A few good gems

Less than two weeks till Christmas! I'm 88% finished with my Christmas shopping, and 100% fired up for the big day. Our best gift will be a Skyped conversation with our daughter in France. I hope I can hold it together and don't turn into a sobbing mess when I see her. I'm giving sobbing mess a 94% chance.

But there's still time to seize the season, so to speak. Here are a few good gems in case you need a little inspiration.

So, it's pretty much decided. I'm making this awesome peppermint bark as my friend & neighbor gift this year. Still need to find some cute containers.

I absolutely love this little kindergarten girl. She signs her entire holiday program for her deaf parents. She's a doll, and for some reason it made me kind of teary that she was translating the entire thing for them. 

via  SweetPaul

For your holiday dinner -- antlers on placecards! What could be better?

Remember when I posted about Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge? Read about the books that meant the most to Elizabeth Strout in 2013. Really the entire series, of A Year in Reading: 2013, is undeniably cool.

Without doubt, O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" is my favorite Christmas-time short story. I've forgone Madeline's Christmas and most of the kiddie Christmas books in our collection, but I do require an annual reading of this book. We have this illustrated version. But you can download the story (along with other O. Henry classics) here.

Check out this NYT's article on how to minimize the material aspects of Christmas -- how to have a great holiday with LESS STUFF. Be sure to check out the comments where other parents weigh in.

That's it guys! Have a great weekend. Stay warm!