I confess to being a bit of a Christmas nut. I love so much about the season; the sights, the smells, the songs and the food. With my family scattered as a child, it was one of the times my family entertained. I remember one particular Christmas in Colorado where we had a blizzard that culminated with our cul-de-sac having festivities at our house since no one could drive anywhere. It’s always been for me my most favorite of holidays.
One of the best things for me is gathering Christmas gifts to give. I love to give them. I have, over the years with kids, on occasion bought the gift card when either shipping fees overwhelm me or when the recipient is truly wanting cash, but most of the time I am on the hunt for the perfect gift for those I love. With little kiddos at home and working on a single income by choice, the “perfect gift” has to fall within a certain price range. For the last 2 years I have done well finding online clearance deals to store and use for presents, but they are typically kids gifts. Adult gifts are harder in a smaller price range. I have always wanted to make things for gifts for Christmas for friends and family, but often don’t plan or prepare far enough in advance to make what I would like.
Except for this year. With my successful adventures in canning, and finding out others like what I’ve canned, I’m gearing up for a homemade Christmas gift-giving this year. The first is my mind-blowing discovery of homemade vanilla extract. Does anyone else go nuts buying small amounts of good vanilla for eight dollars? This is revolutionary. I’m making a large batch and gifting it out. The beauty of it is if you put a part of the bean in the gift-giving jar, the recipient can occasionally add more vodka to the container as they use it, allowing them to use that single jar of vanilla extract for up to a year! How cool is that?
My other homemade gifts are going to follow my new-found foodie kick. On the menu are canned homemade peach pie filling and apple pie filling. I am so excited to give this out so they can be enjoyed in pies, on waffles or pancakes, oatmeal or over ice cream. I was bummed that I missed the end of our blueberry season, since I had several who liked my blueberry syrup but hopefully these will be just as well received.
My last gifts, for the few enjoyers of a good alcoholic beverage, are going to get this sweet little concoction. Beautiful right? I will have to make my own in the next week or two, so I can (ahem) try it before giving away, but I’m looking forward to both a pretty and delightfully unique gift for the few in mind for this treat.
It may be 90 degrees here in Southwest Florida, but it’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas.