Carol of the Bells

I’m hoping to post something Christmassy everyday this month to put you in the same Christmas spirit that I am in. Today, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite Christmas Carols/Hymns to sing with the choir1: Carol of the Bells.

I’m sure I could’ve found a better video on YouTube for this… but I think Vimeo’s videos are generally of better quality so here we go:

Carol of the Bells from Mark Rash on Vimeo.

I probably love this more so because its really fun to sing, but to me, its not Christmas unless I hear the Carol of the Bells.

Ding Dong Ding Dong. What’s your favourite Christmas Carol?

  1. that I no longer belong to []

Countdown to Christmas: Some helpful online tools

The last post covered some great crafty ideas for Christmas gifts and with exactly 14 days1 till Christmas I thought I would share some neat online tools and articles I found to help you with your Christmas Celebrations:

Staying Green during the Holidays

  • While googling around for e-cards, I happened upon Christmas Lights Advice which had an article featuring this ultra cool tool that can help you figure out how much your electricity bill may be for the Christmas season. You do have to know what type of bulbs you’re using so it may or may not be a cool find for you but it was a cool find for me!
  • Planet green has highlighted 15 gifts that we all receive but no one ever likes to get and I think we should all take a look at the list and maybe even spread the wealth2 that this article has to offer; I agree with all but one – gift cards. I like receiving gift cards but on the exception that they’re gift cards that I can use anywhere or for a store that I actually shop in. One year, I remember getting a gift card for M*A*C cosmetics and I was a little annoyed since I didn’t wear make up. But it started the ball rolling, now I can’t get enough MAC!
  • And of course, there is treehugger’s Holiday Gift Guide separated into categories!

Gift Guides/Wishlists

  • Don’t care about staying green3 but still want some other ideas for Christmas presents? You can check out All Things Christmas! I think the site’s title says it all really.
  • Have you ever had anyone pester you for a wishlist, and when you give them your list they come back with, ‘Where can I buy these things on your list?’ Well, hopefully you won’t have that problem if you put your wishlist online with either of these two wonderful online wishlist tools: Wishlistr4 and Boxedup which only has one advantage over Wishlistr of allowing you to attach pictures to your wishlist items.

Cards and E-Cards
It might a bit late to start thinking about Cards but its never too late to send e-cards5 but there are plenty of online sites that can help you create customized Christmas cards without ever having to open up photoshop. Or if you don’t have to send or give out Christmas cards and don’t want to bother with the crowds at the shops, you can try:

  • Moo.com – I’m not sure they allow you to print the cards, they may mail them to you instead.
  • Presentation Helper – These cards you can print from the comfort of your own ink jet printer at home. You may need to have card stock on hand6 or you could probably get away with using regular paper.

Christmas Carols

  • Did you plan a party and forget to plan the music? Have no fear, you can download free Christmas MP3s from Feels like Christmas!
  • Another alternative is to download some family friendly Christmas Carols Lyrics and song clips in real audio from Kaboose.com.

Do you have any secret weapons you’d like to share with me?

  1. despite what the countdown clock says []
  2. of knowledge []
  3. shame on you! hehe I’m joking – I won’t judge []
  4. I’ve reviewed their service before []
  5. ok, maybe after Christmas is too late []
  6. if you’re a perfectionist like me []

Christmas shopping isn’t easy

I always have these great ideas for Christmas gifts, but I don’t necessarily always know any one who I could give them to. So I thought I would put together a little guide in the hopes that these ‘ideas’ can benefit someone else:

  1. Personalised Calendars
    I already got this for my parents’ anniversary, but I am still considering making one for a few other people. There are many websites that allow you to create them online but you have to pay the company to print it and wait for them to ship it so I set out to find websites that allow you to print your own calendars from the comfort of your own home:

    • HP has an online tool that allows you customise your calendar online. The down side is that they have a limited number of designs to choose from. But if you’re strapped for time and/or don’t have MS Publisher or even MS Word – it would be your best bet as I didn’t find any other online photo calendar editor. To see a sample of what you can create click here1.
    • Of course if you have MS word or publisher you can always download calendar templates from the Microsoft Office Online website. But this is only available to you if you have a valid Microsoft Office Suite key, which I apparently do not2.
    • Also, since I ended up not using any of the above mentioned options however, and created my own template. Final Calendar size is 5″ x 7″ (wxh) – if you’d like a copy of this template ((its in MS Word format)) , please email me at reggysy at yahoo dot ca. I didn’t want to leave it as a link in case a lot of people downloaded it and my (blog) world as I knew it came crashing down on me.
  2. Baked goods
    I like to give everyone presents, and when I can’t buy them something nice I like to make them something tasty. Here are some great baked ideas for gifts:

    • Cupcakes: This is probably my favourite baked good to give for Christmas as you can decorate them with lots of tasty treats3.
    • Macaroons: Quick, easy, and super tasty. Just place in a basket and wrap with cellophane and tie with some decorative ribbon and you’re golden4
    • Cookies: Cookies are also quick and easy and really who doesn’t like cookies? If you want to try something different, instead of making round cookies – making shaping them so they’re like cookie sticks and place them in a jar5 that you can decorate with some ribbon and a simple gift tag.
  3. Speciality kits
    I wouldn’t suggest giving this kind of a gift to just anybody, and while this doesn’t necessarily fall under a gift that you make; it is a gift that you put together for someone so I’m putting it under these category:

    • Sewing craft kit: needles, thread, buttons, zippers, fancy zip pulls, pin cushions, chalk (for marking material, and so on.
    • Painting kit: You don’t have to go all out; you can start a person off with three tubes of paint6, one paint brush and one canvas. If you can find a cheap easel7, it would make this gift all that much more special.
    • A Bartender kit: Grab a wine opener, a mini bottle of vodka or gin8, and a mini drink recipe book that you put together yourself9 and stick it in a cocktail shaker. If you like, you can add some ice cube trays and an ice bucket and put the stuffed cocktail shaker inside.

And I think that’s all I have for you today. I’m sorry there are no demonstrations but if you’d like more information feel free to ask me questions in the comments!

Do you have any Christmas gift ideas you can pass on?

  1. will open a pdf file in a new window []
  2. shhhh don’t tell anyone []
  3. I realise you can do it with cookies too but I prefer cupcakes []
  4. brown, just like the macaroons hehe []
  5. that you can get from the dollar store []
  6. think primary colours []
  7. a tabletop easel tends to be cheaper []
  8. depending on the person’s preference []
  9. just look up recipes on the internet! []