Thursday, October 16, 2014

More free Halloween printables--Greeting cards!

Happy Halloween! Send some holiday cheer with these Halloween cards!

Halloween printable card 1 (PDF)--this a quarter-fold card, this is the front, blank inside

Halloween printable card 2 (PDF)--this a quarter-fold card, this is the front, blank inside

 Halloween printable card 3 (PDF)--this a quarter-fold card, this is the front, blank inside

 Halloween printable card 4 (PDF)--this a quarter-fold card, this is the front, blank inside

Boo! Some Halloween printables from An Enchanted Holiday

Halloween is coming up quick! Here are some stickers to print to decorate goodie bags, Trick-or-Treat bags, or anything else you can dream up.

Printable Halloween Stickers

An Enchanted Holiday is back!

It's good to be back. It's been a long time.

Funny the twists and turns a life takes. A difficult move has forced me to slow down, and reevaluate, well, everything. Things I'd thought I would keep forever had to go; other things I'd thought I was finished with have reappeared. Like this blog. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Maybe because one of my picture book manuscripts, on the Chinese New Year, cracked the top ten of the annual Writer's Digest competition, a personal best for me. And of course I've been assisting Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Christmas Angel, and the Tooth Fairy with their letter writing, over at An Enchanted Letter.

But just as with all my manuscripts, returning is not the same. It's time for a new vision, both for the letters (which, at least for the time being, have gone digital) and this blog, which I originally started as a companion to the letters/website.

So, not really having much of a clue as to how I'm gonna manifest, well, everything, I'm just gonna take one baby step at a time.

Come along for the journey?

I'm resurrecting the blog with an eye to expanding to holidays year-round. Archived you'll find some short entries on the histories of various holidays, but that was incredibly time-intensive to produce, and with a stack of manuscripts needing some love, I'll start with some free holiday printables, and see where things go from there.

So thanks for stopping by, and come back soon!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shoebox Update

Just a quick update on the 6 shoeboxes An Enchanted Letter TM sent out this past Christmas. 

They arrived in Burkina Faso (in Africa) and Georgia for Christmas! How cool is that? 

Thanks to everyone who supports An Enchanted Letter TM, and kudos to Operation Christmas Child for all the hard they do. And a belated Happy New Year! (I've been digging out from under mounds of snow all month, can you believe it? And there's more coming.)

Thank goodness spring will be coming up soon. Can't wait to see what the groundhog says February 2nd!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Time certainly does fly. I don't know where the first half of the year went.

This weekend you will be watching fireworks and eating hotdogs and toasted marshmallows, but when did Independence Day become the 4th of July celebration it is today?

It all started when Britain taxed the colonies without giving them any say how those taxes were spent. Britain levied a tax on items such as tea, glass, paper, and molasses. Also, the colonists were not allowed to compete with British manufacturers. In 1765, Britain passed the Stamp Act--a tax on all documents, newspapers, and pamphlets--that infuriated the colonists. Even though the tax was repealed, bad feelings remained, especially when the Americans learned they had representation in the British Parliament. Hence, the term "No taxation without representation."

In 1771, a fresh tax on tea triggered the Boston Tea Party, wherein colonists dumped the sea into Boston Harbor. Britain then closed Boston Harbor and removed the city's charter. The Americans issued a Declaration of Rights, which banned the import of goods from Britain until Boston's rights were restored. In 1774 the 13 colonies sent delegates to Philadelphia to the First Continental Congress, but they weren't ready to declare war on Britain yet.

But in 1775, when the British government tried to arrest two American leaders at Lexington, things turned sour. The Americans tried to resolve their anger with the British, but with no luck. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia called for the Continental Congress to declare the colonies free from British rule. During the Second Continental Congress, Thomas Jefferson drafted what would become--after revision from the committee consisting of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and William Livingston--the Declaration, which was finished on July 4th, 1776.

One year later, Philadelphia celebrated bonfires, bells and fireworks.The custom spread over the years, and became even more common after the War of 1812--and less political and more popular. In 1941, Congress declared the 4th of July a Federal holiday.

Have a wonderful 4th of July!


Library of Congress--links to historical documents about the 4th of July

History Channel--history of Independence Day

History of 4th of July

More history of 4th of July and the events leading up to it

Independence Day Crafts

Clipart for Independence Day

Patriotic Wallpapers

4th of July coloring pages and word searches

4th of July crafts

More 4th of July crafts for kids

4th of July activities and printables for kids

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Countdown to Easter Contest!

It feels kinda weird writing about Easter when there's still snow on the ground. I don't know about you, but I could use a little spring right about now. So here it is. The Countdown to Easter Contest, sponsored by An Enchanted Letter (TM).

The prize is a gorgeous oversized--12" by 11"--hardcover edition of Peter Rabbit's Giant Storybook, plus a paperback edition of It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.

The contest, open to US and Canadian residents, 18+, ends March 18, 2010. Enter daily at An Enchanted Letter.

Good Luck!

And Think Spring! 

Here's the pic:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day is for KIDS! PLUS 2 contests

Ah. Love!

Who says Valentine's Day is just for adults? I remember when I was a kid and my mom would buy those heart-shaped boxes with all the lace and ruffles, in pink. And there was always at least one bag of the candy hearts with the messages of love on them. She would stick the Valentine's Day cutouts on all the windows, and we'd happily chomp chocolate all day long.

My Mom was a hopeless "romantic" when it came to us kids. And that's what I remember the most about Valentine's Day. No, not the chocolate! My mom standing in the kitchen, doling out those candy hearts. That was her way of saying "I love you." Picking out the right messages and handing them out to us, because she wasn't raised to say the words aloud.

That's what I think is so special about Valentine's Day. Not the fancy chocolates or the roses or the jewelry--the message. "I love you." What a simple thing, but the most important thing a child can hear.

Yes, I think Valentine's Day is for kids. So tell a kid today how much you love them. Even if you have to use a bag of candy. They'll remember. I swear.

Better yet, write them a letter. A love letter for children. Or a silly poem in a handmade card. These are the true treasures of childhood.

Trust me, it's the thought, not the quality of the writing.

Want a project you can work on together? Enter the POM Heart Art Contest!

Grand Prize: A POM Gift Basket including a Flip Video, a $100.00 American Express gift card, a $250.00 donation to The American Heart Association in your name and more.

Community Prize: A Wonderful POM Pack of POM Products including 100% POM Juice, POMx Coffee, POMx Bars and a POM Backpack.

Hurry--the deadline is February 28, 2010!

And of course, since it's Valentine's Day, you also wish your child love. Enter the Earth's Best Wishes Contest for a chance at a $25,000 savings bond! (Open to relatives of a 5-year-old or younger child). Just make a wish for your child to enter, and you can print it (for free) and give that this Valentine's Day. Makes a beautiful keepsake. (Deadline is March 31, 2010)

Have a deliriously Happy Valentine's Day!


Valentine Clipart (I just uploaded it onto An Enchanted Letter's clipart page)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day! Will Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow? Or will there be an early spring?

Groundhog Day originates from the European Candlemas.

Candlemas came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. On Candlemas Day, it was the custom for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home. The superstition held that a sunny Candlemas Day, February 2nd, foretold that the second half of winter would be stormy and cold. In other words, six more weeks of winter.

But where does Groundhog Day--and Punxsutawney Phil--fit in?

The European Germans believed an animal, initially a hedgehog, frightened by his shadow on Candlemas foretold that winter would last another six weeks. So when the the German settlers came to America in the 18th century, they adopted the groundhog as their weather predictor.

Combined with this, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in 1723. According to the Delaware Indians' creation myth, their ancestors began life as animals in "Mother Earth," and emerged centuries later as men. Groundhogs were considered their ancestral "grandfather."

And so the tradition of Groundhog Day came to be!

February 2nd, 1886, Clymer H. Freas, editor of The Punxsutawney Spirit, the local newspaper, proclaimed Punxsutawney Phil "Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary," thereby creating the "official" Groundhog Day, as we celebrate it today.

And so it is every February 2, people gather at Gobbler's Knob, a wooded knoll just outside of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

According to the old English saying:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

From Scotland:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.

From Germany:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.

And from America:

If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;
Half the fuel and half the hay.


Phil has apparently seen his shadow, and that means six more weeks of winter.

Oh, well, spring is just around the corner!


Groundhog Day History

Origins of Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day Coloring Pages

Groundhog Day Activities and Crafts

Groundhog Day Greeting Cards

Groundhog Day Crafts and printables

Groundhog Coloring Pages

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! Plus shoebox update!

Merry Christmas!

Santa makes his way around the world tonight, but the shoeboxes An Enchanted Letter (TM) sent to Samaritan's Purse's "Operation Christmas Child" campaign have landed--in Lebanon and Botswana! How cool is that? I just found out from Samaritan's Purse, and wanted to post an update--and a great big THANK YOU to everyone who has ordered from An Enchanted Letter (TM) this year. A portion of profits go to Christmas presents and for gift-filled shoeboxes for needy kids around the world, and I am so grateful for your support.

The holidays are always tough for me, since losing my dad quite a few years ago, so playing "Santa's elf" I think is what gets me through. I get so much joy from shopping for these kids, all year-long. I love to shop! (The only thing I enjoy more than shopping is finding a bargain! Can you say "Sale?") And I love to write, so writing the letters is truly a labor of love. I can't think of a better way to "get through" the holidays.

And what better way to spend Christmas Eve than tracking Santa's journey? Check out the Official Norad Santa Tracker at Follow Santa around the world as he travels on his magic sleigh delivering goodies!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

Christmas History and Traditions

When we think of Christmas today we think of Santa and Christmas trees hung with tinsel and ornaments and fruitcakes, but "Christmas" and many of its traditions were celebrated around the world, long before the birth of Christ.

Christmas as we know it grew out of both winter solstice and New Year celebrations.

For example, the Mesopotamians believed in many gods, their chief god being Marduk, whom they believed, as winter arrived each year, would do battle with the monsters of chaos. To assist him, they held a New Year's festival called Zagmuk, which lasted for 12 days. The Persians and the Babylonians celebrated a similar festival called the Sacaea.

The early Europeans, who believed in ghosts and evil spirits, feared as the winter solstice approached--bringing long dark nights and short days--that the sun would not return. So, they devised special rituals and celebrations to welcome back the sun. This was also a good time of the year for a feast because around this time they had a fresh supply of meat, and the wine and beer made throughout the year had fermented and was ready to drink.

In Germany, the god Oden, according to superstition, made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe the people, to decide who would prosper and who wouldn't.

The Scandinavians held a festival called Yuletide, with a special feast served around a fire burning with the Yule log. This feast lasted until the log burned out, often as long as 12 days. They also lit bonfires to celebrate the return of the sun. In some areas people would tie apples to branches of trees to remind themselves that spring and summer would return.

The ancient Greeks held a festival similar to that of the Zagmuk/Sacaea festivals to assist their god Kronos who would battle the god Zeus and his Titans.

The Romans celebrated their god Saturn with a festival called Saturnalia. Saturnalia lasted from the middle of December to January 1st, and included masquerades in the streets, feasting, visiting friends, and the exchange of good-luck gifts called Strenae (lucky fruits). They decked their halls with garlands of laurel and green trees lit with candles.

The Romans also celebrated Juvenalia in December, a feast honoring the children of Rome. They also celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.

At first, the birth of Christ was not celebrated, perhaps because the day of the Christ child's birth has never been pinpointed. It has even been suggested Christ may have been born in the spring.

Traditions say that it has been celebrated since the year 98 AD. In 137 AD the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance of Christmas, in an attempt to fold in the popular pagan traditions with the Christian. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia.

By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion. After church, the poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink, a tradition that arose out of the ancient custom of slaves and masters changing places for the December holidays. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining the less fortunate.

Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

And so it is today we go caroling and light the yule logs in the fireplace--or watch the yule log on TV :) We decorate the Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, give presents, eat, and look forward to what the new year will bring.

So you see, there's no need to cram everything into a single day. Sit back, relax, and enjoy all the holiday season has to offer. Spread the joy and fun over a week or two. Personally, I think Christmas should last all year-long. Or at least till Epiphany. Okay, maybe till Easter :)

Happy Holidays!


The History of Christmas

Christmas History from the History Channel

Christmas crafts for kids

More Christmas crafts for kids

Last-minute homemade gifts

Christmas recipes, coloring pages, more

Last-minute kid-friendly recipes for the holidays