Holiday Recycling Tips & Ideas

We know a thing or two about leftovers. From fabric scraps to dye water to using every part of a plant, we’re always looking for ways to capture our leftovers and reuse them (wine bottle bowling, anyone?). If you’re having an eco friendly holiday, keep it going and stretch those leftovers into 2020. 

Checkbox USED WRAPPING PAPER

Unless it’s plain ol’ brown paper, wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. Wrap fragile things like ornaments or glassware in used wrapping or tissue paper  to keep it safe until next holiday. 

Checkbox CARDBOARD BOXES 

Ah the ubiquitous cardboard box. Instead of clogging the recycling plant, stick in your yard + cover with mulch = no weeds in the spring. 

Checkbox  POLY BAGS 

Most things ship in plastic in order to protect them from any transit snafus. Get in the habit of reusing these plastic bags for doggy doodoo bags (a Toad office trick), or save and use as packing materials next time you ship a package to another time zone. 

Checkbox FOOD SCRAPS  

Nearly all food scraps can be reused. Toss bones and veggie peels into a pot for broth or soup. Take literally anything, mix it with eggs, toss in a pie crust and you have a quiche (or do the same thing but with cheese and bread and voila, you have a grilled cheese). Stale bread becomes croutons, wilted greens become pesto, and less than perfect veggies love a quick pickle. Waste not, want not. 

Checkbox OPENED WINE   

Opened wine will keep in the fridge for 2 months, so now’s the time to make all those fancy recipes that call for a cup of wine – piccata, coq au vin, braised short ribs, scallops… cooking with leftovers doesn’t sound half bad… 

Checkbox CHRISTMAS TREE  

First, check to see if your local waste management recycles Christmas trees into wood chips (that’s a great option if you have it!). If not, get an axe and get to work – turn your tree into firewood and use the needles for much. Live near a lake or pond? Wash your tree with the hose (get any glitter, plastic, and hooks of of it) and toss the tree into the lake. The tree is a natural incubator for algae and great habitat for fish. 

Checkbox GIFTS 

Got stuff you don’t need? Instead of throwing it all in a box and sending to the thrift store, think about who could use it and donate to specialized organizations that will get it to people in need. Transition houses, homeless shelters, animal shelters, disaster relief organizations, children’s programs, family assistance leagues… what you donate now will be used throughout the year.  

Happy 2020 – let’s make it the most sustainable year yet! 

Don’t Let the Cold Stop You: Get Outside With These Winter Family Activities

Staying active in the winter months can be tough; from an individual standpoint is one thing, but throw some kids and a couple of pooches in the mix and it can seem downright impossible. We all have our “excuses”: It’s too cold! There’s too much snow! I have so much to do! But maybe it’s time to change our perspectives.

Whether it’s the bitterly cold temperatures or dumping snow that once deterred your outdoor activity, the gloomy, grey skies and uninspiring lack of sunshine, or the business of the season – we get it, there’s holiday shopping, holiday office parties, kids’ holiday concerts…holiday burnout – we have a few winter activities for kids and the whole family that’ll keep you moving all season long. 

Plan ahead

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We know it’s cold out there, so planning ahead is a great way to set yourself (and kids) up for success. In our family, it’s easy to get the kids outside. The bigger challenge at times is keeping them outside. For us, layers are the answer! 

Go for a base layer (natural fibers like hemp will help wick away any sweat or moisture), a zip-up or half-zip like Toad’s Telluride Sherpa Pullover (to easily dump extra heat), and then a jacket (to keep them dry). 

Then, accessorize. Little fingers and noses can get cold! So find the gloves, hats and scarves/neck tubes your child is willing to keep on – and keep them in a designated location (so they don’t get lost!). We have dedicated “winter accessories” basket in our kids’ bedroom for easy access. To add a little more fun to the mix, consider letting the little one(s) pick the accessories they want to wear for that outing – having the opportunity to choose their favorite hat can help inspire them to get outside!

Remember to keep yourself cozy, too. If you’re cold and uncomfortable, it will be significantly more difficult to keep the kids happy. Layering and fun accessorizing isn’t just for kids!

Just keep moving

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The prep to get outside might take you 45 minutes or more (no shame here), but once that’s done, the hard part is over! 

If you live in town, walk or bike around the neighborhood to check out the holiday lights and decorations. If you live in a rural area, explore your own property or the side roads on foot (we also love using a wagon and each kid shares pulling the others!). And if you’re lucky enough to have trails right outside your door – use those!

If you need to keep the kids engaged, challenge them to fun games or have enticing destinations in mind. Playing “I spy” along the walk/ride is a great way to heighten their awareness (and distract them from saying “are we there yet?” ten thousand times). We also enjoy spotting and counting birds or other critters. And if the locale fits, plan a mid-walk break at a cafe (did someone say hot chocolate?) or the library to pick out a new book. 

And remember, even a short walk will do your body and mind some good. Staying active is a big part of staying healthy during the colder months!

Make snowpeople

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You’d be surprised just how much work it takes to build a snowman. Seriously, if you don’t break a sweat rolling snowballs, I’m impressed! Whether there’s 2 inches or 2 feet on the ground, take advantage of the fresh snow and get in it! 

This is also a great time to play in-snow games like tracking critter prints, and make other snow creations like snow angels.

Get crafty

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While arts and crafts are usually sedentary activities, it’s easy to shake them up a bit by taking them outside! In fact, many of our favorite craft days are nature-inspired.

Whether we’re making pine cone bird feeders, driftwood/tree branch picture frames or rock “art”, each craft starts with a hike to gather our supplies (cones, sticks, rocks). 

It’s also fun to bring along a warm snack or beverage to share with the kiddos. Cracking open our insulated thermos and pouring hot (warm) chocolate or sharing a tasty soup into trail-ready mugs is never a bad thing!

Tweak old & start new traditions

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From the foods we make during the holiday season to the way we share gifts, traditions are important to so many of us. But how can we take these family-honored traditions outside to help us stay more active? For us, it is a no-brainer. Our family goes Christmas tree “hunting” every year, but rather than driving the truck up to a tree, we choose to bike it out of the woods! 

If you have access to national forest lands (or state lands in some places), you can do it too! Or, if you live in the city, grocery stores, corner lots and hardware stores all carry cut trees this time of year. Grab your bike and a trailer (or borrow one from a friend), plan ahead and make a family adventure of it! 

Get the gear

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And finally, while you don’t need all the gear, adding a few pieces to your winter kit can help boost activity levels. From skiing to biking to hiking, our family has gathered gear from second hand shops, borrowed from friends and bought new over the course of the years, and it has definitely helped us diversify our winter activities. The gear you pick depends on the activities you really want to pursue. And when you’re looking for things to do with kids in winter, the gear can definitely help. 

For us, there are three must-haves in winter: adventure-ready stroller, bike accessories, and a trail-ready sled.

First, using an enclosed stroller helps get everyone in our family outside (and keeps our crawler cozy). We chose one with ski and bike attachments so our youngest could come along no matter the activity. 

Second, for our skiing-loving, bikeaholic child, we picked up a pair of ski attachments for a balance-style bike. Biking is an easy-access activity for us; in our family, if we’re not walking, we’re pedaling. With the “bike skis”, he can push and slide along when we take the fat bikes or cross country skis on snowy trails! 

Third, when all else fails, attach a sled! We use our pulk/sled while fat biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s a great option because its fun, both of our kids (and lunch/extra gear) fit in it, and it’s lightweight!

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A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado. 

Photography by Ryan Scavo and Sam Scavo.

How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

Blame it on the weather, but the holidays can be stressful (like when you plan a dinner for 10 and it turns into 16…or your flight gets delayed AGAIN…or you have to make 60 cookies for the holiday class party). But remember: every day (even the trying ones) is an adventure! Here are 7 tips for how to stay sane during the holidays—and beyond. 

Checkbox HYDRATE 

Staying hydrated will do wonders for your mind and body. Keep a reusable bottle on hand and never forget the party rule: for every libation, chug a glass of water. 

Checkbox PEOPLE WATCH 

Stuck at the airport or standing in the longest check-out line of your life? Avoid the temptation to look at your phone and watch your fellow human beings. It’ll restore your faith in humanity…or at least be entertaining. 

Checkbox  BREATHE

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. When you’ve just about had it to HERE, close your eyes and take 3 or 4 deep, slow breaths. The rush of oxygen triggers a dopamine release in your brain which makes you calmer. 

Checkbox FORGET THE PRESENTS 

Ah, gift anxiety—not knowing what size to get, dealing with shipping, dealing with timing, spending lots of money—just don’t do it. Instead you can donate to causes in people’s names, write poems or heartfelt letters, or commit to an adventure in the spring. It really is the thought that counts. 

Checkbox RE-GIFT

Okay okay, we just said don’t do presents. But if you must, feel free to re-gift wine you’ve gotten, jewelry you’ve never worn, your own personal copy of a book that you love… no shame in taking the sustainable route (PS—if you need to wrap, here’s how to avoid the wrapping paper)! 

Checkbox WALK IT OFF  

We can’t stress this enough: Exercise makes you happy. Get your blood pumping at least a few times a week and you’ll be happy every day (trust us, we are scientists). Stuck inside? Turn on your favorite tunes and dance it out.  If you need a playlist, here’s our Rock the Holidays playlist

Checkbox PRACTICE GRATITUDE   

The key word is PRACTICE. It’s easy to give thanks when things are going well. It’s when things have fallen apart—the pies burned, the traffic is horrendous, you’re on your second hour of the annual Smith Family political debate—that’s when you practice gratitude and find something (ANYTHING!) to be grateful for. You’ll find that it is, indeed, an imperfect but happy holiday! 

Happy Environmentally Friendly Holidays!

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to break out the decorations, fill your favorite reusable mug with egg nog and spiked cider, and hang up the LED twinkle lights! That’s right, this year, consider taking an eco-friendly route to your holiday routine; make your gift-giving and personal wish lists, holiday decor and (new) traditions a little more environmentally friendly with these 5 tips. 

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1) Make it from scratch and keep it organic

Hosting a holiday party? Joining in on the office potluck? Prepping for the annual family holiday dinner? Consider going organic and making (most of) your dishes from scratch with those tasty organic ingredients. 

I love food and I love to cook, but I didn’t always buy organic or make meals from the ground up. For years, as Thanksgiving and Christmas approached, I would make it a point to grab a few cans of that wiggly, cylinder-molded, gelatinous so-called cranberry sauce from the grocery store shelves because it was my family’s tradition; it’s what I knew to be “cranberry sauce”. It didn’t know what I was missing until riding the bus one day, a fellow commuter told me about her family’s “famous” cranberry sauce. Authenticity is hard to beat and a homemade dish is a testament to that fact. While that gelatinous sauce is tasty, a heaping spoonful of made-with-love, slightly-sweet-yet-deliciously-tart cranberry sauce hits the spot every time.

And while not all your ingredients and food choices need to be organic, transitioning to organically grown/raised foods is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly choice. Thanks to growing consumer interest, we have more organic options than ever before right at our fingertips. Vegetables, meats, wines, beers, breads…the list goes on. Organic foods are free of synthetic-based fertilizers/pesticides, so eating and drinking organic means fewer pollutants in your system and more nutrients remaining in the land/water, keeping you and the planet a little happier and healthier.

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2) Skip the plastic; go natural with holiday decor

Plastics are a big part of our culture. We find them everywhere: plastic bottles, plastic utensils, plastic packaging, plastic this and plastic that. If you’ve already transitioned your everyday items (bottles, utensils, etc.) to reusable, why not do it with your holiday decor? No matter what holiday you and your friends and family celebrate, if you love to decorate, there are a plethora of natural options. 

For those of you celebrating Hanukkah, consider natural, beeswax candles for the menorah. Often, they’re handmade and they always smell lovely. If Christmas is your holiday of choice, picking a real one is your best choice for an eco friendly Christmas tree. “Friendly fur” trees are softer to the touch while spruce tree needles are a little less forgiving. Of course, whatever species of tree you find, keep it watered and indulge in the natural piney fragrance!

You can also decorate your space with pine bows, grapevine wreaths, pine cones and dried flowers. If you go the dried flower or pine cone route, make them especially festive by spraying them silver and gold with a non-toxic paint. 

3) Buy local, share sustainability-minded gifts and skip the wrapping paper

A lot of factors go into calculating our carbon, including where our food and goods come from. If you have the option, shop locally for gifts this year. Ride your bike, walk or take public transit to local stores – and don’t forget to bring your own bag!

If you can’t find what you want locally (and even if you do), choose to buy sustainably-made gifts. Meaning, look for natural materials and fibers (wood, wool) and ethically-sourced materials in the goodies you’re gifting. 

And finally, if you’ve checked out the shipping practices at Toad&Co, you might be surprised to read that “roughly 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S. each year, which equals more than 1 billion trees and 140 billion gallons of water used”. There’s no denying it, that’s a lot of resources being used. So whether you order online or purchase gifts at stores, choose companies that offer recycled, no-plastic packaging and skip the wrapping paper altogether. To wrap smaller items, consider using a bonus gift, like a scarf or organic cotton tea towel to keep the surprise alive (here’s a step by step tutorial for wrapping gifts in cloth). For bigger items, larger colorful towels, paper bags, and even foldable maps are great repurposed resources!

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4) Gift experiences

If you want to take a different approach to gift-giving this year, consider gifting experiences, rather than stuff. How many pairs of socks does your partner really need? For the cocktail lover, gift a “mixologist 101” class. Wildlife enthusiast? Take them birding at the nearby refuge or city park! Lover of all things snow? Sounds like a backcountry hut trip would be a perfect option! 

Experiences create memories and make great eco friendly gifts, especially for the people on your list that are difficult to shop for or seem to already have everything.

Get Outside_Image by Ryan Michelle Scavo

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5) Celebrate outside

Just because it’s getting cooler outside, doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself up inside. ‘But how is getting outside eco-friendly’, you ask? Easy! 

First, let’s start with saving energy. Throwing a layer on and getting out of the house or apartment means you don’t have to turn the heat (i.e., your thermostat) up in your home. By keeping your energy use down, you’re saving resources and money. 

Second, staying connected to the outdoors by going for walks around town, longer hikes at parks and on trails or skiing (among other activities) reminds us how important outdoor spaces really are to ourselves and hopefully to others. If you care about a space, you tend to want to protect it! Making and maintaining a connection to the outdoors is a great way to live a more environmentally conscious life all year long.

It might be the end of the year, but the holidays are a great time to start new traditions to carry into the new year. These 5 eco friendly holiday tips are just the start – try them and then find your own ways to celebrate and live more sustainably!

Get Outside_Image by Sam Scavo_1066x696.jpg

A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado.

Photography by Ryan Scavo and Sam Scavo.

Bring These Wines to Every Party

Come November 1st, “Pick up a bottle of wine” is a constant on our to-do lists and we’re always on the lookout for wineries with a commitment to sustainability (because a happy planet produces great wine). Here are our picks for best wines to drink for the holidays—all fellow members of 1% for the Planet, committed to donating 1% of sales to environmental causes. We’ll toast to that! 

Paradigm Winery – Cabernet Sauvignon 

This long standing partner of 1%FTP is based in the Napa Valley and makes some mighty good vino. This family-owned operation maintains a hands-on, eco-friendly approach to all winemaking—nothing is outsourced! Every bottle you uncork was grown, crushed, fermented, barrel aged, bottled and stored on site. WE LOVE: The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, a black raspberry colored Cabernet with aromatics of black cherry, berry, and plum layered with a perfect balance of new and used French Oak.

 Spottswoode Estate – Cabernet Sauvignon

Another long-standing 1%FTP member in Napa, Spottswoode was one of the first wineries in California to be certified organic. They enrich their soil with cover crops every fall, and re-establishing native California grasses in the vineyard, and use natural insect and weed management (no toxic synthetics). They also happen to made damn good wine. WE LOVE: The 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – it’s big and rich without being overwrought.

Hobo Wine Co. –  Zinfandel 

Newer to the 1% network, Hobo Wines is churning out some delicious varietals from Sonoma County grapes. Fueled by a steady stream of Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen jams, the folks at Hobo Wine infuse each bottle with good vibes and delicious notes. WE LOVE: The 2017 Rockpile Zinfandel, a co-fermentation of old vine Zin and newer Petite Syrah grapes. 

WINC – Pacificana Chardonnay 

Part of the Winc wine club powerhouse, the Pacificana label maybe be a new member of the 1%FTP family but this is some seriously seasoned Chard. WE LOVE: The 2018 Chardonnay with its tasting notes of buttered popcorn, butterscotch, candied lemon, and oak. You had us at butter. 

Bandit Wines – Pinot Grigio 

Another newbie to 1% FTP, this BOXED wine (yes yes yes) is great to bring when your holidays find you outside of the box (see what we did there?). Packaged in renewable paper packaging that is surprisingly more eco-friendly than glass (their website has a great breakdown), the brand is also committed to supporting the preservation of trails and rivers in our National Park. WE LOVE: The Pinot Grigio with its aromas of zesty citrus, pear and peach. Tart, sweet, crisp and best paired with sweeping views of Yosemite’s Half Dome. 

For more 1% for the Planet member products we love, check out our blog on 1% coffee roasters

7 Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips

We love the holidays (gathering, eating, appreciating) and Planet Earth (mountains, water, trees, life as we know it…). So this year we’re on a mission to make our favorite traditions a little more earth-friendly. Here are our 7 tips to help you have a waste-free holiday season and score some extra points on the Nice List.

 

Checkbox USE THE LEFTOVERS 

Leftovers are the ultimate holiday magic. Make turkey scrap soup, toss the last veggies in a quiche, turn old rolls into croutons… sky’s the limit.  

Checkbox LESS IS MORE 

The less stuff, the more sustainable your holidays. Forget individual presents and organize a White Elephant gift exchange or Secret Santas, or give experiences instead of things.  

Checkbox  GIFT SUSTAINABLY 

If you’re gonna gift, make it a sustainable gift. Look for brands that give back (check the 1% for the Planet directory), items that are durable and useful, and things made responsibly (ahem, we happen to do all three). 

Checkbox USE YOUR DISHWASHER 

Fill it up and run it. Most dishwashers use about 3 gallons of water, while washing the same amount by hand could use 10x that amount. Save water, drink whiskey… We mean, use a dishwasher. 

Checkbox DITCH THE WRAPPING PAPER 

Sad fact: Wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. So do whatever you have to do to avoid it. Here’s a nifty guide to Furoshiki, the Japanese art of fabric gift wrapping. 

Checkbox RE-GIFT IT

Yeah, we said it. We’re totally okay with re-gifting and you should be too. Think of it as a circular holiday economy. 

Checkbox SHOP LOCAL 

Buying local is a gift to all. It supports the community, cuts back on packaging, and keeps your carbon footprint low. Find a Toad&Co retailer in your neck of the woods and have a happy, environmentally friendly holiday!

Watch This, Drink That: Holiday Movie Drinking Games

Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like a festive cocktail and a good holiday flick (and maybe a Cashmoore Blanket). Gather your bar cart, light a fire, and curl up – we’ve got your holiday couch agenda covered with our favorite drinking games for Christmas and holiday movies. As always, drink responsibly and refrain from operating sleighs after consumption.

Watch: Elf – Released over 15 years ago (Yikes, we know – take a drink for that), this cheery comedy is one of our Yuletide faves. Will Ferrell as the tallest, most enthusiastic elf-slash-human, can do no wrong.

Drink: Spiked egg nog, with a dash of maple syrup. Drink every time Buddy the Elf refers to himself in the third person, every time sugar is referenced, and every time you hear a holiday-friendly alternative to a swear or an insult.

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Watch: The Santa Clause – Despite the fact that things start out a little dark (Let’s not forget this movie begins with Santa’s traumatic fall off the roof), things quickly turn around and The Santa Clause is a true holiday classic.

Drink: Hot cocoa (with peppermint schnapps). Not too hot. Extra chocolate. Shaken, not stirred. Drink every time Tim Allen raises his eyebrows, every time Neil rocks an awful (but also kind of awesome) sweater, and every time someone mentions The North Pole.

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Watch: The Holiday – Filled with adorable (and OK, totally unrealistic) meet cutes, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s life swap turned love story gets us in the spirit to celebrate “being young and being alive” year after year.

Drink: A champagne toast. Drink every time you catch yourself staring at Jude Law, every time someone cries, and finish your drink when you get on Airbnb to look for holiday homes.

Watch: Home Alone – Kevin McAllister, master of booby traps, makes a left-home-alone-holiday look equal parts amazing and terrifying.

Drink: Pepsi with a shot of whiskey. For the Home Alone drinking game, drink every time Kevin McAllister talks to himself (can’t say we blame him), every time Harry’s (aka Joe Pesci) gold tooth sparkles, and every time someone runs panicked through an airport.

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Watch: Bridget Jones’s Diary – A hilarious adaptation of the novel, Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones makes us all feel a little bit better about our own lives during the holidays.

Drink: A bottle of whatever is in the fridge. No time for judgment here. Drink every time there’s an expletive, every time Bridget drops some shade, and every time you see your favorite reindeer jumper.

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Watch: Die Hard – This 1988 action thriller was voted the greatest Christmas movie by readers of British film magazine Empire in 2015. Enough said.

Drink: Straight Vodka. Drink every time someone says, “This isn’t a Christmas movie,” every time there’s a reference to Christmas (to prove your point), and take a shot in Alan Rickman’s honor whenever you feel like it.

Watch: Love Actually – Nine stories intertwine to bring us a watch-every-year-and-it-never-gets-old holiday favorite. Plus, Hugh Grant dancing.

Drink: Mulled Wine (a favorite, easy recipe here). Drink every time you hear the smash-hit “Christmas is All Around,” every time someone orchestrates a big romantic gesture, and every time Sarah’s (Laura Linney) phone rings. When you’re through with the Love Actually drinking game, you’ll likely be dancing along.

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Watch: A Very Murray Christmas – Because there’s never a bad moment for some quality time with Mr. Murray, and this eclectic musical comedy includes a lengthy list of guest appearances (George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Miley Cyrus, Maya Rudolph, the list goes on…)

Drink: A strong martini. Bonus points if you’ve got a white piano to sit atop. Drink every time a new celeb makes a cameo (don’t plan on driving anywhere after this game).

Watch: How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The first Dr. Seuss book to be adapted into a full-length feature film, this unexpectedly heartwarming holiday favorite reminds us that Christmas “doesn’t come from a store,” and that The Grinch drinking game is always a good idea.

Drink: The Santa Shot. 1 part grenadine syrup, 1 part green creme de menthe, 1 part peppermint schnapps (recipe here). Drink every time The Grinch accidentally rhymes, has a fleeting moment of feeling, and every time Cindy Lou Who visits Mount Crumpit. Finish your drink when The Grinch’s heart grows.

Universal Pictures, via Giphy

A Noble Game of Kings Cup

Stuck in a cabin or need to break the ice with your sister’s new beau? Kings Cup is the great unifier. It’s the trick up your sleeve that can turn strangers into friends and a quiet night in into a jolly holiday. Great for groups of 4 or more and doesn’t require a lot of movement. All you need is a deck of cards, adult beverages and a bit of humor. Bottom’s up!

How to Play:

To start, fan out a deck of cards face down around an empty vessel (preferably a large one.) Make sure that all players have a beverage of some sort. (Note: Lighter beer is ideal for this game since you’ll drink a fair amount. Cocktails beware.) Whoever’s birthday is next goes first. Player 1 draws a card from the table and everyone must follow the “rule”. Each card has a corresponding rule/activity (see below). When the rule has been carried out, the person to the left picks a card. Continue in this fashion until the final King card is drawn or there are no more cards on the table, the choice is yours. Remember, there are no losers in King’s Cup!

 

Card – Meaning – What to do.

Ace – Waterfall – Everyone starts chugging their drink. A player cannot stop drinking until the player to their right has stopped drinking.

2 – You – The player who draws can choose another player who must drink.

3 – Me – The player who draws must drink.

4 – Floor – Everyone at the table must reach down and touch the floor. The last player to do so must drink.

5 – Guys – All of the male players must drink.

6 – Chicks – All of the female players must drink.

7 – Heaven – Everyone at the table must put their hands in the air. The last player to do so must drink.

8 – Mate – The player who draws picks another player to be their “mate.” The mate must drink every time the original player does. This keeps going until another 8 is drawn.

9 – Rhyme – The player who draws must say phrase (“There’s so much holiday cheer”). Going to the left, players have to make up a rhyming phrase to stay in the noun (“I like to drink beer” or “the weather’s been clear”). The first player who fails to think of a rhyme must drink.

10 – Never Have I Ever – Everyone at the table must put up three fingers. Start a game of never have I ever (You say, “Never have I ever….” and if someone has done that, they put a finger down). The first player to lower all three fingers must drink.

Jack – Make A Rule – The player who draws can make a rule that must be followed for the rest of the game. Any player who breaks the rule must drink. Any player who draws a jack can overturn the rule. (ex: No pointing, must speak in an accent, must refer to all players as “sir and/or madam.”)

Queen – Question Master – The player who draws a Queen can ask questions throughout the game, but whoever answers the question must drink. Continue until another queen is drawn and a new question master is crowned.

King – King’s Cup – The player who draws must pour the remnants of their drink into the King’s Cup. When the last king is drawn, that player has to drink the King’s Cup and the game is over! Huzzah!

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“Best I’ve Ever Had” Pumpkin Pie

There’s no denying that the right pumpkin pie can be life changing. With a dollop of whipped cream and pinch of spice, a slice of pie can transform a so-so day into the highlight of the month. So this holiday season, brighten the lives of your holiday guests with a slice of “Best I’ve Ever Had” Pumpkin Pie.

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Rest assured, this recipe comes from a bona-pied baker: Norma, one of Toad&Co’s amazing Product Developers, has mastered every pie in the book (and then some).  She’s SO good, in fact, that her apple pie medaled at last year’s county fair! Norma is also an accomplished swing dancer and one helluva product developer (you can thank her for perfect arm-holes and  inseams). Turn on some tunes, round up your ingredients and get to work on your masterpiece.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Pie

Combine the following in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer (10-15 minutes). Make sure to mashing the yams nice and good.

1 can pumpkin (15oz.)
1 cup drained canned yams
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whisk the following together then add to pumpkin mixture:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 eggs and 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strain and pour into pie crust. Bake 350° until done, about 45 minutes.

Bourbon Whipped Cream

No slice of pumpkin pie is complete without a dollop of whipped cream. Try whippin’ up some Bourbon Whipped Cream to really get the party started.

1 cup heavy cream, well-chilled
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
4 teaspoons bourbon (and 2 oz. for sipping…)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in a chilled bowl and beat until soft peaks form and cream is billowy. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Need a delicious cocktail for your holiday party? Or just something to keep warm? These delicious drinks should do the trick!