A Down-Home, Homemade Christmas

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By Paula Deen

Decorating for the holidays is something I look forward to every year. Right after Thanksgiving, Michael and I jump right on sprucing up the house for Christmas. But probably my favorite part of decorating is finding ways to make things “my own”.

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot, so we learned to make the best out of what we had. I remember when Jamie and Bobby were still in grade school, I would take glass jars, wrap them in ribbons and fill them with homemade candies for them to take for their teachers. I don’t like to brag, but I think their teachers appreciated having something that took a little bit of extra time and love.

I try to keep the same idea in mind when I’m decorating my home. If you can believe it, I’ve held on to so many of the homemade ornaments and decorations that Jamie and Bobby have made throughout the years. They’re the prettiest and most special decorations that I own. And now with three grandsons that are growin’ up like weeds, I know that my collection of decorations made by little hands is only going to get bigger.

That’s why when Brandon, my Creative Director, showed me how to make these homemade wreaths I knew that I would have to put them all over my house. His wreaths are absolutely gorgeous, and you’re not going to believe just how easy they are to make. Y’all, if I can do it, then you can do it too! I think the best part of making them is that your house is going to smell like fresh greens all winter.

Last year, I decided to make these dried apple garlands and

kissing balls. I had to stop myself from eating the decorations; they all smelled and looked so good! I don’t know about y’all, but there’s just something so warm and cozy about stepping into a house that’s filled with homemade touches.

And for gifts, every year I choose some of my homemade gifts from the kitchen to give to friends and family. I hate the idea of going out and shopping to find the biggest and newest gifts. To me, that’s not what the holidays are all about. Why not try and bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces with a bottle of homemade dressing, vanilla extract, or just a tin of beautifully wrapped cookies?

Have y’all decorated your homes yet for the holidays? What kind of special decorations and ornaments do you own or make? I’d love to hear about them!

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

Read More From Christmas.

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

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very good cooking Paula love your show

By una tarpley on December 25, 2013

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Love your recipes. Keep 'em coming.

By Ruth Moore on November 18, 2013

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La admiro me gusta su cocina ,me duele mucho no verla mas por televicion

By Argerye Salazar Nuñez on August 01, 2013

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paula we are with you all the way. don't give up. this two shall pass.

By peggy worrel on July 20, 2013

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People are always telling me that I look like you but I just can't do the accent.lol.Funny part is that my husband looks like The Captain.I love everything about you.I have purchased some of your furniture and have also have several other items.Keep up the good work you are a very classy lady. Regards Joan

By Joan Burns-Farmery on June 06, 2013

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i think you are the best paula me and my daughter watch your show cooking together all the time you are our favorite....

By rhonda on December 07, 2012

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you did a show where you use potatoes/onions/and pork ribes I caan't find the recipe how can I get it? I really enjoy your shows

By Betty C Colvin on December 04, 2012

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My family has already started on decorating. Almost done. We get a real tree every year. This year I made our wreath cause it seems now days that the wreaths from walmart and some other places are way over priced and not pretty at all. I actually decided this year to make them for all my aunts, uncles and friends as gifts smile I would say my most special decorations are the ones my kids bring home from school every year and the ones my aunt and grandma has made and given me. Last year the kids and I started making Cinnaman and applesauce ornaments. We attached them to gifts and put some on our tree. They smell so good and have kept there smell all year.

By Carla D. on November 30, 2012

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Wished I could find your clam chowder. I like to find sand crackers also.Also, do you have a recipe for sweet rolls without using yeast?

By Denise on November 28, 2012

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It's very nice! I'm fan of you. I love your show on tv foodnet work.

By Anonymous on December 21, 2011

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Our home is decorated with a live tree and i enjoy decorating it takes all day. We have 12 holly and spruce trees out side winter wonderland my husband does a great job with my help. Happy Holidays.

By colleen on December 20, 2011

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our family's favorite collection of homemade decorations are my grandmother's hand crafted ceramic pieces. she had her own kiln in the basement and hundreds of molds and every holiday she had something ceramic made for each of us. particularly a napkin holder and table peices. christmas was her favorite though, she made snowmen, three different navity scenes, christmas trees with the lights and of course the napkin holders. they are so precious to all of us. she's been gone now since 1998 and everyone misses her deeply but we all have special moments and special memories we can remember every time we see one of her ceramic pieces she loved to make for us all. they truely allow us to see her at the holidays too right with us again. i agree with you those homemade gifts are really special good luck with your dr. oz cigarette challenge. happy holidays and all the best to you and yours thru the holidays and the next year. thanks for sharing your cooking knowledge with us too.

By stephanie kinnett on December 12, 2011

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Hi Paula, I too cherish all the homemade ornaments that my children have made. One year, my oldest son and I hand painted ceramic "Smurfs" and to this day his Smurf holds a place of honor on the tree! The time spent together was the thing I loved the most! Merry Christmas!

By thelma craig on December 10, 2011

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Paula I was raised in Ozarks of Arkansas, my Aunt mary use to start her holiday baking day after thanksgiving. she made the best peanut butter fudge and would save the pretty boxes a friend of ours gave cheese in as her son was a big ceo with kfaft. makes me think of the loving gifts u had the boys give their teachers. she would wrap it for my teachers at Lutheran school. this year i am having knee surgery week of Christmas- my son and family we usually spend holidays with are going to Disney World- so i will probably try some of your Smithfield spiral ham, maybe crunchy onion rings i watched u and Michael and his friend Jimmy make today and Brooke;s Mee-Maw;s cookies. A blessed Merry Christmas to u and your loving family. Rosie in Ct.

By RoseMarie Herdman on December 07, 2011

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I tried you're recipe Pecan Toffee Tassies. They are delicious, but i added a sprinkle of powdered sugar and wow. Thank you. Keep up the great work you do in you're kitchen.

By lilly on December 07, 2011

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I love your show I think its the best cooking show of all of them. You are such a down to earth person that i really love you. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

By elaine mclaughlin on December 07, 2011

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During a Christmas cooking show at your house please show your house. I would love to see it and your Christmas decorations. It's just fun to see where you live. We traveled to Savannanh 2009 and ate at your restaurant. We didn't have time to eat at Bubba's but next time we plan to. We loved Sanavvah the downtown parks were beautiful especially with the moss hanging from trees. Food was great I have NEVER liked greens before but your on your buffet were good. Our young black male waiter was so nice. I was hoping you or the boys would be their but no such luck. I wanted to meet you so bad. Have a Mery Christmas and May God Bless you and your family. I wanted a autographed cookbook. Maybe next time you will be available.

By Kim Crosby on December 07, 2011

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Hey, The Senior Citizen about 40 of Us from Foley , Alabama will desend on Sav. In Feb. 20th, and 21St. Will get there that afternoon of 20th. 22 going to Beauford, etc. Hope that we all can see you; It has always been my desire and most of all the women in Ala. to meet you. We all admire and Love you!~ God Bless. What a wonderful treat It would be if you could see us at the Bus! What a Show!! Believe me we all are good Folks!! Senior Cit. Of South Baldwin Hospital! Foley, Ala; Oh, and yes by the way it is not a Mental Hospital Ha Ha

By Ms. Mary LaCoste on December 07, 2011

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i love you and all u bring to t. v and all the stores i have ur pots and pans and ur knife set... thanks paula u are my fav

By Tennille Farris on December 06, 2011

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Paula - I don't know if you will really get this but I hope you do. I just saw you on Dr. Oz. I have watched you for years and have also enjoyed watching Dr. Oz (you're right, he's sooooo handsome). So when I saw that you were on his show, I knew it would be a special episode. I was shocked to hear you are a smoker. Mostly because your skin looks so beautiful and usually smokers have "uky" skin. I was a smoker for many years until a little over 2 years ago. I have to tell you, when you said you wanted to quit because of your grandchildren, you made me cry. The day my beautiful grandaughter turned 2 I went to her birthday party and watched her run around, greet her guests, open her presents, blow out her birthday candles, and play with the other children, I knew right then that I needed to quit. So I just wanted to share with you that the patches didn't work, cold turkey didn't work, bla bla. I was hypnotized, not in a group session, but in a private office. The woman was amazing and the whole session was geared just to me. Being hypnotized was so relaxing and when I walked out of there I felt so good. I have not smoked again and I have no desire. Two weeks after this I went away with 10 of my best friends and 5 of them smoked. Being around them didn't even phase me. I just wanted you to know this because, for some reason, I think this would work for you. I hope you find this helpful and I pray that you too will be a non-smoker and enjoy many years with YOUR grandchildren. Fondly, Coreen

By Coreen Perkins on December 06, 2011

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Paula Deen
Paula Deen
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The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm