Each year, after Christmas, I make a plan for the following Christmas. I am not much of a planner, but I crave a simpler time for my family, and I have found that planning helps tremendously!
After I found Yvonne at Stone Gable's Granola, I decided to start collecting pretty china and silver baby cups for the containers to give as Christmas gifts. I am not the baker, but this is easy for me and is so yummy for Christmas morning! I bought my glass containers at Wal-Mart, but you can get them at Target or Hobby Lobby, too. I collected pretty china cups from TJMaxx and silver baby cups from antique flea markets. Washed right up and they are perfect for scoops!
I added some festive kitchen towels and a little tag to give suggestions of 'add-ins' for the granola...it is great as a snack with mini chocolate chips or for breakfast with fruit and yogurt. Click here for Yvonne's recipe; however, I do add the coconut and omit the wheat germ (just couldn't find it!) Her granola is a staple at our home!
Collect pretty containers throughout the year (see earlier post here) and make your own arrangements as gifts for neighbors and friends. I purchased the water picks for the roses at Hobby Lobby. I put some green foam in the bottom of the container to hold the greenery in place. Gather your favorite greenery from outside, add some pretty roses and arrange however you like!
My friend has a lovely garden and made these preserves and homemade bread. I think the cinnamon roll recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, and I can tell you that they are to die for! I told her I wanted these if I was on my death bed and could only have one last thing to eat! I must say this basket of goodies saved us this Christmas...everyone with the flu! With the hustle of Christmas, this is an ideal gift to help during those hectic holiday meal times!
This is a super fun gift! The tag to the right reads, "Christmas Break Science Experiments for those "I am bored" moments...Each tag gives a different experiment using household items. My friend included all of these items in the bucket. Here is one example:
Supplies: 2 Liter Diet Coke, 4 Mentos
1. Place the 2 Liter bottle of Diet Coke on a flat surface and in a secure place outside.
2. Remove the lid from the bottle of diet coke.
3. Remove 4 Mentos and drop all four at once into the bottle of diet coke as quickly as possible and jump back out of the way of the shooting rocket!
We had a lot of fun with this, and I know we will do these again in the summer!
I loved this apple pie with the lovely verse written on the box. The little apple ornament was attached and is just so sweet! Maybe you have a special apple pie or turnover recipe. Attach this verse and you have a great gift!
Some things to consider when planning your gifts for next year:
*It really is the thought from the heart that counts!
*Don't stress out or stress your bank account...that misses the true meaning of Christmas! I used to stress trying to bake...now, I just don't bake! Use other talents to make things if baking is not your gift!
*If you do love to bake, consider baking items that can help with a meal for the family...bread, rolls, breakfast oatmeal, etc. It is a crazy time of year, so this would help eliminate some stress around meals!
*Plan early so you can look for items through the year. You will be glad when Christmas rolls around and you already have your gifts for family and friends. And, you will be glad that you spaced your money for Christmas throughout the year!
*Consider gifts that build 'family' time. Fill a jar with fun questions for the family to ask each other. This builds relationships and causes laughter! I love to do these kinds of things with my children. Their answers always surprise me!
Example: If you could make a movie, what would it be about?
What is something interesting you learned today?
*My last tip would be to print a calendar of the month of December and write down all the activities, events and parties you attended, while it is fresh in your mind. Pull this out next Christmas and you will be better able to plan your holiday! Decide what you will attend and what you can cut out. I have already printed mine! Our goal for next year is to cut down the time we are away from the children and to establish better boundaries, so we can have good quality time with our kids!
What great gifts did you receive or share with your loved ones and what great tips do you have for making life simple during the holidays?