Suggestion box.

Christmas Eve has always been our 'big family celebration,'  whereas Christmas day, the group breaks up, allowing each family to do their own thing- to celebrate with in-laws, friends, on their own...  The night before Christmas, we all get together at my grandma's house... aunts, uncles, cousins, and some relatives you see only on this very eve.  When my grandpa was with us, we'd exercise the utmost patience- waiting until the day's end (midnight) to open our gifts.  And plenty of gifts there were... no secret-santa-name-drawing program in place... no 'kids-only' gift rule...  As everyone has gotten hastier/lazier older/wiser, the start time has moved up, the midnight tradition has dissolved, & the whole gift-giving affair has become a bit more streamlined & little more methodical... a little.

Quite a few years back, a new tradition was born.  A box is set out for each family.  Everyone brings a little gift to add to the boxes.  However many boxes there are determines how many gifts you bring (14 boxes = 14 candles... ornaments... dishes...).  Gift-opening mayhem still exists.  Presents galore still sit under the tree- mainly for the kids (which for our family- you remain a "kid" until you're living on your own &/or married), but each family unit has a set- or a box- of little gifts to take home & open up on Christmas morning, in the comfort of their own home.

Half of our gift remains the same each year... a 1/2 lb. of Christmas Blend (thanks to my Starbucks hook-up, or husband rather).   In my working days- when handmade/homemade gifts were out of the question- the other half consisted of some type of Starbucks ware- a mug, a cd, an ornament... something coffee related.  Now, we go the homemade route.  A couple of years back, we made jars of vanilla chai tea mix & triple-orange pecan biscotti.  Last year, it was shortbread.  

This year?  Not a clue.  Any suggestions???  What are some of your favorite 'baked good' or other homemade {holiday or everyday} recipes?

Please share.  
Pretty please.

...with sugar- & sprinkles- on top.


  1. Mel's granola is amazing. I second that suggestion!!

  2. Bark!! All different ones. More specifically this one:
    at least that is the one I want to make...but there are others in that series.

    I still read your blog, btw, I have just been too distracted/lazy to comment. :)

  3. I love this tradition and now I want to pop on over for some biscotti and chai.

    Also, I was just wondering how long to treat my adult nieces and nephews like kids with gifts. They're still in college and I still want to get them something. I guess they don't seem grown up to me yet. I think I'll go with your family's plan.

    I'm posting about nutella tomorrow. It tastes so much better than the brand name stuff but it would take quite a while to make the quantity you are needing. I liked Michelle's idea of homemade granola.

  4. I love that idea! I get tired of buying "stuff" for family members (not kids) who don't really need anything. The food gifts I tend to make are granola, cookies of course, hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows (packaged with tiny bottles of alcohol to spike it!) or if it's just for adults, infused alcohol in pretty bottles.

  5. Vanilla hazelnut brittle. It's super easy, quick to make and you can make up several batches. It looks pretty all broken into glossy pieces. It's delicious. Recipe is here:
    Seriously so easy.
    P.S. Love that tradition!

  6. Great idea! We've done special secret recipe brownies, granola, spiced nuts, hot chocolate mix and (not to be included in your gifting, because it would be a strange & nasty combo...) rib rub. Let us know what you end up doing!


    pretty sure i've made a thousand of these little mouthfuls of goodness in the the past week. easy and delicious.

    merry merry torrie! xoxo

  8. soup to share. color dry ingredient layered in a jar presented with easy instructions on making the soup. good for the kids to make too! email me if you want the recipe as i can't find it online...xo


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