Holiday Puzzle Series #1: Religious Christmas

This is THE time of year for jigsaw puzzles. With the cold weather outside, it’s nice to cozy up next to the fireplace with family and work on a puzzle together. Not surprisingly, people love holiday and winter themed images for puzzles during these months – a great way to enjoy the cold weather without getting cold! This post is part 1 of a 4 part series of our best selections in our most popular winter puzzles! First up, Religious Christmas. Next up: Best of Snow, Cardinals, & Coca Cola. Enjoy!

Religious Christmas

Christmas is a holiday which has in many ways gotten secularized with Santa and reindeer and cookies and presents. If your family would prefer a more traditional Christmas where you celebrate Christianity and the birth of Jesus, we have a great selection of puzzles that depict stories from the Bible.

Religious Puzzle - 1000 pieces.

No Room at the Inn by Sunsout from artist Tim DuBois. $14.99. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 27″ x 20″.

Religious Puzzle

Adoration of the Shepherds by Peaceful Wooden Puzzles. These custom puzzle can be ordered in several piece counts.

Jesus Jigsaw Puzzle

At Jesus’ Feet by Euro Graphics from artist Nathan Greene. $15.99. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 19.25″ x 26.5″.

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Puzzles for Veterans

If you’re missing your military man or woman this holiday season, or if you’re lucky enough to  welcome one back for a break, or if you’re a veteran yourself and love puzzling, we’ve got some great puzzles honoring the brave people that defend our country from Sunsout. Some depict the military in the past (for those of you that are history buffs as well), and some are more current. All are a great way to celebrate our soldiers!

Marines Jigsaw Puzzle

You Will Not Fail Us (Marines) by Sunsout from artist James Dietz. $10.99. 500 pieces. Finished size: 15” x 29”.

Military Goodbye Jigsaw Puzzle

The Last Embrace by Sunsout from artist Brian Hart. $14.99. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 16” x 34”.

Military Jigsaw Puzzle

Bayonet! Forward! by Sunsout from artist Dale Gallon. $10.99. 500 pieces. Finished size: 19” x 26”.

Military Jigsaw Puzzle

At the Ready by Sunsout from artist James Dietz. $10.99. 500 pieces. Finished size: 15” x 29”.

Military Jigsaw Puzzle

The Few and the Proud by Sunsout from artist Ray Simon. $14.99. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20” x 27”.

Tis the Season to Start a Great Holiday Puzzle

Halloween just passed, Thanksgiving’s coming up next, but judging by the displays in all of the retail stores we’ve visited, the clearance skeletons are already hanging out next to brand new Santa Claus’ and snowmen. So, it’s never too early to start your holiday shopping! It’s also just about that time of year when it starts to get pretty chilly outside and we need some fun activities to do indoors. Jigsaw puzzles are the perfect solution!

Know a puzzle lover whose favorite holiday is also Christmas? Here are seven great Christmas-themed puzzles, each one a different brand! They should certainly help get you in the spirit so you’ll be ready for all the carols that will soon be flooding the radio airwaves!

Christmas Tree Train
1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Holiday Puzzle - 1000 pieces

Father and son play with the new train set on Christmas morning. Made by Cobble Hill. $15.99. 1000 pieces. Finished size 26.625″ x 19.25″.

Frosty Family Snowmen
400 Piece Family Puzzle

Snowman puzzle - 400 pieces

Soft lighting in this Snowman Family Puzzle by Springbok. $11.99. This puzzle has small, medium and large size pieces so everyone can work together! 400 pieces. Finished size 26.75″ x 20.5″.

Hat Nap
500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Christmas Kitties Puzzle - 500 pieces

Adorable Kittens snuggle up in Santa’s hat under the Christmas Tree. $10.99. 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. Finished size: 18″ x 24″.

Sweet Christmas
1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle 

Holiday Cooking Puzzle

Christmas Baking by Euro Graphics. Delicious looking holiday treats from sugar cookies to gingerbread houses to candy canes! $15.99. 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Finished size: 19.25″ x 26.5″. *Note: This puzzle is new has been flying off the shelves – it may be sold out but we will have more stock coming within 2 weeks.

Every Day’s A Gift
1500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle 

Holiday Presents Puzzle - 1500 pieces

Beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts are an inspiration for any creative holiday shopper. And the repetitive shapes and colors with make this puzzle a challenge! Every Day’s a Gift by White Mountain. $18.99. 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle. Finished Size : 24″ x 32″.

The New Yorker – Santa’s Dog
500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle 

New Yorker Jigsaw Puzzle - 500 pieces

Little doggie is all dressed up for the Holidays. Though he does not look so pleased. Help him live through his humiliation as you assemble this silly Santa favorite. Artist: Gahan Wilson. From the Dec. 9, 1991 issue of The New Yorker – Santa’s Dog by New York Puzzle Co. $16.99. 500 pieces.

A Gift for Santa – Coca-Cola
1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle 

1000 piece holiday puzzle

A Gift for Santa – Coca-Cola by Buffalo Games. A very jolly Santa Claus gets a special treat at this house. $14.99. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20” x 27”.

Food Puzzles to Inspire Your Holiday Cooking Recipes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think it beats out all the others by a longshot, and this is probably because of my love for a good meal. And while I’m a sucker for the traditional turkey-and-potato meal, when I looked up alternative menu items for the holidays, it got me thinking that there’s always room for another platter on the table! We’ve got some great Food Jigsaw Puzzles – so even if you don’t have room for another dish in your tummy – put one of these puzzles out on side table and the whole family can enjoy it without impacting the waistline!

Piatnik Puzzle - Pasta Food Puzzle

Pasta by Platnik. $16.99. 1000 Pieces. Finished size: 26.5″ x 17.4″.

Thanksgiving isn’t really thought of as a “noodle” holiday, what with all that turkey and potatoes and yams and stuffing going on. But if you’ve got a bunch of leftover turkey, or if you want to do something different, why not use it to make some new recipes—like creamy turkey with noodles? Mmm!

Jigsaw Puzzle

Baseball and Apple Pie by Peaceful Wooden Puzzles. Starting from $46.99, these are quality custom made with your choice anywhere from 220-890 pieces.

Apple pie is a classic and you can’t go wrong with it, but if you feel like spicing up your holiday desserts, why not try finding recipes to these delightfully different pies from Gardener Pie Co.? They’ve got flavors like cherry lime chipotle and japaleño apple. Also check out this recipe for Salty Honey Pie.

Vegetable 500 piece jigsaw puzzle

Canned Veggies by Springbok. $11.99. 500 pieces. Finished size 18″ X 23.5″.

If you’re a vegetarian or just really like vegetables, you can make some new veggie dishes to try out this holiday season to replace or complement your meat dishes, like asparagus enchiladas or asparagus quiche. Be Well Philly also has a collection of unique recipes that include beets. The New York Times has a great article with an assortment of recipes for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.

Food Puzzle - 500 pieces

Snack Stack by Springbok. $11.99. 500 Pieces. Finished size 18″ X 23.5″.

Thanksgiving leftovers aren’t just for sandwiches anymore. Check out the Food Network’s compilation of new recipes for your day-after meals!

Election Night 2012 – What will you be doing?

What will you be doing on Nov. 6, 2012 as the new President of the United States is chosen? Here are some ideas to spruce up your event – and some election facts too!

This great “Red State / Blue State” puzzle is one of many things you can do while you watch the results pour in. With two pieces, one red and one blue, you can construct the puzzle to match as the states’ go red for Romney or blue for Obama.

Election Night Puzzle

Election Night Puzzle

Each state has two pieces – one red, one blue, so you can put the puzzle together as election results roll in!

Want some more activities for Election Night?

50 States Game

Get out a timer, set it to six minutes, and give everyone a sheet of paper labeled 1-50. How many can name all 50 states without a map as an aide? You’d be surprised what people forget (especially if they don’t know that Alphabet State Game Tune)!

Presidential Playlists

Add a bit of fun to the night by creating and listening to playlists you imagine fits your preferred candidate. What do you imagine they listen to, or better yet, what kind of music would you recommend to them?

Red, White, and Blue Foods

Whip up some food and make it red, white, and blue to celebrate! (That link featured 100 different red white and blue recipes – don’t miss it!) If you’re feeling creative, make dishes that you know are Romney or Obama’s favorites — or foods that are considered the best from their hometowns. You can find recipes for past presidents’ favorite foods and cook up something rather presidential for your election night festivities.

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As you watch this nail-biter election, no matter what side you’re on, it might be interesting to look at some facts about the states with the most electoral votes and those that are considered swing states in this election.

THE BIG GUYS

CALIFORNIA
Has gone blue the last 5 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 55
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 55
Went Blue (Democrat): 40% of the time, with 16 elections
Went Red (Republican): 58% of the time, with 23 elections
Went Yellow (Neither Democrat or Republican): 2% of the time, with 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 5 straight elections from 1932-1948 and 1992-2008
Longest Red Streak: 6 straight elections from 1968-1988
Last 10 elections: Went red 5 times, went blue 5 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time
Likely Candidate for 2012: Obama

TEXAS
Has gone red the last 8 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 38 (up 4 from last election)
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 34
Went Blue (Democrat): 69% of the time, with 27 elections
Went Red (Republican): 31% of the time, with 12 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 0% of the time, with 0 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 14 straight elections from 1872-1924
Longest Red Streak: 8 straight elections from 1980-2008
Last 10 Elections: Went red 9 times, went blue 1 time, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time
Likely Candidate for 2012: Romney

NEW YORK
Has gone blue the last 6 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 29
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 31
Went Blue (Democrat): 44% of the time, with 24 elections
Went Red (Republican): 36% of the time, with 20 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 20% of the time, with 11 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 6 straight elections from 1988-2008
Longest Red Streak: 4 straight elections from 1896-1908 and 1916-1928
Last 10 Elections: Went red 3 times, went blue 7 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time
Likely Candidate for 2012: Obama

THE SWING STATES

FLORIDA
Has gone blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 29
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 27
Went Blue (Democrat): 60% of the time with 24 elections
Went Red (Republican): 38% of the time with 15 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 2% of the time with 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 12 straight elections from 1880-1924
Longest Red Streak: 4 straight elections from 1980-1992
Last 10 Elections: Went red 7 times, went blue 3 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 90% of the time

OHIO
Has gone blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 18
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 20
First Election: 1804, started with 3 electoral votes
Went Blue (Democrat): 29% of the time with 15 elections
Went Red (Republican): 54% of the time with 28 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 17% with 9 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 3 straight elections from 1932-1940
Longest Red Streak: 14 straight elections from 1856-1908
Last 10 Elections: Went red 6 times, went blue 4 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 100% of the time

WISCONSIN
Went blue the last 6 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 10
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 10
First Election: 1848, started with 4 electoral votes
Went Blue (Democrat): 39% of the time with 16 elections
Went Red (Republican): 59% of the time with 24 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 1% of the time 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 6 straight elections from 1988-2008
Longest Red Streak: 9 straight elections from 1854-1888
Last 10 Elections: Went red 3 times, went blue 7 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time

COLORADO
Went blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 9
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 9
Went Blue (Democrat): 32% of the time with 11 elections
Went Red (Republican): 65% of the time with 22 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 3% of the time with 1 election
Longest Blue Streak: 3 straight elections from 1908-1916
Longest Red Streak: 6 straight elections from 1968-1988
Last 10 Elections: Went red 8 times, went blue 2 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 80% of the time

IOWA
Went blue the last 1 election

Current Electoral Votes: 6
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 7
Went Blue (Democrat): 29% of the time with 12 elections
Went Red (Republican): 71% of the time with 29 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 0% with 0 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 4 straight elections from 1988-2000
Longest Red Streak: 14 straight elections from 1856-1908
Last 10 Elections: Went red 5 times, went blue 5 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 70% of the time

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Went blue the last 2 elections

Current Electoral Votes: 4
Last Year’s Electoral Votes: 4
Went Blue (Democrat): 29% of the time with 16 elections
Went Red (Republican): 52% of the time with 29 elections
Went Yellow (Neither): 19% of the time with 11 elections
Longest Blue Streak: 6 straight elections from 1832-1852
Longest Red Streak: 14 straight elections from 1856-1908
Last 10 Elections: Went red 6 times, went blue 4 times, and went with the overall winning candidate 80% of the time

Wow, all those statistics give you a lot to mull over! Which way do you think each swing state will go, and do you think their overall history gives you any indication, or should we just be looking at the last several elections?

Make sure to tune in Tuesday night to keep tally and see who makes it to 270 votes and see who will be the leader of the free world for the next four years.

For more information on elections and the electoral college, visit:
 Atlas of US Presidental Elections or 270 to Win