Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Well it can be for some and it can be utter chaos for others! I absolutely love this time of year. I love the pretty, twinkly lights. The festive events and holiday drinks at all the local eateries. And most of all, the general nostalgia that the holidays bring to me - all the wonderful memories and that "warm, fuzzy feeling". But I feel stress just like everyone else! Even thought I adore picking out gifts for loved ones, it is one of the most nerve-wracking thing that I endure every single year. The pressure of finding that perfect gift, expectations, and also the possibility of making someone feel awful if you buy them a gift but they didn't buy one for you. One of the biggest solutions I have come across is to make a nice batch of homemade gifts! They are heartfelt and much appreciated. Your friends & family will truly feel the love you put into each and every little gift you made. You can either give them alone or include them along with an extra store-bought gift. Either way, it will make a HUGE impression that the special people in your life will not forget!

Here are some of my ideas that I have used in the past that include either personalized gift sets/baskets, store-bought items and also homemade gifts.

1. Hand-made ornaments. You can find recipes for these on the Martha Stewart website as well as all over the internet.

2. Home-made candies. I will be posting some different recipes from past Martha Stewart Holiday issues that I have made over the last couple years over the next couple weeks.

3. Cozy Gift Basket - A DVD, Mug(s), Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows and a warm, fuzzy blanket.

4. Movie Night - Two DVD's, microwave popcorn, movie snacks like mike & ikes, sour patch kids, goobers, etc and a warm blanket to cuddle up.

5. Dinner for two - a bottle of wine, spaghetti, tomato sauce, and whatever other ingredients you would like to include in the meal wrapped up with an oven mitt in a nice pot or basket.

6. Gourmet Gift Basket - One of your favorite cookbooks along with an oven mitt and the dry (non-spoiling) ingredients to make one of the meals in the book all wrapped up in a nice basket.

7. Day After Christmas Breakfast - pancake mix, muffin mix, maple syrup, bacon (non-spoil), coffee, and a couple mugs wrapped up in a nice basket.

8. Have a cookie night with friends. Everyone brings some ingredients to make a few batches of their favorite cookies and some trays. At the end of the night you each keep a small tray and split up the rest to give as gifts!

So that's all my ideas for now. I will be adding various recipes and ideas that I come across over the next couple of weeks!

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