a very crafty christmas

Every Christmas, my family and two other families get together and do a “Christmas Craft.” When my sister and I were younger, as were the other kids in the group, we did more intricate crafts, such as making homemade taffy, full-blown gingerbread houses, Christmas trees made out of felt, and more. Since we’ve all grown up, moved out, and headed off to college and the real world, Christmas Craft night has changed to consist of dinner, an activity with minimal effort, and craft brews.

Now, all of my mom’s friends are fabulous chefs. I was spoiled as a child, with my mom’s cooking and the cooking of her friends; our church events were always accompanied with food that I could only dream about. This year, my mom’s friend Barb did the cooking.

We started out with a dip that was created from goat cheese, pecans, cream cheese, and salsa– in other words, it was addicting. Thankfully, we started dinner before I could fill up on dip (which has happened before, but really, who hasn’t destroyed their appetite with appetizers?). Dinner was made up of three parts: chicken tortilla soup, spoon-bread, and salad. The soup was a traditional chicken tortilla, creamy and delicious. Spoon-bread, if you don’t know what it is, is like cornbread, but with real corn in it. My mom has a great recipe for it: one box of jiffy corn muffin mix, a can of creamed corn, a can of green chiles, sour cream, an egg, and melted butter. It’s amazing.

The salad was my mom’s classic choice: romaine, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and a homemade dressing. For dessert, we were privileged to have some homemade beer caramels (with an entire bottle of beer in them) and cherry chocolate bars.

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Oh, so good. IMG_5720.jpg

That’s my friend Sarah, she’s a fabulous model.

Once the meal was over, we moved on to our craft. Meanwhile, all of our dads/husbands had been “crafting” the whole time, sampling craft beer after craft beer.

Anyway, our craft was peppermint ornaments– literally the most hands-off craft I’ve ever done. Basically, you spray cookie cutters with pam and lay them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. After unwrapping plenty of restaurant mints (the little circular ones), you put them in the cookie cutters and then plop the tray in the oven. The peppermints melt, taking the shape of the cookie cutter. After all of the mints are melted (about 3-9 minutes), you take them out, wait for them to cool, make a hole, and bam! There’s your ornament.

Here they are:

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Mine was the snowman! They turned out really well. If you’re looking for a good, easy craft to do with unenthusiastic teenagers or little kids or even adults, this is a great one.

Get the official instructions here: Peppermint Ornaments

Happy Christmas crafting (whether that be with beer or with peppermints)!

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