Holiday Leftovers.

Here are two of the more successful activities of our holiday season, in case you would like to add them to your own repertoire (things I was going to put in my last post until my phone kept crashing whenever I tried to upload a picture, threatening to eat up all my allotted typing time with technical tooth-gnashing):

1. Salt dough ornaments

Recipe—I think we used one cup of salt to two cups of flour, and then added water until the dough seemed about right.

(Incidentally, this inability either to follow or give helpful instructions is one of the many reasons I will never be a craft/food blogger).

We rolled the dough out, cut it with cookie cutters, then used a straw to make holes for string to hang the ornaments. Then we slapped them on a cookie sheet and baked at 200 degrees for two hours (while I took Simone to her first play date, where she suddenly came over all clingy and refused to let me leave).

After they’d cooled we painted them with acrylic paint. We did all over painting first (green for the Christmas trees, brown gingerbread people, etc.) and then let that paint dry before decorating.

The decorating started out freeform, with no direction, and then I let Simone copy my step-by-step process to paint a snowman, and I think that small bit of structure resulted in my favorite ornaments. Still Simone-y but also recognizable.

(Though I was also VERY fond of the ornament she made for my mother. Simone had very strong ideas of what to make for each gift recipient, and it was “A BLACK BELL FOR NAN!”)

(Hear it toll!)

I mostly made goats.

2. How to host a holiday party that will become a beloved annual tradition

Every year, my mother throws a party called CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE DRUNK TANK, the main event of which, as you have probably gleaned, is a fairly raucous sing-a-long to the Pogues song Fairytale of New York. It is always a highlight of the season, for me. And it can be for you, too! You will need:


A recording of The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York

Lyric Sheets (only necessary at first, but nice to have as a crutch against drunkenness even in later years)
If you have enough people, it is nice to have the men do the man’s part and the women the woman’s.

A marvelous time virtually guaranteed to be had by all, so long as you remember not to start the singing until everyone has been sufficiently macerated in their beverage of choice. Oh, and speaking of singing: don’t worry when things inevitably fall apart during the fast(er) section. Everyone will catch up and be back in fine form indeed by the time the verse rolls around to “The Boys of The NYPD Choir, etc.” We are really quite impressive at that bit.


  1. I love the ornaments. Simone’s snowman – not to mention the bell! – is so adorable. And the goat! Lovely.

    Also! You have taught me about a new type of gin! Is it… good? (I love gin. And I married into an entirely gin-drinking family, so having a new gin up my sleeve seems like it would ingratiate me to the in-laws.)

    • Alexa says:

      Ahh, a fellow ginophile! (Ginthusiast?) I am very picky about my gins, and very suspicious of newfangled anything (I generally stick to the basics, like Boodles), but I love this one. I assume it is meant to rescue a person from Death’s Door, not deliver you there, but I suppose it depends upon how much you drink.

      • Kirsten says:

        I fancied myself a ginophile until a few moments — I am not familiar with Boodles. I love gins that are heavy on the juniper….

      • Susie says:

        Ditto Kirsten – I have a gin cabinet, rather than a liquor cabinet, but Boodles? What? I may need to make a list of what to drink after this fetus finishes cooking.

  2. LOVE this. Seriously, love. I am a horrible person, really really bad person, for looking forward to the day when Christmas Eve is spent doing what I want, not in-law obligations. Horrible, bad, I know, but well, I don’t apologize.

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