Gift tags: Oodles and oodles of holiday cards means oodles and oodles of homemade gift tags for next year. Just recycle the part with all the “merry” and “happy” writing, and trim down those card fronts to cutesy tags. Eco-friendly and creative!

Ornaments: Instead of tossing all those cards at the end of December, instead grab some leftover ribbon, glue and a bottle of wine and get your fold on. Homemade ornaments will not only look fun on your own tree next year, but you get your Secret Santa gifts out of the way for the next several Christmases.

Coasters: The holidays are about parties and lots of them, so spruce up your place with holiday themed coasters. Cut your old cards into whatever shape and size you want, Mod Podge away to make them waterproof, and glue felt to the back. Voila! Now you can say adieu to wine rings on your coffee table.

Origami: Although this one might be a tricky suggestion for those who aren’t skilled in the art of origami, a how-to book on the subject could probably help you out.

Magnets: Another DIY activity that doesn’t require anything more than those old cards, glue, flat back glass marbles (these will magnify the picture you choose) and magnets.

Crafty Fun Pack: If you happen to have kids in your life, then old cards can also find a home with them. Grab a bag, toss in the cards, some markers, glue, buttons, ribbon, tissue paper… basically everything but the kitchen sink, and give it to a little one in your life.


The price of all 364 of the items mentioned in the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is up 4.4 percent this year to over $100,000 for the first time, according to an annual survey out yesterday (November 28th) from PNC Wealth Management. The survey says that the price of partridges, pear trees, turtle doves and swans-a-swimming are up, contributing to raising the total cost to $101,119, while the price of maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping and gold rings has held steady. For the more budget-conscious, buying just one set of the items from each verse in the song will cost $24,263, up 3.5 percent from last year. The most expensive item is the seven swans, at $6,300, while the cheapest is the partridge, at only 15 bucks.



The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy so why do so many of us end up pulling our hair out by Christmas Eve? Keep stress at bay with these handy tips:

  • Before you head out to shop, make a gift list organized by categories – stationary, clothing, jewelry, etc. That way, you can get a lot of presents in two or three stores and won’t be wasting time with repeat visits to the same place.
  • If you find a great gift that would suit more than one friend or relative, buy multiples.
  • Give magazine subscriptions, tickets to a play, the movies or a sporting event, club memberships or restaurant gift certificates – no guessing on sizes or colors required.
  • For your most practical friends and relatives, how about a gift certificate or even cash, presented in a pretty envelope or gift wrapped in elegant paper.
  • Wrap gifts as you buy them, so you’re not spending an entire day wrapping while worrying about all the other holiday chores you’re not getting done.

SANTA TREATS: How To Help Cut Down On The Calories

According to The American Dietetic Association (ADA), if Santa drinks a glass of whole milk and eats two butter cookies at every American household he visits, he will consume a shocking 14,026,032,000 calories and 6,180,336,000 grams of fat in one night alone!

  • Try skim milk instead of whole, saving 64 calories and eight grams of fat for each glass he drinks.
  • Offer Santa “skinny nog” — a mixture of skim milk and low fat egg nog or use dry egg nog mix with skim milk to save 145 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving.
  • Leave Santa gingersnaps or graham crackers in place of higher fat cookies conserving 169 calories and eight grams of fat per serving.
  • Opt to give non-food gifts, like food and nutrition books, subscriptions to health newsletters, exercise tapes or equipment and gift certificates.

And, according to Zanecosky, carrots, celery, apples and pears are great treats for Santa as well as his reindeer. “With a little planning, it will be easy to expand Santa’s food choices without expanding his waistline.”


We’ve all seen the cat zapped by Christmas Lights in “Christmas: Vacation.” In the spirit of the season, California veterinarians remind pet owners to be extra cautious so the holidays don’t send their pooch or kitty to the animal hospital’s emergency room… or up in smoke. To ensure your pet’s holidays are safe and carefree, the CVMA offers a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep all sweets away from pets. Chocolate, in particular, contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be potentially lethal to dogs. Gobbling up too much chocolate can result in vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and in severe cases, death. Do not place gifts of chocolate under your tree or on a tabletop where an inquisitive pooch might find them enticing.
  2. Keep wrapped candy away from pets. Small candies can cause choking, and the crinkly cellophane or aluminum wrappers can lead to stomach obstructions, if swallowed.
  3. Avoid tying yarn or ribbon around your pet’s neck. If you want to dress him/her up for the holidays, buy a festive, seasonal collar.
  4. Holiday plants — particularly poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and amaryllis — can be toxic to pets. Keep them out of your dog or cat’s reach.
  5. Feed your pet nutritious snacks rather than “treating” them to high-calorie holiday foods. Our pets can put on extra pounds as quickly as we do during the holidays! Also, keep plenty of fresh water available for drinking. Pets should not be allowed to drink Christmas tree water, as it may contain pesticides or bacteria from the tree.
  6. Keep a careful eye on holiday decorations. All the extra cords for lighting can be tempting targets for chewing by pets. If possible, hide or tape them to the floor to prevent shocks or electrocution. Styrofoam decorations that look like candy or berries can be appealing to puppies, but can cause distressing consequences if chewed and swallowed.
  7. Christmas trees can become climbing posts, particularly for new kittens. Be sure your tree is secure and stable; consider anchoring it to the wall with fishing line, if necessary. To avoid pets shattering glass ornaments, hang breakable ornaments higher up on the tree. Loose tinsel is especially dangerous for cats, who consider it a play toy, but swallowing the metallic string can cause severe intestinal distress and damage.
  8. If you’re traveling for the holidays, bring along your pet’s favorite blanket, toy, and foods so he/she feels as comfortable as possible. Bring your veterinarian’s phone number with you, in case of an emergency.

Christmas Song Lyrics

Having trouble with lyrics to songs playing on the Christmas Star 92.7? Or are you planning a Christmas Carol party? Here’s some links to help you.


Think back to the days just after Christmas last year. Were you on your hands and knees picking tinsel out of the rug? Would you have broken the legs of the very next gingerbread man that came your way? Sometimes, creating all that holiday spirit makes you feel more grinch than great. But you don’t have to do it all. Honest. As a matter of fact, you can do exactly what you want (without too much stress), if you get organized now and keep it that way. This is an exhaustive list but there could be something here to ease your holiday stress.

Quick Cleanups

1. Walk through the main living areas of your house with a plastic laundry basket and toss in everything that belongs elsewhere. Have each family member dig through the basket and deal with his own stuff.

2. Treat yourself. Hire a professional cleaner to come in for half a day to do a few designated jobs or rooms.

3. Swap chores with a friend. If you hate to clean and she hates to bake, you can do each other’s work.

Plan, Plan, Plan!

1. Make a list of everything you want (and need) to accomplish during the weeks to come-shopping,decorating, sending cards, baking. Set deadlines to fit your schedule. If you know you’ll be pressed for time, make choices now. For example, would you rather bake cookies or send out holiday cards?

2. Write down important dates-“To Do” deadlines, parties, concerts, travel plans-on one calendar. Line up babysitters as soon as possible.

3. If you are traveling, buy tickets and book any necessary reservations ASAP.

4. Confirm arrangements for house guests, and start planning menus if you’re entertaining. Set dates and e x t e n d your invitations early to beat the rush and avoid conflicts.

5. Contact the post office for holiday mailing deadlines and details.

Take Stock

1. Paw through those piles of wrapping paper, decorations, lights and cards to see what you have on hand. Test the lights. Make a list of things that you need to buy or replace.

2. Scour your favorite hiding places for gifts you may have bought, hidden and promptly forgotten about during the year.

3. Take an inventory of nonperishable food and shop for basics you’ll want to have on hand.

4. Check your holiday wardrobe. Inspect items for damage and dirt, and try things on for fit. If you need to buy something, start watching for sales to avoid last-minute, desperation spending.

5. Do the same for your children. Then place entire outfits on hangers, putting smaller items such as socks, hair accessories, scarves and jewelry in a plastic bag looped over the top of the hanger.

Shopping Shortcuts

1. Make a list of people and the gifts you end up buying or making for them. File it after the holidays to avoid repeating gifts next year.

2. Start an envelope for each recipient. As you buy, write the gift and its cost on the front, and keep receipts inside for easy returns or exchanges.

3. Call ahead to make sure the store has the item you want; if possible, have it put on hold.

4. Shop LOCAL to save time. Long drives to the valley only burns extra fuel and YOUR time. Look into having your purchases delivered to keep them a secret.Keep a record of every order. Save even more time by having gifts wrapped and sent directly to the recipient.

5. Try to avoid the evening and weekend shopping rush by juggling work hours or even taking a day off, if possible.

6. Watch for sales, but also shop at stores that honor competitors’ sale prices or coupons. Don’t forget to bring the ad for proof.

7. Make a list of the extra people you buy for: children’s teachers, coworkers and bosses, letter carriers, neighbors. Carry it around in your wallet for the few weeks before Christmas to avoid last-minute scrambling.

Keep Gift-Giving Sane

1. If you’re from a large family, draw names and set dollar limits.

2. Post “wish lists” on the fridge for kids to add to as they think of things they want. Or have them circle or clip ads from catalogs and place them in an envelope marked with their name.

3. Give gift certificates.

4. Tell your children not to buy you a gift. Instead, have them do a good deed and later describe their efforts to you while opening gifts or during a special meal.

5. Let teens go to a mall and draw up a detailed list of things they’d like (including store location, price, etc.). You can go afterward to review their choices and decide which items to buy.

6. Call a local social service agency to see if your family can “adopt” a needy family this holiday season. Use some of your holiday funds to buy gifts and food to be delivered to the family on Christmas. It’s a Wrap!

7. Set up a central (or portable) wrapping center with paper, ribbon, scissors, tape, gift tags and tissue paper.

8. Write the recipient’s name or initials on the bottom of gifts to avoid confusion if the gift tag falls off.

9. Use large plastic gift bags to wrap oversize gifts.

10. Put large items such as bikes or basketball hoops on layaway and pick them up right before the holiday to avoid storage hassles.

Deck Your Halls

1. Use candles, potpourri or fresh pine boughs to enhance the holiday spirit. The smell of Christmas changes the feel of the entire house.

2. Let children cut out snowflakes, paper chains or seasonal creations to decorate their rooms and household windows.

3. If you live in a snowy climate, put up outdoor lights in early November but don’t turn them on until December.

4. Gather photographs from past holidays, buy some inexpensive frames and display them in a prominent spot. Add a few more pictures to the collection each year.

Tree Trimming

1. Let the spirit move you: Play holiday music and light some candles while you trim the tree. Then darken the room, light the tree and eat a winter picnic on a comfy blanket.

2. By all means, let the kids help out. You can put the lights on the tree, then sit back as the kids do the rest.

3. You don’t have to haul out every decoration you own each year. Start storing some to pass on to children or donate to charity.

Card Tricks

1. Divide the number of cards you have to send by the number of days or weeks you have left to get them out on time. Make that number your daily or weekly quota.

2. If you have a computer, maintain a master address list and print it on self-adhesive labels.

3. As you open holiday mail, tear off return address labels or save the whole envelope so you can update your address list.

4. If you like to send a family photo with your cards, don’t feel obliged to make it a special holiday photo. Review pictures you already have, without limiting yourself to holiday themes. A candid vacation shot can work just as well.

Holiday Get-Togethers

1. If you’re hosting the gathering, make it potluck and keep it simple. Arrange things so that you’re only responsible for supplying the place and any necessary plates, glasses or utensils.

2. If you still have an itch to bake cookies but cutting out dough seems too labor-intensive, use slice-andbake sugar cookie dough and sprinkle with colored sugar.

3. Don’t slave over a hot stove. Order a deli tray or a spiral-cut ham; use paper plates and plastic utensils for quick cleanup.

4. If you cook, freeze dishes ahead of time in oven-to-table cookware that you can just pop in the microwave and serve.

Packing Up

1. After Christmas, store decorations in cardboard or clear plastic storage boxes. Organize by room and use a 3″ x 5″ card to label the outside of each container.

2. Coil strings of lights around empty paper towel or wrapping paper tubes. Store in plastic newspaper delivery bags.

3. Hang artificial wreaths on nails in your attic or basement to keep them from getting misshapen or crushed.

4. Store ornaments in plastic ziptop bags, with a little air for a buffer.

An Outpouring of LOVE!

YOU have done it again friend. Your donations to Interfaith Services of Tuolumne County exceeded $22,000.00 and over 2600 coats were delivered as well as over a ton of food! These resources will be used to help those less fortunate in Tuolumne county for months to come. Keep an eye out on www.mymotherlode.com for a complete news story with exact totals, coming in the next couple of days. God Bless you and Merry Christmas. Remember, if you are in need of assistance, Interfaith would like to help. Read this news article written by KVML’s Mark Truppner back in 2009, it has all the info for you. Clicke here for the article.

Santa Fly-In Food & Coat Drive 2010

Here’s your opportunity to help our neighbors in need this Christmas! There’s 3 ways to help out, just click on the picture of Santa to learn more. Thanks in advance!

-The Crew at Star 92.7


Christmas tree fire – How often does that happen?

Christmas trees account for about 200 fires annually, resulting in six deaths, 25 injuries and more than $6 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Prevention? Make a fresh cut to remove at least half an inch of wood from the base of the trunk, and place the tree in water. Keep it away from heat sources, do not leave lights on unattended, and discard the tree promptly after the holiday when it has become dry and easier to ignite.

Drunken driving – How often does that happen?

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 38 percent of all traffic fatalities during the 2007 Christmas period and 41 percent during the 2007-08 New Year’s Day period involved a drunken driver (compared with 32 percent during the rest of the year). This year could be especially risky because Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Fridays, and the incidence of drunken-driving fatalities typically rises on weekends.

Prevention? If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. Plan ahead to have a designated driver, call a cab or ride the Metro. If you do over-imbibe, sleep it off on your host’s sofa. And even if someone sober is driving, wear a seat belt.

Weight gain – How often does that happen?

The claim that most Americans gain five pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is a myth; most gain only one pound, according to an oft-cited 2000 study in the New England Journal of Medicine. But don’t reach for the figgy pudding yet: The study also found that most people never lose that pound during the spring and summer.

Tips from Michelle May, physician and author of “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat”: Listen and adhere to your body’s satiety cues. Sit down to eat. Deal with food pushers with a polite but firm “No, thank you.” Be a food snob; if something doesn’t taste as good as you expected, stop eating it and choose something else.

Holiday plant poisoning – How often does that happen?

In 2008, American poison control centers received 426 calls regarding exposure to American and English holly, 132 calls about mistletoe and 1,174 for poinsettias. (“Exposure” usually means eating the plant, but the centers receive all kinds of zany calls, including people who rub the leaves on their skin and develop a rash.) None of these cases resulted in death, but effects of ingestion can include vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. The National Capital Poison Center lists holly and mistletoe as poisonous but poinsettia as nonpoisonous, though it “may cause irritation.”

Keep these plants out of reach of children and pets. Call the National Poison Control Center, 800-222-1222, if you suspect ingestion.

Package-opening injury – How often does that happen?

Hard plastic “clamshell” casings, plastic bindings and wire ties send many revelers reaching for box cutters or knives on Christmas morning. About 6,000 Americans end up in the emergency room each year because of packaging-related injuries (so that includes birthday presents as well as Christmas gifts), according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Last year, Amazon.com started its “frustration-free packaging” program, which promises “no wire ties, no clamshells, no wrap rage.” But if you find yourself confronted with an apparently impenetrable wrapper, take a deep breath (despite the excitement or anger). Then remember these tips from the Pennsylvania Medical Society: Avoid opening difficult packages in a crowded area, do not use your legs to keep the product stable and use blunt-tipped scissors.

Sledding accident – How often does that happen?

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22,780 people were injured while riding sleds, toboggans, snow disks or snow tubes from 2004 to 2005.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that children younger than 12 wear helmets. Scout the sledding hill to make sure that it’s free of obstacles, and don’t pick a slope that ends in a street, parking lot, pond or other hazard. Never go down a hill headfirst; sit upright, face forward and use a sled that you can steer.

Eggnog salmonella – How often does that happen?

There are no specific eggnog-related data, but the CDC estimates that one in 50 consumers could be exposed to a contaminated egg each year. If that egg is thoroughly cooked, the salmonella bacteria organisms will be destroyed and will not make the person sick.

No, a dash of rum does not kill the bacteria in eggnog. If that’s what you’re serving, make it safely from a cooked egg-milk mixture, heating gently until it reaches 160 degrees, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Or just buy pasteurized eggnog from the grocery store.) While we’re on the subject: If you’re baking cookies, don’t lick the spoon if there are eggs in your batter. If you don’t trust yourself, modify the recipe by using an egg substitute.