The menorah on Daley Plaza in Chicago celebrating Hanukkah…

The perfect place to go if you are looking for a little inspiration for your Christmas crafts, decorating, or giving – is Oriental Trading’s Christmas Headquarters. This is the place to find all things Christmas, but I like their special collection of Peanuts Christmas Supplies – including the really fun Snoopy Christmas Craft Kit.

About the Snoopy Christmas Craft Kit from Oriental Trading:

“Create your own dog house for Snoopy to hang out on with this 3D Peanuts® Snoopy Christmas Craft Kit. A fun craft for kids to complete at school or home, each kit includes foam pieces that fit and stick together to create a dog house! 4 3/4″ x 7 1/2″ We recommend using a hot glue gun, foam glue or glue dots to help secure the house edges. All craft kit pieces are pre-packaged for individual use. Kits include instructions and extra pieces.”

Find the Snoopy Christmas Craft Kit from Oriental Trading here.

See Oriental Trading’s Peanuts Christmas Supplies section here.

Visit Oriental Trading’s Christmas Headquarters here.

One of the joys of the festive season are the Christmas markets so iconic in Europe but finally making a stand in the US – like the fabulous Christkindlmarket that has popped up in Chicago’s Daley Plaza for its 23d season…

There is still time to create a custom Christmas card with a favorite photo. But why use the dime-a-dozen typical kind from your local pharmacy when you can have a high-quality custom holiday card from the fine folks at Smockpaper.

About the Custom Holiday Cards from Smockpaper:

“Create unique custom holiday cards by combining any of our printing methods (digital printing, foil stamping, letterpress printing and blind embossing) on our exclusive smooth cotton paper.  Customize by changing inks, patterns, fonts and more—the options are endless!”

Learn more about the Custom Holiday Cards from Smockpaper here.

We are off to Chicago for an extra long weekend to take in the sights and sounds of Christmas in the big city. As always, we’ll share highlights and our great finds here.

FF: Bourbon Rubenesque from Wood Hat Spirits

Looking for a nice little spirit for the bourbon aficionado on your gift list (like, ahem, yours truly)? Well, look no further than the mighty fine Bourbon Rubenesque from the fine folks at Wood Hat Spirits.

About Bourbon Rubenesque from Wood Hat Spirits:

“We diligently control every step of the process to produce a full-bodied flavor. By keeping the grains whole all the way to the end, a bigger robust flavor was created. It did not need much oak to finish it off. Then, by selecting 3 year old, air-dried wood for the barrels, the flavor blossomed without the tannic bite – a process only possible with a small batch, pot distilled, single barrel, field-to-glass creation. Aged 10 months.”

Learn more about Bourbon Rubenesque from Wood Hat Spirits here.

See all the fine products from Wood Hat Spirits here.

FF: Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Meanwhile, the fine folks at John Dewar and Sons’ Aberfeldy Distillery in the very heart of Scotland, produce the highly-acclaimed Aberfeldy 21 single malt Scotch Whisky and it is fantastic. Definitely the perfect gift for the scotch lover on your list.

About Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky:

“Richly textured, honeyed nose with sweet creamy intensity. Dried fruits, floral heather notes, and hints of toasted coconut.”

Learn more about Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt Scotch Whisky here.

See all the great spirits from John Dewar and Sons here.

While taking a break touring around Lille on my recent visit, my traveling companions and I stopped at a café where I enjoyed a lovely bottle of Badoit sparkling water. Perrier who?

About Badoit sparkling water:

“This major sparkling water brand is much-loved by the French. Badoit brings over two centuries of pleasure and sophistication to every meal. Originally acknowledged for its exceptional properties in the 18th Century, Badoit was recognised in 1778 by King Louis XVI’s physician as having virtues that ‘enhance the appetite, soothe digestion and lift the spirit’. Resolutely traditional, Badoit knows how to reinvent itself; its bottles are increasingly elegant, and highlight this unique product. Choosing to enjoy Badoit fine bubbles means making each meal a special occasion.”

Learn more about Badoit sparkling water here.

 

The Brits know how to send the perfect housewarming gifts at Christmas – the traditional Christmas hamper full of the beverages and treats that make the perfect holiday celebration. The fine folks at UK retailer John Lewis (the ones whose Christmas ad with Elton John went viral) have a great collection of Christmas hampers like their Sophistication Christmas Hamper.

About the Sophistication Christmas Hamper from John Lewis:

“A fabulous family hamper, built around a sophisticated … colour scheme and filled with quality food and drink which includes a bottle of Champagne, a Christmas pudding, luxury shortbread and 6 premium Christmas crackers. Presented in a lidded basket.”

Find the Sophistication Christmas Hamper from John Lewis here.

Do you have a million questions about snow but were always afraid to ask? Now you can learn everything you every wanted to know about snow (and then some) from the comfort of your own home with the new book Snow – The Biography by Giles Whittell.

About Snow: The Biography by Giles Whittell:

“Snow has a lot in common with religion. It comes from heaven. It changes everything. It creates an alternative reality and brings on irrational behaviour in humans. But unlike most religions, snow has never had a bible, until now. Giles Whittell, a passionate snow enthusiast, takes the reader on a quest through centuries and continents to reveal the wonders of snow. Along the way he uncovers the mysteries of snow crystal morphology, why avalanches happen, how snow saved a British prime minister’s life, and the terrifying truth about the opening ceremony of the 1960 winter Olympics. Snow is the next best thing to a white Christmas, an anthropology and travelogue for everyone from ski addicts to the millions of people who have never even seen it.”

Snow: The Biography by Giles Whittell is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

If your family is anything like mine, the holiday season means board games. Every year we play at least one new game – and one of the best places I have found to look for fun new games is Are You Game. But I think I have found the perfect game to play this Christmas – Christmas-opoly.

About Christmas-opoly from Are You Game:

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Get your lights up, your presents wrapped, gather family and friends, and pop the lid off Christmas-opoly! Watch out Players! You may be run over by a reindeer! Be nice…or you may end up with a lump of coal! To play, collect Christmas properties, increase your property value by buying presents and trading them in for a Christmas tree. It’s all fun and games until someone blows a fuse, gets snowed in, or gets sent to ‘Naughty’ and is out of the game for three turns! Whatever happens…YOU BETTER NOT POUT! Christmas-opoly is a game to celebrate the season!”

Find Christmas-opoly from Are You Game here.

See all the great games from Are You Game here.

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