Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Boxes!

November is my favorite month of the year and not for the usual ‘turkey’ reason you might think! November is when I start planning and buying for my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas shoe box for children in far away places. This will be my third year and I’ve gone from doing one box the first year all the way up to four this year. What can I say? I’m addicted and love thinking about some child in strapped circumstances finding a shoe box loaded with all kinds of unexpected items including one special thing like a tee shirt or baseball for a boy and a pretty dress for a girl. It is amazing how much you can cram into one of the plastic shoe boxes you can find at Walmart for under a dollar. My younger daughter started doing shoe boxes for the first time last year. She is hooked now and planning to do two of her own. Besides, we like the challenge of my husband saying, “You are never going to get that stuff packed in that shoe box and proving him wrong!

I usually buy my proposed shoe boxes in the summer. Every time I find something cute, fun, or useful for my chosen age group, I buy it and toss it in one of the four boxes I already have on hand.

Truth be told, depending on what you buy, it can cost around $30 including the $9 donation to go towards the shipping. It is a challenge trying to keep within a budget but when I look at what has been purchased for my own children compared to this simple shoe box, I buy what I need for some child’s first real Christmas and worry about the cost later.

My husband’s part in this is taking our boxes over to the collection center. There are collection centers all over the country so most everyone finds a convenient one. Last year, he was one of a small group at the center at the same time. The person in charge asked each person to state something in their lives that needed prayer and the people all gathered in a circle, holding hands, and praying for each other and for the safe and happy delivery of each Christmas box to a happy child.

Interested? https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ Some people have told me that it just doesn’t fit into their Christmas budget. The only way we can manage is to consider the overseas recipient children as part of our Christmas costs treating them like one of our children. And, if you start in the summer to start stockpiling items, you usually only have to get a few more items and the box is quickly packed and on its way.

Samaritan’s Purse National Showbox Collection – Collection Date is Soon!

Just ordered my labels for my Christmas Shoebox donations! The best part was getting to have an excuse to hang around the toy section to find dolls, cars, and all sorts of fun little items to stuff in my four boxes – two for boys and two for girls.

There is so much joy on the faces of the children who receive these treasure chest boxes of goodies prepared just for them. I’m thinking our children would grow up with more awareness of what is of value in life if we put more into what Christmas is actually about and a shoe box each for their Christmas!

Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Box Collection!

Operation Christmas Child

I discovered this last year and it was so much fun to fill a shoe box with surprises for a boy and a girl in the Philippines. No, you can chose the country but they do tell you once they have been delivered for Christmas.

It is simple! Buy a plastic shoe box with a lid at Walmart or Hobby Lobby and then fill it up! It is amazing what you can cram into the box and how much happiness this effort will bring to a child who might not be expecting anything for Christmas. The link tells you all you need but time is of the essence as the drop-off week for the packed shoe boxes will soon be upon us.

I tried to include one really useful item like a fun tee shirt or a hat along with small games, little doll, gum, lip balm, mints . . . Use your imagination. I purchased my boxes at the onset of my shopping spree and that way I could figure out what would pack well and fit in with the box.

As I said, go to the Samaritan’s Purse link (top of the post Operation Christmas Child) for full in formation. There is a small cost involved to help with shipping and you have to find a drop-off place near you. I can guarantee this will be the most gratefully received Christmas gift you have ever given.

Dung on a Twig or Christmas Romance?

Growing up, I failed to see the allure of hanging mistletoe and then possibly being grabbed and kissed by people I ordinarily wouldn’t shake hands with for any reason. I didn’t find is a particularly great addition to the holiday season. However, I recently came up with some interesting facts about the beloved Christmas weed.

For some reason, the fact that mistletoe stays green all winter, has earned it value as having a ‘stolen kisses power’. It is most noticeable in Winter because the leaves of the host tree are gone and the bunches of mistletoe show up on the bare branches.

There are 1,300 mistletoe species in the world. Canada and the United States are home to over 30 of these species. Hawaii has an additional six. In the world, more than twenty species are endangered.

Face it, the ‘magical’ mistletoe is a parasite and can only survive on the branches of trees and shrubs. In Greek, the mistletoe is called Phorademdron which translates to ‘tree thief’.

The ancient Anglo-Saxons made note of the fact that mistletoe grows where birds leave their droppings. Thus, in Anglo-Saxon, “mistel” translates into “dung” and “tan” means “twig”. Draw your own conclusions!

The custom of stealing kisses under the mistletoe dates back, possibly, to the 1500’s in Europe. Washington Irving mentioned it in “Christmas Eve” a story from his 1820 literary collection. In Mr. Irving’s day, the tradition was that each time a couple kissed under the mistletoe, they would remove one of the white berries. When the berries were gone, so was the kissing spell.

Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme

Chocolate Mint Pots de Creme

1 cup semi-sweet, mint flavored chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 teaspoons peppermint liquor
3/4 cup Half and Half cream, scalded
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place the chocolate, sugar, egg, liquor, and salt in a blender and mix to combine. Add the hot Half and Half cream and blend until very smooth. Pour into very small dessert cups (this is very rich!) and chill overnight. Before serving, garnish with whipped cream and a pretty mint leaf.

Have time to add to the decadence? Make your own whipped cream!
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sour cream

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip until the cream stiffens and holds it’s shape. Don’t over mix or you end up with butter! You can either pipe it on your Pots de Creme or spoon it on decoratively. After the first spoonful, no one will be paying attention to how it looks anyway!