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Down-Home, Homemade Christmas

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.

Last year, I decided to make these gingerbread hanging ornaments. 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.

That’s why when I learned how to make these cinnamon stick candles I knew that I would have to put them all over my house. Not only do they both look and smell pretty, you’re not going to believe just how easy they are to make. Y’all, if I can do it, then you can too! I think the best part of making them is that your house is going to smell like cinnamon all winter.

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 spa treatments, vanilla coffee syrup, 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!

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.

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