Friday, December 20, 2013


Christmas parades can be seen in cities and towns nationwide. The parades help usher in Christmas.
Christmas parades can be small with just a few floats, and a couple of bands, or very large with a lot of floats, several bands, clowns, assorted groups, and cars carrying important people from the community. But whether the Christmas parades are small or large in size doesn't matter, it's what is at the end of the parade that makes all the difference and that would be Santa Claus! Seeing Santa Claus means the Christmas season is here!
Christmas parades have been going strong for 90+ years. When Christmas parades first started it was more of a way for people who lived in small towns to get together and socialize with each other while watching a very short parade. The parades were something the communities looked forward to every year.
One such Christmas parade in California started in 1928. It was one of the smallest parades ever. There was only one actress and Santa Claus with his live reindeer. This Christmas parade was named "The Santa Claus Lane Parade", and it kept that name for many years.

Early years when it was Santa Claus Lane Parade

The Santa Claus Lane Parade was and is a located in Hollywood, California. The parade went down Hollywood Boulevard. This street was decided on because the city wanted to attract families and shoppers to this area during the holiday season. That idea worked out very well and is still the route for the Christmas parade today, which is 81 years later.
During the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, the Santa Claus Lane Parade really grew. There started to be a number of Hollywood movie stars that were part of the Christmas parade and helped support it. Some of the early stars to be in the parade were Bette Davis, Gene Autry, Mary Pickford, and Angie Dickinson, just to name a few.
By the 1960's and into the late 70's, the Christmas parade was getting quite large. There were more and more movie stars and athletes riding in the parade. There were more floats, bands and clowns than ever before. There was even a variety of animals that graced the parade route.

Larry King and Newest wife

In the late 1970's, it was decided that there needed to be increased excitement surrounding the parade and the glamour of Hollywood needed to be brought to everyone. This was done in three ways. First, the name of the parade was changed from the Santa Claus Lane Parade to "The Hollywood Christmas Parade". The second this to happen was the broadcasting of the parade on station KTLA, so that people could watch it from home. The third thing was the parade route was lengthened to include Sunset Boulevard. These were all great decisions as they are still working today.
Today, "The Hollywood Christmas Parade" is star studded. There are more movie stars, athletes, and entertainers then ever before. There are equestrians, lots of bands that come from all over, numerous floats and of course Santa Claus, to finish up the parade and start the Christmas season.

Santa and friend

The Hollywood Christmas Parade, even though it's fun to watch and is very magical and glamorous, it still has educated the public about Hollywood and the interaction Hollywood has with the people of the United States.
Here is something to remember. Gene Autry wrote the famous song that was named after the Santa Claus Lane Parade. So, every time you hear the song "Here Comes Santa Claus", you will know it's about The Hollywood Christmas Parade and the children wating to see Santa Claus.


   This diy comes from www.myblessedlife.net .  Enjoy!

Good morning, beautiful people! I hope you are having a great week. I’m excited to bring you my reindeer holiday coasters that I created using the fabulous new line of Martha Stewart Crafts acrylic paints. Woot!

I adore how the coasters turned out! What a great handmade gift!

Reindeer Holiday Coasters Supplies Needed:
  • 4 – 4″ white porcelain tiles {I got mine at Lowe’s for 0.16 each.}
  • Small felt pads
  • Reindeer and snowflake stencils
  • Glitter Feldspar paint
  • Satin Habanero paint
  • Sponges
  • Spray Gloss Enamel

Tape down or use spray adhesive to secure the stencil to the tile. Either way works!

Squirt a bit of each paint into a bowl. Then use a sponge and dab it in the red paint. Then sponge most of the paint off before pouncing it on the stencil. The best way to achieve “no-seepage” under the stencil is to do a few light coats of paint.

Then, stencil three blue sparkly snowflakes above the reindeer. I love the red and aqua together!

How festive!
To finish off the coasters, add four felt pads to the bottom of each coaster to keep them from scratching each other or a surface. The spray gloss enamel finishes them off beautifully!

With a little jute and baker’s twine tied around them, the reindeer coasters are ready to gift to a friend!

I’m really pleased with how my reindeer coasters turned out!


   Give the gift of great recipes this holiday season. Surprise someone special with one of these favorite food gift ideas—Christmas cookies, fudge recipes, Christmas candy and more!

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

  • 60 Servings

  • Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling

  • 301040


    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup molasses
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Vanilla frosting of your choice
    • Red and green paste food coloring


    • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight or until easy to handle.
    • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
    • Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Tint some of the frosting red and some green. Decorate cookies. Yield: 5 dozen.

    Sweet & Salty Snowmen Recipe

    Sweet & Salty Snowmen Recipe

  • 8 Servings

  • Prep/Total Time: 25 min.

  • 2525


    • 8 pretzel rods
    • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
    • Assorted candies: M&M's miniature baking bits, miniature chocolate chips, small gumdrops, jelly rings, Fruit by the Foot fruit rolls


    • Dip pretzel rods two-thirds of the way into melted white chocolate, or drizzle chocolate over pretzels with a spoon. Attach baking bits for buttons and noses and chocolate chips for eyes.
    • For hats, dip the bottom of a small gumdrop into chocolate and press onto a jelly ring; attach to the top of each pretzel.
    • Carefully stand snowmen by placing them upright in a tall glass or pressing the bottom of the pretzel rods into a 2-in.-thick piece of Styrofoam. For scarves, cut fruit rolls into thin strips; tie around snowmen.
    • Yield: 8 snowmen.

      Note: This recipe was made with Chuckles jelly rings.

    Celebration Spoons Recipe

    Celebration Spoons Recipe

  • 24 Servings

  • Prep/Total Time: 10 min.

  • 1010


    • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

    • 24 metal or plastic spoons
    • Peppermints and/or Andes candies, chopped


    • In a microwave, melt semisweet chips; stir until smooth. Dip spoons into chocolate. Tap the handle of spoon on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
    • Place on waxed paper. Sprinkle with chopped candies. Let stand until set.
    • Yield: 2 dozen.

    Gumdrop Fudge Recipe

    Gumdrop Fudge Recipe

  • 81 Servings

  • Prep: 20 min. + chilling

  • 2020


    • 1-1/2 pounds white candy coating, coarsely chopped
    • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
    • 1-1/2 cups chopped gumdrops


    • Line a 9-in. square pan with foil; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the candy coating, milk and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and gumdrops.
    • Spread into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Using foil, remove fudge from the pan; cut into 1-in. squares. Store at room temperature.
    • Yield: about 3 pounds.

    Shortbread Ornament Cookies Recipe

    Shortbread Ornament Cookies Recipe

  • 40 Servings

  • Prep: 1-1/2 hours + chilling Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling

  • 9015105


    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/2 cups cold butter, cubed
    • 2 tablespoons cold water
    • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

    • ICING:
    • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons 2% milk
    • Food coloring of your choice, optional
    • Colored edible glitter and nonpareils


    • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water and extracts until mixture forms a ball.
    • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    • Bake at 325° for 15-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
    • For icing, in a large bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar and milk. Divide into small bowls; tint with food coloring if desired. Gently spread over cookies. Decorate as desired.
    •  Yield: about 3 dozen.

    Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

    Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

  • 18 Servings

  • Prep/Total Time: 10 min.

  • 1010


    • 1-3/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
    • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
    • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup miniature marshmallows

    • 3/4 cup hot milk


    • In a large bowl, combine the milk powder, sugar, creamer, cocoa and cinnamon. Add the marshmallows; mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 3 months. Yield: 18-19 batches (about 3-1/2 cups total).
    • To prepare hot chocolate: Dissolve about 3 tablespoons hot chocolate mix in hot milk.
    • Yield: 1 serving per batch.

    Peppermint Lollipops Recipe

    Peppermint Lollipops Recipe

  • 10 Servings

  • Prep: 5 min. Cook: 30 min. + standing

  • 53035


    • 1-1/2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil
    • Red and/or green paste food coloring
    • 10 lollipop sticks
    • Crushed peppermint candies, optional


    • Butter 10 assorted metal cookie cutters and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage).
    • Remove from the heat. Stir in oil, keeping face away from mixture as odor is very strong. For each color of candy swirls, pour 1/4 cup sugar mixture into a ramekin or custard cup; tint red or green.
    • Immediately pour remaining sugar mixture into prepared cookie cutters. Drizzle with colored mixtures as desired; cut through with a toothpick to swirl. Remove cutters just before lollipops are set; firmly press a lollipop stick into each. Sprinkle peppermint candies over tops if desired.
    •  Yield: 10 lollipops.

      Note: This recipe was tested with LorAnn peppermint oil. It can be found at candy and cake decorating supply shops or at www.lorannoils.com.

    • It's recommended that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.

    Chocolate-Coated Pretzels Recipe

    Chocolate-Coated Pretzels Recipe

  • 20-24 Servings

  • Prep: 15 min. + standing

  • 1515


    • 1 to 1-1/4 pounds white and/or milk chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
    • 1 package (8 ounces) miniature pretzels
    • Nonpariels, colored jimmies and colored sugar, optional


    • In a microwave, melt half of candy coating at a time; stir until smooth. Dip pretzels in candy coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until almost set. Garnish as desired; let stand until set.
    • Yield: 5-6 dozen.


    Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.
    Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God's Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.
    The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

    Luther's tree

    Christmas Markets

       In the mid 16th century, Christmas markets were set up in German towns, to provide everything from Christmas presents, food and more practical things such as a knife grinder to sharpen the knife to carve the Christmas Goose! At these fairs, bakers made shaped gingerbreads and wax ornaments for people to buy as souvenirs of the fair, and take home to hang on their Christmas Trees.
       The best record we have is that of a visitor to Strasbourg in 1601. He records a tree decorated with "wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barleysugar) and paper flowers of all colours". The early trees were biblically symbolic of the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden. The many food items were symbols of Plenty, the flowers, originally only red (for Knowledge) and White (for Innocence).


       Tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610. At that time real silver was used, and machines were invented which pulled the silver out into the wafer thin strips for tinsel. Silver was durable, but tarnished quickly, especially with candlelight. Attempts were made to use a mixture of lead and tin, but this was heavy and tended to break under its own weight so was not so practical. So silver was used for tinsel right up to the mid-20th century.

    The First English Trees

       The Christmas Tree first came to England with the Georgian Kings who came from Germany. At this time also, German Merchants living in England decorated their homes with a Christmas Tree. The British public were not fond of the German Monarchy, so did not copy the fashions at Court, which is why the Christmas Tree did not establish in Britain at that time. A few families did have Christmas trees however, probably more from the influence of their German neighbours than from the Royal Court.

    Decorating a Victorian household

       The decorations were Tinsels, silver wire ornaments, candles and small beads. All these had been manufactured in Germany and East Europe since the 17th century. The custom was to have several small trees on tables, one for each member of the family, with that persons gifts stacked on the table under the tree.

    The Victorian and Albert Tree

    Victoria and Albert tree

       In 1846, the popular Royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were illustrated in the Illustrated London News. They were standing with their children around a Christmas Tree. Unlike the previous Royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at Court immediately became fashionable - not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The English Christmas Tree had arrived!
       Decorations were still of a 'home-made' variety. Young Ladies spent hours at Christmas Crafts, quilling snowflakes and stars, sewing little pouches for secret gifts and paper baskets with sugared almonds in them. Small bead decorations, fine drawn out silver tinsel came from Germany together with beautiful Angels to sit at the top of the tree. Candles were often placed into wooden hoops for safety.

    Mid-Victorian Tree

       In 1850's Lauscha began to produce fancy shaped glass bead garlands for the trees, and short garlands made from necklace 'bugles' and beads. These were readily available in Germany but not produced in sufficient quantities to export to Britain. The Rauschgoldengel was a common sight. Literally, 'Tingled-angel', bought from the Thuringian Christmas markets, and dressed in pure gilded tin.
       The 1860's English Tree had become more innovative than the delicate trees of earlier decades. Small toys were popularly hung on the branches, but still most gifts were placed on the table under the tree.

       Around this time, the Christmas tree was spreading into other parts of Europe. The Mediterranean countries were not too interested in the tree, preferring to display only a Creche scene. Italy had a wooden triangle platform tree called as 'CEPPO'. This had a Creche scene as well as decorations.
       The German tree was beginning to suffer from mass destruction! It had become the fashion to lop off the tip off a large tree to use as a Christmas Tree, which prevented the tree from growing further. Statutes were made to prevent people having more than one tree.
       Just as the first trees introduced into Britain did not immediately take off, the early trees introduced into America by the Hessian soldiers were not recorded in any particular quantity. The Pennsylvanian German settlements had community trees as early as 1747.
       America being so large, tended to have 'pockets' of customs relating to the immigrants who had settled in a particular area, and it was not until the communications really got going in the 19th century, that such customs began to spread. Thus references to decorated trees in America before about the middle of the 19th century are very rare.
    By the 1870's, Glass ornaments were being imported into Britain from Lauscha, in Thuringia. It became a status symbol to have glass ornaments on the tree, the more one had, the better ones status! Still many home-made things were seen. The Empire was growing, and the popular tree topper was the Nation's Flag, sometimes there were flags of the Empire and flags of the allied countries. Trees got very patriotic.

       They were imported into America around 1880, where they were sold through stores such as FW Woolworth. They were quickly followed by American patents for electric lights (1882), and metal hooks for safer hanging of decorations onto the trees (1892).

    High Victorian Trees

       The 1880's saw a rise of the Aesthetic Movement. At this time Christmas Trees became a glorious hotchpotch of everything one could cram on; or by complete contrast the aesthetic trees which were delicately balanced trees, with delicate colours, shapes and style. they also grew to floor standing trees. The limited availability of decorations in earlier decades had kept trees by necessity to, usually table trees. Now with decorations as well as crafts more popular than ever, there was no excuse. Still a status symbol, the larger the tree - the more affluent the family which sported it.
    The High Victorian of the 1890's was a child's joy to behold! As tall as the room, and crammed with glitter and tinsel and toys galore. Even the 'middleclasses' managed to over-decorate their trees. It was a case of 'anything goes'. Everything that could possibly go on a tree went onto it.
       By 1900 themed trees were popular. A colour theme set in ribbons or balls, a topical idea such as an Oriental Tree, or an Egyptian Tree. They were to be the last of the great Christmas Trees for some time. With the death of Victoria in 1903, the Nation went into mourning and fine trees were not really in evidence until the nostalgia of the Dickensian fashion of the 1930's.

    The American Tree

       In America, Christmas Trees were introduced into several pockets - the German Hessian Soldiers took their tree customs in the 18th century. In Texas, Cattle Barons from Britain took their customs in the 19th century, and the East Coast Society copied the English Court tree customs.
       Settlers from all over Europe took their customs also in the 19th century. Decorations were not easy to find in the shanty towns of the West, and people began to make their own decorations. Tin was pierced to create lights and lanterns to hold candles which could shine through the holes. Decorations of all kinds were cutout, stitched and glued. The General Stores were hunting grounds for old magazines with pictures, rolls of Cotton Batting (Cotton Wool), and tinsel, which was occasionally sent from Germany or brought in from the Eastern States. The Paper 'Putz' or Christmas Crib was a popular feature under the tree, especially in the Moravian Dutch communities which settled in Pennsylvania.

    The British tree in the 20th century

       After Queen Victoria died, the country went into mourning, and the tree somehow died with her for a while in many homes. While some families and community groups still had large tinsel strewn trees, many opted for the more convenient table top tree. These were available in a variety of sizes, and the artificial tree, particularly the Goose Feather Tree, became popular. These were originally invented in the 1880's in Germany, to combat some of the damage being done to Fir trees in the name of Christmas.

       In America, the Addis Brush Company created the first brush trees, using the same machinery which made their toilet brushes! These had an advantage over the feather tree in that they would take heavier decorations.
       After 1918, because of licensing and export problems, Germany was not able to export its decorations easily. The market was quickly taken up by Japan and America, especially in Christmas Tree lights.
       Britain's Tom Smith Cracker Company which has exported Christmas goods for over three decades, began to manufacture trees themselves for a short while.
       In the 1930's There was a revival of Dickensian nostalgia, particularly in Britain. Christmas cards all sported Crinoline ladies with muffs and bonnets popular in the 1840's. Christmas Trees became large, and real again, and were decorated with many bells, balls and tinsels, and with a beautiful golden haired angel at the top. But wartime England put a stop to many of these trees. It was forbidden to cut trees down for decoration, and with so many raids, many people preferred to keep their most precious heirloom Christmas tree decorations carefully stored away in metal boxes, and decorated only a small tabletop tree with home-made decorations, which could be taken down into the shelters for a little Christmas cheer, when the air-raid sirens went.
    Large trees were erected however in public places to give morale to the people at this time.

       Postwar Britain saw a revival of the nostalgic again. people needed the security of Christmas, which is so unchanging in a changing world, as one of the symbols to set them back on their feet. Trees were as large as people could afford. Many poorer families still used the tabletop Goosefeather trees, Americas Addis Brush Trees were being imported into Britain, and these became immensely popular for a time. But the favourites were still real trees. The popular decorations were all produced by a British manufacturer, Swanbrand. and sold by FW Woolworth in Britain. Translucent plastic lock together shapes, Honeycomb paper Angels, 'glow-in the -dark icicles; also Polish glass balls and birds In South Wales, where real trees were often difficult to find in the rural areas, Holly Bushes were decorated.
       The mid-1960's saw another change. A new world was on the horizon, and modernist ideas were everywhere. Silver aluminium trees were imported from America. The 'Silver Pine' tree, patented in the 1950's, was designed to have a revolving light source under it, with coloured gelatine 'windows, which allowed the light to shine in different shades as it revolved under the tree. No decorations were needed for this tree.
    Decorations became sparse. Glass balls and lametta created an 'elegant' modern tree. Of course, many families ignored fashion and carried on putting their own well loved decorations on their trees!

       America made a return to Victorian nostalgia in the 1970's, and it was a good decade later that Britain followed the fashion. By the at first this was a refreshing look, and manufacturers realising the potential created more and more fantastic decorations. Some American companies specialised in antique replicas, actually finding the original makers in Europe to recreate wonderful glass ornaments, real silver tinsels and pressed foil 'Dresdens'.
       Real Christmas Trees were popular, but many housewives preferred the convenience of the authentic looking artificial trees which were being manufactured. If your room was big enough, you could have a 14 foot artificial Spruce right there in your living room, without a single dropped needle - and so good that it fooled everyone at first glance. There are even pine scented sprays to put on the tree for that 'real tree smell'!
    The late 1990's tree has taken the Victorian idea, but with new themes and conceptual designs. The Starry Starry Night Tree, The Twilight Tree, The Snow Queen Tree.....