All posts tagged: Christmas

The Magical Power of Bringing Gingerbread Men to Life

By LaReeca Rucker It probably seems like I am quite the cook based on some of the social media posts I have made lately. Truth is, I’m not. But at one time, I aspired to be. As a person who has a lot of hobbies that I drop and pick up again from time to time, I have done everything from stamp collecting to salsa dancing. At one time, I convinced myself that I was going to be the next top chef. (Well, not really, but I was determined to master cooking.) For a while, I was obsessed with watching the Food Network. I purchased many cookbooks, and I was given many cookbooks as gifts. But truth be told, cooking – I learned – is much more than a skill. It’s a talent. It’s an art. And while I can generally read directions and sometimes create a dish that is a hit, I also sometimes miss. I’m an unreliable cook. However, this Christmas I was determined to make a few dishes for a family Christmas …

My Christmas Tree is Filled With Aliens, Robots and Monsters

By LaReeca Rucker The way you decorate your Christmas tree says a lot about your personality, as do the ornaments that we choose to adorn it. More than 20 years ago, I began collecting and making my own ornaments at Christmastime. I try to make and buy a few new ornaments every year to add to my collection. I started with porcelain cherubs, leaving some white and decorating others. Then I bought traditional Christmas balls and covered them in glitter, back when you couldn’t find glittery decorations like them. I have also made ornaments for my tree that feature pictures of my late pets. In the last few years, I have taken an annual trip to Hobby Lobby to select ornaments that I like. I also look in Walmart, Fred’s and other local dollar stores. Tomorrow, I plan to attend two Christmas craft events and search for more interesting ornaments to add to my collection. There are a few things that I am fond of and always on the look out for – aliens, robots …

Create a Little Magic in Your Life This Christmas With Simple, Elegant and Inexpensive Decor

It’s that time of year when we’re all supposed to believe in and create a little magic in our lives and the lives of others. One way we can do that is by decorating. I’m so grateful to have my own house this year. I’m also grateful to have all of my holiday decorations nicely organized, so it only took one day to put up my tree and put most of it in place.

How to Cope With Holiday Stress and Make Life More Enjoyable

By LaReeca Rucker This article originally appeared in The Clarion-Ledger and USA TODAY circa 2011. Cole Smith, owner of Creative Gifts in Jackson, feels his stress levels rise during the holiday season. As the owner of a wholesale gift packaging company, he sells materials like gift wrap, ribbons, tissues, boxes and bows. “My customers are predominantly female, and most of them are just like every other shopper,” he said. “They get in a panic after Thanksgiving realizing it’s Christmas.” It’s also a stressful time for Smith and his employees. A season dubbed the “happiest time of the year” can be anything but when work, finances, parties and perfection bring more worry than welcome at Christmas. “My little business is blessed to have many customers, but we are not Walmart,” he said. “My co-workers work part-time, and I’m very blessed they are hanging in there. They are hard workers, and it is stressful. “We have an attitude of one customer at a time. People can be rude and distract you, but we keep a smile on …

Living a Life of Gratitude Can Change Your Perspective on the World

By LaReeca Rucker This article originally appeared in The Clarion-Ledger circa 2011. Jackson resident Andi Barbrey watched a celebrity she follows on Facebook write about what she was thankful for daily, and Barbrey decided to do the same. “One day, I thanked my dad for always staying calm even though he raised three girls,” she said. “Last night, I had a rough day at work, and I said I was thankful for beer,” she laughed. “But I try to be thankful for things that have made a difference in my life. Doing the updates really makes you think about it every day.” Gratitude has attracted a lot of attention from psychological researchers in recent years in the field of “positive psychology.” It examines topics like quality of life, virtues, character and happiness, said Stephen Southern, professor and chairman of the Mississippi College Department of Psychology and Counseling. Southern said gratitude has been shown in studies to reduce stress while improving health, physically, mentally and emotionally. “Gratitude is a key ingredient in quality of life,” Southern …