I am over the moon happy to be joining two of my dearest blogging friends today to share some creative ‘homemade’ gift ideas for the holidays!
Before I share more on my Christmas Morning Gift Baskets and the tradition behind them, I’d like to tell you a little bit about Carole and Patti!
Carole is the author behind the blog Garden up Green. She’s also the sweetest and most inspirational person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Granted, we’ve never met in person, but Carole has this special way about her which makes you feel as if you’ve known her your whole life. That’s one of the reasons I LOVE stopping by her blog on a weekly basis and checking out what she’s up to. Carole and her husband have also started a whole new chapter in their lives by living tiny and they are the founders of Make and Take Workshops, where they share their amazing creativity and skills with those lucky enough to be in the North Texas area!
Patti is the voice behind the blog Hearth and Vine. Whether it’s crafting, gardening, or cooking, Patti is one of the most resourceful, artistic and inspiring bloggers in blogland. She can literally take anything and turn it into a work of art. Twigs, pinecones, fruit, you name it, and Patti will find a way to make it beautiful. She also has a talent for teaching. You will see that in every tutorial she provides for her blog posts. Even a novice like me was able to re-create a few of the many amazing creations in Patti’s new ebook- Handmade for the Holidays!
A BIG Thank you to both these wonderful ladies for allowing me to be part of this hop and PLEASE- don’t forget to stop by their blogs to check out their VERY creative gift ideas, and so much more! While you’re there why not follow them? I promise you won’t regret it!
Now, where was I? Oh yes, those Christmas morning gift baskets!
Tradition is a very important part of the holidays. Whether old and passed down from generation to generation, or one started just this year with current family or friends, I truly believe traditions are the glue that keeps us all together and what makes us look forward to each and every holiday.
Our family has several of our own holiday traditions and one is Christmas morning.
This tradition started the year after my dad passed away. It was definitely a tough year for all of us, but most especially for my mom. I hated the thought of her and my niece waking up on Christmas morning all by themselves, so I invited them for a sleepover at our house.
We had so much fun that first Christmas morning. Everyone in their pj’s, hair a muss, laughing and teasing one another. After opening presents, we all sat around the kitchen table and sipped our coffee and hot chocolate while we nibbled on fresh fruit and thick slices of pumpkin raisin bread slathered with butter.
From then on, being together at our house on Christmas morning became a tradition. One that lasted even after my daughter, Mel, and niece, Amanda grew up and left for college.
Sadly the past few years it’s been difficult for us all to get together since Mel and Amanda have families of their own now.
So I decided to share our tradition and all the wonderful joy it brought with our friends and neighbors!
And what better way to do it then with a basket full of the same goodies our family enjoyed so much!
To make my gift baskets I needed a vessel to put all my homemade goodies in.
I found these two pretty baskets already decorated for Christmas at my local Dollar General.
Once I knew the size of my basket, it was time to plan out what exactly I would be putting into them.
Besides the pumpkin-raisin bread, I decided I would also include another family favorite, Cranberry Orange quick bread, as well as Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Muffins to be the main goodies in the basket!
I chose plain paper loaf bags to wrap the bread and tied it with raffia. For the muffins, I simply placed them in cardboard loaf pans that I picked up at Walmart and wrapped them in clear plastic bags that I picked up at the Dollar Spot at Target. Tying it closed with pretty striped yarn adds a little Christmas cheer I think.
I couldn’t possibly forget the beverages so I picked up a few bags of specialty coffees at Target, and whipped up a batch of homemade dark cocoa mix (I’ll be sharing the recipe soon).
Packaging up the beverages was as simple as spooning the cocoa mix into mason jars and covering the top with Kraft paper and tying it with raffia. (That cute tag was also found at the Dollar Spot in Target) The coffee (enough for one pot) was placed in plain brown bags and tied with more raffia.
I added cute paper plates ($1) and napkins ($1) that I picked up at you guessed it, the Dollar Store because who wants to worry about dishes on Christmas morning!
I stuffed in a few candy canes for stirring the hot cocoa, and of course, marshmallows which I placed in a(washed) plastic orb ornament I also bought at the Dollar Store. And as a reminder not to open until Christmas, I placed a cute card I picked up at the Dollar Spot at Target which says just that.
Last but certainly not least, I shared just one more tradition that has been passed down from my mom to me, and now to my daughter and niece.
The apple and the orange.
Every year at our house, under the trinkets, socks, pencils, and candy, you will find one of each at the very bottom of your stocking.
I know millions of folks follow this same tradition for whatever reason, but for mom, it was because she lived through the depression, and an orange and apple were something to be cherished.
Just like family and friends.
I’ve delivered these gift baskets for the last two years to close family and friends and this year I plan to extend that to several more neighbors who we are so blessed to have nearby.
Like previous years, I plan to deliver them Christmas eve day, so everything is fresh and yummy for all to enjoy.
And if folks already have Christmas morning plans, no problem-both the bread and the muffins can easily be put in the freezer for later.
I hope my Christmas Morning Gift Baskets have inspired you to think ‘Homemade” when it comes to gift-giving this holiday season.
And I wish that whatever holiday tradition you have old or new, it carries on for many more years to come!
Blessings and hugs,