The Little Things Newsletter #237 – Week 11 Giveaway


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Welcome to the weekend, my friends! Can you believe we have less than two weeks left until Christmas?? If you’ve been reading these newsletters or following Barefeet in the Kitchen for long, you might have caught on that I adore Christmas. This is my favorite time of year and I look forward to it with extreme happiness for months leading up to Advent.

I try my best each year to have all the shopping done before Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy the season without feeling pressure to get everything done in December. From the anticipation of Christmas morning, remembering and being thankful for Christ’s birth so many years ago, the joy of sipping my coffee by the Christmas tree each morning, and the little Advent surprises for the kids – I truly love it all and try to take the time to enjoy the little things that add up to our holiday traditions each year.

Today, for the eleventh week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Giveaways, I’m giving away this Willow Tree Nativity Set. We’ve had our Willow Tree nativity for almost 20 years and it remains my favorite Christmas decoration to set out each year. We built up the collection slowly and each year as we unpack and set it up, it makes me smile.

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To be entered, leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST telling me your favorite Christmas decoration. The winner will be selected on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 11:59pm EST.

Here’s the lucky winner’s comment:

I do realize that the nativity is temporarily out of stock, likely for the remainder of the year. However, I will place an order and ship it to the winner, just as soon as it becomes available again. I’ve looked forward to giving this away for a while now, so I’m not letting that stop me.

ON THE BLOG this week: Soft and chewy Oatmeal Cookies filled with the perfect amount of raisins are a classic that will never stop being made in my house. These have been Sean’s favorite cookies for so many years now I’ve lost count.

This creamy Smoked Salmon Chowder is filled with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, wine, and a hint of bacon. Thyme and dill are added along with the smoked salmon to create a memorably rich and flavorful chowder. If you enjoy smoked salmon, you will love this chowder.

All the flavor of classic gingerbread cookies in a chewy Gingerbread Cookie Bar generously topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting. I’m happy to tell you that these cookie bars trump every gingerbread cookie I’ve ever tasted in the past. So, not only do they win points for being so very easy, they win for being truly fantastic as well.

What I’m CRAVING: This Kentucky Butter Crunch Cake from Creole Contessa looks and sounds amazing. I’ve been craving it ever since I saw it last week!

My FAVORITE THINGS this week are these disposable pans that I bought for holiday food gifts. They’re a terrific size for small to medium food gifts. And (2) of the 9-inch round pans perfectly hold one recipe of the ever-popular Cranberry Christmas Cake.

What I’m READING: Holly and Ivy by Fern Michaels. While I enjoyed this book, it was admittedly predictable. Maybe not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was a nice distraction for a few hours. (I realize I’m not selling it here, but I did enjoy it!) The book starts in tragedy but doesn’t continue as a story of grief for too long. It felt hopeful and definitely made me smile in the end.

What I’m WATCHING: It Happened One Christmas. I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite Christmas movies and I assumed I’d like this one. However, the description “In the spirit of It’s A Wonderful Life…A young woman has to give up her dream and remain in her small hometown as head of the family’s building and loan.”

In the spirit of? Well, this movie is almost exactly the same movie, George and Mary have just swapped places. Mary Bailey is the main character going through all of the same moments that George experiences in the original. While fun to watch, it was almost a miss for me as the original movie is simply perfect and will forever be a favorite.

“And we are better throughout the year for having in spirit, become a child again at Christmas time.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!


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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Melissa says

    Hi, Mary! I would love to be considered for the Willow Tree Nativity.
    My favorite Christmas decorations are my four children’s clay-heart-handprint ornaments that a couple teacher friends helped me make when our triplets were newborns. Just thinking about carefully unwrapping them each Christmas season and hanging them on our tree after tracing their tiny handprints makes me smile 🙂
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  2. Michelle says

    My favorite Christmas decoration is a little nutcracker music box that my mom gave me. It’s decorated my room since I was a little girl (30+ years).

  3. Cara says

    My favorite ornament is a shell angel ornament given me by an Alzheimer’s patient I cared for. SHE had been a phenomenal professor at one time and it was heartbreaking to see this lovely lady slip away. Every Christmas she comes to mind when I rediscover her ornament.

  4. Kathleen Duncan says

    My favorite decorations are the Christmas stockings hanging above the fireplace. I have made them all and they all have special meaning for me.

  5. Maureen O'Connor says

    My favorite Christmas decorations are the beaded ornaments that my mother and I made over 40 years ago. They are the only ornaments that are on my tree.

  6. Karen says

    My favorite Christmas decorations are my religious ornaments. Because after all “Jesus is the reason for the season.”


  7. Leslie Mouser says

    My favorite Christmas Decoration is my mother’s Angel which was our tree topper for my younger years. She gave this to me when my kids were little. I, too, smile when I pull her out of her box and display her proudly in our niche. It has to be over 50 years old(yikes that gives away my age). But, she is beautiful with her gold gilding and pearls. But mostly because of my sweet memories with her.

  8. Deborah Lavery says

    Hello Mary
    I’m loving and using your recipes.Thank you. I can’t believe you are going to give away such a beautiful ❤️ nativity. Thank you for allowing me to enter in this give-away.
    Ever year I go a small Northfolk Christmas Tree to use as my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.I don’t have much in the way of Christmas Decorations so I wrap a tree skirt around it line Linus did with his blanket and I use bows and ribbons to decorate.Every year the tree is so beautiful ❤️.It warms my heart and reminds me that we are all different and beautiful in our own ways. This has been my tradition.
    Thank you again Mary 💞 for letting me share with you on your blog.
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and. Very Happy New Year.
    Deb L
    Deborah Lavery

  9. Toni Steinbuchel says

    My favorite Christmas decoration is a handmade nativity I’ve had since before my oldest daughter was born! I love it, it Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, manger & donkey! The artist also offered the 3 kings and a camel, but I couldn’t afford to buy them at the time, but have always wished I could have!
    I love your posts and recipes Mary!

  10. Monica Archer says

    Ten years ago, my husband and I got to take a trip to Israel with our church and we bought a nativity set there made of olive wood. I love setting it up every year. I have other nativity sets that are special too. You can never have too many.

  11. Julia Sackett says

    My favorite Christmas decoration is the Christmas tree, full of ornaments–each with its own story. I love the lights, presents underneath the tree. I love the smell and the glow at night. I have velvet boxes to put under the tree when we first put it up so it doesn’t look empty. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the tree.

    This year we put up a table top tree as we have a new puppy. It is still beautiful and close to my heart.

  12. aketch says

    I have an old glass blue bird ornament which is older than I am. I remember seeing it every year on the Christmas tree, until I inherited it from my parents. It is quaint and pretty.

  13. Joan Stanfill says

    My favorite Christmas decoration is a small pewter nativity set from my late mother-in-law. And some paper Charlie Brown decorations from when my kids were little.

  14. patti says

    I don’t have just one favorite ornament. I’m a collector of most-things-snowmen and cherish the 300+ ornaments collected over the past 30 years. Each one has it’s own unique story. Happy Holidays!

  15. Pat says

    My favorite decoration is a cloth countdown calendar to Christmas. It has pockets to move a sweet little mouse from one day to the next. My two (now grown) children took turns moving the mouse, and it was a very important job. 🙂 They alternated years being odd or even numbers. I still have that countdown calendar and now my husband and I move the mouse. It is still special, but I miss the days when my children were little and doing it themselves. Sweet, sweet memories!!

  16. Tricia H says

    I have oh so many favorite Christmas decorations. My favorite right now is the Little People’s Nativity Set for the grandkids. I just love watching them being able to play with it and talk to the figures. After all Jesus is the reason for this season and the joy of seeing the kids understand that as well is priceless.

  17. Julie Pawlacyk says

    I love my Christmas Tree. I know it’s cliché but so many ornaments bring so many good memories. We have to keep the old school traditions alive!