Merry Christmas at the Last Minute

At the old homestead, I'm wrapping presents, making jerky and looking forward to a hot toddy this evening.  It's cold and windy here, with a combination of slush and snow that's hardly picture postcard material.  We're in the spirit anyway, though.  While scurrying around, all kinds of last minute ideas have been popping into my head.  Here are a few I'd like to share:

Save wood ash from your fireplace. If you'll be burning real wood in your fireplace this holiday, remember to shovel the ashes into a bag and save them to sprinkle on your garden this spring. They'll help provide your plants with lots of minerals like: phosphorous, potassium, boron and calcium. And wood ash doesn't need to be composted.

Go really green with your green onions. If you're like me, around this time in the holiday countdown you're buying plenty of scallions.  Look for bunches with quite a bit of root end attached, and you can keep any you don't use alive for months.

Place scallions in a glass half-filled with water, and then put the glass in a sunny window (no direct light). Change the water every third day. You can harvest a third (to about a half) of an onion's length and it will still grow back -- developing a healthy root system along the way. Continue harvesting a bit here and there until spring, and then plant the onion starts outside.  Now that's a green option.

Make yourself an apple chip snack. If you love the smell of Christmas cooking, you don't have to give it up after the 25th.  Try making apple chips with that fresh fruit display no one ever seems to eat.  Dried apples taste good, smell divine and a relatively low-cal  treat.  Here's a link to a great tutorial and recipe from Fifteen Spatulas: Cinnamon Sugar Baked Apple Chips 

Try fabric wrap. It isn't too late to take a quick trip to the fabric store for holiday fabric wrapping paper.  This is a favorite at our house.  I cut squares of fabric with pinking shears and use them to wrap stocking stuffers.  Here's how it works: Just crease the folds with your nail and wrap presents as you would with paper.  Affix the ends with double-sided sticky tape.

Using fabric for wrap has become almost as nostalgically memorable as putting up the tree ornaments because I reuse many fabric pieces year after year.  Give it a try.

Extend the life of your store purchased herbs.  If you have bunches of sage, mint, tarragon, thyme, rosemary or parsley from the produce aisle of your market, snip the cut ends and place the herbs in a tall glass filled with water. Keep the glass in your fridge -- changing the water every couple of days.  The herbs will last longer and taste better that way. If you end up with leftovers, freeze them in plastic bags -- there's always another herb worthy occasion right around the corner.

Happy ho-ho-ho!


  1. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

  2. Merry Christmas to you too, Olga!


  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.

  4. Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday!

  5. I have never thought of doing any of this before. I especially love the fabric gift wrap. Thanks for the great info!


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