day fifteen :: brown paper packages
I mentioned on day twelve that gift-giving is of great importance to me and I’m always looking for wonderful new things. Making Monday’s awesome list of stocking-stuffers helped me greatly and here are my own picks for the bakers and brewers in your life (I had a little help from Husband…) as well as our favorite ways to give back. We have been incredibly blessed in all aspects of our life and enjoy passing those blessings on throughout the year, but I still believe Christmas is a special time to generously give as we have been so generously given, whether it be through finances, or time, or crafty skills, or simply being a great listener. That’s something I want to instill in my son from the beginning. Even though this year, he’s too little to understand anything except “oooo, shiny paper, I’m going to eat it” we want our family to become accustomed to the tradition of blessing others. So for every new thing the ‘Saurus is getting for Christmas, we donated one. We bought gifts for Angel Tree kids his own age. You get the idea. Because as much as I love presents, I receive the greatest blessing when they aren’t for me.
So, without further ado, here are my favorite gifts for this year:
best gifts for brewers:
1. custom pint glasses Brew Buddy bought Husband some of these this summer with their logo on them and they’re a huge hit. Husband loves drinking his beer out of glasses with his logo.
2. gift card For the brewer who you think has everything, gift cards are the way to go. Trust me, they’ll never have everything.
3. 99 Bottles of Beer Journal This set of 3 little journals is a nice way to track the favorite brews from around the globe.
4. Extreme Brewing Husband’s not really in to recipes but he likes this book. It has a few recipes, some background knowledge, and I like the pretty pictures.
5. custom bottle caps Put the ultimate seal on your homebrew with custom bottle caps. The picture is of the ones I made for Husband
6. six-pack carrier What better way to carry your brew to the holiday party than with a festive carrier?!
7. carboy parka Hauling and storing carboys is a delicate business around here. I feel like this would alleviate a lot of the stress of droppage or light contamination.
8. custom bottle labels No brew is complete without a custom label! You can design yours from scratch or use a template…and these are waterproof-no rubbing off in the ice chest!
9. Moleskine Journal I really like this beer journal because it has space not only to take notes about brews you’ve sampled, but also your own recipes.
best gifts for bakers:
1. anthropologie apron I love Anthropologie aprons and this one is especially adorable!
2. tovolo spoon I have about 4 of these spoons and it’s still not enough. They’re amazing.
3. iPad stand This is the. best. It’s perfect for recipe-searching or movie-watching while in the kitchen
4. cookie cutters How on earth is a baker supposed to make Christmas cookies without cookie cutters?!
5. cupcake liners You can never have enough cute cupcake liners. These are just a few of my favorite festive ones.
6. sugar shaker I have three of these: one for powdered sugar, one for cocoa, and one for cinnamon….it’s necessary…
7. icing spatula. These are awesome and you can never have enough. My favorite use is to use them to get cupcakes out of the pan. That little angled thing was genius.
8. melting snowman After a hard day in the kitchen or chasing children or wrangling ducks or whatever it is you do, it’s nice to have a little moment to relax. I’m in love with this bath melt. I find all kinds of excuses to go downtown and if we just happen to walk by the Lush store, and they just happen to have them in the window, then it’d be a shame not to stop, wouldn’t it?
9. cake stand I may or may not have a small obsession with cake stands….it’s possible.
10. tea towels I really like H&M’s new home line but especially these really adorable towels… (hint, hint, Husband!)
best gifts for others:
1. Sponsor a child through Compassion International Our gift to our families this year was to sponsor a child in each of their names – it was a win for everyone.
2. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. We did this every year growing up and I loved it and now Husband and I continue the tradition in our own family. This is a great one for your children to do – they get to pick out small items for kids their own age. And it’s not too late this year!
3. Pick out something from Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog. This was another favorite growing up – I loved picking out chickens and goats for kids and it makes writing a check more personal when you know exactly how it’s going to be used. My parents gave us a set amount every year and we got to pick out what things to buy for others. Maybe we’re odd, but my brother and I would always use some of our birthday money (ours are right before Christmas) to buy extra things, too.
4. Buy presents for an Angel Tree Child. Husband and I pick out one every year and this year our church combined the Angel Tree project with our Christmas Party: we were given kids on Sunday and then brought our gifts on Wednesday and then had cookies and coffee after. It was a great idea and made the project really simple.
5. Volunteer to serve a meal at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. I worked at one in high school and it was quite a humbling experience. Christmas and Thanksgiving are usually the times everyone wants to help but volunteers are desperately needed throughout the whole year. Or even just take a batch of your Christmas goodies.
6. Put your change in the Salvation Army bucket. Really not that hard to do…
7. Take your homemade projects or goodies to someone: the local pregnancy center, the hospital, Meals on Wheels…we had someone make little elf hats for the new babies, or add a cookie to a Meals on Wheels meal, etc.
7. Support the Troops. There are a lot of men and women who are going to be missing their families (and whose families will miss them) this Christmas. Send them a letter, a care package, or donate to the USO who does a lot for our military, or volunteer with/give to Wreaths Across America which places wreaths on the graves of military members.