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Martha who? Your guide to a cheap and easy Christmas

By APRILL BRANDON
Dec. 20, 2010 at 6:20 a.m.
Updated Dec. 22, 2010 at 6:22 a.m.


Not everyone can be Martha Stewart. In fact, some of us are just glad we've never burnt down the kitchen or cut off a major appendage while cooking or doing any sort of "craft."

But, as they say, 'tis the season. And luckily, even the most un-domestic goddess (or god) can pull off a festive holiday party with minimal injuries and scarring with these simple and easy ideas.

First and foremost, you'll probably need to decorate your home. But forget glue guns or expensive trips to the holiday section of your average store (tinsel cost how MUCH?). One of the easiest ways to do this is to go old-school and remake all those Christmas art projects you did in elementary school (or better yet, if you have kids, make them your slaves ... er, "elves" and have them do it for you).

For instance, remember those snowflakes you'd make out of folded white paper and scissors? Why not make a bunch of those and hang them from the ceiling for a festive look? Add some glitter if you really want to get fancy-schmancy.

The same idea goes with those paper chain garlands you made in school ad nauseum. Just make a bunch of those and string 'em up around home.

If you have an evergreen tree in your yard (or an unsuspecting neighbor with one), cut off a few branches, tie some red ribbon around them, put it around a candle and BOOM. You've got a centerpiece. And just for good measure, throw some pine cones you picked up from the ground around there as well.

But don't stress out too much about decorations. When trying to pull off a holiday party or even a small family Christmas at home, the most important thing to realize is that booze makes everything better. Burned the turkey? Who cares! Have another spiked eggnog! Your Charlie Brown Christmas tree fell down? No worries! Take some shots with grandma!

Candy Cane-tini (from Drinknation.com)

½ oz. Peppermint Schnapps

1 oz. vodka

1 piece mini candy cane

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into glass. Place a candy cane in the glass. It will turn the drink pink and adds to the flavor.

Santa's Hat (from Jeanne Benedict on www.celebrations.com)

3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 tsp. water

¼ cup sweetened, flaked coconut

3 oz. red cranberry juice

1 oz. Malibu Rum

½ oz. grenadine

1 candy cane

Mix together powdered sugar and water until smooth. Fold a paper towel into a 4-inch square and lay it on a saucer. Spread the powdered sugar mixture on top of the towel on the saucer. Spread coconut in a shallow layer on another saucer.

Dip the rim of a martini glass in the sugar mixture on the towel until the rim is coated. Then, dip the sugared rim into the coconut. Use a spoon to pack the coconut on to the sugar coating so it stays on the rim.

Add the cranberry juice, Malibu rum and grenadine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a prepared Martini glass, garnish with a candy cane and serve.

The Grinch (from www.thatsthespirit.com)

2 oz. Midori

½ oz. lemon juice

(fresh)

1 tsp. sugar syrup

Mix all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Option: Garnish this green drink with a red cherry.

Naturally, after all that booze, you and your guests will probably want to eat, or else it's going to be a very short (albeit FUN) party. While we'll leave the big stuff to the professionals (or your Aunt Gertrude's tried and true recipes), here are some cheap and easy appetizer and snack recipes.

The Nutcracker

1 bowl of nuts

1 Nutcracker

Set out the bowl of nuts by the Nutcracker. Your guests can make the logical leap of what to do next (hey, we told you these were cheap and easy).

Cheeseball (from Ellen Rainey on AllRecipe.com

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened

3 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 (1 ounce) package ranch-style dressing mix

2 cups chopped pecans

4 pecan halves

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, and dressing mix. Form into one large ball or two smaller balls. Roll in chopped pecans to coat surface. Decorate the top with pecan halves. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.

Sausage Balls (from www.food.com)

1 lb. bulk sausage

1 (10 oz.) pkg. sharp cheddar cheese (grated)

2 cups Bisquick baking mix

Allow cheese and sausage to reach room temperature. Place in mixing bowl with Bisquick and blend till smooth. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray well with vegetable oil spray. Press/roll mixture into 1 inch balls by hand. Place onto cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or till golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Serve warm.

From all of us here at Get Out, have a Merry Christmas, everyone!

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