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You’ve found the perfect gifts for all of your favorite people. And now it’s time to wrap them. Here are some easy suggestions for making a lovely presentation of that special gift or card.

Use washi or other decorative tape on folds and seams of wrapping paper or to add a festive accent to your card.
Add some fun texture by pairing gift wrap ribbon with yarn or twine.
Instead of tying a bow, add a fun ornament or small gift that you’ve made yourself.
Print out a photo of the gift recipient on card stock and use as a gift tag.
Create a monogram for your card or gift by cutting out the recipient’s initial and gluing it to a fun holiday shape — a tree, Santa hat, ornament or stocking — cut out of felt, glitter cardstock or wrapping paper in a contrasting color.
Use berries, pine cones, sprigs of greenery and other natural found objects to embellish your card or gift.
Create your own festive design on brown parcel paper, kraft paper or paper bags with a holiday-themed stamp roller or stamp pads.
Add some extra flourish to the recipient’s name on a card with lovely hand-lettering, doodles or drawings of holiday icons.

 

Here at Kathy Davis, we love the chance to pause from the day to day and enjoy each other’s company. We often gather for lunch, celebrate birthdays and milestones, or even just take a short coffee break together. It’s amazing how simple “time-outs” like these not only re-charge our creativity and energy, they remind us how much we mean to each other! In much the same way, taking a break from the holiday hustle and bustle can be a wonderful “bonding time” in our personal lives, whether it’s a casual meal with the family or with friends.

 

 

Plan something fun! The conversation will flow, and you’ll all have a great time catching up. You can keep it simple. You don’t have to prepare a full dinner; it’s enough to set out platters of cookies with festive beverages for your guests. Here are just a few ideas:

 

Invite friends over to cut paper snowflakes.
Gather a group to make holiday greeting cards for hospitalized children or nursing home residents.
Bake a few batches of cookies ahead of time (the refrigerated supermarket dough is just fine!), and have your kids invite a few friends to come decorate them.
Have a dessert gathering…without feeling obligated to bake! Pick up some goodies from your favorite bakery, set out a large pot of coffee and hot cocoa, and enjoy.
Have an informal happy hour – with or without cocktails. Set out some crudités and a few appetizers and invite everyone to the table.

 

You can do this! So why not take a break from this busy season, sit down together at the table, and share your smiles, your stories and your hearts.

To learn about other ways to connect – and to find beautiful and thoughtful gifts for your favorite host – check out additional posts on our site.

The month of December brings to mind beauty, wonder and serenity…as well as celebration, joy and love. That’s why we’ve decided to offer two unique designs and messages for this month’s free calendar download.

We hope you’ll check them both out and choose your favorite…or select one for now, then one for later in the month. Whichever you choose, we hope this free digital wallpaper brings an added touch of inspiration to your holiday season. Please feel free to send the link(s) to someone you care about.

And don’t forget to download it to your phone or desktop, too, for some seasonal inspiration whenever you need it.

Click any of the links below to select the size that works best for you. Once the image pops up in a new window, simply right click and save.

 

Wallpaper #1 – Christmas Theme

Desktop wallpaper with calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

Desktop wallpaper without calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

iPhone wallpaper:
iPhone 5 | iPhone 6, 8 | iPhone 6+, 7, 7+, 8+

Android wallpaper:
Moto G, X – Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Z3 Compact | Google Pixel – HTC One M8, M9, X10 – LG G2 – Moto X (2nd Gen) – Samsung Galaxy S5, S8, S7+ – Nexus 5, 5x | Google Pixel 2 – HTC U11 – LG G3, G5 – Samsung Galaxy S4, S6, S7, S7 Edge – Nexus 6, 6p – Sony Xperia C4, Z Ultra, Z2, Z3, XZ1 | LG G6, G6+, V30, V30+ | Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+

 

Wallpaper #2 – Winter Theme

Desktop wallpaper with calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

Desktop wallpaper without calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

iPhone wallpaper:
iPhone 5 | iPhone 6, 8 | iPhone 6+, 7, 7+, 8+

Android wallpaper:
Moto G, X – Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Z3 Compact | Google Pixel – HTC One M8, M9, X10 – LG G2 – Moto X (2nd Gen) – Samsung Galaxy S5, S8, S7+ – Nexus 5, 5x | Google Pixel 2 – HTC U11 – LG G3, G5 – Samsung Galaxy S4, S6, S7, S7 Edge – Nexus 6, 6p – Sony Xperia C4, Z Ultra, Z2, Z3, XZ1 | LG G6, G6+, V30, V30+ | Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+

Questions or having trouble downloading? Contact [email protected]

Ten years before she started her greeting card business, Kathy Davis began a holiday tradition that would become one of her most cherished. She began designing her own Christmas cards.

“I printed my very first card in just one color and decorated it with a hand-cut rubber stamp to add a touch of color,” she recalls.

Her kids were little at the time and she got them involved in the design process. The cards, including the envelopes she sent them in, were an instant hit with family and friends.

“I learned that people LOVE to see their names hand-lettered and decorated!” says Kathy.

She never imagined this beloved personal practice would ultimately inspire her professional career as a greeting card writer and designer.

“The positive feedback from friends and family who received my cards was the encouragement I needed to launch my business,” she says.

All these years later, Kathy still looks forward to hand-lettering and designing the envelopes for those on her Christmas card list — which includes 120 of her favorite people. Many have told her they collect the cards and matching envelopes and some even display them each holiday season.

“My Christmas card practice has become a major December project of mine!” she says.

It’s also a labor of love, her way of giving something of herself to the people who mean the most to her.

 

Now that the busy holiday season is in full swing, we thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on the traditions, memories and moments that make holiday get-togethers so special for each of us. A few members of our team share theirs below.

 

CAROL
Growing up, although I was loved, I missed belonging to a large family. My friends had large extended families nearby and had big Sunday dinners. My nearby family was small, but everything changed on Thanksgiving! My older sisters came home with their families in tow, my Uncle and Grandmother came from New York and stayed for the weekend. We sat at one large table, feasted on my Mother’s wonderful turkey dinner and teased her about her famous burnt dinner rolls and shared dessert, hugs, kisses, games, dreams of Christmas. All was right with the world, and we were all blessed with the wonderful sense of secure belonging that only family can bring.

JANET
One year, we had “I am thankful for” place cards at the table. Each one had an arrow pointing to the person next to you and you had to say why you were thankful for them. It was a fun way for us to connect with each other.

JOANNA
Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite holidays! I’m very lucky to have my whole family close by, and we all get together for Thanksgiving dinner. Many years ago, we started a traditional Hand Turkey competition. Everyone created a fun, unique hand turkey – starting with a trace of your hand – and may the best turkey win! The creativity was flowing, and the competition was ON! The themes varied each year, and the submissions never ceased to impress. Lots of laughs and tons of fun were had by all!

KATIE
We always take a walk on a local trail after the Thanksgiving meal. After all that food, it’s nice to get outside and move a bit! We pile our family and any guests into several cars and caravan to a favorite walking path along a river and just enjoy the outdoors. We often take a family photo while on our walk and use it for our Christmas card.

LYNNDA
We hold hands before the meal and say what we are grateful for this year. Sharing our difficult, challenging times as well as our happy and successful moments that we encountered along the way reminds us how blessed we are.

NAILA
In the last several years, my brother has woven drumming into the grace we say before dinner as a way to pay tribute to Native Americans and in particular the Wampanoag, without whom the Pilgrims would not have celebrated their first Thanksgiving. He uses a large frame drum, traditional to Native American ceremonies and rituals, and then we say grace, inviting everyone present to share something they’re grateful for.

MEGHANN
We have an old Thanksgiving tradition in my family…when it was time for dessert, we would turn on the Christmas music for the first time. Mitch Miller was always a family favorite. We still hold to this, even today!

MELISSA
My parents always made the holidays feel so special, and Thanksgiving was a time of warmth in our household. I remember being surrounded by homemade goodies, football games on the television, good music and groups in deep conversation or laughter. All were invited – family, friends and neighbors. Overall, there was feeling of comfort, acceptance and happiness!

PHYLLIS
For many years, we had Thanksgiving at my childhood home, but eventually, my mom downsized, sold the family home and moved to a senior community. So last year for the very first time, our family actually spent our Thanksgiving at a restaurant. Mom had always been resistant to the idea, insisting that “Thanksgiving should be held at home.” However, the food was amazing, and more importantly, we all had time to enjoy each other’s company – with no preparation and no cleanup! So now for Thanksgiving, instead of making a dinner, we make reservations.

 

We all have those recipes that are special to us. Maybe they’ve been in our family forever. Or they’re the ones our kids request the most. Maybe they’re a conversation starter at festive gatherings, an instant favorite with guests. Or maybe we simply enjoy making them because they feel like sharing love and happiness every time they’re served.

We’ve created these beautiful recipe cards in a free downloadable template to help you preserve your go-to recipes and share them with the ones you love.

 

 

Available in four different designs, featuring lovely florals and foliage, these 5 x 7 cards can be used to make a thoughtful giftable collection of family recipes or to keep all of your most treasured, old and new, together in one place.

Download your free template now. We’re even including a few cherished recipes from some of our studio staff that just might become your favorite, too.

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups butter, melted
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and melted butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

 

APPLE-PEAR-CRANBERRY CRISP

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

INGREDIENTS
2 cups cranberries (can use frozen but fresh is better)
1lb. pears, peeled and sliced (about 3)
1lb. tart apples, peeled and sliced (about 3 – Ida Red, Braeburn, Granny Smith, etc)
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
scant ¼ cup sugar

Mix and turn into lightly buttered baking dish

TOPPING
¾ cup sifted unbleached flour (unsifted also fine)
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup oatmeal

With pastry cutter, cut in ¾ cup unsalted butter (can cut into small pieces first)
Right before pouring on top, add ¾ cup chopped pecans, then spoon topping over fruit and cook 35 – 40 minutes.

 

CARROT SOUFFLE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. cooked carrots
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp. gluten-free flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter, melted (or 1/2 cup of coconut oil)
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon

TOPPING
1/4 cup cornflakes, crushed
3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
Dash nutmeg
Dash cinnamon

Combine and puree carrots and eggs in a food processor or blender. Add sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend together well.

Pour into a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish.

Mix together the crushed cornflakes, sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the butter and sprinkle on top of the carrots.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

BREAD BOWL CHEESE DIP

INGREDIENTS
8 oz. spreadable cheddar
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup beer (or Sprite)
crushed garlic (or ¼ tsp.  garlic powder)
1 round loaf of unsliced rye or pumpernickel bread

(you’ll probably want another loaf in addition to cut up for dipping) 

DIRECTIONS
Soften cheeses and mix well. For best results, make ahead of time. Slice off top of round loaf and hollow out to make bowl. Pour dip into center. Break up remaining bread as well as additional loaf. Arrange and serve.

 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE                                               

Preheat oven to 375ºF

Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. penne pasta
Cheese Sauce
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups low-fat milk
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree (pumpkin puree also works)
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 1/3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water.
Position an oven rack to the center.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir immediately until a soft paste, or roux, forms. Add milk and begin to stir everything immediately to prevent the roux from clumping up too much.

Once the milk boils, reduce heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for about 3 to 4 more minutes, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low.

Add the oregano, thyme, black pepper and salt and stir. Add the butternut squash puree and mix until everything is incorporated. Mix in 2/3 cup of mozzarella, 2/3 cup of white cheddar. Save the rest of the cheese for topping later. Turn off the heat. Stir in the cooked pasta, until it’s well coated with the butternut squash cheese sauce.

Pour mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and white cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for about 3 to 4 minutes to brown the cheese on top. Check the mac and cheese after 3 minutes to see if it has been adequately browned.

(Recipe from Healthy Nibbles and Bits)

 

If you’re planning to throw a dinner party or special gathering, a well-thought-out seating plan can help keep conversation lively and interesting while fostering new connections. Our Family Supper® DIY Place Cards have been designed to help you make your meal more memorable with a thoughtful, personalized accent.

Simply download our easy-to-use template in any one of our three designs — or mix and match them — print on cardstock paper, then cut them out and fold along the dotted line. Write your guests’ name on each card. You can go for simple and elegant or have fun adding whatever flourishes you’d like to their name.

Now you’ve set a fun and memorable table to welcome all of your guests.

 

Home is that precious place where your heart feels safe to live, love, grow… and, simply just be.

The word itself summons so many sweet emotions and fond memories of childhood and family. From the many milestones to the countless stories we share, it’s the place our heart always returns to.

This beautiful print is perfect for any space where you want to add an extra touch of warmth. And it makes a lovely gift, especially at the time of year when thoughts turn to home. Click here to buy.

Gathering around the table with family brings warm feelings of togetherness, support and love. What’s even sweeter? The many tangible and lasting benefits that come from sharing family meals on a regular basis.

 

Families who dine together are known to…

 

1) have healthier children 

The impact of family meals on smart food choices and obesity prevention cannot be underestimated. Research reveals a definite relationship between frequent family meals and lower body mass index (BMI) as well as healthy eating in children.

 

2) have happier children

A study shows that more frequent family meals have the potential to protect the lives of adolescents from low self-esteem, drug and alcohol use, risky behaviors, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and depression.

 

3) see better report cards

A boost in academic performance can be seen among kids who have dinner regularly with their families. Students were 40 percent more likely to receive A’s and B’s, and pre-adolescents scored higher on achievement tests and demonstrated better vocabulary and reading skills when they shared frequent family dinners.

 

4) feel less stressed.

Parents who managed to have dinner at home at least three times a week reported more feelings of success in their personal lives – both as partners and as parents – as well as at work.

 

5) spend less on meals

The financial savings from cooking at home are significant. Apparently, it’s nearly five times costlier to order restaurant takeout than it is to cook your own meal.

 

So what are you waiting for? Ring that dinner bell!

Add a Gratitude Centerpiece to your festivities! Not only is it a beautiful focal point for your table, it will help your guests to connect in a meaningful way.

The natural wood centerpiece holds three glass cylinder vases – one to store our specially created gratitude prompts and the other two to hold whatever you may need for the occasion.

The simplicity of the centerpiece’s design allows you to personalize it according to the occasion or season. In fall, fill it with acorns, fresh flowers or a favorite candy. In winter, consider filling it with evergreens, holly, candy canes or small ornaments. In spring, you might choose cherry blossoms, forsythia or fairy lights. In summer, try adding patriotic flags, pinwheels or seashells.

The 50 artfully designed gratitude prompts are each intended to spark thoughts of appreciation for the good in our lives. Share a moment that made you smile or laugh, a kindness that touched you, your favorite thing to do together.

Invite a guest to choose a gratitude prompt and read it aloud. Then have each person respond to the prompt in turn. Another option is to pass around the prompts, so that everyone can choose one. Each guest can then write their name and a response on the gratitude prompt. Guests can take them home, or you can collect them to save as a memory of a wonderful occasion…and even revisit them at the next one!

No matter how you choose to use the centerpiece, the idea is to give everyone a chance to catch up in a way that’s engaging and personal, warm and memorable.

Focusing on the things we’re grateful for creates a definitive shift in mood and outlook, according to an article in Harvard Medical School’s online newsletter, Healthbeat. The article cites a study conducted by psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami.

In the study, groups of participants were asked to write several sentences each week, focusing on specific subjects. One group reflected on the past week and the things they were thankful for; another group wrote about things that had been annoying them or were unpleasant on a daily basis; and the third group, without any request to focus on either positive or negative, wrote about any occurrences that had simply affected them.

Ten weeks later, members of the group who wrote about being grateful were more upbeat and simply felt better about their lives. In addition, they exercised more and visited physicians less frequently than those who focused on feelings of irritation.

We hope you find this month’s free calendar download to be a helpful reminder to focus on whatever you are thankful for! Feel free to send the link to this month’s free download to someone you care about.

And don’t forget to download it to your phone or desktop, too, for some gentle inspiration whenever you need it.

Click any of the links below to download the size that works best for you. Once the image pops up in a new window, simply right click and save.

Desktop wallpaper with calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

Desktop wallpaper without calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

iPhone wallpaper:
iPhone 5 | iPhone 6, 8 | iPhone 6+, 7, 7+, 8+

Android wallpaper:
Moto G, X – Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Z3 Compact | Google Pixel – HTC One M8, M9, X10 – LG G2 – Moto X (2nd Gen) – Samsung Galaxy S5, S8, S7+ – Nexus 5, 5x | Google Pixel 2 – HTC U11 – LG G3, G5 – Samsung Galaxy S4, S6, S7, S7 Edge – Nexus 6, 6p – Sony Xperia C4, Z Ultra, Z2, Z3, XZ1 | LG G6, G6+, V30, V30+ | Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+

Questions or having trouble downloading? Contact [email protected]

 

For nearly three decades, our founder Kathy Davis has been helping millions of people find the right words to express gratitude, love, support and happiness. Her beautifully designed greeting cards, unique gifts, and other inspirational products are sold worldwide. But where does she find inspiration to keep creating new art?

Kathy says, “I try to walk outdoors every day. The sights, sounds and colors keep my creative tank filled. My travels also awaken in me exciting new ways of seeing the world.”

She adds, however, that she doesn’t have to travel to be inspired. “Fashion, home decor and even advertisements are all wonderful sources for innovation ideas. And of course, there is nothing like an art museum to get my creative juices flowing!”

Join us for more behind the scene exclusives.

 

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We all have dreams we want to pursue, some of them big, some of them small. All that matters is they mean something to us. And because they do, they’re worth going after with all of our heart. Today is a beautiful day to begin moving in the direction of your brightest dreams. Take that first step and trust that the rest will unfold.

This art print is a wonderful reminder to keep going and keep believing. Click here to order.

Life’s just more fun when we focus on the bright side, think happy thoughts and feel free to express our truest self.

This sunny wallpaper is a sweet celebration of positive energy and pure joy. Why not send the link to this month’s free download to your favorite optimist?

And don’t forget to download it to your phone or desktop, too, for a bright burst of inspiration whenever you need it.

 

 

Click any of the links below to download the size that works best for you. Once the image pops up in a new window, simply right click and save.

Desktop wallpaper with calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

Desktop wallpaper without calendar:
1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 2560 x 1440

iPhone wallpaper:
iPhone 5 | iPhone 6, 8 | iPhone 6+, 7, 7+, 8+

Android wallpaper:
Moto G, X – Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, Z3 Compact | Google Pixel – HTC One M8, M9, X10 – LG G2 – Moto X (2nd Gen) – Samsung Galaxy S5, S8, S7+ – Nexus 5, 5x | Google Pixel 2 – HTC U11 – LG G3, G5 – Samsung Galaxy S4, S6, S7, S7 Edge – Nexus 6, 6p – Sony Xperia C4, Z Ultra, Z2, Z3, XZ1 | LG G6, G6+, V30, V30+ | Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+

Questions or having trouble downloading? Contact [email protected]

 

Let them know their kindness, their caring, the little things they do to make you smile makes all the difference in your day. It doesn’t take a grand gesture to let the people we love know how much they matter. Often it’s the small ways we find to show our love that feel incredibly special. Sending a card for no reason. Showing up with their favorite treats when they’re going through a tough time. Leaving a voice text to let them know how awesome you think they are. They may not expect a “thank you” but it’s the sweetest way to let them know how much you love and appreciate them, too.

This art print is a delightful reminder that kindness and caring always make a difference. Click here to order.