Santa’s Workshop Before and After (and a Giveaway)

Santa’s Workshop Before and After (and a Giveaway)


This post is sponsored by Endust.

I know this looks like the office at the Gatehouse.

It’s not.

It’s actually Santa’s workshop.

I’ve been sitting at that desk for four hours straight surrounded by wrapping paper and ribbon and tags and baker’s twine.

And a reindeer named Buddy.Continue reading

DIY Galvanized Metal Tags

DIY Galvanized Metal Tags


If you ever stopped by my mother’s house on Christmas morning and met my family….

….this post would make even more sense.

Suffice it to say we are a lot.

A lot of family (27 people just with us).

A lot of laughing.  A lot of homemade cookies (not by me).  A lot of inside jokes.  A lot of opinions.  A lot of coffee.

And a lot of handmade presents.

We are also a lot of competitive (in a good way).  Everyone wants to give a gift from the heart.  The kind of gift where you open it and joy trickles out from between the tissue paper.

And it all starts with the wrapping.Continue reading

Four Super-Easy Last-Minute Gift Tag Ideas

Four Super-Easy Last-Minute Gift Tag Ideas


super easy last minute gift tag ideas

State of the Christmas update.

I did it.


Back when Hark the Herald Angels thing wasn’t really a thing yet, I made Christmas resolutions and almost stuck to most of them.  Which is really, really good for me.  Most of the time I forget I even made a resolution.

I ordered gifts online.  Check.

I wrapped as I went.  Check.

I planned five last-minute parties when I said I was only going to plan one.  Almost check.

I listened to Christmas music every day.  Check.  (although just between us….if I hear Baby It’s Cold Outside one more time my hair is going to curl all on its own)

But most importantly?  I paused.  I slowed down every now and then.  I laughed really hard.  I looked at more Christmas lights.  I drank more hot chocolate.  I added mini-marshmallows whenever I could.  I sang more carols.

And I tried to spread a little joy wherever I went and remember the reason for the season.

Because that’s what Christmas is truly about. 🙂

And now….if you are wrapping gifts today…’s some super-easy, last-minute gift tag ideas just for you.Continue reading

DIY Personalized Wrapping Paper

DIY Personalized Wrapping Paper


DIY personalized wrapping paper

When I was little my mother used to wrap our gifts in the Sunday comics.

I think her mother wrapped them in comics and her mother’s mother wrapped them in comics and so on.

A family tradition.

It was economical and kind of random and left newsprint on your hands and it took longer to open presents because you were laughing at Garfield.Continue reading

How to Make a Peg Board Box

How to Make a Peg Board Box



Every time I wrap a present I spend more time gathering up all the supplies and trying to remember to put them all back where they belong…..

….than time spent actually wrapping the gift.

I track down the scissors and the ribbon and the bags and the card and the tape and cart it to the table.

Then I wrap the gift and run out the door.

Because I’m late.



And in my rush I never return anything where it belongs and the supplies scatter to the four corners of the earth…..never to be found again.

Until now.

All the wrapping supplies have finally found a home.

Here’s how to make a peg board box and a gift wrapping station.Continue reading

Monogram Ornament: Jingle Bell Style

Monogram Ornament: Jingle Bell Style



When I was sorting through the Christmas boxes in the attic….at the bottom of a red tub underneath the silver reindeer and the glittered birds’ nests….

…..I found a book called, Simplify Your Christmas:  100 Ways to Reduce the Stress and Recapture the Joy of the Holidays.

(total aside:  it seems a lot of title for a simplification discussion….but I digress).

I think my mother gave it to me one advent and profusely expressed my appreciation….and tucked it away at the bottom of a Christmas decorating tub…..

….never to be read.

Because….seriously….just between us….

…..simplifying Christmas was the furthest thing from my mind.

I….along with the four families who recently competed for the biggest light display ever on HGTV….subscribed to the theory….

….go big or go home.

But now….I’m older and 39 Christmas boxes wiser.

And my heart yearns for a little Christmas simplification.Continue reading