you want it!  You still have Nick and his cozy fire keeping you company, right?!

 

 

 

 

Just as you did with the other end, you’re going to “tuck in” that extra ribbon and, if you want, reinforce it with tape.

 

And that, my friends, is it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

**We love to hear from our readers! If you have a thought or opinion about something in this article, please comment! Let’s get a convo started!**

Like what you read? Subscribe to The Bonafide Broad to get this kind of exclusive content right in your inbox! Just click this link and enter your email addy!

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