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Start a new tradition for ringing in the New Year with an Open House! One of the best times of the year to have a party is New Year’s Day. I’m not talking about New Year’s Eve – the one that goes on until well past the stroke of midnight. Although THOSE parties can be lots of fun.  I should know, I’ve hosted them for years, but they’re also a lot of work for the host. There are so many ways to enjoy New Years. I know a lot of people who like to stay off the roads on New Year’s Eve – and for good reason: traffic, parking, drunks – just to name a few of the typical hassles. And, because of those reasons, many people have started some very lovely family traditions of ringing in the New Year from home. One friend is a “Tubist.” Yep, he plays…

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A fun update for an ancient holiday tradition. I think one of the most fun and endearing holiday traditions is Christmas stockings. When I was a kid, it was a way to get a lot of candy. By the time I was a teen, the presents I had found in my stocking got a little more sophisticated. One year, I got my first really nice watch. That was a really happy memory. As far as the history of the stocking stuffer goes, apparently that’s how everyone got their gifts, from the earliest time when the holidays started until about the 1940s. One of the stories I read goes all the way back to the 4th Century when the European legend of the guy we know as Santa Claus first emerged. St. Nicholas, as he is also known, heard about a poor man who didn’t have enough money to take care…

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Tips for making your holiday appetizers truly appealing. Planning a holiday party? Start with all the ones you’ve seen – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why remember the bad and the ugly? Because, we don’t want to do that! The best ones, I’m sure you’ll agree, are actually the most memorable. These are the ones where everything came together – from start to finish. The ideal way to start ANY party (holiday, birthday, anniversary, anything!) is for guests to be greeted at the door with a cocktail and a tray of hors-d’oeuvres and finger foods. It’s also important to have additional finger food out for your holiday parties so guests can snack at their leisure.  Do easy appetizers that don’t need to stay hot and taste great either warm or cold. That way it won’t matter when your guests arrive or how long the food is out (but…

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