The holidays are always a fun way to ruin your diet, and luckily I got to squeeze in an extra gym day today since my husband is off. But, I am a sucker for sweets and my self control is particularly weak this time of year. I am always working to find that happy balance because as much as I enjoy being healthy… I need wine and sugar. Between kids, running around trying to find the perfect presents, visiting family and just daily life, stress snacking is my complete jam. And at this point, we are all juuuust about broke or insane, or both with all of the Christmas shopping and trying to figure out how to get thoughtful gifts without breaking the bank. It’s already difficult enough to shop for our kids, but it’s actually more difficult to shop for adults. My family is fairly easy… they’re outright with their holiday requests. No shame, no time to play the “oh my goooosh I don’t need anything” game… but for others it’s not that cut and dry.
Today I am sharing some fun ways to show you care and you don’t have to fight all the holiday traffic or wait for FedEx/UPS to deliver something that may or may not arrive broken.
Because that totally hasn’t happened.
I’m being sarcastic. It’s totally effing happened.
For one, I thought it would be a great idea to host a white elephant shindig at our house this year for the neighbors we’ve become close with since we moved here about a year and a half ago. Luckily they’re pretty much as immature as we are, so this should get interesting. I won’t share what I got, but if you follow me on other forms of social media, you shall find out soon enough.
Considering we all have too many children, I left kids optional as far as being included in the actual gift part. However, I didn’t want to leave them completely out so I hit up the Target Christmas section for some really cute little presents for them along with some candy because I love to give sugar to other people’s kids and put them all in a repurposed (you like how I made that sound all fancy) Amazon box and voila! A gift that literally keeps on giving.
Simple. Inexpensive. All included.
Next, I decided to change up my usual goody bags for the baking giveaway and instead of chocolate dipped pretzels and gingerbread men, I checked out a fellow blogger’s (preppykitchen.com) confections and tried out his chocolate dipped cookies, which the only thing I did different was I used a snowflake shape cookie cutter and I added about 1 tsp of shortening to smooth the chocolate out before dipping. I found both of his recipes to be heavy on the flour, so you may want to lessen that portion but otherwise these were so easy and SO tasty. And I like anything dipped in chocolate. I also like cookies because they’re easy to package and nobody can say no to a cookie. Unless they’re the bad kind of weirdo.
I also tried out his shortbread cookies. I did have to add about 4 tbsp more butter to the shortbread cookies because they were super crumbly, but the flavor is awesome and they took no time to make. These are different than anything I’ve tried before, but they had pecans and all those lovely holiday spices so I HAD to try it. And I’m so glad I did because although they aren’t sweet like you expect a cookie to be, they taste like Christmas!
Then, keeping with my traditional fam fave’s of magic cookie bars (Eagle brand recipe on All Recipes) and candied pecans (Pinterest) – here are those heavenly treats that will put you straight into a happy little sugar coma. These are ALWAYS a big hit, and fool proof. Seriously, you cannot screw them up. Unless you forget to set your timer, then you’re screwed.
What makes giving things like this special, or should I say – makes someone feel special, is the effort. Sure, I spent several hours making this shit, but if I delivered them on generic paper plates, it kinda loses the glamour. To me at least, but I’m a Christmas freak show, and given the chance I’d probably wrap our laundry in Christmas paper just to have the kids open it in the morning.
I found these REALLY awesome wine glasses at Michael’s for less than $5 and the stoppers for $5 at Target – get yourself a clear baggy from the baking section and you have a cute little gift for a girlfriend… or neighbor. These are for my neighbors.
I also tend to pick up Christmas tins from Hobby Lobby when they are having their discount deals and those are always great to use because they seal tightly enough to preserve the desserts and they’re reusable! Everyone likes shit they can reuse! They also have them at At Home, however they’re more expensive there – just sayin’.
So, go preheat your ovens to 350, turn on your favorite Christmas pandora station and pour yourself a glass of wine, into one of those really fun glasses because you know you bought an extra for yourself and and start baking!