Here’s the thing. I love Pinterest and all the cutesy crafts as much as everybody else. I am guilty of 3900 pins of perfect pictures of pretty printables, elaborate holiday confections, and bountiful gift baskets brimming with hand made goods, all tied up in sparkly bows, and endorsed with the fattest, most perfectly drawn bubble letters telling you to have the Merriest Christmas anyone ever dared to dream.
It’s all so expertly and purposefully contrived by people who have a lot of spare time and want you to think they have it all together. When I look at it all, I hear little voices saying, “look at me, I’m so perfect. I would never even think of not churning my own butter to put in my perfect cookie recipe handed down for generations, that I’ve been making since I was knee-high to a grasshopper”. Barf.
Truth be told, it really does make me gag. I know you couldn’t tell that from the above commentary. Ha!
I mean, to quote on of my favorite Pinterest pieces of wisdom, “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT”!
I love to give thoughtful gifts to my friends and family. I really do spend a lot of time thinking about a gift that will really make them happy. But I’m also working eight hours a day, commuting 2 hours, and raising my family. I don’t have time to churn butter, draw perfect bubble letters, or spin my own sparkly bows by hand. It’s tragic I know, but it’s the truth and my lot in life!
I don’t think even if I had the time my friends would want me to spend it doing that anyway. They’d rather hang out with me at Starbucks while we chew the fat and drink peppermint lattes. It’s much more real and fun than pretending to be perfect, trust me.
So with that being said, I did come up with a few sweet little treats that would make anybody feel fuzzy, warm, and loved, but will not require 17 hours of stitching by hand. They come together in no time. They are neither perfect or polished, but they are made with love. I hope you like them.
The Good Granola Girl Gift:
I made this for my friend Jen. She loves things natural and earthy, so I thought some really good granola in a darling mug would make her happy. I made the granola by mixing 2 cups of nuts, 2 cups of oats, a cup of Crazins, a tsp of coriander, 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and 1/4 cup of honey stirred together. I put it on a sheet pan and baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes. I let it cool and put it in a cellophane bag. I just used some good old twine to tie it up. The granola will stay fresh at least a week and will taste wonderful on yogurt or mixed with cold milk.
I think it took me a whole five minutes of hands-on prep to do this one, but I love how it turned out. You could make a big batch of this and put it into little bags for neighbor gifts.
The Have Yourself a Caramel Christmas Box:
I learned from the Food Network show The Kitchn, that you can make Dulce De Leche in your slow cooker with one ingredient! I had to do it. All you do is fill some eight ounce Mason jars with sweetened condensed milk. Put them in your slow cooker, fill it with water up to the edges of the lid (without submerging the rims of the lids in water) and leave it on low for ten hours. You don’t need to do one other thing and you have rich, yummy caramel that you can put on anything from pancakes to ice cream.
For my friend Ginny, I gathered up everything I could think of that would go great with caramel and put it in a box. There’s oatmeal, vanilla wafers, dark chocolate bars, unsweetened chai tea, crisp apples, and Starbucks coffee. Doesn’t this look delicious?
The Pretty Pot Luck Present:
It’s pretty obvious from the little tag that this one was for my friend Joy. We share the love of cooking, but more so, we have a passion for sharing food with others. This little gift is made of a lidded casserole dish, topped with a tea towel, a gorgeous cook book, and a wooden spoon. You stack it all up and tie it together. It’s that simple. Now your friend has a great little kit to make her favorite casserole that she can bring to the church social or neighborhood potluck.
So there you have it. Three ideas for thoughtful and delightful Christmas gifts that you actually can feasibly make. No stitching, no printing, no perfect bubble letters required!
Happy Holidays to you, however you chose to celebrate it!