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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Handmade For the Holidays- Gifts and Goodies For One of a Kind Celebrations

Ah, the holiday season...chestnuts roasting on an open fire, cocoa frothy with melted marshmallows, the deep woodsy smell of fresh pine, bumper to bumper traffic, crowded shopping malls, endless gift lists...

If the last three things on that list didn't exactly make you think "winter wonderland", the team may have a solution for you this year! We want to help you get a jumpstart on your holidays this week, with some great gift ideas, awesome recipes, and creative ways to wrap gifts that will leave you with more time to sit by the fire (and more money in your pocket!)

While the holidays are now celebrated with both religious and secular traditions, in the early Middle Ages, the calendar was dominated by Christmas-related dates, including the forty days prior to December 25th, known as The Days of St Martin (now Advent).

St Martin's Punch

1 bottle each of cranberry juice, orange juice and mixed berries juice. (Adjust depending on number to serve)
6 Tablespoons of brown sugar.
1/2- 1 teaspoon each of mixed spices, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. ( to taste )
6 - 12 cloves,
1 - 2 lemons,
2-3 oranges sliced thin

Mix the ingredients together, layer thnly sliced fruits on top, heat gently in a pan or crockpot and serve.

Feasts, too, were a part of the celebration, featuring roasted ducks and meats, vegetables, and dressings, such as this tasty chestnut stuffing, from Jusshar:


4 c. coarse bread crumbs
3 c. boiled chestnuts (broken up)
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. sausage meat
2 med. diced onions
1 c. celery, cut fine
Salt and pepper to taste
Poultry seasoning
Hot water

Melt butter and cook onions 5 minutes. Add sausage meat and cook 5 minutes more. Mix bread, celery, chestnut pieces. Combine and moisten. Stuff turkey or chicken with dressing or cook in baking dish.

NOTE: I always find that I have to buy more chestnuts than I need because I always have a problem with moldy chestnuts. However, if you can get them frozen, you won't have this problem.

and breads such as this one, from pinswithfury

Banana Bread
1 3/4 cup flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (usually 3 - 4)

Mix butter and sugar together, add eggs, then bananas. Mix all dry ingredients together, then add gradually to banana mixture. Usually makes more than one loaf. Bake at 375 degree for 30 minutes, or until it springs back on top and is light brown.

For a slightly carmelized effect, sprinkle top of loaf with brown sugar halfway thru the baking process. Try serving with honey butter, or make mini loaves to give as gifts!

The Puritans of later times disapproved so much of the revelry and lavish dinners of Christmas celebrations in England that when they arrived in the New World, they went so far as to outlaw Christmas in Boston from 1659 to 1681!

Fortunately for all of us, the disapproval of holiday celebrations gradually disappeared, although the season as we now know it came into being in the later 1800s. In 1850, Godey's Lady's Book, republished an engraving of the British Royal family gathered around a decorated evergreen, (after Americanizing the scene by removing Queen Victoria's Crown, and Princh Albert's mustache!), introducing the idea to women all across America. By 1870, the tradition had taken root, with gifts packaged beneath tree.

So here are some unique, handmade items you can put under the tree just for Her, whether she loves a touch of luxury, or a little casual fun!

You can really give her your heart with this glowing felted bowl from HandmadebySandi :

All of my crocheted items can be made in other colors - just convo me with your request!

Wrap HER up, instead of presents, with knits both festive and fun, like this royal purple beauty from FoxyGKnits :

Or Jusshar's custom made, handknit Shrug:

Once you're got it all wrapped up, give her a gift she can carry it all in, with a great tote like this one, from pinswithfury :

20% off store purchases with mention of the Etsy Twitter Team Trunk Show!

And finally, whether you're shopping for a woman who loves glitter and sparkle, going "green" or whimsical, you can give her an ornament she'll cherish all year long:
Free Shipping during the Trunk Show Event on Nov 12- Enter code ETTTRUNKSHOW at checkout.

All orders during the Trunk Show on 11/12 will receive a free surprise gift tucked into their package. Custom requests are always welcome!

Free shipping on any order purchased between 11/10 and 11/15 over $20.00. Refunds will be made through pay pal.

Free worldwide shipping, 11/12 - 11/15/09. Shipping refunded via paypal.

“Free Shipping in the U.S.” on this one-of-a-kind handcrafted piece.
**Ships in a Gift Box**

11/10 - 11/15 Take 15% off all hair accessories. Enter Code TRUNK at checkout and refund will be issued via Paypal.

Our awesome graphic was created by Susan Brown of


SmuTopia Jewelry said...

Great post! I can't wait to try some new holiday recipies and shop for some fantastic handmade gifts!

MySassyGlass said...

I've never heard of Chestnut Dressing before, can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! Love the yummy recipes and didn't know about the Puritans.

a Cagey Bee said...

Great ideas! Will definitely have to try out some of those recipes. Yummmmm!

KnittingGuru said...

Great post. I'm getting in the holiday spirit.

Thanks for listing my post on Going Green with Natural Fibers.

I finally answered Karen's comments -- just 4 months late :-)

Sara at Soap Rehab said...

Mmmm yummy~great recipes & gifts!

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