A Timeless Gift Idea (Really)

Three years ago, a writer for Better Homes & Gardens magazine was kind enough to call and interview me about my top gift recommendations for the season.

I told her about the "Sewell Family Yearbook" that I had created for the last five years.  Below is the cover of that December issue and clip of that article.  Three years later, this continues to be the gift we make for Scott's family every Christmas!  (Honestly, I don't think anyone would let us stop doing this - not that we would ever want to).

More details here about how this came about and how you can put one together.  There's still plenty of time to get this done.  Even though it can take a bit of time to gather and organize the photos, it is so worth doing.  It lets us relive memories from throughout the year as we put it together - and then enjoy reviewing the entire year with family at Christmas as we sit around the tree.

Happy National Cookie Day!

When it comes to baking, cookies are my thing.

During the holidays, I will definitely bake pumpkin bread a few times, and once I settled on a really good recipe for cream cheese pound cake, I stopped experimenting.  I'm not really a big fan of pies, so never tried to master them.   For some reason, cookies were always easier to make, so I have spent more time over the years trying and perfecting recipes for many kinds.

Today is National Cookie Day, which seems very appropriate to fall in December!  This is the time of year I tend to bake more cookies than any other time.  Not just for guests, but I always tote several containers of decorated Christmas tree shortbread cookies (recipe to come later in the month), Hello Dollies, peanut butter cookies, and other varieties when we go to Tennessee each Christmas.  Since I don't finish my holiday TV tour until about a week before we go home, the Sewell kitchen will be a hurricane of cookie baking activity during that week. 

Here are few of my favorite recipes, some of which will find their way into my Christmas carry-on bag.

My mom made the best lemon bars, but she made only one pan each year - at Christmas.

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These chocolate chip cookies take a bit of planning to allow time to keep the dough in the fridge before baking - but trust me, it's worth the wait.

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If you're in a hurry, these are the world's easiest peanut butter cookies, and they only require five ingredients.

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Happy baking!

 

 

 

Christmas (Eye) Candy

One of the reasons Scott and I put up our Christmas tree so early (October, anyone?) is that I am on the road most of November and December.  That gives me more time to enjoy our tree during the limited number of days I am at home in New York.

As a Christmas tree aficionado, I fully enjoy the Christmas trees and other holiday bling in airports and hotels across the country!  Once Thanksgiving is over, the terminals and halls are decked out.

The Indianapolis airport always has one of the best trees.  Last year, I sadly came through there the day before the tree went up, and missed it.  Here is this year's beauty!

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The Admirals' Club at LaGuardia Airport always looks gorgeous.

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Loved having this tree and wreath as backdrops to one of my segments this week!

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And a few favorites from last year.

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Do you go all-out on holiday decorating?  When does your tree go up during the holidays?

On-The-Air: San Antonio

Early Monday morning of last week, I headed out for the second half of my holiday TV tour.

One of my first stops was San Antonio, where I always have a great time at the "San Antonio Living" show with fabulous co-host Shelly Miles!  If the festive holiday music in the background of this segment doesn't get you into the holiday spirit, I'm not sure what will.

You can take a look at the full segment below!  But first, fasten your seatbelts - we cover a lot of territory in five minutes here.  

Cheers to the Season!

The classic movie "Desk Set" is one of my all-time favorites, especially during the holiday season (love the office Christmas party scenes!)

This 1957 comedy is set at a fictitious TV network housed in Rockefeller Center.  It has the usual witty banter and tension between characters that you see whenever those characters are played by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  (Need I say more?)

There is a scene where Miss Hepburn's character, Bunny Watson, describes herself to Tracy's Richard Sumner as someone who "only drinks champagne when I am lucky enough to get it."

This holiday season, I am lucky enough to work with Taittinger to feature their Champagnes on several TV shows.  They have a Champagne to suit any taste, from the signature dry Brut La Francaise ($60 - and my favorite) to the sweeter Nocturne "City Lights" ($82).  They even have a Prestige Rose ($84) for all of those rose lovers on your list. 

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Cheers to the season!