Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas this year. Chris and I are both enjoying our school break with the opportunity to spend time together and with family. I love this time of year!

In preparing for Christmas day, sometimes it is hard to find ideas for gifts that are meaningful yet practical and useful. Chris and I teamed up with my sister Anna for gift-giving this year. I wanted to share what we did, and maybe give you some ideas for next year :).

Several people on our list got a bag of sourdough english muffins.

The bags were decorated beautifully by Anna. They said ‘Best when toasted and served as a sandwich or topped with your favorite spread’.

Some people got pans of sweet potato sourdough cinnamon rolls.

We spread them out.

Then topped them with sugar and cinnamon.

Then we used floss to slice them into perfect cinnamon roll circles :).

Two of my sisters came up to visit me the week before Christmas and they helped me with the cinnamon roll making. They are hilarious and crazy and totally awesome! I love you Anna and Joy!

Everything was baked and frozen until Christmas Eve, when we wrapped everything.

 Of course since my sisters were visiting and helping me with all the cinnamon roll making, we made an extra pan of cinnamon rolls and ate it for breakfast the next day.

We also cut up some fresh oranges and drank chai tea out of teacups.

Did I say how much I love these two? :)

Hmmm… three people ate a half of pan of cinnamon rolls. Yep, sounds about right. They were good!

You know all those aloe plants that I put in the garden in July this year? Well, in October (before it started freezing), I dug up all those plants from the garden and put them in recycled tomato cans (with holes punched in the bottom) to give as christmas gifts.

I thought they looked beautiful wrapped in some red and white bakers twine.

Several people on our list also got a jar of homemade cajun seasoning. I followed this recipe. I got the 4 oz. spice jars from Fillmore Container (they have great prices).

The ladies in Chris’ family got a jar of Lemongrass hand scrub. I mixed together 2 parts sugar to 1 part grapeseed oil and added lemongrass essential oil. It smelled so good!

 We cut out snowflakes to glue onto our brown wrapping paper for decoration. Anna was much better at it than I was. I will show you…

Anna’s snowflakes.

 Noelle’s snowflakes

haha I could NOT figure it out. They turned out more like snow squares. :)

On Christmas Eve we got everything wrapped and ready to go!

I really loved how all of our packaging turned out. Simple yet elegant.

We spent Christmas Eve with Chris’ family with a wonderful dinner and we opened lots of presents. I got some really cute clothes and several interesting books that I can’t wait to read!

Then, we drove to see my family on Christmas day and had a wonderful time with lots of wonderful presents (including a red enameled dutch oven!), and food and togetherness :).

Chris and I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by two wonderful and loving families. We cherish every opportunity we get to spend time with them. Getting to see everyone at Christmas-time makes it even more special.