Have you tried any of the recipes yet? Whether you want to get your little family in a festive mood, or you have to provide something spectacular for a Christmas party or New Year Party, you’ve GOT to try making at least a few of the amazing recipes I’ve listed so far.
Today I’m posting my Top 10 Homemade Holiday Treats and Gifts! See, the only dough I’m rolling in is sourdough bread dough, or maybe the molasses cookie dough listed below. Sooooo….homemade Christmas gifts instead of shelling out the cash for fancy gifts are the way we roll. (Wow, lots of pun in just 2 sentences.)
I also can’t stand the rat race of Christmas time. By Christmas Eve I’m usually having my annual panic attack. The Christmas season is so crazy for me- full of concerts, singing gigs and parties. Trying to make sure everyone has “the perfect gift” and worrying about spending the right amount of money just puts me over the top and is SO not what Christmas is supposed to be about! Seriously two years ago I told my husband I wanted to start boycotting all the Christmas festivities and just disappear every year to the mountains or Europe or something. Last year Christmas came and went so fast I didn’t even remember experiencing the excitement or joy of the season. And I LOVE Christmas! As a Christian it is one of the two most meaningful and important celebrations of the year (the other being Easter, of course)! As cliche as this is, it’s so difficult to remain truly focused on the real reason for the season.
My goal now is to get back to the true meaning of Christmas- and not just by going to church and making an anecdotal reference to Jesus at some point during our celebrations. Instead I’m trying to celebrate by simply NOT stressing over the craziness of the season. I will try to spend each day remembering the peace, love and hope I have through my faith. I’m trying to prioritize relaxing and spending quality time with my children and family. I’m trying to teach my children that the gift giving associated with Christmas is just a secondary element of the holiday- a way that we can celebrate Jesus’ “birthday”, but not the main event.
I think that spending the time to make delicious treats made with love and packaged beautifully can help me achieve this goal. I spend quality time with my kids while we make these gifts. It’s not about how much we’ve spent on a gift, but about the effort and time focused on doing something for someone else instead of simply swiping a card and checking off a list (even though there is a small cost for buying ingredients and packaging). I’m not anti-store-bought-gifts because we definitely buy plenty of stuff for the kids and immediate family members. I just need to escape the worldly idea that STUFF is how to show people you care.
I’ll get off my pedestal now, but here is my list of favorites that I want to make this year:
*Thank you to all the lovely bloggers who gave me permission to use their photos and link to their recipes!
1. My favorite Crispy Nut Chocolate Brittle is made with caramelized pecans and coated with a peanut butter and dark chocolate shell. Package it up right away or you might eat it all like we did when we made this batch.
2. My adorable friend Sara from Sprouted Kitchen just announced she’s pregnant and I’m so excited for her!!! Woohoo!!! Here are her famous Dark Chocolate Almond Cups that are soooo gorgeous.
3. Homemade Butterfingers? When I do totally cheat on my real food principles (mainly on Halloween), I reach for the butterfingers. I might just make these Almond Butterfingers by Unrefined Kitchen for myself because it is my absolute candy weakness!
4. I know of many delicious molasses cookies, but these Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies by Gourmande in the Kitchen are incredible. I’m in love with the ingredients list!
5. My friend Kelly from The Nourishing Home has these adorable Grain-Free Gingerbread Cookies that are perfect for Real Foodies!
6. Kelly also has a lovely little list of homemade gifts in a jar that are super adorable.
7. I am obsessed with lemon and shortbread, so these Lemon Shortbread cookies from Technicolor Kitchen look perfect. The little box in the pictures is super cute, too! Little boxes like these might be fun to paint- or let the kids paint- and make a cute gift box for your homemade treats.
8. I love the idea of making homemade jams or butters for gifts and this is a unique Maple Spice Squash Butter recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen.
9. I’ve had these little Coconut Surprise Bars from The Clean Dish on my “have to make” recipe list forever. They are vegan…except for the bacon version.
10. Finally we have Homemade Extracts from Akshayapaatram. (I didn’t get permission to post photos for this one, so you’ll have to check out the gorgeousness yourself!) Try flavors like orange, lemon, vanilla, raspberry. These are not only beautiful but a perfectly elegant homemade gift!
I hope you enjoyed my “Best Holiday Recipes of 2013″ series!!