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Has the Christmas Bug bitten you??


Today is the last day to enter the Hellmann’s/BlogHer giveaway here for $100 to (This giveaway isn’t very full… your chances are lookin’ good!) You could use that gift card on yourself or for Christmas gifts. Who doesn’t like a pot, pan, or kitchen gadget of some kind?!!

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I was at the store the other day and the cashier lady told me, “my gosh! Can you believe all the Christmas craze already?  It’s only December 2nd!”


I almost passed out.  Really?!?!  It’s only December 2nd?!?!  Ha.  (It took everything in me to not run over to the Christmas aisle and find a Santa hat to put on her head.)  She should come to my house.  And listen to the music I’ve been playing in my car for the past month.



Our Christmas tree is now up.  And that cranks the Christmas excitement up about 700 notches. 


The kiddos are busy talking and dreaming about Christmas.  They play around the tree, knock ornaments off the tree, imagine lots of presents under the tree, etc.  Then they busily play with nativity scenes, rearrange the manger and animals, re-enact the story themselves, and talk about Jesus’ birthday.  They can’t stop talking about everything Christmas.  I love this time of year.


A fun Christmas (Santa themed) tradition that we adopted from a friend last year (thanks to my old Georgia friend Amber!), is the Elf on a Shelf book.  Have you seen it?  I’ve noticed they are being sold at Target this year too…….so I imagine they are spreading amongst households.



The Elf itself is nothing fancy…….but the story and the tradition are magical.  Once you receive your book, you must name him (or her).  My little girl was barely 4 last year…….and Zopey was the first name that spilled out of her mouth. 

So our elf’s name is Zopey.



The story explains the elf and his role.  He comes to your home to watch your children throughout the day.  Then he flies back to Santa each night, reporting on the child’s behavior, and tell Santa any Christmas wishes that the kiddos may have told him that day.



After flying back to your home each night, the elf will find a new place to sit for the day. And you have to find him.



So each morning…….my kids run out to find Zopey’s new hiding place.  And they tell him good morning, and ask how Santa is, and tell him they are going to be good, and ask if the elves are busy making toys, and whew…..they chat his little ear off.


Here’s where Zopey has been hiding so far this year:



But the little elf can’t talk.  And the kiddos can’t touch him.  Those are Santa’s rules.



He’s magical.  And we love him.


And it makes the Santa side of Christmas so fun.


(I am not being sponsored by Elf on a Shelf or being paid in any way.  We just really enjoy this book and tradition, so I wanted to pass it along.)


What are some of your traditions????

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Anyway, since we’re on the topic of Santa……..I have the coolest thing to show you.  I came across the most clever little movie clip that you can use as your Christmas decor and project it onto the front window of your house.  I won’t say anymore…….you just have to watch this clip (with the sound on).




Isn’t that fantastic?  And magical?  You play this DVD on a projector and reflect it off the window and the Santa scene plays over and over at night.  Your neighbors from all around will stop to see that sneaky Santa inside your house.  My kids have made me play this video over and over.  I just need to find a projector so we can project it on our own window.  Stat.  :) 


(I happen to know the guy who made this [okay, and his beautiful children and wife too]………and yeah, he’s pretty amazing at this sort of stuff.  He produced it, directed it, filmed it, edited it, and yeah, he created the whole darn thing.)


You can purchase the DVD here.  Word on the street (and from his reviews) is that it ships out pretty quickly.  Cool.

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And lastly, are any of you making any Christmas gifts this year?  I have several things I’m working on (children’s gifts mostly)…….but can’t believe how the time is speeding by.  Ack!  Are you feeling the same way?


But don’t you love the thrill of making a gift rather than buying one?  There are a lot of hours and callouses that go into homemade gifts.  All I have to say is they better love it……ha!  (By the way, I don’t make everything.  I don’t even make a quarter of what I gift.  I just make little things here and there.  So don’t stress it, thinking you’re the only one not making every gift you give.)


Christmas ideas will be in full force from here on out.  My other home decor projects that I was working on are all on hold until after the holidays.  Sorry basement apartment…..Christmas is much more thrilling right now!


Happy Monday!





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This post is sponsored by:



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Ashley says:

    My cousin is awesome! He is amazing at the things they can do. You should see their Halloween video.

  2. Meari says:

    I was so excited when the animated show was on TV last week. I first saw the Elf on the Shelf on your blog! ☺

  3. Marissa says:

    We got assigned an elf this year. His name is Jasper Frost. I love this tradition. My 7 year old looks for him as soon as he gets up. It’s great.

  4. Melanie says:

    We have this tradition too (that we are starting this year)! I look the whole concept and the book, but the look of the little elf…well he creeps my son out (and me too!) I was thinking of possibly making up a new elf for next year that is more “modern”, perhaps you might have some ideas??? hint hint hint

  5. Maren says:

    We are doing elf on a shelf, I am loving it! I started the Christmas books advent activity, the kids love unwrapping their books every night, even thought most of them are ones they have read before. My favorite tradition is making up plates of goodies and taking them to friends and neighbors, the kids love to take the plates to their friend’s houses.

  6. Lauren Baugus says:

    I have a “rule” that everyone gets at least one handmade gift. I usually try to sew, but this year I found out about painting with bleach pens, so I’m giving that a go! I’m trying to make scarves out of jersey knit sheets, but I’ve also seen patterns for t-shirts and table runners too. Hopefully it’ll go well!

  7. Lisa says:

    Love Elf on the Shelf. My mom actually has 3 elves that she grew up with so this is a tradition I am very familiar with and very happy to see again. Moms not willing to give up her elves just yet so I have to buy one and before this book that was nearly impossible.

  8. Michele N says:

    I love the idea of the Elf on the Shelf, but my kids are 11,13 & 15 so I don’t think they would enjoy it as much. My tree went up on Sunday after Thanksgiving. And yes, I am making a lot of my Christmas presents again this year, as a matter of fact, I spent Black Friday morning at JoAnn’s. 2 friends & I got together and got most of our chocolates done, we still have a bit to finish. My Brother in Law’s wife is expecting a baby & due Dec 20, so I’ve been making a bunch of baby stuff, mostly off your site, that I am sending to them in lieu of Christmas presents. I’ll probably send something for mom & dad too, if I get it done. Actual Christmas gifts, I finished making the first one last night, I have a lot to go, but Saturday we are spending the day at my friend’s house sewing, sewing, sewing and teaching her & my daughter how to sew. Should be interesting and fun.

  9. Jenelle W. says:

    We do elf on the shelf too (ours is named Kay). But I find him kinda creepy! I love him and all the magic it brings but when I really get to looking at him, it’s creepy. So my husband and I have started “elf-ing” each other randomly, esp. when Kay flys to the northpole. Quickly looking out of the corner of your eye at the other person. Now it’s a little less creepy! Just funny :)

  10. Sandra C. says:

    Hi Ashley,
    I’ve been following your amizing blog for a while and would like to share some German Christmas traditions with you. We celebrate the four Sundays before Christmas with an Advent wreath which has four candles. Every Sunday, we light one more candle and sing some Christmas songs. On the 1st of December the kids get an Advent calendar (My son got a star wars calendar I made and my oldest daughter a calender with little stockings, also made by me.) In the night between the 5th and 6th of December, the kids put their boots out and Nikolaus puts a little present and candy in their boots and stockings. Sometimes we “hire” a Nikolaus, who visits the kids at home (they are very excited about it because Nikolaus knows whether the kids have been good or bad)
    In our region, we don’t have Santa Clause, who comes to the houses, but the “Christkind” – the Christmas child. It comes on the 24th of December in the evening, after we return from church. We have a nice dinner on the 24th with the family and on the 25th we have a big lunch together with the whole family. So it’s a lot of good stuff – delicious roasts, cakes and so on. On the 26th we are usually sick from eating too much ;-))

  11. Kim says:

    I always get bitten by the Christmas bug on the weekend of Thanksgiving! I love having an entire month to celebrate and get ready for the holiday. We have our tree up, I made a wreath for our front door and I have some random decorations sitting around the house. I want to do Elf on the Shelf next year!

  12. Katherine G says:

    I have a huge nativity that’s beautiful, but not brakeable so the Kid loves to play with it. I love to walk past it and see a soccer game between the angels and shepherds! Or the baby inside the Inn! It makes me smile!

    We moved from Texas this year, so I’m making the Kid a quilted wall hanging from vintage Texas map hankies. My Native Texan will love it!

  13. Anna H says:

    We love Elf on the Shelf! This is our first year and my 3 year old named him Buzät! It is such a fun thing to do. Merry Christmas!

  14. brandy says:

    We do the Elf on the Shelf tradition too! Instead of buying and Elf, I made one. His name is Elfy. This is his 4th year of sotpping by our house during Christmas time :)

    We decorate right after Thanksgiving. I can’t imagine waiting until mid-December!

  15. Eva Scott says:

    I’m in the process of sewing a car mat for my almost 3 year old. It’s huge and painstaking. Ha! I’m also making him a portable train table. And I agree with you – he better love them both! ;-)!!

  16. Kristina says:

    My son is almost three, and I’ve been making an effort to teach him the true Christmas story and meaning before we talk about Santa much. I’m also trying to focus my decorations in Christ’s direction where I can. But we’ll do the Santa thing–I couldn’t deprive my children of that magic–and I also bought the Elf on the Shelf set.

    And since you asked, haha…I’ve been trying to make as many of the gifts as I can. I seriously made my husband the cell phone holder the day after you posted it, butI didn’t measure right and it doesn’t work for our phones or iPods. Darn. But he asked if I could try again with a bigger one, bc he liked the concept a lot. So I’m trying to use a lot of bodywash so I can get to the bottle :D

  17. Kiersten says:

    I made a lot of Christmas gifts last year and I’m excited this year that I don’t have the stress of it. I just have the stress of everything else!

  18. Pam says:

    I made my daughter and her family an elf. I got the pattern from someone’s blog. I think it sounds like a lot of fun and hope they enjoy doing it with the kids.

  19. Daneilia says:

    My little family of 3 is still trying to find our niche of Christmas traditions. We are a military family and our Christmas’s’ are different every year. I’m hoping that we’ll finally be able to add decorating our Christmas tree to our list as well as other things ;)

  20. Shannon says:

    You can buy the dvd here too and lots of fun stuff of the kiddies Such a great idea but where I live these lil’ elves or sold out every where. So tomorrow I plan to try and make my own

  21. Michaela Fuller says:

    Christmas tree and lights went up the Saturday after Thanksgiving since I had to sleep all day Friday from shopping all night. I’m making about 1/2-3/4 of our gifts, but they’re not too complicated, just need to get to it. Fabrics just sitting there begging me to cut it all up :). Ornaments went up last week and stockings too, just going a little at a time and the kids are soaking it all up (almost 3 and almost 2 year olds at home). Can’t wait for the ideas coming our way, and hopefully next year we’ll do the elf thing, heard about it 5 years ago, just haven’t put it together yet.

    Merry CHRISTmas!

    1. star says:

      we did the same with our tree. Putting it up the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

      Like this elf on the shelf thing. Never heard of it.

  22. Donna@Collage Ideas says:

    Chritmas is soooo close! I adore the Elf. It bring back the spirit of Christmas that I really thing kids lack these days.

  23. Aleta says:

    I started extra early this year. My tree was up a couple days before Thanksgiving and fully decorated after my black friday shopping. I always feel like Christmas comes and goes so quickly that I’ve missed something. I was determined to make it last longer this year!! My girls are obsessed with the train that runs on it’s track all the way around the tree. We only get it out at christmas and it fills up that empty space under there before Santa comes to fill it up with the new things that they dream about waking up to see. the countDOWN has started. Merry Christmas!!!!

  24. Karin says:

    I am making 6 dress up dresses for my girls and nieces! Help! I am running out of time! hahaha Needless to say I have been on and off your site with looking at all your wonderful tutorials! Thanks you so much!

    I love the elf on the shelf!!! I have never heard of him/her before! I definitely need to start this tradition! I just asked my husband last night… how are we supposed to parent again without the threat of Santa? hahahaha

  25. Emma says:

    pfft… only december 2nd… HA. Well and truly into Christmas season as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know why people are so grinchy about an early season (well, okay, here in Australia we don’t do Halloween or Thanksgiving so they have Christmas decos out in the stores in September – crazy and a little too commercial, I’ll give them that)… but Christmas is such a lovely time of year when people are coming together, thinking about loved ones, getting all sentimental and listening to those same old songs, eating those same delicious foods… there is that feeling of good will in the air…

    Anyway – I’m making a ton of gifts. A lap quilt for my husband (my first… quilt that is. He is my only husband!), a mini-quilt for a friend, toys and Barbie clothes for the kids, I used your maternity band tutorial to make one for a pregnant friend… and I’m actually making pretty good progress along my list. The pressure is on though… the big day will be here before we know it!

  26. Krista Chambers says:

    We started The Elf on the Shelf tradition this year and so far my kids LOVE the whole experience. They melt my heart when they whisper up to him in his hiding spot, and they run downstairs every morning to find his new “place.” The kids chose the name Gunner…haha gotta love kids and their name picking skills!!

  27. Diane says:

    Yay Christmas!! I hear you on the basement apartment issue. It really sets strict limits for decorating and upcoming projects. I’m putting my tree up today, spent the weekend doing my Dad’s tree and decorating his entire house. Phew! So much work (partially cause I’m OCD about my Christmas trees), but totally worth it in the end. I love to sit in the house with nothing but Christmas lights on. It truly does feel magical and gives me such a great reminder of my childhood, as my mother used to do the same thing when I was growing up. We don’t give to everyone in our family now but we still give to the kids and our last living grandmother. We all go in on a present for Dad, although the choices of what to get him, get more difficult each year. But it just adds to the fun of the season and being able to surprise him!

  28. Sabrina says:

    Hey Jaci,
    We don’t do Santa either but they have a thing called The Christmas Angel and its about the same concept of elf on a shelf only its based on giving and acts of service for others. They have a website I singed up for their daily emails during December and its been a great alternative! Hope that helps.

  29. Emily says:

    I started in September making gifts for EVERYONE in my family. We have a super tight budget this year and making gifts was all we could afford. It was difficult trying to come with awesome ideas, especially for the teens and the guys, but some how I managed! I recently just completed the very last gift. whew! Now I have a little time to make my kiddos Christmas outfits! Thanks for sharing the elf of the shelf book. I will need to head to target and pick one up. Im sure my kiddos would love it!


  30. Jaci says:

    I like the elf on a shelf idea but we dont really DO santa are our house. We arent anti santa but we have chosen to take the veggie tales approach to christmas and santa. Which is that santa was a real man a long time ago who loved god very much and was able to share that love with lots of boys and girls. So we watch the veggie tales christmas movies each yr and I’m planning to start a birthday party for jesus now that my kids are old enough to “get it” and they can each unwrapped one toy for jesus that will go to toys for tots b/c thats what jesus would do with his toys. If i can come up with a non-elf type of elf on a shelf idea I would love to do it. As for making presents I AM! I made the knit scarf from you blog last night as a matter of fact! it looks awesome! 2 more to go they will make great teacher gifts for my son to take to his theachers and therapists!

    1. Allison says:

      The elf creeps me out. I posted my thoughts on my blog, but we don’t do Santa either (although my baby is only 5 mo old, we will not lie and tell her Santa is real and comes down the chimney) Santa is based on St. Nicholas, which I’m all for, he was a real guy, but he’s not alive now..

      Anyways, I digress. If you wanted a non-elf thing, I saw this really cute idea on a blog the other day, you make a bed of hay for baby Jesus with good deeds

    2. Julie Collier says:

      I saw this on Facebook this week.

      The Christmas Angel is to help teach the true meaning of Christmas and to learn the joy of giving.

  31. Nan says:

    My husband’s side of the family we draw names and buy presents. I love looking for items that I think they’d love or at least really like.

    My side of the family we don’t draw names or anything, but we like to give anyway. It’s completely optional. My brother and sister both buy stuff at the dollar store for everyone. One year I got 500 straws. They came in handy with kids. This year we are going make gifts for my side of the family. Hair clips for the young girls, don’t know what for the boys. Make a baking mix of something for my brother and his new wife, etc.

    Best of both worlds. :)

  32. Heather says:

    Our “Barney” arrived the day after christmas and the kids love him.This is his 3rd year with our family. Barney even made a special trip to the north pole and brought back a letter from Santa the day that one of our little critters lied to us.
    Also did you happen to catch the awesome christmas special that featured “Chippy” an elf on the shelf elf. That show really solidified our elf and importance he plays in our home before christmas. Also reinforced the do not touch the elf rule.

    Merry Christmas!

  33. Amanda says:

    Such a neat video! I noticed home digital projectors on sale in the Shopko ad, worth checking out.

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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