Playful, chilly winds nip our ears and prick our exposed noses. Straggling students wrap scarves around their heads in the fashion of ancient, entombed Egyptians. And as the days dwindle into the single digits, you can almost hear the wintertime choirs burst out into song and chime…
Seven days until Christmas!
That, my friends, is the stocking that’s Santa’s going to fill with lots of nice goodies for a very nice girl this year (a.k.a. yours truly):
Wait…seven days?! That’s exactly one week!
In honor of this momentous occasion, which occurs once every 364 1/4 days in a year–something it shares in common with Leprechaun’s Day, National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and your Auntie Mabel’s birthday–I’ve compiled a list of 7 holiday traditions that, for some reason or another, just never seemed to make the cut…
7. Naughty or Naughtier: Draw from a hat of “naughty” deeds and perform them in front of your friends! But it gets better–in order to win, your friends have to out-naughty your naughty deed. Do you have what it takes to get yourself in the top spot on Santa’s naughty list this year?
6. Hot Space Heater: Want to turn up the heat this year on family & friends fun day? Play this season-appropriate version of “Hot Potato” with your closest enemies. All you need are some rockin’ Christmas tunes and a preheated warmer–toss the space heater around in a circle until it gets too hot to handle! For extra excitement, make sure to invite your in-laws and that second cousin, twice removed that you never really liked.
5. Turkey Deep-Frying Competition: Get your frying vats ready–this is one sizzling holiday game! See who can fry their turkies the fastest; the hotter the stove, the hotter the game! (In order to qualify, participants must fry their turkies whole, preferably in a crowded space where flying oil and raging tempers will be an issue.)
4. Santa Pause: Do nothing but stare at the fireplace for as long as you can stand. Good party game for up to 90 players, and particularly for those of 90+ years. Sleeping with eyes wide open permitted.
3. Rudolph the Red No’s-Brainer: It’s costume time! Get a nice rosy glow going on those wintry noses by roasting a whole tomato under the broiler. Then pass around the scorching-hot tomatoes and have every member of your party don one–you may find that your red nose will not be artificial for very long!
2. Elf’s Workshop: Gang up against the youngest (or smallest) member of your family and make them do all the holiday preparations around the house while the rest of you sip hot chocolate and sing “Deck the Halls” in cheery, obnoxious voices. Possible supplies include a giant nametag that reads “And to think I used to wish I could be Santa’s elf” for your house elf to wear, or giant marshmallows that you can command your elf to toast for you “in the name of Santa Claus.”
1. S’mores Wars: Do you long to have a snowball fight but find it too cold to step outside? Never fear, marshmallows are here! Heat up marshmallows in the microwave for up to 5 seconds–they should expand like crazy Pillsbury dough-boys. Whip them out and chuck ‘em at whoever happens to pass by the kitchen–they’ll never know what hit them!
What is your number one favorite holiday game/activity? Leave your thoughts, and look out for some more Countdown to Christmas posts!
Orange Cheesecake Gingerbread Blondies Yield: 1 9×9-inch baking pan Ingredients:
- For gingerbread blondie:
- 1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- For orange cheesecake:
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- Zest of 1/2 medium orange
- Juice of 1/2 medium orange (or approximately 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted (for chocolate swirl)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in one egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9×9-inch baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and white sugar until fluffy. Beat in 1 egg, orange zest, and orange juice. Spread evenly over gingerbread blondie batter.
- Drop dollops of melted chocolate over cheesecake batter. Swirl in with tip of a knife.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, until edges begin to turn slightly golden brown and cheesecake is fairly set. Allow to cool at room temperature before cutting into squares. Place in fridge and allow to firm up for at least an additional hour before removing from pan. Store leftover bars in fridge.