Great ideas to enjoy the good life.
The Elegant Centerpiece
Put some extra gleam on your table by using your favorite silver bowls, goblets, or cups to anchor a holiday arrangement. We put together this one in a flash using richly colored violets that cost around $5. Just place flowers of your choice―pot and all―into a pretty container, and then snuggle sheet moss or some other simple greenery around the base. Finish by tucking in a few bright, silver ornaments. The result? Simple, seasonal, and splendid.
That Special Gift
With a few more minutes and a little bit of creative fun, you can make your gifts unique and individual.
Don’t bother buying more boxes of gift tags. Just recycle last year’s Christmas cards. Cut them into simple shapes, and use a grommet-maker or hole punch to add a small hole at one end or corner. Thread twine through the hole, and tie to the gift for a creative look.
Instead of buying another roll of wrapping paper, make your own. Use stamps and paint to transform recycled kraft paper. It’ll save you money, help the environment, and add memorable personality to every gift you give.
Easy Orange Rolls
Your family will definitely want to rise, shine, and dine when they smell these baking in the oven. Preheat oven to 375°. Beat 1⁄2 (8-oz.) package softened cream cheese, 1⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, and 11⁄2 tsp. orange zest at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Unroll 1 (11-oz.) can refrigerated French bread dough onto a lightly floured surface. Spread cream cheese mixture over dough, leaving a 1⁄4-inch border. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar. Gently roll up dough, starting at 1 long side. Cut into 11 (11⁄4-inch) slices. Place slices in a lightly greased 8-inch round cake pan. Brush top of dough with 1 Tbsp. melted butter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Stir together 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp. orange juice in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over hot rolls. Serve immediately.
Makes 11 rolls. Prep: 15 min., Bake: 30 min.
For testing purposes only, we used Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf.
You can dress a standard wreath in white Christmas fashion as quick as you can say “St. Nick.” All you need to get a decorator look is an inexpensive evergreen wreath, available at garden stores and tree lots, and a can of white flocking spray. Take the project outside to ensure you don’t “dust” the unintended, and then let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. A simple bow is the only adornment your wreath needs.
Skating on the Mall
This time of year there’s a different kind of spin coming out of our Nation’s Capital. We are referring, of course, to ice skating. D.C. is rich with rinks, but our top pick is the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW. From now until mid-March (weather permitting), this rink offers ambience and views galore, making it the perfect choice for a crisp December outing. Fees for two-hour sessions are $7 adults; $6 seniors, students, and ages 12 and under. Show your ID, and rent skates for $3 a pair.
A Distinctive Touch
There’s one on every list: a stylish man who already has one of everything. No worries. We’ve found a solution. Order a set of jewelry-quality blazer buttons from Ben Silver in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the years this company has built a reputation for great-looking specialty buttons that honor colleges and universities. Ben Silver also produces buttons with sports, wildlife, and professional motifs. Choose from gold-plated brass, 14-karat gold-filled, sterling silver, or 14-karat gold, with hand-painted enamel available for most styles. A set of nine buttons (including three large for the front of the blazer and three small for each sleeve) starts at $198. Visit www.bensilver.com, or call 1-800-221-4671.
Picture Perfect Garland
Deck your halls with a distinctive―and decidedly charming―family photo garland. Just cut circular shapes from copies of your favorite photos, and glue them to the backs of wooden curtain rings. Use ribbon to attach the rings to a garland for your stairs or mantel. You could even hang them on your tree. No doubt, Santa will feel most welcome when he sees all those smiling faces.