The cultural celebration of Kwanzaa began in 1966, but how much do you really know about the holiday? Test your knowledge of the seven pillars of the holiday with this free printable Kwanzaa quiz we created just for you!
This amazingly simple Christmas craft comes to us from our dear friend and content partner, Mary Engelbreit!
There’s still time to do a little crafting before Christmas, especially when it’s a simple project like this! It’s even simple enough to do with kids, believe it or not. They make great gift tags that then magically turn into ornaments. You could also use them as napkin rings/place cards. I’m telling you, it’s the all-purpose craft project!
You’ll need tiny artist’s canvases, usually sold in packages of 6 at craft and art supply stores. Then drag out all your craft supplies that I know you have piled in a drawer somewhere—- ribbon, buttons, stickers, scrapbook paper, paint, markers, and glue.
Paint the canvases whatever colors you like, including the sides. I painted images on mine but you could just as easily use stickers, pretty buttons, or whatever you have on hand. If you’re using them as napkin rings/place cards, use paint markers to write names on the front.
Cut a backing of scrapbook paper and glue on the back. Cut a 6 inch or so piece of ribbon or trim and glue each end to each side of the canvas. Cover the end of the ribbon on each side with a button, a tiny Christmas trim, or a sticker.
You’re finished! A cute, personal gift, and you get a break from making cookies and wrapping gifts! Another family Christmas tradition is born!
Merry Christmas to all!
– Mary Engelbreit
PS – If you’d like to see Mary demonstrate this Christmas craft, check out her appearance on KPLR here!
Merry Christmas to all!
Looking for a great way to spread some holiday cheer? We thought we’d put your song knowledge to the test with this fun, free printable Christmas carol quiz! Pass a set around the Christmas table this year and see who comes out king or queen of the candy canes!
Ready to rock around the Christmas tree? Check out our top 10 list of the greatest classic Christmas songs of all time!
Here we are again in my favorite time of year with all the joy and goodwill that accompany it! I have to say, though, that my focus this year feels a little different. As my family started the annual holiday shopping frenzy, I found myself thinking about how little we really need… and how much is truly needed by so many others. Whether they are struggling financially, in ill health or simply alone during the holiday season, there are people who could use a kind gesture to lift their spirits.
That’s why when we saw the “Christmas Cards for Addie” project featured on the American Greetings blog, we at Kathy Davis Studios decided to dive right in and make some cards for this brave little girl ourselves. And it reminded me how important it is to be on the lookout for situations like these where we can make a difference in even the smallest of ways – not just during the Christmas season, but each and every day.
This brings me to my New Year’s resolution for 2015: to be on the alert for places where there is need and to give and give back at every opportunity I see…whether it means sending a card to someone, volunteering in the community or making a donation to a cause that’s important. Even something as simple as sharing a smile or some words of encouragement can make a difference. Nothing feels better for me than giving from my heart.
How about you? Do you know someone who could use a helping hand or just a little hello?
Add your signature to a card for Addie by Friday, December 19, 2014 and American Greetings send a card on your behalf for free. Also, you can find out more ways that Kathy Davis Studios is living their mission to “Scatter Joy: Joy through Art, Joy through Living, Joy through Giving” here.
This year as we look to celebrate the festival of lights, we also thought that it might be fun to create a free printable Hanukkah game to test your holiday history skills. You can either take the test below on your own or save it to your desktop and print it at home! Enjoy!
Need to brush up on your Hanukkah knowledge beforehand? Check out our Hanukkah history post for some handy info.
When we heard the story of little Addie, we couldn’t help but be touched by the difficulties her family is facing right now. At the age of 6, Addie has experienced an unexplained atrophy of her brain that has left her losing muscular control as well as suffering from a quickly deteriorating mental state. Recently, her family was delivered the terrible news that this will likely be Addie’s last Christmas. As a result, her family is requesting that people fill Addie’s mailbox with a lifetime of Christmas cards this year–and we’d like to help!
Please join us in letting Addie’s family know that we’re thinking of them and wishing them the Christmas of a lifetime.
(Update) Thank you for helping us to make a family’s wish come true this holiday season! We were able to collect more than 220 signatures that we signed onto cards, packaged, and sent to Sweet Addie and her family. To stay updated on Addie’s story, please follow her Facebook page.
We are so pleased that we’ve been able to collect signatures from people around the world.
Last week one of our incredibly talented Christmas card editors, Courtney Rabideau, shared some great tips on What to Write in a Christmas Card. We’re hoping it got you in the Christmas spirit and ready to write out those Christmas cards!
We know a lot of people struggle with finding the right message to hand-write on their Christmas cards, so we wanted to offer up some additional suggestions for lovely Christmas card sayings. Courtney was kind enough to oblige us and put together some great suggestions.
Here are some lovely Christmas card sayings, perfect for hand-writing on any holiday card:
- “Wishing you a Christmas that’s merry and bright.”
- “This time of year, I’m especially grateful for people like you.”
- “Hope you and your family are doing well this holiday season.”
- “Merry Christmas and continued happiness into the beginning of a new year.”
- “Having you makes the holidays even more special.”
- “Celebrating people like you this Christmas.”
What will you be writing on your Christmas cards this year?
Tis the season! Happy birthday to all December babies! During this wonderful (although cold) month, winter officially begins in the northern hemisphere. But are all of you snow babies really in the know about your birth month?
Here are some other December birthday fun facts that are fun to share:
- As you well know, you share your birth month with a ton of festive religious holidays, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. It’s like the whole month is lit up in your honor!
- The birthstone of December is the turquoise, which represents prosperity, success, and good fortune.
- December’s flower is the narcissus, which symbolizes rebirth and respect.
- The zodiac signs associated with December are Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec.21), which is characterized as extroverted and optimistic, and Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19), which can be described as professional and organized. Which one are you?
- Monthly observances during December include Universal Human Rights Month and Read a New Book Month. Time to snuggle up with your Kindle and learn about the world around you!
- Celebrity birthdays in December include : Woody Allen (12/1), Lucy Liu (12/2), Walt Disney (12/5), Larry Bird (12/7,) Frank Sinatra (12/12), Bob Barker (12/12), Taylor Swift (12/13), Jamie Foxx (12/13), Vanessa Hudgens (12/25), Ludwig van Beethoven (12/16), Samuel L. Jackson (12/21), Sir Isaac Newton (12/25) and comic book icon, Stan Lee (12/28).
Although it may be cold outside, may you stay warm and happy on your birthday and throughout the holidays!
Did you already know these December birthday fun facts? Who do you share your birthday with? Tell us in the comments!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
This week, we are just bursting with gratitude for all of the blessings we’ve received throughout the year and excited to get to spend the holiday weekend in the company of family and friends. In honor of Thanksgiving, we pulled together some amazing, crafty (but simple!) ways to express your gratitude this year.
1. Free Thanksgiving printable place setting cards
This beautiful set of place setting cards from our sister site, BlueMountain.com, offers 4 different designs to choose from to customize to your Thanksgiving tablescape design. Visit their blog to view and print their free “I am Thankful For…” printables.
2. The thankful tree
We loved this idea from Simply Vintagegirl to cut out various patterns of scrapbook paper into small circular designs and use a hole-punch to create the hanging hook. Gather some branches from the yard and have your guests write what they’re thankful for this year and place their happy sentiment on the tree.
3. (More!) Free Thanksgiving printables
With these free Thanksgiving printables from another one of our sister sites, Cardstore.com, you can customize and print your entire Thanksgiving menu, as well as a place card and thankful card. They’ve also included a napkin ring and feather detail that you can print!
4. Thumbprint thankful tree
We loved reading about this twist on the wedding thumbprint trend. While doing leaf prints with her kids, Little Page Turners decided to make a thumbprint thankful tree with her kids. Have your guests add their thumbprints upon their arrival for Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll have an amazing keepsake to remind you of the happy holiday you spent together!
5. “I am thankful for…” pumpkin craft
This simple construction paper craft from The Moffatt Girls doesn’t take a lot of time, but the results is an adorable 3-D design that can also double as a dinner placecard!
6. Thankful jar with metallic rocks
This thankful jar from Anne at One She Two She is a simple way to collect what everyone is grateful this year and display it throughout the year. We loved not only the design on the jar, but how pretty the metallic river rocks looked inside of it!
Do you have a creative way that you’ll be expressing your gratitude this Thanksgiving? We’d love to hear your ideas!
The countdown to Christmas is ON! We are eyeballs-deep into Pinterest, looking at all of the creative ways our fans and followers are counting down to Christmas in their homes. In the spirit of the season of sharing, we wanted to share some of our favorite Christmas countdown calendar ideas!
1. Picture frame advent calendar:
The beautiful French blog, Kesi’Art, created a flip advent calendar using colorful papers, wood cut-outs, and other fabulous embellishments–all hung on a binder ring! You can snag a TOLSBY frame by Ikea for only 99 cents and even reuse favorite Christmas cards to recreate this handmade calendar. Using Christmas cards you’ve received over the years can bring you additional joy as you revisit each warm message from friends and family!
2. Chalkboard charger plate:
This Christmas Countdown charger plate is a fast and easy way to dress up an inexpensive platter for the holidays. Using paint pens and chalkboard paint, you can creatively decorate a simple charger plate and then place it into a plate display frame.
3. Book advent countdown to Christmas:
Do you have kids or grandkids? If so, you’re going to love this Book Advent Countdown to Christmas from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. The simple act of unwrapping a book not only adds to the excitement of the holiday season, but it can help instill the love of reading into children’s hearts. Pour a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up, and read to each other!
4. Countdown To Christmas pallet sign and card display:
This handmade Countdown to Christmas pallet from Too Much Time on My Hands brings together everything we love–chalkboard paint, wood pallets, and a warm, handmade touch! It’s big enough to make a great statement on a mantel or to provide a focal point if you don’t have a fireplace to adorn. The old springs used in the corner provides the perfect place to proudly display this year’s Christmas cards–or favorite ones from years gone by!
5. 25 Days of service:
What better way to give back this season than to involve the whole family in 25 days of service? We loved this idea from I Heart Nap Time, where rather than receiving a gift each day leading up to Christmas, you are committed to doing an act of service each day. Another fun twist could be to use last year’s Christmas cards as the artwork for your daily tags and identify 25 friends and family members who you’d like to call or do something nice for each day!
6. Countdown to Christmas chalkboard:
We loved Abi’s admission of not having chalkboard-perfect handwriting, so she pulled this awesome wall hanging together from tracing chalkboard fonts she found online and other fun chalkboard-inspired touches. She’s used this same wall hanging for other holidays, so be sure to check out her archives, too. Our personal favorite is her Countdown to Christmas Chalkboard, though!
What are some of the fun and creative Christmas countdowns you’ve seen lately?
November 11th is Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor all who have served in the U.S. Military. We, of course, are the most familiar with saying thank you to the veterans in our lives with cards and ecards, but this year we wanted to share a great list of other thoughtful ways to thank a veteran.
In honor of those who have served (including many of our very own American Greetings associates!), we’d like to offer a few suggestions on ways to thank a veteran:
1. At home:
Sending care packages overseas to those actively serving is a well known way to thank a veteran, but what about sending a little bit of the fall season to a service member on active duty? We loved the suggestions that Veterans United put together on the spouse section of their website. It’s easy to pick up extra items during your regular shopping trip and package them at home in your spare time. Additionally, you can order free shipping boxes for military addresses from the US Post Office.
2. At work:
Did you know that the Office of Veteran’s Affairs has created a poster every year since 1978 to recognize Veterans Day? Show your pride and gratitude in the office by printing out copies and hanging them around your workplace in honor of those who served. Download the 2014 poster and (view the full archives!) here.
3. With the kids or grandkids:
Honoring veterans can be a family affair–and these bracelets from No Time For Flashcards are a great way to get kids involved! Besides making one to thank a veteran, they can also make one to wear themselves, serving as a daily reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve in our armed forces.
4. Out in the community:
Your local Veterans Affairs office regularly needs volunteers, drivers, and donations. Visit their website to find a location near you and download a list of what they need the most.
5. Exercise your right to vote:
Veterans Day comes just after November elections, but use the holiday as a reminder to always do your civic duty and vote. Our service men and women have volunteered for service to protect our freedom–this small act means so much!
What great ways have you found to thank a veteran?
We’re sending out our biggest, happiest wishes to all of you celebrating your birthday this month! If you’re lucky enough to be born in November, it means you’re dynamic, brave, and generous—and we’re not surprised one bit!
Here are some other November birthday fun facts that are worth celebrating:
- The magnetic Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22), and one of the luckiest signs, Sagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 22) are the dynamo duo that rule this month.
- The two gems for November are the Topaz and Citrine.
- Your flower is the Chrysanthemum which, according to Feng Shui, brings laughter and happiness to the home.
- Love fall football? On November 6, 1869, the first intercollegiate football game was played in the U.S. between Rutgers and Princeton.
- Not only is Thanksgiving celebrated this month, but it’s also Peanut Butter Lovers Month and National Pepper Month!
- What stars are celebrating with you this month?—Jenny McCarthy (11/1), David Schwimmer (11/2), Matthew McConaughey (11/4), Ethan Hawke (11/6), Leonardo DiCaprio (11/11), Anne Hathaway (11/12), Martin Scorsese (11/17), Jodi Foster (11/19), Tina Turner (11/26), Jon Stewart (11/28), and Billy Idol (11/30).
We hope you have a glorious birthday and that it’s just the start to an amazing, happiness-filled year!
Send one of our birthday ecards today!
Do you have a great November birthday fun fact share? We’d love to hear what you enjoy about being a November baby in the comments!
Looking to curl up at home tonight with the best Halloween movies for any age to get your entire family in the “spirit”? This season is full of ghost-tingling fun for all ages ranging from the friendliest ghost tales to full-on horror thrillers.
Taking into account the level of bravery of those wishing to join you on the couch, here are some hauntingly perfect Halloween titles to check out—including some old favorites that you may have forgotten about!
For the Chicken Littles:
There are a ton of fun, non-frightening, PG-rated monster movies like “Monster House,” “Monsters, Inc.” and the “Halloweentown” series. However, digging back a little further into the movie catalogue reveals some classic fun for the whole family, including “E.T.,” “Casper,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and the beloved “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
A little braver:
If you’re craving a little more adventure, but not a lot of gore, checking out family-friendly titles like “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “The Addams Family,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Beetlejuice,” ”Labyrinth,” “Practical Magic” and “Young Frankenstein” to deliver a lot of laughs (without having to cover your eyes for the scary parts!)
If you want to host your own horror movie marathon, look into a classic movie series like “Halloween,” “Scream,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” ‘Friday the 13th,” “Final Destination,” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Or for a little scary movie satire, check out the “Scary Movie” series.
Looking for a spine-tingler that will leave you breathless? The true bravehearts may want to take a gander at some of the top-rated horror flicks of all time, including “Saw,” “The Ring,” “The Exorcist,” “Children of the Corn,” “Carrie,” “Hellraiser,” “The Shining,” “Psycho,” and “The Omen.”
No matter what your final film selection is, don’t forget to pair it with an appropriate seasonal snack—roasted pumpkin seeds, caramel popcorn balls, candied apples, and gummy snacks in scary shapes are always good places to start.
Few things bring out the kid in us like Halloween. It’s the one day in the year you can totally transform yourself into someone (or something!) entirely different and go to town being zany, scary, or just over-the-top creative. Oh, and let’s not forget the added bonus of sugary showers of candy! But when celebrating with the kids or grandkids, finding a Halloween party idea that’s appropriate for kids of varyious ages can feel more like a trick than a treat.
If you’re still looking to find the greatest Halloween party ideas for kids, no worries–we’ve got you covered! Our American Greetings Halloween experts have conjured up a few simply spooktacular party ideas that will put you well on your way to hosting your own kid-friendly ghoulish ghostfest in no time.
Host a pumpkin-decorating contest with a twist:
No need to pull out sharp tools around the little spooks. Use paint or decorative tape to make funny or scary faces, or cover them in glitter for enchanting gourds that rival a mirrorball. Not only will they look great, but they’ll last way longer than their carved counterparts. Hand out awards of candy or fun Halloween decorations they can keep and use year after year. Check out our best no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas here!
Have an autumn harvest party that’s nothing but fun:
If even Casper still sets little ones on edge, a harvest party is the perfect way to have a howling good time sans horror. Enchanting games like bobbing for apples, pin the nose on the pumpkin, and guessing the number of candy corns in a jar are all fun and easy for the younger crowd.
Be the coolest neighbor on the block and throw a trick-or-treat after party!
After candy collecting, kids love inspecting their sugary-laden lot. Invite the neighborhood kids and their parents to come over for snacks and apple cider
and let the kids sort through their sugary stash while they make trades for the perfect assortment of treats.
Get outdoors for Halloween fun!
Some of the best activities can be found in the fall that the whole family can enjoy. Get lost in a corn maze and have a contest to see who can get through the fastest, go on a hayride, or participate in a ghost walk. Got leaves? Rake several piles in the yard with a prize at the bottom of one of them, and get your camera ready to capture the wild, leaf-flying rumpus. You just might capture your perfect shot for that Thanksgiving card in the process.
Haunted houses are the perfect love/hate affair for adults and older kids…
Even though we know it’s not real, we still jump out of our skins every time while we enjoy the bizarre thrill of being scared out of our wits–that’s a freaky concept all on its own.
No matter what activity you choose, the time spent together is magic in the making and will be remembered by your kids for years to come.
The fall season welcomes many great traditions. But perhaps the most fun of them all is selecting a perfect pumpkin to take home and decorate as your own. But (truth be told) once that orange beauty is finally home, you probably end up spending at least a few hours spreading out newspapers, wielding sharp carving instruments and cleaning up lots (and lots) of pumpkin seeds!
Did you know there’s a fabulous trend in pumpkin decorating that involves NO pumpkin scraps to clean up… NO sharp objects to maneuver… and NO cutting (so your pumpkin will last a lot longer)?
Our pumpkin-loving holiday experts here at American Greetings would love to share the following no carve pumpkin ideas with you for exciting, no-carve designs that are undeniably “gourd-geous”!
1. All that glitters
Applying something shimmery contrasts beautifully with the natural, organic look and feel of a pumpkin. You can cover it completely in glitter (using glue as your adhesive), or spray it with metallic spray paint. Attaching rhinestones, sequins, or other sparkly attachments in a beautiful design will also give it just the right amount of bling.
2. Tap into your inner Michelangelo
You don’t have to be an accomplished artist in order to make your pumpkin something special. Find a template online to trace and paint, or stick to simple classic patterns such as polka dots, stripes, or swirls.
3. Written word
Pumpkins placed near the entrance of a home are a traditional and welcoming detail. A very simple way to personalize your very own is by using a marker or paint in order to scroll a carefully lettered message such as “Welcome,” “Trick or Treat,” “Boo” or the first initial of your last name.
4. Put a bow on it
Something as simple as a satin ribbon tied as a bow around the stem of a pumpkin can definitely give it an elegant, polished look. But if you’re looking for more of a fun, festive feel, consider other cute finishing items such as raffia, rick rack, or feathery marabou.
5. If all else fails…
If you find yourself overwhelmed and out of time, don’t despair. A simple display of multi-colored gourds in different shapes and sizes placed on a bed of fall leaves (either silk or natural) will always create a pretty scene. Whether they’re arranged simply in a woven basket on your dining room table, stacked carefully on top of each other on your buffet, or piled strategically in an old wheelbarrow next to your front door, all you need is a few minutes of your time and an eye for presentation.
Are you a seasoned pumpkin carver or do you prefer no carve pumpkins? Share your favorite pumpkin decorating ideas in the comments!