POSTS WITH TAG: christmas

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    It looks like the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge had a lovely first Christmas and Boxing Day since Prince George's arrival. Not only did the Queen discuss the heir's birth and christening in her annual Christmas speech, but the new parents seem to have enjoyed a healthy mix of formal tradition and relaxed celebration over the course of the festivities ...

    Here, all the details on how our favorite royals spent their most joyful Christmastime yet ...

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    If you'd like to eat out on Christmas day, you actually have a lot of options. Your favorite restaurant may not be open, but several chain restaurants are open for business on December 25. The following restaurants have confirmed that most of their locations are open, but it's always a good idea to call ahead just to be sure. 

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    Whether you're gearing up to contend with loads of baking, cooking, holiday traffic, dysfunctional family drama, or just the craaazy lines at the local movie theater tonight and tomorrow, it's easy to get a bit overwhelmed by Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day plans. But for some instant relief, just consider what Kate Middleton has on her agenda ...

    According to Vanity Fair, William and Catherine are spending Prince George’s first Christmas with the royal family at the royal estate Sandringham where the family Christmas is rather ... formal. And following annual tradition, the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to have five wardrobe changes tomorrow alone!

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    There are plenty of reasons to want the festive, cheery holiday season to go on and on, but angry debate about saying "Merry Christmas!" vs. "Happy holidays!" is not one of them. This year, it seems like the tension around the topic is at an all-time high. And sadly, both those who insist on Christmas being the one and only holiday acknowledged or others who want to keep season's greetings 100 percent secular 100 percent of the time are just plain wrong.

    Take, for example, a recent upsetting incident in North Texas: Grace Academy students made Christmas cards for local bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas, thanking them for their service. But the teacher heading up the effort was told the hospital "can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'" Oh dear.

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    Song makers insisted on giving us 12 days of Christmas, so there's no reason why we can't treat ourselves to at least 12 days of delicious Christmas eating. Whether you make these tasty banana eggnog pancakes on Christmas morning, or in the lazy wintry days that follow, you'll smile each time you take a bite and remember the good times you've been having with family and friends.

    And, aside from all of the many sentimental excuses you'll have to make these pancakes, there's a perfectly practical reason behind them, as well: what else are you going to do with all of that eggnog you bought that's just sitting in your fridge? These pancakes are the ideal solution to your eggnog problems!

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    (Target, $17.99)If you're still searching for the perfect hostess gift, then look no further. Over at The Prowl, we know that small gifts can go a long way when you want to show the hostess your appreciation. That's why we rounded up some of the prettiest and most affordable hostess gifts, which all cost $20 or less. These may be wallet-friendly gifts, though they look anything but cheap. It doesn't take a lot of money to buy something chic that the hostess will love. 

    Check out this preview of affordable hostess gifts, then head to The Prowl for even more chic gifts under $20!

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    Ok, ok -- so I know you're probably on holiday dessert overload right now, but there is one more important dish you'd better start planning for if you haven't already. Duh ... cookies to leave out for Santa. And you know he's totally over store-bought sweets at this point -- which is why you can't go wrong in leaving him a plate of these adorable Snowflake Cookies.

    This recipe from Pillsbury uses a chocolate dough, but if you think Santa is more of a sugar cookie kinda guy, I'm sure you can use more of a standard flavor for the base.

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    One of the major rules about Christmas desserts is that they have to be fun. And pretty. Oh, and able to fit securely in a box that you can balance on one knee while balancing bags of presents on both arms. These Candy Cane White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes are beyond beautiful -- and will surely match your wrapping paper and tree ornaments (which is really just an added bonus, but not one we should overlook). Adults will reach for them because they're the perfect size -- anyone can have at least one, even after a dinner of baked ham and potatoes with all of the trimmings. And kids will just gobble them up because they're absolutely delicious. So let's get baking!

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    (Party Bucket, Pottery Barn, $129)Busy holiday planning is in full swing right now. If you think you might lose it if you have to walk down another toy store aisle, don't! We have cocktail essentials and holiday entertaining must-haves to take your mind off all that kid stuff. So don't think about all those unwrapped gifts right now. Instead, get holiday party-inspired!

    Over at The Prowl, we rounded up the niftiest cocktail tools so you can make drinks like a pro for your guests. Then, when it's time to sit down for dinner, give your cooking the presentation it deserves with a fabulous tabletop. Hosting a holiday gathering is a lot of work, even if you go the potluck route -- however, with the right entertaining gadgets and serveware, playing hostess can be fun!

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    In a time when guys choreograph wedding proposals specifically with hopes that the video of it will go viral, it's no surprise some families are creating "year in review" Christmas letters with the same aim! But some are more successful than others, and it looks like the Holderness family from Raleigh, North Carolina takes the cake this year. Dad Penn (an anchor for WNCN) and mom Kim (former anchor for WRAL), along with their kiddos Lola and Penn Jr., have produced a hilarious, adorable "card" entitled, "Christmas Jammies."

    Set to Will Smith's "Miami," the Holderness clan takes turns touting their greatest accomplishments of 2013 ... ultimately in an effort to tout the parents' new marketing and media company. But you won't mind the obvious, shameless plug, because not only are they pretty much the most attractive family ever, but the kids are ridiculously cute, and the video super-entertaining. It's kinda no wonder it has gone crazy viral!

    Check it out ...

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