At the risk of eliciting moans from a few of our readers (I’m thinking of you cGc), it’s time for our annual reminder that the biggest holiday celebration of the year for most of us arrives a mere five months from today. Forget the pink and throw on some red with your green. Let’s get in a chill frame of mind during this sweltering summer heat and consider what we can do now that will make our lives easier come December.
First thing we need is some peppermint ice cream (you probably can’t find it in stores this time of year so whip up a batch with our recipe here or just use any other kind of mint-flavored ice cream). Let it soften and place a scoop between two chocolate wafer cookies (love Nabisco’s Famous one). Gently press until the ice cream spreads to the edges and roll them in some crushed peppermint candies (maybe you’ve got a stash left over from last Christmas). Place on a cookie sheet and slide into the freezer. Once hardened, this little treat will have you and your loved ones Dreaming of a White Christmas.
Dana Gibson 2016 Christmas cocktail napkin
For more ideas on making your own ice cream sandwiches, see our post, Time to Chill Out – It’s Christmas in July Week. Chill out even more while you’re in the kitchen by listening to The Gracious Posse’s Merry Mix.
Since you are in the kitchen, why not practice making a cake roll? When December rolls around, you can use the technique to actually make a Bûche de Noël aka Yule Log. Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to try it but were terrified that it would take too long and still not turn out right. Ellen’s video
from our post, Demystifying the Rolled Cake, shows you how simple the whole process really is. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create a jaw-dropping masterpiece like sSn did for her Food Therapy group using this Martha Stewart recipe.
Schedule the All-Important Photo Shoot
If you are like most Richmonders, you’ll be heading to the beach in the next couple of weeks with your family. If you won’t be traveling with a good photographer, consider scheduling a photo shoot with a local photographer there to capture your family in summer’s glow. The picture always seems to be the hardest part of the whole Christmas card process. Once you’ve got the perfect pic, selecting your card will be a breeze, and you’ll even be able to save on all those photo card sales that usually end around the beginning of October.
Start Making Your Lists
Pull together or update your Christmas card list now. Use an Excel spreadsheet, and you may even be able to upload your recipients’ addresses to your card vendor who will address your cards for you. Talk about modern service.
My kids will never give me a Christmas list this early in the year, but at least I can pull together my list of other family and friends whom we will be gifting this Christmas. Putting this list on my phone provides a handy reference when I am traveling and shopping.
Now is the time to start creating those handmade gifts that are usually much more treasured than a store-bought trinket. Two of my very favorites are this decoupaged heart with images cut out of our family’s Christmas cards from over the years that kMg crafted a few years back
and Ellen’s hand-stitched Merry Christmas heirloom tea towel that she showed us how to make here.
Think of a project that reflects the true you and start planning.
Putting Up Local Produce
A few years ago right before Christmas, sSn delivered a freezer peach pie that she had prepared in the summer. The golden filling was a welcome addition to our Christmas feast and a reminder of the joy of summer. Southern Living’s July 2017 issue happened to feature Freezer Peach Pie recipe on its cover, reminding me of the delicious gift. As no baking is required until it the day you want to serve it, all you need to do now is gather and chop the peaches, add some sugar and spices and prepare the filling for the freezer.
If you can handle some heat in the kitchen, why not take some of those fresh peaches and turn them into jam or chutney? It’s a labor of love that I have only attempted once. Your recipients will be delighted with your efforts.
Speaking of Southern Living, every year its annual Christmas with Southern Living arrives at my door around the end of June. Christmas in July is the perfect day to sit by the pool and page through its many ideas for a 2017-style Christmas.
Its picturesque holiday settings range from the farm to the lake to the mountains and sea.
Suggested menus include several modern takes on holiday classics, like Ginger-Rosemary Cranberry Sauce, Roasted Beets with Hazelnuts and Pomegranate-Sherry Reduction, Duck Gumbo (can’t imagine how SL’s version can be any better than aWj’s Duck Gumbo) and, behold, Spicy Chocolate Gingerbread Bûche de Noël.
This annual volume includes time-saver tips (like some of the tidbits that we collected from our favorite cookbooks here), tabletop ideas and gift-giving inspiration for anyone who loves celebrating Christmas graciously.
Speaking of gift-giving, look for a little gift from us on Thursday. Filled with ideas from some very generous members of the posse, we will be sharing with you The Gracious Posse’s collection of Tried and Travel Tips from Our Gracious Readers. Until we see you then,
Merry Christmas in July!
July 25, 2017