Holiday Scavenger Hunt for DIY-ers

Welcome  You’ve heard of Sunday Funday, right?  Well, today we are going to have a Monday Funday!  It’s less than two weeks from Thanksgiving and six weeks from today will be Christmas day!  The holiday countdown is on and I say it’s not too soon to start the fun!  Curious?  Read on for the details.  Note–I may receive a small compensation from affiliate links seen on this post.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  A week ago, I posted on social media that I was starting my annual “scavenger hunt” for the holidays.  That simply meant I was getting out all of my holiday-themed cookbooks, craft books, and magazines to begin scouring for ideas for this year’s recipes, decorations, and gifts.  I made it sound like a bigger deal than it actually is, but it is a scavenger hunt of sorts.  I have a whole assortment of “DIY” items to make during the holidays, and I know I’m not alone.  So this gave me an idea for my blog audience.  Would you like to stretch your creativity this year?  Are you ready to try something new?  Have you been wanting to add a new tradition to your family’s holiday experience?  Well, today, I present to you the “Ultimate Holiday Scavenger Hunt for DIY-ers!”  I’m going to give you a list of 15 “items” to find on your list…all things you can create or make in some aspect, and no, you don’t actually have to make all fifteen!  The idea is just to have a big list of possibilities to pull from.  I’ll share links to my Pinterest Boards and offer my own ideas to get you started.  And then, I want to know about your experiences!  Share your comments here on the blog or on our Facebook page.  Did you discover a new family favorite in recipes?  Did a craft project come out as a WIN?  Do you have a stunning new centerpiece?  Or did something end up as a bust, but now we can share a laugh over it?  I think it would be really fun to engage my readers with me and each other through this fun seasonal activity.  Are you in?  Great…here’s your scavenger hunt list:

1. A new Thanksgiving recipe or decoration–You know I’m a Southern girl at heart, so my Thanksgiving is not complete without my Cornbread and Sausage Dressin’.  I will share this dish for Today’s Recipe and you may just have the first item checked off your scavenger hunt list!

2. A new Holiday dessert–cookies, cakes, and pies, oh my!  Check out my Desserts Board on Pinterest or try this sugar cookie dip recipe I found at Dinner at the Zoo.

sugar cookie dip
If a fast and easy dessert is what you need, check out this sugar cookie dip!

3. A new Holiday candy OR cookie–There are so many great ideas out there, it’s hard to know which ones to choose.  If you are looking for inspiration, you can check out my Candy Board or Cookie Board on Pinterest.  Our family really likes these Peanut Butter Cookie Cups that I found at Six Sisters Stuff.

Peanut Butter Cookie Cups
Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

4. A new Holiday recipe that is SAVORY–Remember that savory can be the main dish, a side dish, a bread, soup, or appetizer!  You can find ideas on the recipe page of this website or check out some of my boards on Pinterest: Dinner, Breads, Appetizers

5. A DIY Holiday decoration or craft–I up-cycled this glass vase from a Thanksgiving/Fall arrangement and added nuts (in shell), cranberries, pinecones, some artificial berry sprigs, and left-over embellishments from other craft projects.  The one thing I wish there was more of in this arrangement is greenery.  And it needs wider ribbon around the vase, I know that, too.  However, this is an easy way to change out seasonal decorations.

December greenery arrangement
Change out seasonal decorations by keeping a glass vase handy.

6. A DIY Gift--Homemade gifts do not mean you’re cheap!  Have you priced craft supplies?  Anyway, if you are inspired to create your own gifts to give this year, check out my Gifting Board on Pinterest.  I’ve pinned great ideas from the web, anything from Mason Jar projects to gift basket ideas to personalized crafts.

7. A DIY ornament for your Christmas tree–The choices are endless for this activity!  I found a bunch of Mason Jar lid ornament ideas and decided on the this snowman design.

snowman ornament
If you like to break out your paints and if you have extra jar lids laying around…this is the craft project for you!

8. A Holiday kids’ craft–If you don’t have kids at home to do this, offer the suggestion to your church, local scout troop, teachers, or babysit for a neighbor and try out the activity.  We selected these pinecone trees, inspired by Crafty Morning.  We didn’t paint the pine cones green, which saved time and money. It also requires the use of a hot glue gun, or at least Tacky glue, but my 10-year-old can handle a glue gun just fine.  This is a cheap and easy craft for a weekend afternoon or snow day.

pine cone trees
Kids love decorating with colorful pom poms and sparkly sequins. Indulge them with this inexpensive craft project.

9. DIY Christmas cards–Homemade cards are not necessary for everyone, maybe just to your closest friends or family.  These cards are cute and easy enough for even the kiddos to make.  I was inspired by the cards at Childhood 101.

Christmas cards
Cardstock, sticky gems, and a fine point black Sharpie marker is all you need for these adorable cards!

10. DIY Nativity activity–The Nativity set we have was made for me by my mom for my first Christmas.  I still have all of the pieces!  This will be its 40th Christmas in use, and I cannot bear to not use it.  It has so much meaning for me.  But there are some cool Nativity craft projects you can make for your home or church.  Check out my Christmas Board on Pinterest for some inspiration.

11. MYO Christmas Playlist–It can be music, movies, or both.  What do you want to listen to or watch to get you in the Holiday spirit?  My Christmas playlist has the movies A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  My music playlist includes Christmas Eve/Sarajevo by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix, Oh, Holy Night by Celine Dion, Silent Night by Kenny G, Oh, Come All Ye Faithful by Casting Crowns, Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song, and Christmas Time is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

12. Spruce up an old family tradition.  My daughter and I love to bake and decorate cookies for Santa.  This year we decided to spruce up our old plastic Dollar Store cookie tray.  This red plastic tray was free to us and we added some Dollar Store embellishments and it’s way more fun now!  I know what you’re thinking…how are you going to clean that?  I will set the cookies on a paper plate or some wax paper, place in the middle, then serve.  This makes for a fancier way to “gift” your baking treats, as well.

embellished cookie tray
A plain and old plastic tray gets spruced up with Dollar Store embellishments for a fun addition to your holiday baking.

13. Create a new family tradition.  We have never done “Elf on the Shelf” at our house and we do not have an advent calendar for every year.  But we are going to do something new for our daughter this year.  We are doing “The Twelve Books of Christmas” and giving her a countdown of books to open leading up to Christmas Day.

14. MYO Holiday experience–What is quintessentially Christmas to you?  Ice skating?  Egg Nog?  Caroling?  Christmas concerts?  Take pictures, but don’t forget to be present in the moment!  Bonus points if you scrapbook your experience!  At our house, the “ultimate” experience includes  an afternoon performance by Trans-Siberian orchestra, followed by some Peppermint Bark Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and a tour of the Plaza Lights in Kansas City.

15. Select a New Year’s theme, motto, or verse for 2018.  Find ways to incorporate it into your home.  For 2017, my husband and I chose our theme to be “adventure” (wow, we had no idea what that would mean for us this year!) and our motto is “Let’s be adventurer’s, darling.”  We selected Psalm 32:8 as our verse, “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise and watch over you.”  We bought a framed print of our motto and hung it on our biggest wall in the living room and surrounded it with framed pictures from our travels.  I placed a text overlay of our Bible verse on a 5×7 hiking trail picture and framed it.  This verse sits on our kitchen counter next to the coffee maker where we can see it every morning.  We selected this verse before the events of this year occurred.  It’s become relevant, inspiring, and encouraging in so many ways!  You have about a month and half to contemplate on this one.

Today’s Scriptures  I know today was all about fun and getting excited about the things we can make and do for the holiday season.  But please, let us not forget about the real reason we celebrate this Christmas season.  I have underlined what I feel to be the most important part of this passage.

Luke 2:10-14  “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Now if that is not worthy of celebrating through an entire season, and not just a single day, I don’t know what is!

Today’s Recipe  Over the years I’ve tasted quite a variety of flavors in the dressing/stuffing categories. I’ve had dry stuffing, Stove Top, Corn and Oyster dressing, plain corn bread dressing, and probably some others too.  But about 10 years ago I decided I was going to be in charge of the dressing side dish!  I wanted the classic Southern flavors of cornbread and mild country sausage, and then boosted the dish by cooking the diced celery, onion, and apple in the sausage drippings before adding to the mixing bowl to stir up.  I also use a combination of breads and plenty of eggs and broth to keep the dressing nice and moist.  I just can’t hardly imagine Thanksgiving without my “famous” side dish anymore!  It may become a new tradition at your turkey table, too.

Cornbread and Sausage Dressing  (This recipe will feed a crowd!)

Plan ahead for this dish.  You need at least 8 hours to dry out the bread and it takes at least an hour to bake.  You can prepare the dish a day ahead, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake, but increase baking time to 80-90 minutes.  Personally, I never stuff a turkey, so I don’t know the safe cooking times for that option.

  • 1 Jiffy Corn Muffin mix, prepared according to package directions, and cooled
  • 1 loaf of wheat bread
  • 2 lbs Country Pork Sausage, like Tennessee Pride
  • 3 large celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TBS poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 TBS ground sage
  • 1/2 TBS onion powder
  • 1/2 TBS garlic powder
  • 1/2 TBS black pepper
  • 1/2 TBS salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • The night before you plan to prepare your dressing, tear apart the loaf of wheat bread and baked cornbread into small pieces and place in a LARGE mixing bowl to dry out. (The biggest bowl you have is probably the one you want for this recipe.)  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Brown sausage in large skillet, breaking up with spoon.  When sausage is cooked through, add diced celery, onion, and apple and cook until softened; set aside to cool.  To the bowl of bread pieces, add eggs and seasonings.  Pour sausage and vegetables into bread mixture.  Add broth.  Mix all of this together completely until everything is moist and combined…honestly, get in there with your hands, it’s the best way to get it all mixed well.  Spray 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Dump dressing mixture into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Bake at 375 for one hour.  Remove and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Today’s recommended products are (11/13/17, 1:30 p.m. CST):