Free printable Christmas nativity scenes, Advent manger sets for Bible holiday

Are you looking for religious Christmas crafts for little ones? You'll want these free printable nativity scenes. Children can color Bible characters and assemble manger sets. Here's a free printable manger scene with cut and paste coloring pages to put on paper towel tubes. Catholic Icing has eight coloring pages that you can click and print directly from her blog. Each page features Mary and Joseph, donkey, angel, wisemen, shepherds, Baby Jesus, camels. Download the set from the website.Free printable Christmas nativity scenes, Advent manger sets for Bible holiday

Free printable gingerbread house patterns, Christmas craft stencils

Making holiday gingerbread houses is a favorite family traditions. Not being very artistic, I'd cheat and get the gingerbread house kit. But I've found a better way: free printable gingerbread house patterns, recipes and templates. People approach gingerbread house making in two ways. The first is to painstakingly design a work of art--not to be eaten, let alone touched. Then there's our youngest son's method: slap together a ramshackle gingerbread shed, lather in two inches of frosting, cover every inch in candy and devour immediately. Whichever school you subscribe to, you'll want these free printable gingerbread recipes, templates and patterns.   Free printable gingerbread house patterns, Christmas craft stencils 

Free printable Catholic Advent calendars for a Christian Bible Christmas

The Catholic Christian season of Advent begins November 30, 2014 and goes for four weeks till Christmas. Many families follow Advent calendars. If they're getting all season long, where's the magic of Christmas morning? Advent is about preparing for the coming of Christ with acts of charity.  Here are Free printable Catholic Advent calendars for a Christian Bible Christmas

Top Christmas toys for 2014 Black Friday shopping and best U.S. prices

Toy Retailers Association announced its 2014 Dream Toys List on November 5. Each holiday, the UK/Ireland toy vendor group rates the 12 best children's toys. Just in time for your Black Friday Christmas shopping, here's what toys will top every kid's wishlist to Santa. The list includes best U.S. pricing so parents can shop smart and put those toys under the tree!  Top Christmas toys for 2014 Black Friday shopping and best U.S. prices

Free Christmas Crafts and Holiday Printables

Martha Stewart is the DIY home goddess. On her website, you'll find printable crafts for every holiday, theme and occasion. Coming up, she's got Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter themed holiday crafts. You can also find Advent, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Chanukah and Epiphany crafts to print. And you can access any holiday from the page I linked. There are free printable greeting cards, invitations, decorations, games, banners, cut and paste, children's activities, gift crafts and more. Look for birthday, anniversary, new baby, wedding, bridal shower, graduation and religious events. Free Crafts and Printables from Martha Stewart

Free Printable Christmas Crafts, Cards, Games, Party Decorations and Recipes

I maintain several highly-performing niche blog, the most popular ones involving printable crafts for children. Internet searchers are always seeking freebies and crafts. Christmas is an especially popular time to hunt up free printable crafts. So here are links for free printable Christmas crafts, recipes, games, decorations and greeting cards! Free Crafts and Printables from Martha Stewart

Budget Homemade Holiday Centerpiece Like Crate and Barrel

I shopped recently at Crate and Barrel at Somerset Mall near Detroit. Lovely store; very expensive. Crate and Barrel was displaying beautiful holiday centerpieces. So being a DIYer, I made mental notes on how to create these holiday crafts cheaper with natural, recycled sources.

Crate and Barrel holiday centerpiece with table runner: Instead of the traditional centerpiece interior decorators are featuring table runners with holiday decor lined up down the length of the table. Buy a table runner for a buck at Dollar Tree and under $5 at Walmart or Family Dollar.

For holidays, choose table runners in rich fabrics: brocade, tapestry, linen, satin, velvet or lace. Look for bold colors: gold, silver, crimson, blue, emerald, black.

Or repurpose with a piece of favorite fabric. Perhaps you have a piece that matches your curtains? Or an old curtain valance? Cut a piece the length of your dining room table. Leave a little overhang or cut it shorter. Hem raw edges or if you hate sewing, fold edges over, press and secure with heavy tape.

For accent pieces, take a walk outdoors and select dry leaves, twigs, pine cones and acorns. Spray paint with a $3 can of gold or silver spray paint. Gilt edges or thoroughly paint. Place on newspaper. Spray one side. Allow to dry. Flip and spray the other side.

Arrange painted items along the table runner with several strands of contrasting Christmas tree bead garlands. For Christmas, paint foliage gold and use red and green beads. For Hanukkah decor paint the foliage silver and display with blue bead garlands. Or use four candles--3 blue or purple and one pink-- and make an advent wreath.

Add a lace or fabric ribbon or bow. Place three pillar candles of alternating heights on holiday platter in the center of the table. Choose any color that complements your seasonal colors.

Dress up candles by tying velvet ribbon bow around center. Using hot glue or Glue Dots or beading pins, add festive appliques, buttons, faux gems, sequins, beads. This same display retailed for over $150 at Crate and Barrel.

Free and Printable Christmas Holiday Greeting Cards Crafts Puzzles

A string of holiday cards across a window makes a lovely sight! I have sent and received cards for years. It is one of my favorite holiday traditions. But the cost of everything seem to be rising, including greeting cards.

  Here's a sensible alternative to expensive cards--print your own! Home printed cards are just as beautiful and personal. And they make sense financially. Saves on shopping time too!

  I found a terrific site for free printable christmas cards with no membership fees. Best of all it has a wide selection of free printable holiday crafts. The site is Dover Publications. It  offers free samples of clipart, and printables. Dover offers a wealth of holiday crafts, sticker sheets to print, gift tags, and loads of quality books as well.

  The holiday art on the cards is generally from the lavish Victorian period. Classic cherubs adorn the corners in rich colors. Jolly old St. Nick steps straight out of Harper's Bazaar with his sack bulging with toys from times past. Gilt fruit and lush wreaths decorate the borders. Victorian children skate on fairyland ponds, dressed in red velvet and white fur. All the cards greet your loved ones with banners of holiday cheer!

  There are also some which feature the Art Nouveau and 'Art Deco' Period of the Twenties and Thirties. These feature the elegant, elongated men and women and chic block writing. You'll find Tiffany style art as well for your e-cards. The whimsical fairylike characters and enchanted woodland scenes evoke the magic of Christmas!

  There are religious and secular choices. You can choose nativity scenes, nostalgic woodland churches, candles and incense, and Coventry angels. There are cards with different peoples and cultures: Norse, Celtic, Germanic, Moorish, French, Slavic, and Oriental.

  You will be amazed at the great prices and free shipping deals! Most large coloring books sell for $3.95 to $6.95. The reprints run about $5.95 to $8.95. You can be put on an email mailing list and receive free samples and coupons each week. You can receive free catalogs through the mail with promotions galore!

  Check out Dover Publications website today and explore the choices for your holiday mailing and all your holiday gift-giving! Be sure to sign up with your email to get the freebies.

Mediterranean Baklava Honey Pastry Recipes for Holiday Baking

My husband came home one day declaring himself in love... and not just with me. That sticky-sweet Mediterranean honey and nut pastry, wrapped in phyllo dough. Baklava is expensive to buy, but inexpensive and easy to make from scratch. Since experiencing it, my husband now gets homemade baklava for every holiday (that's baklava spilled on his shirt, he loves it that much!) I learned to make it and passed the art down to my daughter who is baklava maker in chief.  It's a star attraction at our holiday get-togethers. Mediterranean Baklava and Honey Phyllo Dough Pastry Recipes

What is Epiphany? Who Were the Magi?

Catholics, Byzantine and Orthodox celebrate Epiphany when the three wisemen visited the Holy Family in Bethlehem. The Wisemen are also called Magi (from 'Magician'), Three Kings or in Spanish, Los Reyes. These kings each came from a different country and were not Jewish nor were they kings from the Orient as we know it (from Asia or Far East). They were most likely Persian, Egyptian, Ethiopian or Turkish. The term 'oriental' was a looser reference at that time, meaning anywhere east of the Mediterranean and south of Judea. Read on The Magi: The History of the Wisemen Whose Visit to the Nativity is Celebrated as Epiphany

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